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Improved Credit Conditions for Q1 Published: 09 July 2019

  • Overall credit conditions to the private sector during the March 2019 quarter eased, relative to the previous quarter.
  • The easing of credit conditions was fueled by more accommodative price and non-price lending policies applicable to both secured and unsecured lending.
  • For secured loans, lenders reported lower interest rates, lower fees and increased maximum loan-to-value ratios (LTV ratios describe the size of a loan in relation to the value of the property securing the loan).
  • Improved conditions for unsecured loans were evidenced by reports of reduced interest rates, lower fees on credit card and non-credit card loans and increases in credit card limits.

(Source: Bank of Jamaica)

Dominican-US trade tops US$13.90Bn in 2018: official Published: 09 July 2019

  • Dominican Republic-United States trade topped US$13.90Bn during 2018, the National Statistics Office (ONE) affirmed on July 8, 2019.
  • The ONE said that 37.55% (US$5.20 billion) corresponded to Dominican exports to the US, and 62.45% (US$8.70 billion) to Dominican imports from the US.
  • In a statement, ONE director Alexandra Izquierdo stressed the importance of trade between both countries and noted that the United States has historically been Dominican Republic’s main trading partner.

(Source: Dominican Today)

China Eyes Trump's 2020 Strategy for Clues on Trade War Deal Published: 09 July 2019

  • As the U.S. and China prepare to restart trade talks, few in Beijing see a clear pathway to a lasting deal.
  • Pessimism dominated conversations last week with about a dozen bureaucrats, government advisers and researchers in China’s capital following the latest truce between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
  • Most saw Trump’s election strategy as being the paramount factor for whether a deal was possible in the short term.
  • Two schools of thought emerged on Trump’s political calculus.
  • One was that he must deliver a deal on China heading into 2020 to please his base, and would therefore eventually relent to Beijing’s demands. The other was that he would drag things out through the campaign, particularly if the economy and stock market held up since he faced a field of Democrats who basically agree with him on getting tough with China.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Powell Heads to Congress with Rate Cut in Play, Risk on His Mind Published: 09 July 2019

  • Jerome Powell is likely to leave Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts firmly on the table when he appears before Congress this week, even though the latest U.S. jobs report dialed down the urgency to ease borrowing costs.
  • The Fed chairman, who has been hectored for months by President Donald Trump for not cutting rates, will probably repeat language from the Federal Open Market Committee’s June statement that it will “act as appropriate’’ to sustain the economic expansion -- reinforcing bets the central bank will cut at its July 30-31 meeting.
  • Powell gives his semi-annual monetary policy testimony at 10 a.m. Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee and a day later to the Senate banking panel. 

 (Source: Bloomberg)

MSMEs to Access Loans at Very Low Interest Rate Published: 04 July 2019

  • Owners of micro, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) will soon be able to access loans for their businesses with help from the Government, at 4.75%, one of the lowest interest rates that will be available on the market.
  • This was announced by Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, at a workshop, dubbed: ‘Time for Growth: Unlocking the Power of the SME’, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, on Wednesday, July 3.
  • “The Government is now unveiling a new facility. We’re seeking to go to $600Mn [in funds to lend entrepreneurs]. We’re going to start with $400Mn that will be given to the EX-IM Bank to lend in the micro, medium and small enterprise sector, largely focusing on our manufacturers,” he said.
  • Green said local manufacturers have complained that the current interest rates are high, and this is a major reason the Government has looked into offering these loans at special interest rates.

 (Source: JIS)

Barita Investments Limited and Kingston Properties Limited Consider Rights Issues Published: 04 July 2019

  • Barita Investments Limited (BIL) has advised that a meeting of their Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at which the directors will consider and if thought fit, recommend a Rights Issue to BIL’s ordinary stockholders.
  • Kingston Properties Limited (KPREIT) has also advised that their Board of Directors will be considering a Rights Issue at a meeting of the directors on July 11, 2019

(Source: JSE)

Moody’s Upgrades Barbados Published: 04 July 2019

  • Moody's Upgrades Barbados' Issuer Ratings to Caa1 and Affirms Foreign Currency Senior Unsecured Bond Rating at Caa3; Maintains Stable Outlook
  • On July 2, 2019, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded Barbados' foreign and local currency issuer ratings to Caa1 from Caa3, and affirmed the foreign currency senior unsecured bond rating at Caa3, while maintaining a stable outlook.
  • This rating action reflects a material improvement in Barbados' fiscal and debt metrics, and reduced susceptibility to event risk, following the restructuring of its local currency debt. Furthermore, Moody’s expects that the improving policy framework and on-going fiscal and structural adjustment will place government debt on a downward trajectory.
  • As it relates to outstanding foreign currency bonds, Moody’s saw it fit to maintain the Caa3 rating because of the unresolved external debt restructuring.

(Source: Moody’s)

TPHL declares $1.6Bn loss Published: 04 July 2019

  • Petrotrin's successor company, Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL) reported on July 3rd, an unaudited net loss after tax of $1.6Bn for the six-month period ending March 31, 2019.
  • In a newspaper article published yesterday, State-owned TPHL said it generated revenue of $4.9Bn from continuing operations and positive operating cash flows of $1.7Bn for the six-month period.
  • In the group's chairman's report, TPHL chairman Wilfred Espinet said: 'The loss is attributable largely to the performance of Petrotrin during its last two months of operation before the cessation of operations on November 30, 2018.
  • For the six-month period ended March 31, 2019, Petrotrin and Guaracara recorded net losses after tax amounting to $1.5Bn. Legacy finance costs of $300Mn associated with the transfer of Petrotrin's loan obligations were also assumed by the parent. Excluding the effects of these amounts, the group would have recorded profitable results of $200Mn.'

(Source: Trinidad Express)

US trade deficit widens to a 5-month high of $55.5 billion in May Published: 04 July 2019

  • The U.S. trade deficit rose to a five-month high in May as the politically sensitive imbalances with China and Mexico widened.
  • The Commerce Department says the gap between the goods and services the U.S. sells and what it buys from foreign countries rose 8.4% to $55.5 billion in May, the highest since December. Exports increased 2% to $210.6 billion on rising shipments of soybeans, aircraft, and cars. But imports climbed more — 3.3% to $266.2 billion — on an increase in crude oil and cellphones
  • The deficit in the trade of goods with Mexico rose 18.1% to a record $9.6 billion. The goods gap with China widened 12.2% to $30.2 billion.

 (Source: CNBC)

Jamaica Broilers Reports Improved Year-End Profit Published: 03 July 2019

  • Jamaica Broilers reported audited net profits of $2.37Bn (EPS: $2.30) for the year ended April 2019, representing a 17.2% increase over the $2.03Bn (EPS: $1.64) recorded at the end of the previous financial year.
  • An increase in revenues (14.0%), other income (195.8%) and finance income which grew by $366.34Mn, were the main contributors to the improved bottom line.
  • The stock has risen 10.5% since the start of the calendar year, closing at $32.17 at the end of yesterday’s trading session. At this price, the stock is currently trading at a P/E of 13.99x earnings which is below the Main Market Distribution & Manufacturing average of 19.90x.

 (Source: Jamaica Broilers Financials)