BOJ predicts increase in import bill

The Bank of  Jamaica (BOJ) is predicting that the country's import bill will continue to be higher than its exports.

In its latest Quarterly Monetary Policy Report, the BOJ indicated that Jamaica's current account deficit is projected to worsen by an average 88 million US dollars every quarter between March 2018 and December 2019. 

The BOJ says the deterioration is largely due to an uptick in the goods and services balance, the impact of  which is partly offset by improvements in Income and Transfers. 

The Central Bank also reported that the outlook for gross reserves has deteriorated, relative to the previous projection, largely on account of  the outturn for the March 2018 quarter and the expectation of  higher Government debt payments. 

Meanwhile, the BOJ maintains its position that inflation will average 4 .1 per cent over the next three quarters before gradually approaching the 5 per cent target rate in the medium term. 

The BOJ says the forecast reflects declines in agricultural food prices in the March 2018 quarter. 

However, there are concerns that sufficient consideration is not being given to rising oil prices which is likely to have a negative impact on inflation.

The Bank says the risks to inflation over the next eight quarters are skewed to the downside. 

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