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Foreign currency tight but Central Bank reserves firm says PM Barrow

Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2020. 9:42 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, affirmed the nation during Friday afternoon’s press conference that we are not in an extreme crisis when it comes to foreign currency. According to Barrow, the situation is tight but claims that “the Central Bank has not yet had to have recourse for its own foreign currency holdings to boost the distribution and disbursement of foreign currency from commercial banks”.

Barrow conceded, however, that there is “a huge economic contraction…in terms of our exports and in particular the non-earning of foreign exchange revenue that we use to get from tourism”.

There is no doubt that access to foreign currency is tight as individuals and businesses have seen reductions in the US dollar limits on their credit cards to US$1,000 at all the banks. Businesses who are direct importers are also feeling the pinch with limited access to US dollars at the commercial banks, and in many cases their request are significantly delayed or rejected especially if the category of imports is not classified as essential.

During the press conference, Barrow noted that the inability of Belizeans to cross the western and northern border for shopping and leisure means that those moneys are now spent at home. This clearly has helped to ease the foreign exchange demand to some extent.

“There is no way we can say all is well”, Barrow said, but as is the case with all the other problems the country faces, “we are managing”.


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