Wooing the Europeans

Sep 1, 2004

Wall Street is wary of Jamaica, but not its counterpart in Europe. Retail investors are snapping up Jamaica's bonds - and clamoring for more.

Positive spin on an unfinished recovery?

Bankers and investors all have a Jamaica story to tell. Like the one when Omar Davies, then finance minister, gave a talk in New York a few years ago. "They threw up some graphs showing a breakdown of exports, this much coming from bauxite and so on," recalls one syndicate manager. "Then he said, with a completely straight face, that the remaining percentage was from "non-traditional' exports. Everyone completely lost it and fell out of their chairs. He just smiled."

Although US investors enjoy his dry humor, Davies has fought an uphill battle to sell them on Jamaica's recovery story. Instead, the Caribbean country has found a rich and loyal group of European retail investors - all those fabled dentists - who are throwing hundreds of millions of euros Jamaica's way.

Jamaica has been able to raise ?400 million in the year through...

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