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Mar 17, 2020

What About Foreign Exchange Amid COVID-19 Threat?

Dean Barrow

With a combined half-a-billion U.S. dollars in foreign exchange, there is enough cash between the commercial banks and Central Bank to cover roughly fifty percent of all projected imports for this year.  In the context of the coronavirus, even if those monies were spent on the importation of food and other necessities to survive for a period of time during the outbreak, the economic concern is what happens thereafter.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“With regard to foreign exchange, the commercial banks are at three hundred and fifteen million U.S.  The Central Bank is at two hundred and fifty million U.S.  So together, we have five hundred and fifty million U.S.  That’s a little over half of the value of all 2020 imports, just to make the point that we can find it, it’s what happens after we find it, we use it and then there’s nothing left.  But it’s not as though there is any immediate worry of starvation because we don’t have the foreign exchange to purchase the imports we need from abroad, and it’s not just food stuff.  If we will eat what we grow, as George Price said a long time ago, we still need the essential inputs.  So I didn’t want to talk about all this because, as I said, again while this is so, this is undoubted, this is factual; you have to worry about what comes after.”

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