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Government of Jamaica

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Government of Jamaica

S&P Upgrades Jamaica from ‘B+’ to ‘BB-’, Outlook Remains “Stable”

Hon. Nigel Clarke, DPhil., MP
Hon. Nigel Clarke, DPhil., MP

Ministry of Finance and the Public Service

Audit Committee Performance Evaluation guideline (ACPE tool)

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Kingston, Jamaica: Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings, today, September 13, 2023, upgraded the Government of Jamaica’s
Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from ‘B+’ to ‘BB-’ with a stable
outlook.

The S&P rating reflects the agency’s projections that Jamaica’s debt-to-GDP will continue to decline,
led by modest fiscal surpluses, over the medium-term. While the government’s interest burden remains
high, S&P expects that it will fall to 17.5% of government revenues within the next fiscal year and to
less than 15.0% by 2026. S&P also foresees continued economic growth, which is expected to support
external balances over the next four years.

The outlook reflects S&P’s expectation that Jamaica will continue to pursue “cautious macroeconomic
policy and maintain its commitment to prudent public sector financing and debt reduction, as well as
supportive economic policies including a flexible exchange rate regime and effective monetary policy”.

In commenting on the rating action Dr. the Honourable Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public
Service said, “This historic upgrade is wonderful news for Jamaica. Jamaica has never before had a
credit rating as high as ‘BB-’ from S&P. This is now the best credit rating that Jamaica has received
from S&P since they started rating Jamaica’s sovereign debt in 1999. The benefit of this credit upgrade
to Jamaica is that it provides the ability for Jamaica to get better terms on financing which can save a
substantial amount of money in the long run leaving more room for spending on education, health,
security and infrastructure. It also makes Jamaica a more attractive place to invest. This will lead to
more investments, more economic activity and more jobs for Jamaicans.

In evaluating Jamaica’s credit rating S&P would have looked at Jamaica’s economic performance, our
economic policy framework and projections of Jamaica’s economic trajectory, among other factors. As
such this upgrade is a victory for our economic policy focus of pursuing economic independence,
building economic resilience and expanding economic opportunity for all.

This historic upgrade is even more meaningful given the devastating impact of the recent COVID-19
pandemic. Our policy priority of economic recovery is paying off.

I would like to emphasise that we consider this a national achievement and one to be protected. I express gratitude to the Ministry of Finance team, to public servants in general, unions, members of the private sector and civil society who continue to work for a better Jamaica. Jamaica is coming from a “junk” credit rating of CCC, which meant very high cost of financing that affected all Jamaicans negatively, and we spent a decade in the single B range (B-, B, B+), with the last four years at B+. This upgrade to BB- is full demonstration that our collective efforts will bear fruit if we keep at it, and keep steadfastly improving our country. Our future is in all our hands. Collectively, we can make Jamaica what we want it to be.”

                                                                   -end-

For further information contact: 

Corporate Communication & Public Relations Branch

Ministry of Finance and the Public Service

30 National Heroes Circle

Kingston 4

The Hon. Nigel Clarke, D.Phil., MP

Minister of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4
Tel: (876) 932-4656 / 4660 / 4655
Eml: opedjamaica@gmail.com

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