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Wynter defends performance of JMD

Published:Friday | June 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaican dollar has depreciated by 1.4 per cent since May, but Bank of Jamaica governor Brian Wynter said the country need not be alarmed even as he defended the current policy of maintaining a floating exchange rate regime.

At the same time, Wynter said the bank is committed to stability in the exchange rate and would continue to intervene in the market where necessary, using the resources at its command, to ensure that the market will continue to reflect such stability.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Bank of Jamaica, downtown Kingston, against the background of the Jamaican dollar surpassing the $88 to US$1 mark during the last few weeks.

It closed at J$88.63 on Wednesday. Brokers said the BOJ intervened twice in the market that day.

Wynter said 1.4 per cent movement in May has variously been described as a slide, slippage and a problem.

However, "what matters more are actions in the market and the actions of the players - the buyers, the sellers and the central bank," he said.

He pointed out that gross foreign reserves are currently at US$2.4 billion, and that net of the country's liabilities to the International Monetary Fund, the NIR currently stands at about US$1.6 billion.

"These funds are more than adequate to address the kind of risks that we typically face, and they far exceed the basic benchmark of 12 weeks of goods and services imports," Wynter said.