Latest News

US trade deficit narrows much more than expected in a win for Trump Published: 06 February 2019

  • The U.S. trade deficit fell to $49.3 billion in November, the first decline after five straight months of increases.


  • President Donald Trump has made closing the gap a major priority.


  • On a year-over-year basis, the gap rose by 10.4 percent.


(Source: CNBC)

Trump Yields No Ground to Democrats in Combative State of Union Published: 06 February 2019

  • Donald Trump called for bipartisanship in his State of the Union address -- on his terms.


  • The president offered Democrats nothing in exchange for their votes to build his promised wall on the Mexican border, while he excoriated them for their positions on abortion, blocking his nominees in the Senate and “ridiculous partisan investigations.”


  • In a speech delivered in the interlude between one partial government shutdown and the possible start of another, Trump didn’t meet his opposition in the middle so much as lay the groundwork for even more hostilities if they don’t concede.


  • He offered no new plan to avoid a second shutdown and drew another line in the sand on his proposed border wall.


(Source: Bloomberg)

BOJ Sells an Additional US$30 Million into the Market on Monday Published: 05 February 2019

  • The BOJ yesterday conducted a flash sale of an additional US$30Mn through its B-FXITT foreign exchange intervention and trading tool.  Total eligible bids were $58.20Mn with an average weighted price of 136.43. 


  • This follows the sale of an initial US$20 million in January and US$30Mn last Friday, which brings total sales so far this year to US$80Mn.   These operations, the Bank says are aimed at “offsetting the effects of excessive daily volatility in the foreign exchange market in recent weeks.”


  • In the meantime, the Jamaican dollar continues to lose value against the US Dollar.   The currency closed at 137.062 against the US yesterday, representing a loss of 1.06 day-over-day when compared with Friday’s result.


(Source: BOJ, NCBCM Research)

Stock Market Summary Published: 05 February 2019

  • Yesterday’s trading session ended with more winners than losers with 53 stocks trading of which 20 advanced, 19 declined and 14 traded firm.


  • All major indices experienced marginal declines, except for the Junior Market Index which advanced slightly (+1.46%%) to close at 3,189.56.


  • Trading was dominated by Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited with 5.55Mn units traded (20.84%), followed by Scotia Group Jamaica Limited with 4.89Mn units (18.70%) and NCB Financial Group 3.59Mn (13.51%). A total of 26.64Mn units were traded on the market which represents a value of $1.15Bn.


  • The top two advances for the day were Derrimon Trading Company Limited, which grew by +13.03% to close at $2.95, followed by Berger Paints Jamaica Limited which grew by 5.00% to close at $21.00. The top losers for the day were Proven Investments Limited JA which declined by -22.80% to close at $27.02 and AMG Packaging and Paper Company Limited which declined by 5.58% to close at $2.54.


(Source: JSE, NCBCM Research)


Trinidad & Tobago's Sluggish Recovery Will Continue In 2019 Published: 05 February 2019

  • According to Fitch, natural gas production growth will be the engine of Trinidad & Tobago’s (T&T) modest economic expansion in the coming quarters, as non-energy sector growth will remain anemic due to an undersupply of hard currency.


  • Uncertainty in Venezuela and continued capital outflows pose downside risks that will threaten growth in the medium term.


  • Fitch has downwardly revised their real GDP growth forecasts to 1.9% in 2018, from 2.5% previously, and 1.9% in 2019, from 3.0%, due to signs of weak consumption and investment.

(Source: Fitch)

Republic Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL’s) 1st Quarter profits up 3.1% Published: 05 February 2019

  • Republic Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL) recently declared that the banking group’s profit attributable for the quarter ending December 31, 2018, increased by $10.5 million or 3.1 percent, compared to the corresponding period of the previous financial year.


  • In a news release announcing the bank’s unaudited financial results for its first quarter of the 2019 financial year, RFHL chairman Ronald Harford said the group recorded $350.5 million in profits attributable to shareholders.


  • Harford said that, as at December 31, 2018, RFHL’s total assets stood at $72.5 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent over the total assets at December 2017 and 2.9 percent over September 2018.

(Source: Trinidad Express)

U.K. stagnates Published: 05 February 2019

  • The British economy is at risk of stalling after the dominant services sector barely grew in January, with IHS Markit’s gauge for the industry falling to 50.1.


  • Companies said they were less likely to start new projects and that clients were being cautious as Brexit uncertainty continues to fester.


  • In the euro area, composite PMI was revised higher to 51 from an initial reading of 50.7, with IHS saying the survey still signals “only weak growth in business activity.”

(Source: Bloomberg)

Trump to press border wall fight in State of the Union speech Published: 05 February 2019

  • Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress later today promises to be the most dramatic in years, with the president hinting that he may declare a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall.


  • Democrats have selected recent Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to deliver the party’s response.


  • While the wall and shutdown issues are likely to dominate proceedings, Trump may also make proposals on drug prices and announce details for upcoming summits with Chinese and North Korean leaders.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Jamaica Upgraded by Fitch on Primary Surplus, Lower Debt Published: 01 February 2019

  • Jamaica’s long-term foreign and local currency rating was upgraded to B+, with a stable outlook,  on large primary surpluses that have cut the debt-to-GDP ratio, Fitch said in a statement.


  • Jamaica primary surplus one of the largest of any sovereign rated by Fitch at 7% of GDP in FY2018; primary surplus has been above 7% since FY 2013. Strong growth in global consumption tax has driven growth in revenues as spending on infrastructure increased


  • The debt burden is on a downward path but still compares unfavorably to the current ’B’ median of 60.7% of GDP. The fiscal stance is being guided by a fiscal rule that aims to reduce debt to 60% of GDP by FY2025.


  • Economic growth to accelerate to 2% in 2019 and 2020 from 1.8% in 2018. Growth is low relative to B-rated peers but has picked up on construction, road infrastructure, rising tourist arrivals and reopening of an alumina refinery


(Source: Bloomberg)

OPEC funds Cuban waterworks Published: 01 February 2019

  • The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) said it has granted a $25m loan for a water project in Cuba.


  • The Cuban government will use the money to fund part of the second phase of water supply and sewage treatment project in Las Tunas province.


  • OFID has supplied more than $253m in financing for water, agriculture and energy projects in Cuba since 2002.


  • The fund recently approved a $50m loan to cover 25% of the project's costs for a $200m water supply project in Argentina.

(Source: Latin Finance)