On the Corner with EPOC | Duncan: No need to worry about the dollar
Keith Duncan, co-chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), has again urged Jamaicans not to be unduly worried about the recent slippage in the value of the Jamaican dollar against its US counterpart.
Responding to concerns expressed by residents of Cassia Park in St Andrew at the Gleaner On the Corner with EPOC forum at the Dollaz fi Dollaz Chill Spot on Red Hills Road last Thursday, Duncan said movements in the value of the currency are inevitable.
"If we look at what has happened in the last six months, because of what has happened in the USA, many emerging markets, or countries like Jamaica, their currencies have depreciated against the US dollar," said Duncan as he responded to Julie Turner, who was concerned about the recent devaluation.
"This is because the US has been increasing interest rates, so money has been flooded to the US and, therefore, currencies across the world have been depreciating. Other countries who are Jamaica's trading partners, if their currencies depreciate and ours don't depreciate, Jamaica loses competitiveness," added Duncan.
He noted that if Jamaica loses its competitiveness, the country will not be attractive to foreign investments, making the cost of doing business more expensive to investors.
"So sometimes your currency will adjust, but what we need to pay attention to is inflation. Inflation hits us in our pockets. We cannot control what Donald Trump does, but where the Indian currency has depreciated by 20-odd per cent, the Jamaican currency has depreciated by six per cent over the same period.
"The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated by 14 per cent; ours [has] depreciated by six per cent in the same period. We are in an international world," he said.
He told the group of eager residents that the Andrew Holness administration is working on a programme to target inflation by keeping it manageable.