Latest News

No move Published: 18 January 2019

  • Political standoffs are in fashion this season, with Brexit talks going nowhere right now.

 

  • Prime Minister Theresa May is refusing to move on her “red lines” as she tries to reach a compromise with parliamentary opponents.

 

  • She also canceled plans to attend Davos. Currency markets are relatively sanguine, with the pound trading close to $1.30 this morning, but bond investors are worried.

 

(Source: Bloomberg)

US officials debate lifting tariffs on China to get a trade deal: WSJ Published: 18 January 2019

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering a proposal to lift some or all U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in a bid to push trade talks between the U.S. and China, further along, sources tell the newspaper.

 

  • Shares spiked when the news broke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1% before settling back.

 

  • Both countries have slapped tariffs on each other's goods in an escalating trade dispute.

 

(Source: CNBC)

Currency Unification Still Likely In Cuba, But Timeline Remains Foggy Published: 18 January 2019

  • Fitch believes that Cuba will likely unify its dual exchange rate system in the quarters ahead, given the economic costs imposed by the current system.

 

  • Exchange rate reform will provide tailwinds to growth over the long term, by making exports more competitive and reducing the complexity of pricing systems.

 

  • Fitch forecasts that unification will take place in 2019, though they acknowledge substantial risks to this view given the opacity of the Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) and concerns about the impact of the move on political stability.

(Source: Fitch)

T&T's External Accounts To Be Supported By Export Strength Published: 18 January 2019

 

  • Fitch expects Trinidad & Tobago’s current account surplus to widen in 2019 on the back of increased energy exports.

 

  • Higher natural gas prices will support export growth while T&T’s managed exchange rate will constrain imports.

 

  • Nevertheless, T&T’s overall external position will continue to weaken due to capital outflows, forcing the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) to further draw down foreign reserves.

(Source: Fitch)

Slight Decline In Jamaica’s Remittance For First Three Quarters In 2018 Published: 18 January 2019

  • For the period January to September 2018, Jamaica recorded net remittance inflows of US$1,553.3Mn, which represents a decline of 0.3% or US$4.8Mn relative to the corresponding period in 2017.

 

  • The decrease reflected a marginal decline in remittance inflows by 0.1% or US$1.5Mn along with an increase of 1.9% or US$3.4Mn in outflows. The decrease in inflows was attributable to a decline of 0.5% in Remittance Companies partly offset by an increase of 2.6% in Other Remittances.

 

  • The largest source market of remittances to Jamaica in September 2018 remained the USA (63.1%), which saw an increase in its share from 62.5% recorded September 2017. The remaining share of remittances for September 2018 came from Canada (12.5%), followed by the UK and the Cayman Islands at 11.9% and 6.8 percent, respectively.

 

  • In contrast to Jamaica’s relatively flat growth rate for the month, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador registered growth rates of 15%, 11.9 %, and 9.6%, respectively. Overall, the January to September 2018 period had gross remittance inflows totaling US$1,736.8Mn.

(Source: BOJ)

Scotia Sees Marginal Improvement In Year End Results Published: 17 January 2019

 

  • For the year ended October 31, 2018, Scotia Group reported a net profit of $12.7Bn (EPS: $4.10), which represents a 3% increase over the $12.4Bn (EPS: $3.91) reported in 2017.

 

  • This was driven by increases in foreign currency trading gains (60%), net gains on financial assets (12%), insurance revenue (5%), and a $753.1Mn gain on the sale of its subsidiary.

 

  • Scotia stock price grew 3.37% in 2018 and has contracted by 1% since the start of 2019. The stock currently trades at a P/E of 13.16x earnings which is below the 17.99x average for main market finance stocks.

 

(Source: Scotia Group Financials)

S&P Places Rating On Watch Negative Published: 17 January 2019

  • S&P last night announced placing the PETRTT 'BB' rating on CreditWatch with negative implications due to refinancing risks on the 2019 bonds maturing next August.

 

  • PETRTT bond debt was reallocated to a new holding company, Trinidad Petroleum Holding (TPH), following a corporate restructure. The rating is assigned and credit watch was placed on TPH.

 

  • The new holding company has three subsidiaries; Heritage Petroleum, responsible for E&P operations, Paria Fuel Trading, responsible for fuel imports and marketing, and Guaracara Refining, the entity which will hold the refining assets (the refinery was shut down in late 2018).

 

(Source: Oppenheimer & Co.)

Government of Trinidad and Tobago Reports Better Than Expected Revenues Published: 17 January 2019

 

  • Finance Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday the Government received 13 percent more revenue than it had projected in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, mainly as a result of higher natural gas prices.

 

  • Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Finance, an upbeat Imbert said the Government had projected to receive $10 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, from October 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018.

 

  • He said the actual total revenue for the period was $11.3 billion.

 

(Source: Trinidad Express)

Brexit talks Published: 17 January 2019

  • With her Brexit deal defeated but a vote of no-confidence overcome, British Prime Minister Theresa May is in much the same position as she was at the start of the week.

 

  • Today she is in talks with some of her opponents to try to find a position on exiting the European Union that would command majority support in Parliament.

 

  • With just 10 weeks left to the exit date, HSBC Holdings Plc is now saying that they are more upbeat on sterling as the impasse suggests there may be no Brexit at all. Others are not taking the risk and are voting with their feet.

 

(Source: Bloomberg)

Shutdown hit Published: 17 January 2019

  • The House passed another bill yesterday to remedy the partial government shutdown, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it won’t vote on a bill unless Trump supports it.

 

  • The real-economy effects of the standoff are mounting. The number of government contractors going unpaid is seen as large enough to impact growth this quarter.

 

  • Federal employees are citing financial hardship as a reason for not reporting to work, with some tapping retirement accounts to make ends meet.

 

 

(Source: Bloomberg)