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Here’s How Parliament Is Plotting to Stop a No-Deal Brexit Published: 03 September 2019

  • Parliament returns for its first post-holiday sitting today in London, and it looks like it’s going to be a very interesting one.
  • A cross-party group is hoping to introduce a draft law which would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay Brexit if he can’t broker a new deal with the EU by the current Oct. 31 deadline.
  • Johnson reacted to the threat by saying he would rather have an election than see his negotiating position with Europe undermined.
  • Sterling dropped to $1.1959 this morning, the lowest level since 2016, as the uncertainty takes its toll.

(Source: Bloomberg)

138 Student Living reports net loss Published: 30 August 2019

  • For the nine-month period ending June 30, 2019, 138 Student Living recorded a decline in net profit from  $3.29Mn (EPS: $0.01) to a loss of $60.43Mn (EPS: -$0.15). 
  • The main contributor to this deterioration in the bottom line over the period was administrative expenses which grew by 67.8% (or $226.74Mn). The two main non-recurring expenses which caused the operating expenses to balloon were utility costs which grew by 80% together with $54.2Mn in interest and professional fees associated with an arbitration award related to the first phase of development in 2016.
  • The stock has risen 20.0% since the start of the calendar year and closed yesterday’s trading session at $4.20. The stock currently trades at a P/B of 0.53x which is below the Main Market Real Estate sector average of 2.14x.

 (Source: 138 Student Living Financials)

Weaker Growth Outlook Weighs On Costa Rica’s Economic Score Published: 30 August 2019

  • Costa Rica receives a score of 53.1 out of 100 in Fitch’s Short-Term Economic Risk Index, a moderate downward adjustment from last quarter's score of 56.5. 
  • Costa Rica's overall score is weighed down by poor marks in the 'growth' and 'fiscal' sub-components of the index, reflecting the country's lackluster growth prospects and persistent fiscal deficits.
  • Indeed, Costa Rica has run nominal budget deficits in excess of 4.0% of GDP since 2013, owing to elevated levels of government spending and significant delays in passing fiscal consolidation measures.
  • While the Legislative Assembly passed fiscal reform in December 2018, which will combine spending caps with tax adjustments, Fitch is forecasting fiscal shortfalls of 5.8% in 2019 and 5.6% in 2020.

(Source: Fitch)

El Salvador’s Economic Risk: US Recovery Will Provide Tailwinds To Growth Published: 30 August 2019

  • El Salvador scores 44.2 (out of 100)  in Fitch’s Short-Term Economic Risk Index. The country is highly dependent on household consumption to drive economic growth, with worker remittances from the United States playing a crucial role.
  • An improved US economy will bolster remittances and export growth, providing tailwinds to the Salvadoran economy.
  • That said, structural weaknesses, including a lack of domestic productive capacity and on-going investor concerns about the security environment, will result in only modest real GDP growth over the coming years.

(Source: Fitch)

U.K. and EU to Step Up Brexit Talks as Parliament Showdown Looms Published: 30 August 2019

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament for up to five weeks ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline was not overruled by a Scottish judge this morning.
  • Despite the setback, lawmakers are confident that they have sufficient time to block the U.K. leaving the European Union without a deal.
  • There was more evidence of the damage the uncertainty over the future is doing to the British economy, with consumer confidence at a six-year trough and the lowest business optimism since 2011.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Jamaicans Have Appetite to Invest in Energy Sector – Minister Published: 29 August 2019

  • Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the overwhelming response to the sale of shares in Wigton Windfarm to the public by the Government, clearly demonstrates that Jamaicans have the appetite to invest in the energy sector.
  • She was speaking at a bond-signing ceremony between NCB Capital Markets Limited and New Fortress Energy (NFE), at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday.
  • Against the background of the Wigton IPO response, Mrs. Williams said plans by NFE to issue a bond to raise US$185 million is welcome.
  • The proceeds will be used to complete the combined heat and power plant being built at Clarendon-based bauxite and an alumina refinery, Jamalco.
  • The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-powered facility, which is slated for completion in 2020, will supply steam for the refinery’s operations and electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

 (Source: JIS)

Economy grew 4.7% in first half, below potential: Central Bank Published: 29 August 2019

  • During the first half of 2019, the economy grew 4.7%, below its potential, notes the Central Bank in its Open Page report.
  • In the report, which explains the impact of the uncertainty experienced in the international environment caused by the trade war between the United States and China, the Central Bank notes that according to the Consensus Forecast, the Dominican Republic would continue to lead the regional growth with 5.3% during 2019.
  • On the economy’s performance Open Page indicates that “in the domestic sphere, the pace of expansion of economic activity has moderated beyond what was expected in recent months, due to the deterioration of conditions at an international level and uncertainty factors of a domestic nature, characteristic of the pre-electoral cycle, which have conditioned the consumption and investment decisions of economic agents.”

 (Source: Dominican Today)

Guyana’s private sector lending experience fastest growth in three years -number of agri loans fall – Half Year Report Published: 29 August 2019

  • According to the Ministry of Finance’s half-year report, there was a decline in the first six months of lending to the agriculture sector. The Ministry explained that the decline in this sector, of 2.1%, to GY$13.1Bn resulted mainly from a contraction in lending for sugarcane and livestock production of 35.4% and 19.8%, to $0.9Bn and $1.4Bn, respectively.
  • Total credit to the private sector increased by 5.7% to GY$238.8Bn over the review period, faster than the past three years. This was supported by an expansion in loans and advances to individuals and businesses, except for businesses in the agriculture sector
  • Lending to households recorded robust growth of 13.5%, to reach $32Bn – stronger than the past two years, and was supported by an increase in loans and advances for all purposes, with the exception of other durable goods and travel.
  • There was also an expansion in real estate mortgages, which surpassed the half-year growth rate in each of the past three years, resulting from an increase in lending of 5.0% and 14.7% for private dwellings, and industrial and commercial properties, respectively.

(Source: Kaieteur News)

Trade front Published: 29 August 2019

  • It looks like the trade-talk clouds that have kept markets on edge this week are here to stay at least a bit longer. The White House says not to expect a deal anytime soon and China says it could retaliate on the planned tariff hike from U.S. President Donald Trump – though it prefers not to.
  • “China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters Thursday. Higher tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. are due to come into force on Sept. 1, and some retaliatory measures from Beijing are already planned.
  • Meanwhile, Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro said negotiators from China are set to come to Washington in September to talk about the big changes the U.S. is asking for, but it’s “unlikely anything quick will happen.”

(Source: Bloomberg)