FX Reserves is at $17.5bn – Bank Chief

Jordan’s foreign exchange reserves have reached a substantial $17.5 billion, a sum capable of covering the country’s imports for a period surpassing seven months, as affirmed by Adel Sharkas, the Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan, in statements made on Saturday.

Addressing the 8th Jordanian Investors and Businessmen Abroad Conference, Sharkas highlighted that the nation’s inflation rate, standing at 2.7 percent for the initial seven months of 2023, is anticipated to remain consistent throughout the remainder of the year.

To maintain monetary stability, secure a favourable position for the Jordanian dinar in comparison to foreign currencies, and uphold inflation rates within sustainable thresholds, the central bank implemented interest rate increases, as explained by Sharkas.

Sharkas emphasised that inflation poses a significant challenge to investments and purchasing power within any economy, compelling central banks to adopt robust measures to counter its effects.

He emphasised the pivotal importance of the central bank’s primary objective, which plays a critical role in overall investment and the stability of the dinar. He also noted an anticipation of declining global interest rates in the second quarter of 2024, subject to ongoing enhancements in US economic indicators.

Jordan effectively managed to attain the lowest inflation rate in the region during the previous year, a feat attributed to measures aimed at stabilising local market prices. Additionally, a strategic reserve of wheat spanning 12 months served as a safeguard against escalating global prices, which surged to $650 per ton.

Sharkas outlined that the bedrock of investment lies in achieving monetary stability. He further highlighted the central bank’s endeavours towards stimulating economic growth through the creation of financing avenues encompassing vital economic sectors that contribute to local employment.

Nadia Al-Saeed, CEO of Bank Al-Etihad, underscored that the banks operating within Jordan stand ready to facilitate essential financing for economic sectors and national economic modernisation initiatives, particularly those aligned with high-value-added industries propelling economic expansion.

Haitham Al-Batikhi, CEO of Jordan Kuwait Bank, affirmed the expertise of Jordanian banks in offering supportive mechanisms to investors, assisting them in overcoming obstacles related to enterprise establishment. He cited instances of his bank’s instrumental financing of substantial ventures, primarily within the renewable energy sphere.

Mohammed Al-Ja’fari, Director-General of the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation, elucidated the role of his organisation in providing soft loan services, predominantly to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The two-day conference, attended by Jordanian investors residing abroad, centres around exploring investment prospects and delving into the contributions of Jordan’s financial and banking sector to the national economy.

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