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GraceKennedy Limited (GK) Announces 15% Acquisition and Takeover Bid for Key Insurance Company Limited Published: 21 January 2020

  • GraceKennedy Limited (GK) has advised that the Company has acquired 15% interest in Key Insurance Company Limited (KEY).
  • GK further state that it intends to make a cash offer to purchase 100% of the issued share capital of Key at a price of $2.01 per share. The Offer will open for acceptance at 9:00 am on January 27, 2020 and will close at 4:30 pm on February 17, 2020.

(Source: JSE

Industry Minister Commends MSMEs For Providing Revenue And Employment Published: 21 January 2020

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector is providing stable revenue and employment for Jamaica.
  • In a speech delivered by Principal Director in the Ministry, Michelle Parkins, at Mona Graphic Printers (MGP) 25th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony in Kingston, Mr. Shaw said the sector positively impacted the economy in 2018 with some $80.40Bn in revenue.
  • The Minister noted that this represented 16.3% of the funds collected from businesses, adding that the Government is fully committed to providing a “facilitatory environment” for MSMEs to continue thriving.

(Source: JIS)

Jamaica to Benefit from Hosting UNWTO Summit Published: 21 January 2020

  • Jamaica is to benefit from hosting the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Summit on Innovation, Resilience and Crisis Management.
  • According to Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, the focus on resilience tops global agendas, and it is through capacity enhancement that the country will be able to respond meaningfully to “global disruptions that are coming at us daily”.
  • “The response has to be not only just sustainability but resilience. It is to build capacity to be able to trap them (disruptions), to recover quickly from them, to build better, so that you can thrive,” the Minister said.
  • The Minister also noted that start-ups will be a big feature at the Summit. “We are going to be looking at examples of start-ups in the Caribbean, and Jamaica as well,” adding that a number of young people from Jamaica will be showcasing their experience with start-ups at the Summit. 

(Source: JIS)

Growth In Dominica To Slow As Post-Hurricane Reconstruction Wanes Published: 21 January 2020

  • Real GDP growth in Dominica will decelerate over the coming quarters as the boost to economic activity from the post-2017 hurricane reconstruction wears off.
  • Nevertheless, Fitch Solutions, has revised up its 2020 and 2021 real GDP growth forecasts to 2.4% y-o-y and 2.1%, respectively, from 1.9% previously, due to stronger–than-expected tourism growth and a more favorable global economic background.
  • Over the long term, Dominica’s growth outlook is weak given that the government’s growing debt burden will limit the ability of the government to support growth and crowd out private investment.

(Source: Fitch)

Investment To Drive Moderate Growth Acceleration In Uruguay Published: 21 January 2020

  • Fitch forecasts a modest rise in Uruguayan economic activity in 2020, led by two major infrastructure investment projects.
  • Consumption growth will likely remain constrained by high inflation, unemployment and the incoming administration's attempts to curtail government spending.
  • The research agency sees upside potential for investment, as President-Elect Luis Lacalle Pou pursues reforms intended to attract foreign investment into the country.

(Source: Fitch)

Trade truce lifts German investor morale to highest since 2015 Published: 21 January 2020

  • A truce in the U.S.-China trade dispute has left German investors at their most optimistic since mid-2015, a leading survey showed, but its compiler cautioned that the growth outlook for Europe’s dominant economy remains subdued.
  • Economic sentiment among investors rose to 26.7 in January from 10.7 in December, according to Tuesday’s ZEW research institute survey - its highest reading since July 2015 and well above a forecast of 15.0.
  • ZEW President Achim Wambach said the better mood was mainly due to last week’s Phase 1 trade agreement between Washington and Beijing. Their 18-month conflict had dampened global growth and increased business uncertainty.
  • German growth slowed last year to 0.6%, its weakest since 2013, as export-dependent manufacturers were hit by lower foreign demand and trade conflicts triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • This gives rise to the hope that the trade dispute’s negative effects on the German economy will be less pronounced than previously thought as The United States and China are among Germany’s most important export markets.

(Source: Reuters)

U.S. Futures, Europe Stocks Drop After Asia Slump: Markets Wrap Published: 21 January 2020

  • U.S equity futures slipped on Tuesday, pointing to declines after the long weekend as investors grappled with worries about a deadly virus in China that sparked earlier losses across Asia and Europe. Treasuries rose.
  • Contracts for all three of the main American gauges were firmly in the red after the Asia sell-off, triggered by reports that the respiratory virus was spreading. Shares in Hong Kong were hardest hit, as the news coincided with a credit rating downgrade and a top official calling for new security legislation.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index recovered from the worst of its drop, though the gauge remained on course for a second day falling. Luxury stocks suffered on worries the virus will disrupt spending during a key Chinese holiday period; banks also retreated after UBS Group AG missed key profitability and cost targets.
  • The broader risk-off mood helped spur some traditional haven assets, and the yen and Treasuries advanced even as gold fell. The Chinese and South Korean currencies sank. The pound turned higher after better-than-expected U.K. employment figures.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Inflation Marginally Exceeds BOJ’s Target Range Published: 17 January 2020

  • According to a bulletin released by STATIN on January 15, 2020, the All Jamaican Consumer Price Index recorded an inflation rate of 0.5% in December 2019.
  • This 0.5% rise in December was mainly a result of a 1.5% increase in prices for ‘Housing, Water, Gas and Other Fuel’, and a 0.5% uptick in prices for ‘Food, and Non-alcoholic Beverages’.
  • The movement in ‘Housing, Water, Gas and Other Fuel’ was due mainly to higher rates for electricity, water and sewage, while the increase in prices for the most heavily weighted ‘Food, and Non-alcoholic Beverages’ segment was largely as a result of higher prices for vegetables.
  • The 2019 calendar year inflation rate of 6.2% sits marginally above the BOJ’s target range of 4%-6%. At this level, the inflation outturn for 2019 is the highest recorded since 2014 and is likely influenced by the aggressive expansionary monetary policy pursued by the BOJ during the year.

(Source: STATIN) 

Tourist Industry Earned US$500Mn More Than Last Year Published: 17 January 2020

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmond Bartlett, says preliminary report from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is showing that in 2019, the sector earned between US$3.7Bn and US$3.8Bn, some US$500Mn more than in 2018.
  • Speaking at a press conference on January 15 at the JTB offices in New Kingston, Mr. Bartlett said stopover arrivals for the year grew by 8%.
  • “The measure of tourism is both arrivals and earnings, but the most powerful part of it is the earnings, which have increased by US$1.8Bn in just over three years,” the Minister said.
  • “The best part of our success is in the retention increase that we have had in the dollar,” Mr. Bartlett said, explaining that in 2016, Jamaica was retaining 30 cents in every dollar earned in the industry, but it is now at 40.8 cents, a 30% increase.
  • He said the Government moved quickly to ensure an end to the seasonality of tourism, and to make it an all-year activity that provides employment security to workers.

(Source: JIS)

Latin America Currency Roundup: Neutral Short-Term, Depreciation Long-Term Published: 17 January 2020

  • Fitch Solutions, is broadly neutral on Latin America's major currencies over the short term.
  • Most units weakened significantly over the last year, reflecting a rise in domestic political risks and volatility in global markets that favored the US dollar and undermined key commodity prices.
  • In 2020, it is expected that depreciatory forces will generally ease, but there is little to support nominal appreciation in the region.

(Source: Fitch)