Thursday 22 August, 2019

Opposition accuses Gov't of pushing down value of Jamaican dollar

Mark Golding

Mark Golding

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is accusing the Government of being behind the rapid devaluation of the Jamaican dollar against its United States counterpart.

The Jamaican dollar hit a new record low Thursday as it entered $132 territory against the US greenback.

At the same time, Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Mark Golding has charged that “consumers, already hurt by rising electricity and gas prices, can brace for a further battering from unwanted price increases driven by the falling Jamaican dollar that the Government seems to be pursuing as a matter of unannounced policy.”

Golding said he was alarmed that, the Government “having just last week bought US$5 million at a weighted average exchange rate of J$130.20 to US$1.00, the Central Bank (on Wednesday) purchased US$9 million in its B-FXITT auction at a weighted average exchange rate of J$132.66 to US$1.00, buying some amounts as high as J$133.50.”

According to Golding, the BOJ was unable to purchase the full amount it was seeking at Wednesday’s auction, which indicates that the market may be holding back supply in anticipation of further slippage.

“Why is this happening, when the Government has been telling the public that the economy is performing well?” Golding asked.

“The deafening silence of the Government is totally unacceptable in the face of this slide in the value of the currency. The Government must immediately tell the public why Jamaica is going through this unexpected process of currency depreciation, especially as it is largely being driven by the Government itself,” he said.

The opposition spokesman said “many businesses are bemused and fearful, as they suffer mounting foreign exchange losses, and uncertainty as to how to respond."

He said the public has a right to know why "the Government is pushing down the value of the Jamaican dollar."

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