Latest News

BOJ Announces Further Reduction in Cash Reserve Requirement Published: 16 May 2019

  • The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) announced today that there will be a further reduction in the cash reserve requirement (CRR) by two percentage points to 7%, to take effect on June 3, 2019.
  • This is the second reduction in the cash reserve requirement by the Central Bank this year as it continues to relax monetary policy.
  • The cash reserve requirement is the amount of money that deposit-taking institutions are required to hold at the BOJ against prescribed liabilities.
  • The Central Bank expects that the reduction in the CRR will serve to increase liquidity in the financial system by $12.3Bn and therefore support the expansion of credit to businesses and households at lower rates and potentially on better terms.
  • The BOJ has left open the possibility for further reductions based on the results of its assessment of market conditions going forward.

 (Source: BOJ)

Inflation rose to 3.9% for Year-to-April Published: 16 May 2019

  • According to STATIN, the All Jamaica Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.1% for the month of April.
  • The movement in the CPI in April was mainly attributable to a 0.5% increase in the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division, with the primary contributors being Vegetables and Starchy Foods (+1.1%) and Non-Alcoholic beverages (+0.3%). Additionally, higher global oil prices contributed to an (0.4%) increase in the ‘Transport’ division.  
  • The calendar year-to-April 2019 movement was 0.8% (-0.7%; April 2018) while point-to-point inflation to 3.9% (3.2%; April 2018). Despite the 12 months to April 2019 inflation rate coming in above the 3.4% recorded for the year-to-March 2019, inflation continues to be below BOJ’s target range of 4%-6%.
  • This outturn likely precipitated the BOJ’s decision to reduce the cash reserve requirement as it seeks to stimulate consumer prices through increased demand for goods and services, and, by extension, growth in economic activity.

(Source: STATIN)

GDP Grows by 1.6% But It's Below IMF's 2.3% Prediction Published: 16 May 2019

  • The Bahamas’ real gross domestic product grew by 1.6% in 2018 compared to 2017. This result represents an improvement on the average yearly real GDP growth of just 0.4% between 2015 and 2017 but falls short of the IMF’s expected growth of 2.3%.
  • According to the Department of Statistics 9 of 17 industry groups contributed to the increase in real GDP, with real value added increasing 0.9% for the real estate industry group; 3.0% for the wholesale and retail trade group; 4.2% for the financial and insurance sector and the 7.9% increase in tourist arrivals.
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said: “This is the first time the country has had decent economic growth over five years. When we look at where we are now compared to where we were, these results are confirmation; there has been a significant turnaround and our policy mix is effectively placing us on a path of sustained growth.

(Source: Tribune 242)

Resilience drove Dominican Republic 5.7% GDP growth in Q1 Published: 16 May 2019

  • Central Banker Héctor Valdez Albizu, said Dominican Republic’s GDP grew 5.7% during the January-March 2019 period. In 2018, the country saw GDP grow 7.0% while inflation lagged at 1.17%. This compares well with the 6.3% average annual growth in GDP for the period 2013-2018 which saw inflation averaging circa 2.48% annually.
  • Construction (+12.5%), Energy and Water (+11.7%), Financial Intermediation (+9.5%), Mining (+6.3%), Transport and Storage (+6.2%), Public Administration (+5.7%), Hotels, Bars and Restaurants (+5.0%), and Other Services (+5.2%), were the sectors with the highest growth for that period
  • Valdez said that despite having faced an increasingly complex international environment, “the Dominican Republic has managed to remain a leader in economic performance in Latin America, based on the strength of its macroeconomic foundations”.

 (Source: Dominican Today)

Pound falls Published: 16 May 2019

  • Sterling dropped to a three-month low of $1.2821 this morning and headed for its longest losing streak against the euro since 2000 as the risk of a no-deal Brexit flared up again.
  • The main opposition Labour Party said it wouldn’t back Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through Parliament, even as she faces more leadership challenges from within her own party.
  • Meanwhile, there are further signs that companies in the U.K. are suffering from the continued uncertainty.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Bond rally Published: 16 May 2019

  • The trade war heating up, continued worries about the conflict in the Middle East and concerns over growth have all sent investors rushing to the relative safety of bonds.
  • Treasury yields dropped again this morning, reaching the lowest level on a closing basis since 2017.
  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management International is sounding a word of caution, saying yields are poised to rebound as the U.S. economy is just too healthy for Treasuries to be at this level.
  • Also worth noting: China’s holdings of the global benchmark have started to fall for the first time since November.

(Source: Bloomberg)

JSE Off to a Good Start for 2019! Published: 14 May 2019

  • For the three-month period ended March 31, 2019, Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) reported an unaudited net profit of $123.6Mn (EPS: $0.18) which represents a 22% increase relative to the corresponding period of 2018.
  • Revenue for the period grew 27.3% from $349.6Mn to $445.1Mn year-over-year. This can be attributed to improvements in fee income which increased by $60.2Mn (+32.1%) and eCampus income which increased by $17.8Mn (556.3%).
  • The increased profit was also due, in part, to a slight decrease (-5.2%) in professional fees which declined from $17.3Mn to $16.4Mn.
  • JSE has risen 95.42% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed at a record $20.05 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 31.83x earnings which is above the Main Market Financial Sector average of 19.32x.  However, the stock also has one of the highest Return on Equity (ROE) among its peers (42%, compared with 13% for Main Financial sector peers)

 (Source: JSE Financials)

Fosrich Reports Slight Increase in Profit for Q1 Published: 14 May 2019

  • Fosrich reported a 6.7% increase in unaudited net profit for the three-month period ending March 31, 2019. Net profit increased from $30.8Mn (EPS: $0.06) in Q1 2018 to $32.9Mn (EPS: $0.07) in Q1 2019.
  • Revenue for the period was $378.6Mn, up 39% from $271.9Mn during the prior period. The growth in revenue was as a result of the strategies implemented by the Company to increase its business within the distributive space for specific products.
  • The stock has risen 22.68% since the start of the calendar year. Fosrich closed at $4.76 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 25.05x earnings which is above the Junior Market Distribution Sector average of 20.96x.

(Source: Fosrich Financials)

Panama's New President Will Maintain Pro-Business Policies Published: 14 May 2019

  • Panamanian President-elect Laurentino Cortizo will govern with a relatively weak mandate after narrowly defeating Rómulo Roux in an unexpectedly close May 5th election.
  • Fitch expects Panama's policy direction to remain relatively unchanged under Cortizo, with his administration continuing orthodox, pro-business economic policies.
  • Cortizo’s coalition’s narrow majority in the unicameral National Assembly will likely allow him to advance legislation, though a crop of new, anti-establishment legislators could complicate policymaking. 

(Source: Fitch)

Honduras's Fiscal Consolidation Set To Continue Published: 14 May 2019

  • Fitch expects Honduras to continue its steady fiscal consolidation as revenues are supported by strong economic activity and expenditure growth remains muted.
  • Honduras’ stand-by IMF program will provide the government with additional flexibility to pursue fiscal consolidation.
  • Fitch has revised its fiscal deficit forecast from 2.3% of GDP to 2.0% after the 2018 deficit was narrower than expected at 2.1%.

(Source: Fitch)