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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYRecent data show a gradual economic recovery, with growth projected to reach just over1 percent in 2014/15. Inflation has trended down to about 8 percent.The program is on track. Jamaica�s four-year, SDR 615.38 million (225 percent of quota)Extended Arrangement under the EFF was approved by the IMF Executive Board on May 1,2013, and the first four reviews under the program were completed on schedule. All end-June 2014 quantitative performance criteria were met. The structural benchmarks for end-June were also met. Based on the strong performance to date and the authorities� updatedpolicy intentions and commitments, staff recommends completion of the fifth review underthe extended arrangement.Focus of the review. Discussions centered on the preparations for the 2015/16 budget andfinancial sector reforms. The program has been updated, with steps to support theambitious fiscal goals by strengthening tax administration, enhancing public financialmanagement, and containing the civil service wage bill. Further steps have been articulatedto move ahead the reform of the securities dealers sector and to strengthen the financialsystem more broadly.Progress in implementing the authorities� program is steadily advancing with everysuccessful review, but risks to the program remain relatively high. A delayed growthrecovery could undermine social support for the reform efforts, financial sectorvulnerabilities could become more pressing, or risks to external financing (including fromPetroCaribe) could crystallize. A further challenge will be to keep the budget on track inthe face of risks to revenues and the wage bill.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Stable but slow expansion. Inflation and the current account deficit continue to be contained, thanks to relatively low oil prices and the government's policy efforts. Growth is projected to be 1.7 percent for FY2016/17 with improving prospects for investment, including in tourism and strong agricultural recovery. Unemployment, however, remains high, hampered by the weak activity in recent years. The poverty rate is also high at about 20 percent of the population. Exemplary performance under the program. All performance criteria and structural benchmarks have been met. Based on the authorities' continued strong program implementation and their forward-looking policy commitments, staff recommends completion of the thirteenth review.

Ms. Magda E. Kandil, Mrs. Genevieve M Lindow, Mr. Mario Mansilla, Mr. Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, Jochen M. Schmittmann, Qiaoe Chen, Xin Li, Marika Santoro, and Solomon Stavis
The paper examines the determinants of employment growth, drawing on data available across a sample of Caribbean countries. To that end, the paper analyzes estimates of the employment-output elasticity and the response of employment growth to major sources of labor market determinants, in the long and short run. The main determinants of employment include government investment and private sector credit, while the major determinants of external performance are real effective exchange rate, the price of major exporting commodities, the number of tourists, and growth in major trading partners. The paper concludes with a menu of policy recommendations and structural reforms towards sustaining high employment growth and higher living standards in the Caribbean.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

This paper presents Jamaica’s Third Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria report. The IMF staff report highlights that recent data is in-line with GDP growth of some 1 percent in 2013–2014. Inflation has increased since 2012 due to the depreciation of the exchange rate as well as higher administered prices, but has moderated in recent months. The policy agenda under the program is now shifting to reforms in several areas including tax and customs administration, public financial management, securities dealers, the framework for monetary policy, and the business environment.