Jordan's PM says economy remains strong

Bisher Al Khasawneh says country 'most immune in region' to economic collapse

A market in Jordan's capital Amman. The country's prime minister said the central bank has $17 billion of foreign currency reserves. Reuters

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh has said the country's economy remains “strong”, despite a slowdown in the past decade worsened by the coronavirus.

The credit upgrade by international rating agency Fitch at the end of last year reflects “the immunity and solidity of the Jordanian economy and its sound management”, Mr Al Khasawneh told Parliament on Monday.

Compared to neighbouring countries, where economic collapse had occurred in Syria and Lebanon, he described Jordan's economy as “the most immune in the region” .

Mr Al Khasawneh said economic conditions in Jordan are “strong and firm”, adding that the central bank has $17 billion of foreign currency reserves.

These include reserve requirements from commercial banks.

In December, Fitch revised its outlook on the risk of Jordan defaulting on its long-term foreign currency debt to stable from negative.

The agency said the move reflected the kingdom’s “progress on fiscal consolidation and post-pandemic economic recovery” .

Jordan has a public debt of around $50 billion — equivalent to 114 per cent of the gross domestic product. Around one-third of the debt is denominated in foreign currency.

Unemployment is officially hovering around a record high of 24 to 25 per cent.

Mr Al Khasawneh said Jordan was affected by a “difficult decade”, referring to stagnation that started in 2010 as the region reeled from the global financial crisis.

Since the pandemic, economic growth has not exceeded two per cent, he said.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 11:11 AM