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CURRENCY UPDATE: $119.02 to US$1

Published:Friday | September 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

It is now costing almost $120 to buy US$1, latest Bank of Jamaica figures show.

At the close of trading today, the Jamaican dollar averaged $119.02 to US$1, a record high. 

The Jamaican dollar has fallen from $99.33 to US$1 on May 1, 2013, when Jamaica signed a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has stressed the importance of devaluation.

While on a visit to the island last June, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, said the Jamaican currency was overvalued and has to endure further re-valuation although she did not indicate the acceptable level.

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party and some manufacturers have campaigned against devaluation, saying it will result in increase in the cost of imports which would limit economic growth.

In a Country Report on Jamaica released yesterday, the IMF argued that analyses of quarterly exchange rate data for Jamaica from 1996 to 2014, show that "real depreciation (against the US dollar) of 10 percent is associated with around 0.5 percentage point increase in economic growth."

It adds that in the short run, temporary shocks may affect growth but in the long run, a more depreciated Jamaican dollar will co-exist with higher output levels.