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BOE Grapples With No-Deal Brexit Prospect: Decision Day Guide Published: 02 August 2019

  • Another topic on the tip of market watchers’ tongues all week has been no-deal Brexit, the increased threat of which has sent the pound tumbling lower.
  • The Bank of England decision on Thursday left markets confounded and likely only adds further to the uncertainty as the central bank effectively decided not to assume no-deal outcomes in its latest inflation reports, even as markets do just that.
  • The markets’ reactions appear warranted given the signals from the U.K.’s government, which has doubled its spending on preparations for leaving the European Union without a deal in place, but that’s been complicated by the government's majority being cut to one.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Mayberry’s Profit Plummets Published: 31 July 2019

  • Mayberry’s net profit for the six-month ended June 2019 plummeted to $97.17Mn (EPS: $0.09) which is a 79.5% drop from the $474.72Mn (EPS: $0.35) recorded in 2018.
  • Rising expenses and falling revenues have significantly contributed to the deterioration in performance. A decline in the net interest income and other revenues by $195.57Mn (or 16.2%), together with a 28.7% increase in operating expenses were the main drivers behind the pull-back in the company’s performance.
  • The stock has fallen 2.3% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $8.91 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/B of 0.54x book which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 2.49x.

(Source: Mayberry Investments Limited Financials)

Sagicor Reports Strong Financials Published: 31 July 2019

  • Net Profit for Sagicor Group increased 35.1% moving up from $5.28Bn (EPS: $1.36)  in June 2018 to $7.13Bn (EPS: $1.64) for the second quarter ended June 2019.  
  • This performance was supported strong earnings growth from most of its operating segments including Employee Benefits (+14.4%), Investment Banking (+238.2%), Commercial Banking (+35.1%) and Other Divisions (+328%), with the only exception being the Individual Lines that saw a 13.2% contraction year-on-year.
  • The stock has risen 56.2% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $58.52 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 14.89x which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 23.60x.

(Source: Sagicor Group Financials)

AMLO dodges recession but growth grinds to a halt in Mexico Published: 31 July 2019

  • Mexico’s economy narrowly missed falling into recession in the second quarter, surprising most analysts, while posting growth well short of the pace pledged by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • GDP rose 0.1% quarter over quarter, better than all but one forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, according to preliminary data published Wednesday by the country’s statistics institute. However, on an annual basis it contracted a more-than-expected 0.7%, the most since 2009. The final figures are due out Aug. 23.
  • Bloomberg analysts are projecting Mexican growth of 1.0% this year, the slowest since the 2009 recession. Oviedo is even more pessimistic, estimating growth of 0.5% for the full year.

(Source: Bloomberg)

China Says U.S. Trade Talks to Continue With September Meeting Published: 31 July 2019

  • Chinese and U.S. negotiators concluded a round of ‘cordial’ trade talks, but there was little immediate evidence of progress being made toward ending their year-long dispute.
  • The talks, which began with U.S.  Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sitting down to dinner with Chinese counterparts on Tuesday, were the first in months.
  • Presumably, it was all politeness when the teams were face-to-face, despite U.S. President Donald Trump throwing barbs at the Asian nation on Twitter from the outset.
  • The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, responded to Trump on Wednesday with a commentary saying that China has no motive to “rip off” the U.S. and has never done so, and China won’t make concessions against its principles on trade.
  • China and the U.S. plan to meet again in September to extend trade talks, as the latest round of negotiations in Shanghai ended with signs the sides discussed Chinese purchases of American farm products -- a key demand of President Donald Trump.

(Source: Bloomberg)

All eyes on the Fed. Again Published: 31 July 2019

  • Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are widely expected to lower the federal funds rate by a quarter-point when they complete their two-day meeting this afternoon. 
  • Barring any surprises from that announcement, attention will be trained on Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference and whether he will give any hints on future easing.
  • That’s by no means a given, considering recent U.S. data. It’s a different story elsewhere: Numbers this morning showed economic growth in the euro area slowed by half in the second quarter, the latest in a string of reports flagging a deteriorating outlook which have investors mulling the chances of a return to central bank stimulus.

(Source: Bloomberg

Jamaican Teas reports improvement in profit Published: 26 July 2019

  • For the nine-month period ended June 30, 2019, Jamaican Teas (JAMT) reported a net profit of  $267.75Mn (EPS: $0.32)  representing a 103.9% improvement when compared to the $131.32Mn (EPS: $0.23) registered one year prior.
  • The main contributors to the improved performance were a decline in the cost of goods sold (32.4%) as well as an increase in other income to $206.92Mn, up from $61.77Mn in 2018.
  • Notably, the other income figure includes $126.30Mn for fair value gains on equity investments.    Excluding this, the company would have realized a normalized net profit of $150.30Mn for the current period, which represents a 14.9% improvement over the prior year.
  • JAMT’s stock has fallen 0.4% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $4.48 per share.  At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 10.77x earnings which is below the Junior Market Manufacturing sector average of 31.19x.

(Source: Jamaican Teas Financials)

Jamaica’s Structural Fiscal Position Published: 26 July 2019

  • Jamaica's total public debt burden is expected to fall relative to GDP over the coming years, as the government has managed to rein in spending and restructure large parts of its debts.
  • After defaulting on its sovereign debt in 2010 and 2013, Jamaica has significantly improved its fiscal position via IMF-prescribed fiscal consolidation measures.
  • After entering into a four-year Extended Facility Fund agreement with the IMF in 2013, the Jamaica government has significantly lowered its debt to GDP ratio, particularly its external debt stock, and placed it on a steady downward trajectory.
  • In November 2016, the government renewed its commitment to the IMF's structural reform program through the September 2019, but Fitch expects the policy mix to remain unchanged following the conclusion of the agreement

(Source: Fitch)

Barbados 10-Year Forecasts: A Decade Of Weak Growth Ahead Published: 26 July 2019

  • Barbados is expected to struggle with slow growth over the coming decade, as wide current account and fiscal deficits undermine the country's ability to invest in expanding capacity. This will be the result of weak international business activity and tourism sector performance a trend Fitch expects to play out across many Caribbean economies.
  • While Barbados will benefit from politically independent institutions and stable price growth due to its currency peg to the US dollar, substantial macroeconomic headwinds will remain. A wide current account deficit is projected to persist over the next decade.
  • Tourism will remain a primary driver of economic activity, though the sector's growth will be muted.

(Source: Fitch)

President Cortizo Will Prioritise Anti-Corruption, Economic Reforms In Panama Published: 26 July 2019

  • It is expected that newly inaugurated Panamanian President Laurentino ‘Nito’ Cortizo will pursue reforms to improve transparency, mitigate corruption and bolster economic activity.
  • It is expected that Cortizo will maintain business-friendly economic policies in line with those of his predecessor, Juan Carlos Varela.
  • Although Cortizo won a closer-than-expected election in May 2019, his governing coalition will support policymaking, though it is unclear if it will be able to pass constitutional reforms to modernize Panama's political institutions.

(Source: Fitch)