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Victoria Mutual Investment Limited (VMIL) Reports Uptick in Net Profit. Published: 12 March 2019

  • For the year ended December 31, 2018, VMIL reported a 15.22% year-over-year increase in its consolidated audited net profit to $539Mn (EPS: $0.27).

 

  • The improvement in net profit was partly attributable to a 14.4% increase in interest revenues as well as a 35.21% increase in other operating revenue to $1.3Bn for the year.

 

  • The stock has risen 3.46% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed at $3.89 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 14.41x earnings which is below the Main Market Financial Sector Average of 16.58x.

 

(Source: VMIL Financials)

ECCB To Issue World’s First Blockchain-Based Digital Currency Published: 12 March 2019

  • The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. (Bitt) have signed a contract to conduct a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

 

  • This ECCB CBDC pilot is the first of its kind and will involve a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar (DXCD).

 

  • The DXCD will be used for financial transactions between consumers and merchants, including peer-to-peer transactions, all using smart devices. For example, an individual in St Kitts and Nevis will be able to send DXCD securely from his/her smartphone to a friend in Grenada in seconds and at no cost to either party.

 

(Source: The Anguillan)

Only One Rate Hike Ahead As T&T's Economy Slows Published: 12 March 2019

  • Fitch Solutions has revised its end-2019 policy interest rate forecast for Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) downwards from 5.75% to 5.25%.

 

  • Weak economic activity, depressed inflation, and a pause in interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will lead the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) to take on a more dovish stance.

 

  • T&T’s unfavorable economic outlook will outweigh concerns about its worsening interest rate differential with the US causing large-scale capital outflows according to Fitch.

 

(Source: Fitch)

Fear of Trump Walking on Xi Haunts China as Trade Talks Near End Published: 12 March 2019

  • U.S and Chinese trade representatives held further talks over critical issues in a phone call overnight, with China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reporting that arrangements were agreed for the next stage of negotiations.

 

  • Chinese officials remain wary of President Donald Trump’s request for Xi Jinping to fly to the U.S. to finalize the deal as they fear Xi may be embarrassed by an unpredictable Trump, or forced into a last-minute concession.

 

  • White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that a date still hasn’t been set for the meeting.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Why the dollar could keep rising this year even if the Fed doesn't hike — further vexing Trump Published: 12 March 2019

  • The dollar index, which tracks the greenback's performance against a basket of six currencies, is up more than 1 percent in 2019.

 

  • The dollar's rise defies the consensus from earlier in the year that the U.S. currency would go down as the Federal Reserve signaled fewer rate hikes moving forward.

 

  • President Donald Trump said on March 2nd  he was not pleased with the dollar's run-up this year, stating: "I want a dollar that's great for our country but not a dollar that's prohibitive for us to be doing business with other countries."

 

(Source: CNBC)

MOODY’S AFFRIMS BELIZE'S B3 LONG-TERM FOREIGN AND LOCAL-CURRENCY ISSUER RATINGS Published: 07 March 2019

On March 05, 2019, Moody' Investors Service affirmed the Government of Belize's B3 long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings, and the government's B3 foreign and local-currency senior unsecured bond ratings, with a stable outlook.

The affirmation reflects the forceful fiscal adjustment that was enacted in FY 2017/18 and continued in FY 2018/19. This fiscal adjustment programme along with strengthening economic recovery has supported the sovereign’s debt sustainability. However, despite decreased fiscal pressures, lingering credit challenges including structurally low growth and vulnerability to climate shocks remain substantial.

The stable outlook reflects the low risk of subsequent credit events over the next 12 to 18 months, given the government's more favorable debt repayment schedule.

MOODY's Assigns B1 rating to Digicel's New 2024 Notes Published: 07 March 2019

On March 6, 2019, Moody's Investors Service assigned a B1 rating to the senior secured notes due 2024 to be issued by Digicel International Finance Limited (DIFL) and Digicel Holdings (Bermuda) Limited. The Caa1 corporate family rating (CFR) of Digicel Group Limited, as well as the ratings on all existing debt instruments within the group, remain unchanged. The outlook on all ratings is stable.

The B1 rating on the new notes is aligned with the ratings of the existing DIFL debt instruments and three notches above the Caa1 CFR of Digicel, reflecting the notes positioning in the waterfall ahead of the debt instruments at Digicel Limited, Digicel Group One Limited, Digicel Group Two Limited and Digicel Group Limited.

Digicel's Caa1 CFR continues to reflect its high leverage and untenable capital structure, with the company facing large debt maturities in the coming years, and its weak liquidity profile. Digicel's liquidity has been weakening for several quarters, with negative free cash flow resulting in a decline in the company's cash balance (USD96 million at December 2018) and the full drawing of its revolving credit facility, while the increase in leverage resulted in tight leeway under its financial covenants.

(Source: Moody's)

Moody's Completes Periodic Review of Jamaica’s Credit Profile Published: 07 March 2019

  • The credit profile of Jamaica (issuer rating B3) is supported by the country's "Low (+)" economic strength and reflects its relatively small size and low-income levels, along with very weak growth as well as limited economic diversification.
  • The profile also considers Jamaica’s "Moderate (-)" institutional strength, which balances the government's track record of debt restructuring against its strong governance indicators and improving policy framework and policy credibility.
  • Jamaica also has "Very Low (-)" fiscal strength, taking into account the government's very high debt burden and weak debt affordability, as well as the high share of foreign-currency debt which leaves the debt vulnerable to exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Finally, Moody’s considers the Country’s "Low (+)" susceptibility to event risk, reflecting government liquidity risk, taking into account a high share of external debt in the government debt stock against declining gross financing needs.

 

(Source: Moody’s)

FosRich Company Limited Net Profit Jumps. Published: 07 March 2019

  • For the year ended December 31, 2018, FosRich Company Limited reported a 64.5% year-over-year increase in its audited net profit to $90.39Mn (EPS: $0.18).
  • A 23.6% increase in revenues, as well as improvements in ‘Other Operating Income’ (+13.1%), drove the company’s net profit growth.
  • The stock has fallen 0.26% since the start of the calendar year. FosRich closed at $3.87 on Tuesday and currently trades at a P/E of 21.50x earnings which is below the Junior Market Distribution sector average of 21.97x.

 

(Source: JSE Financials)

Trinidad And Tobago's Deficit Reduction Efforts Likely To Stall Published: 07 March 2019

  • Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) fiscal deficit is forecast to narrow moderately in the coming years.
  • However, the rating agency also sees a low ceiling for the government’s deficit reduction program due to rising interest payments and an election in 2020, which will likely precipitate increased spending.
  • Fitch notes that there are significant downside risks to T&T’s fiscal targets as the on-going crisis in Venezuela threatens important revenue streams.

 

(Source: Fitch)