Mon | Jan 20, 2020

JMEA raises alarm over forex shortage

Published:Thursday | January 16, 2020 | 12:28 AM

The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) has expressed alarm over the reported scarcity of foreign currency available to the productive sector, pointing out that the Jamaican dollar, which appreciated dramatically to $131 to the greenback in December, has lost more than three per cent of its value and is unavailable two weeks into the new year.

It warned in a release yesterday that the volatility and lack of liquidity would cause irrational behaviour that could undermine the intervention of the central bank late last year.

“This situation is seriously impacting the productive sector as companies are unable to meet obligations to suppliers and to do normal business. Furthermore, this high level of volatility and unavailability makes it impossible to run any business properly,” the association, headed by Richard Pandohie, said in a statement.

The JMEA said that it had been informed by the Bank of Jamaica that foreign-currency inflows were adequate and trending above prior-year levels. “Why then are we, the end users, unable to get money to conduct our normal business?” the statement asked.

The manufacturing and exporting group also urged the central bank to stipulate, as it did in November 2019, that foreign currency from commercial banks be available to end-users in the productive sector.