Latest News

HAJ to Provide More Affordable Housing Solutions Published: 11 April 2019

  • The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) will be increasing the number of affordable housing solutions provided to low- and middle-income earners.
  • As stated in the 2019/20 Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, the entity is projecting to deliver some 1,460 solutions this fiscal year, up from 309 in 2018/19. These comprise serviced lots, housing starts and/or completed houses.
  • In addition, construction is scheduled to commence on 2,058, housing starts, up from 1,477 in the previous financial period.

(Source: JIS)

Austerity ‘pays’ Published: 11 April 2019

  • Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are banking on a return to growth for the Barbados economy as a result of Government’s austerity measures.
  • Chief of the World Economic Studies Division in the Research Department of the IMF, Oya Celasun is predicting that confidence will return to the local economy in the coming months as a result of the four-year austerity IMF-backed programme.
  • Responding to a question from Barbados TODAY at the 2019 World Economic Outlook media conference in Washington yesterday, Celasun also pointed out that in coming months, tourism-dependent economies in the Caribbean should experience higher growth than commodity dependent ones.

 (Source: Barbados Today)

Forecasters predict below normal 2019 hurricane season Published: 11 April 2019

  • With the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season in June not too far away, forecasters are predicting a below average season.
  • In a statement, researchers said: “We anticipate a slightly below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”
  • The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology predicts five hurricanes, 13 named storms, 50 named storm days, 16 hurricane days, two major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes and four major hurricane days.
  • The 2018 season saw 15 named storms and eight hurricanes which included two Category 4 hurricanes. The 2019 hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30.

 (Source: Reuters)

U.S. Core Inflation Cools Amid Shift in Data Methodology Published: 11 April 2019

  • A key measure of U.S. inflation rose less than forecast in March on a drop in apparel prices following a methodology change for data collection, offering some reinforcement for the Federal Reserve’s message of patience on interest rates.
  • The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1% from the prior month, and 2% from a year earlier, according to a Labour Department report Wednesday
  • Those readings missed both the monthly and annual estimates of economists, while the broader CPI climbed 0.4% as forecast and a faster-than-estimated 1.9% annually.

(Source: Bloomberg)

U.S. First-Quarter Growth Looking Better But Rest of Year Is Not Published: 11 April 2019

  • Economists expect U.S. first-quarter growth to decelerate less than previously thought even as they cut forecasts for the rest of the year, projecting a second-quarter rebound will fade as the effects of tax cuts wane.
  • The median estimate for growth in the first three months of the year increased to 1.6% from 1.5 percent seen last month, according to an April 5-10 Bloomberg News survey.
  • At the same time, forecasts for the second quarter held at 2.6% while those for the third edged down to 2.2% and were also lower for the fourth, at 2%.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Business, Consumer Soar to New Highs Published: 10 April 2019

  • Jamaica’s consumers and businesses continue to show confidence in the economy as evidenced by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) commissioned survey results for the first quarter of 2019.
  • The indices tracking consumer confidence and business confidence recorded historical highs of 177.5 and 151.3, respectively.
  • These improvements emanate from respondents’ expectation for observation of increased availability of jobs, and their anticipation that the economy will continue to boom due to expansion in sectors such as construction.

(Source: JCC)

BOJ Intervenes in the FX Market Published: 10 April 2019

  • The Bank of Jamaica on Monday intervened in the foreign exchange market through the Bank’s Foreign Exchange Intervention and Trading Tool (B-FXITT).
  • Approximately US$20Mn was sold to authorized dealers and cambios and the Bank highlighted that the flash sale was necessary to smooth temporary gaps between supply and demand in the market.
  • The BOJ, in their press release, urged companies to utilize forward contracts in an environment where the exchange rate moves in both directions in order to minimize the risks associated with foreign exchange obligations.

(Source: Bank of Jamaica)

DR collect $710.8 million in revenues from CO2 emissions issued by vehicles Published: 10 April 2019

  • In 2018, collections for the tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions amounted to RD $710.8Mn, an amount that represented a growth of 5.3% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the records of the Directorate General of Internal Taxes (DGII).
  • This is mainly due to the increase in the vehicle fleet in the country, but it also means that high consumption and high emission vehicles have been imported.
  • The proceeds will be used to create a fund for mitigation and adaptation to climate change the purpose for which it was initially proposed.

(Source: Dominican Today)

World Bank: T&T economy will shrink this year Published: 10 April 2019

  • Noting that T&T has the largest fiscal deficit in Central America and the Caribbean, a group of World Bank economists is expecting the T&T economy to contract this year by -0.5 percent. 
  • T&T is one of only four countries that the World Bank estimates this year will have weaker economies by the end of 2019.
  • The other three are Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Argentina. The economists also found T&T has the highest fiscal deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in Central America and the Caribbean.

 (Source: Trinidad Express)

ECB Keeps Policy Unchanged as Euro-Area Economy Faces New Risks Published: 10 April 2019

  • European Central Bank officials reiterated their pledge to keep interest rates at record lows, giving themselves time to assess prospects for the euro area’s weakened economy as it confronts new risks.
  • Five weeks after presenting a new long-term lending program, the ECB held off announcing more details in its policy statement on Wednesday.
  • Uncertainties from global trade continue to cloud the region’s outlook, and the Governing Council may wait until June before deciding on how much stimulus will be needed.
  • The ECB’s deposit rate, main refinancing rate and marginal lending rate will remain unchanged at -0.4%, 0% and 0.25%, respectively.

(Source: Bloomberg)