Sat | Sep 23, 2023

S&P upgrades Jamaica’s credit rating to a historic BB-

Published:Wednesday | September 13, 2023 | 5:41 PM
It is the best credit rating that Jamaica has received from S&P since it started rating the country’s sovereign debt in 1999. - File photo

Standard and Poor's (S&P) Global Ratings on Wednesday upgraded the Government of Jamaica's Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from B+ to BB-, with a stable outlook.

It is the best credit rating that Jamaica has received from S&P since it started rating the country's sovereign debt in 1999.

"The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the Government will remain committed to prudent fiscal policies and reducing debt, as well as supportive economic policies including a flexible exchange rate regime and effective monetary policy," the rating agency said.

It noted that while the Government's interest burden remains high, it expects that it will fall to 17.5 per cent of government revenues within the next fiscal year and to less than 15.0 per cent by 2026.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said "this historic upgrade is wonderful news for Jamaica".

"The benefit of this credit upgrade to Jamaica is that it provides the ability for Jamaica to get better terms on financing which can save a substantial amount of money in the long run leaving more room for spending on education, health, security and infrastructure. It also makes Jamaica a more attractive place to invest," Clarke explained.

He labelled the rating upgrade a victory for the Government's economic policy focus, noting that it is even more meaningful given the devastating impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our policy priority of economic recovery is paying off. I would like to emphasise that we consider this a national achievement and one to be protected," he said, adding that "Jamaica is coming from a 'junk' credit rating of CCC, which meant very high cost of financing that affected all Jamaicans negatively, and we spent a decade in the single B range (B-, B, B+), with the last four years at B+."

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