Jamaica Stands Out Against ‘Struggling’ Caribbean Credit Markets

Jamaica’s “early” reach out to the IMF to fix its structural problems was credited as one of the reasons for the growth now being experienced in the country.

Head of Emerging Markets Fixed Income Sales –

Wealth Management at Jefferies Gregory Fisher says that while Jamaica and the Dominican Republic stand out, the wider Central America and Caribbean (CAC) region has been stable economically for several years.

Fisher, who was among several leading panelists at the 3rd Caribbean Finance & Investment Forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday, said that in taking the initiative to engage with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) long-before the 2008 financial crisis – Jamaica has done well to distance itself from the ongoing debt woes circling several Caribbean countries.

“The bottom line is when you look at the credits in the region, Jamaica [has] the best performing credit in all of Latin America,” Fisher argued.

“There has been some issues in the region regarding Barbados, Trinidad, El Salvador and Costa Rica, so it does put credit [markets] like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic on a higher spotlight but as a whole, the CAC region has held very well compared to the rest of the emerging markets,” Fisher further noted.

“Countries like Jamaica who reached out to the IMF way before anybody else did, before the financial crisis, these countries have come to the other side,” Fisher contended adding that Jamaica’s use of fiscal austerity was a contributing factor to the growth now being experienced.

However, for his part in the discussion, Resident Representative for Jamaica at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Constant Lonkeng argued that comparatively, the average growth of 1.5% overall in the Caribbean is anemic to other sections of the world.

“I must say that when you look at growth performance in non-Caribbean countries, it’s much stronger. The outlook going forward for the next 2-3 years, we’re looking at 1.5% for the Caribbean region, which historically is quite a large number but against other countries, it is particularly low. Though the outlook is positive, it’s still structurally low growth,” Lonkeng suggested.

By: Franklin McKnight

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