International Credit Agency Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings, today, December 8, 2020, affirmed the Government of Jamaica’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating, IDR, at ‘B+’.

However, the S and P says the outlook remains negative.

In a statement on Tuesday, The S&P ratings says the outcome accounted for the economic and financial realities faced by the country, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s also taken into account the actions undertaken by the Government of Jamaica to minimize the effects.

S and P says the onset of the pandemic caused a disruption in some productive sectors, particularly Tourism which was a contributory factor to the contraction in the country’s GDP.

It also disrupted the trend of fiscal surpluses realized over the past three years, with Jamaica programmed to post a fiscal deficit this year.

However, despite the adverse outcomes, S and P says their analysis expects the country to return to surpluses in the short-term due to the GOJ’s demonstrated commitment to prudent fiscal policy management.

S and P says it views the Jamaican economy as relatively well-diversified and expects a strong rebound in growth in 2021, driven largely by the re-opening of the Tourism sector.

In response Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, says the affirmation of Jamaica’s credit rating at B+ is a sign of confidence in the country’s future.

He says the nation entered the pandemic with significant fiscal buffers, which provided us with the flexibility to absorb and respond to the crisis without affecting medium term economic prospects.

Dr. Clarke says As such, as S and P forecasts, Jamaica is poised to return to economic growth in fiscal year 2021/22 although achieving pre-COVID levels of economic output will occur in the medium term.