Neika Lewis has that story.

The Jamaican economy is projected to grow by 1.6 percent next year according to the latest Preliminary Overview of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC, Report 2019.

ECLAC’s report suggests that while the Jamaican economy is improving challenges remain relating to debt and currency depreciation.

The ECLAC report says the Jamaican  economy  recorded growth rates  of  1.5 per cent in the first  quarter of 2019  and 1 per cent in the second.

Projections are for a 1.7 percent growth rate for the year.

However, the report says fiscal challenges continue to be a main concern as the  Government of Jamaica  seeks  to control its public finances.

ECLAC says the  principal challenge facing  the Jamaican economy is the debt overhang which is still high.

According to ECLAC external debt was the largest component, at 61 percent, while domestic debt was just under 39 per cent.

Another area identified by ECLAC is the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar.

The report says in 2018, the Jamaican dollar experienced at least four cycles of appreciation and depreciation, but has shown an overall year over year decline of 2-point-2 per cent against the US dollar.

This is compared  with  an appreciation  of 2.7 per cent at  the end of- 2017.

ECLAC says currency depreciation will remain a downside risk throughout  2020.

However, the  Bank  of Jamaica expects to manage a moderate depreciation as  part  of  its  intervention  strategy.

But the report warns that depreciation could accelerate should the government  fail  to  meet  its  fiscal  targets  by  a  significant margin, which could  affect  business confidence  and  re-ignite capital  flight.