Monday 28 September, 2020

Standard and Poor's upgrades Jamaica’s ratings

Standard and Poor’s Ratings Agency (S&P) has upgraded the Government of Jamaica’s long-term foreign and local currency rating to “B+” from “B” and affirmed the ‘B’ rating on the short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings.

The outlook remains “stable”. S&P Global Ratings also raised its transfer and convertibility assessment to 'BB-' from 'B+', the rating agency announced on Friday.

S&P said that the rating action reflected Jamaica’s sustained progress in achieving macroeconomic stability and strengthening its external liquidity, which improved the country’s ability to withstand external shocks.

It also cited the anticipated continuation of public-sector reforms and establishment of an independent fiscal council as critical factors to promote sustainable fiscal practices and deepen government accountability in a post-International Monetary Fund Stand-By Arrangement environment.

The outlook was affirmed based on the government’s willingness to continue maintaining robust primary fiscal surpluses, which will support a gradual reduction in debt and interest burdens and help to boost external reserves.

Furthermore, S&P expected “the country will be able to maintain its growth momentum, with modest GDP growth, and that the government will continue advancing toward a more effective monetary policy framework for the central bank, including a more flexible exchange rate. “

“We are pleased with the upgrade in Jamaica’s credit rating by S&P. The upgrade is a tangible recognition of the gains Jamaica has made under our Economic Reform Programme and it reflects the confidence that the investing community has in Jamaica’s future economic prospects. Moreover, this credit rating upgrade underscores the importance of GOJ’s commitment to sustain our reform effort into the post-IMF programme period” a statement from the finance ministry said.

A two-member team from S&P visited the country in May to conduct the annual review.

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