The Jamaican stock market has turned out to be the best performing bourse in the world, with the country’s main stock index rising nearly 30% in the past year.
As stock index is considered the barometer of a nation’s fiscal health, the Jamaican economy is heading in the right direction, analysts say.
“In 2018 the nation’s main index rose 29 percent in U.S. dollar terms, the most among 94 national benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg,” stated the US newswire in a special report.
According a report from the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the Caribbean country’s economy is looking healthy like never before.
“Unemployment is at an all-time low of 7.8 percent, taxes have been reduced, business confidence is high, inflation and the external current account deficits are low, and the level of foreign currency reserves is comfortable at about US$3.5 billion,” the fund said in a report earlier in June this year.
This is a huge turnaround for a country that had sought a bailout from international lenders after feeling suffocated under the mountain of debt. Around five years ago, Jamaica’s debt had grown to 145 percent the size of the economy, with interest payments consuming a large chunk of the government’s revenue.
Over the past two years, things have improved considerably. Inflation has tumbled from a staggering 9% to less than 4%. Even the Jamaican dollar has remained stable after decades of depreciation.
Lower inflation has pushed down bank interest rates, allowing more businesses to borrow and expand operations.
Last month, S&P upgraded Jamaica’s credit ratings, confirming that the country is progressing toward achieving macroeconomic stability.