By Mariana Santibáñez
Jamaican debt: Breaking the cycle
Jamaica’s first quarter debt restructuring bought it some time. Whether it will be enough depends on the island’s success with a difficult economic turn-around
Times are tough for Jamaica. At nearly 150% of GDP, the
Caribbean nation is struggling with one of the highest debt
burdens in the world. Its economy barely grew last year, and
has contracted in three of the last five.
Now, an IMF program aims to lower the country’s
public debt to a more sustainable level, and bolster economic
Since the deal was signed in May, authorities have pressed
ahead with structural reforms, but concerns linger over how
successful they will be, given the country’s past
difficulties in turning the tide on the economy.
"They have shown they can run primary surpluses in short
bursts, but they haven’t shown they can sustain
them," says Carl Ross, managing director of investments at
Oppenheimer. "This time has to be different."
Jamaica’s fiscal performance has been
surprisingly strong — but the country must focus on
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