For the first time in over a decade, the current volatility of the Jamaican dollar against the ‘greenback’ US dollar has risen above crime and violence as a very worrying factor among local business interests.
The revelation came from seasoned analyst Don Anderson, on Tuesday, October 9, as he presented his findings on the third quarterly survey on business and consumer confidence.
“For the first time in several quarters, the main barrier to expansion has not been crime and its associated costs. The devaluation of the dollar was cited as the main factor that is adversely affecting investment plans,” the summary report outlined.
Speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) headquarters in St. Andrew, Anderson was quick to point out however, that crime is still a major problem in the eyes of the business community. However, the recent weakening of the Jamaican dollar has seemingly taken more of the spotlight.
“Crime has been cited over the last few surveys as the major worrying factor; seen as a debilitating implement impacting high levels of investment. It is no longer the most important factor, what they highlight now is the devaluation of the dollar, so they’re saying ‘This supersedes my view on crime’,” he said.
The stance from the business community for the period surveyed between July 6 and September 25, comes as the Jamaican dollar experienced, in the words of some experts, ‘a highly volatile phase’.
As of Monday, October 8 the Jamaican dollar continues to gain on its US counterpart, closing at $132.91 to US$1.00. This is coming from an all-time low of $137.62 earlier in August.
Anderson further argued that a significant number of businesses surveyed said that while they remain confident in the long-term outlook of the economy, more emphasis was being placed internally to better manage, motivate staff and incentivize customers.
By Gavin Riley