By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: The dollar in a Caribbean nation, known for its strong tourism sector, is worrying many as it has continued a rapid slide in the past six to eight weeks.
The depreciation of the Jamaican dollar has the government and the opposition feuding even as businesses and nationals continue to express concern at the impact of the slip-slide on their day-to-day existence.
The dollar was $136.22 when NAN checked yesterday to the US dollar, a drop of more than $10 in weeks.
Opposition Leader of the Peoples National Party, (PNP), Dr. Peter Phillips, cast blame on both the Bank of Jamaica and the government for deliberately allowing the dollar to slide.
Phillips also challenged the government to clarify its exchange rate policy.
For his part, Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness blamed what he called speculators for driving the devaluation of the local currency.
“It tells us that there is some irrational behavior in the market. It tells us that there is some panic behavior in the market. It tells us that there is some speculative behavior in the market,” Holness said.
He also took insisted that the government will not deviate from its flexible exchange rate policy, declaring that “what goes up, must come down.”
He also said there is a record US$3 billion in the net international reserves, arguing that it meant the economy was able to withstand any shock.
But that’s little comfort for business owners who must shell out more Jamaican dollars to buy US goods and services and for local consumers who will have to bear the brunt of the costs that will be passed on to them in even basic commodities like a liter of gas, (quarter of a gallon), which is now at J$214.20.