Barbadians Told To Hold Strain

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Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler (FP)??

Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, is urging Barbadians "not to push the panic button" ??in light of a downgrade of the island’s domestic currency rating by international rating agency Moody’s and subsequent pronouncement by Standard and Poor’s that the island’s economy was accelerating.

He made this observation on Thursday night while speaking to reporters at the end of the launch of RBC’s Visa Platinum Card at the Concorde Experience, Seawell, Christ Church.

On Tuesday, June 14, Moody’s downgraded Barbados’ domestic credit rating from Baa2 to Baa3, and revised the country’s outlook to negative, while affirming its rating on Barbados’ foreign currency bonds.

Twenty-four hours after Moody’s issued its report, Standard and Poor’s reported that the island’s economy was accelerating and it maintained the island’s BBB- investment grade rating and its economic outlook as "stable".?? ??

Reiterating that he was still puzzled about Moody’s latest rating, Mr. Sinckler boasted that the island’s economy was in a better position today than in 2010.?? "One would have to ask oneself the question, what was it [rating] really all about??? The concern on the domestic side is a little overblown," he remarked.

He added that a perusal of the National Insurance’s investment report which was compiled by its investment committee, revealed that a recommendation was made to its board to come up with alternative investment instruments, because of an over subscription of treasury bills that left the entity with insufficient amounts to add to its investment portfolio.??????

"So I don’t understand…with a domestic capital market that is as liquid as it is…I have banks in Barbados who are sending private sector companies to the Government for guarantees of private projects and this shows the level of confidence which the banking sector has in government.

"Therefore, to try to create this impression that there is some potential crisis in the domestic market to meet the commitments of government in terms of its ability to finance its operations by the use of private capital… It is not what we would say…We do not support that analysis, and clearly it is not supported by Standard and Poor’s, the Central Bank of Barbados and the Government of Barbados, but that is Moody’s view," Mr. Sinckler affirmed.

He reiterated that government would remain focused on its recovery plan. "It [recovery] may not come as quickly as some people would like, or as everybody would like, but we have to stay the course.?? It is when you get in to changing this and changing that … abandoning this and abandoning that, that you then run into problems, because there is great uncertainty in your economic planning, there is a lack of confidence in your approach and that above all others, [this] will undermine the level of confidence which investors have in the management of the country and the economy," the Finance Minister surmised.

jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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