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DBJ To On-Lend $5 Billion To MSMEs Published: 10 December 2019


  • The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) will be on-lending $5Bn to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) over the next 12 months.
  • This was announced by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, at the launch of the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) operations in Jamaica, at its country offices, in Kingston recently.
  • The Minister informed that the undertaking will be facilitated under the Government’s revamped Credit Enhancement Facility (CEF).
  • The CEF, which is financed by the IDB, was established in 2009 to increase access to credit for MSMEs that lacked adequate collateral to secure loans.
  • Through the facility, the DBJ provides partial guarantees to affiliated Approved Financial Institutions (AFIs) to cover up to 90% of the sum of individual MSME loans not exceeding $49.3Mn, for up to 10 years.

(Source: JIS)

Jamaica Improves in World HDI Ranking Published: 10 December 2019

  • Jamaica is now ranked 96 out of 189 countries and territories with a human development index (HDI) of 0.726. The report was released Monday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Richard Kelly, the Program Specialist at the UNDP, said the new ranking represents a 13.2 percent increase in Jamaica's HDI value between 1990 and 2018.
  • "For life expectancy, the country has gone up by 1.2 years. For mean years of schooling, we are up by 3.9 years and for expected years of schooling, we are up by 1.9 years, between 1990 and 2018," Mr. Kelly revealed.
  • In addition, Jamaica's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita jumped by 20.2 percent from 1990 to 2018. The ranking puts Jamaica in the high human development category and is shared with Venezuela.
  • However, Jamaica's 2018 HDI is below the average for countries in the high human development group and below the average for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

(Source: RJRNewsOnline)

Mexico Inflation Slows to Below Target, Fueling Easing Bets Published: 10 December 2019

  • Mexico’s inflation slowed to slightly below the central bank’s target for the first time since 2016, bolstering economists’ expectations that policymakers will keep cutting interest rates this month.
  • Consumer prices rose 2.97% in November from a year earlier, less than the 3% forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, Mexico’s statistics agency reported on Monday. Prices increased by 0.81% from a month earlier. The central bank targets inflation of 3%, plus or minus 1 percentage point.
  • The central bank has said it will lower interest rates in a gradual manner despite the fact that real rates are one of the highest among emerging markets and the economy fell in technical recession at the beginning of the year.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Dominican Central Bank Will Keep Peso On Depreciatory Track Published: 10 December 2019

  • The Dominican peso (DOP) will maintain its steady depreciation versus the US dollar as the Banco Central de la República Dominicana (BCRD) keeps a ‘managed float’ regime in place to support export competitiveness.
  • While the Dominican economy will likely experience a modest slowdown in real GDP growth in the coming quarters, the economy will remain an attractive destination for foreign investment, which will drive capital inflows and bolster demand for Dominican assets
  • Fitch Solutions maintain the forecast that the unit will average Ps51.3/USD in 2019, but have revised the 2020 average forecast to Ps53.6/USD, from Ps52.6/USD previously, as a stronger dollar will weigh on emerging market FX.

(Source: Fitch)

U.K. Economy Fails to Grow Ahead of Brexit-Dominated Election Published: 10 December 2019

  • The U.K. economy unexpectedly stagnated in October, marking three straight months without growth for the first time since 2009.
  • Gross domestic product was unchanged following two consecutive months of decline, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. Economists had forecast a 0.1% expansion. GDP rose just 0.7% from a year earlier, the smallest increase since June 2012.
  • The services sector grew from September, as did manufacturing as stock building resumed ahead of the now-postponed Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. However, this was offset by lower oil production and the steepest drop in construction output since the beginning of 2018.
  • Output flat-lined in the latest three months and Britain is on course for growth of little more than 1% this year, its worst performance since the financial crisis a decade ago. PMI surveys for November showed the economy contracting across the board.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Oil prices drop as trade war concerns haunt market Published: 10 December 2019

  • Oil prices slipped for a second straight session on Tuesday as a slowing global demand outlook outweighed OPEC’s deal with associated producers last week to deepen output cuts in 2020.
  • Brent crude was down 17 cents, or 0.3%, at $64.08 per barrel by 0954 GMT while West Texas Intermediate oil was down 21 cents, or 0.4%, lower at $58.81 a barrel.
  • The benchmarks fell by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively on Monday.
  • Last week, OPEC and associated producers like Russia agreed to deepen output cuts from 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.7 million bpd to support prices.
  • However, crude prices have fallen this week as a Dec. 15 deadline for the next round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports loomed over markets.

(Source: Reuters)

JBG Profit Almost Flat Published: 06 December 2019

  • Net profit at Jamaica Broilers inched up 3.5% for the six-month period ended October 31, 2019, to $666.72Mn (EPS: 66.67¢) from $644.26Mn (EPS: 61.21¢) in the corresponding period of 2018.
  • Contributing to the modest increase in the bottom line was an increase in revenues ($551.47Mn or 2.1%) and a $150.76Mn rise in exchange differences due to the translation of foreign operation.
  • The stock has risen 30.2% since the start of the calendar year. Jamaica Broilers Group closed Thursday’s trading session at $37.91 and currently trades at a P/E of 15.4x earnings which is below the Main Market Distribution and Manufacturing Sector average of 21.3x.

(Source: Jamaica Broilers Financials) 

Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited and Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation Announce Closing and Subsequent Listing on The Toronto Stock Exchange Published: 06 December 2019

  • Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited ("SFCL") and Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation ("AQY") announced that they have completed the business combination transaction involving the transfer of all issued and outstanding shares in SFCL to AQY in exchange for shareholders of SFCL receiving cash or shares of AQY.  The resulting entity is named Sagicor Financial Company Ltd. ("Sagicor").
  • As a result of the closing, Sagicor will retain over US$440 million of net cash and will be exceptionally well-capitalized.  Sagicor expects to utilize the cash for growth and for capital optimization purposes.
  • Sagicor's registered office will continue in Bermuda and the head office will remain in Barbados.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

Central Bank expects better economic performance at end of 2019 Published: 06 December 2019

  • The Cen­tral Bank of Trinidad and To­ba­go (CBTT), in its lat­est Mon­e­tary Policy Re­port, has ex­plained that T&T’s econ­o­my can be fur­ther stim­u­lat­ed if there is an end to the in­ter­rup­tion of nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­tion.
  • The bank ex­pressed that the Min­istry of En­er­gy ex­pects a rise in nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­tion to around 3.8Bn stan­dard cu­bic feet per day (bcf/d), which would aid the re­ju­ve­na­tion of down­stream re­fin­ing and strength­en the pro­duc­tion of petro­chem­i­cals.
  • The CBTT con­tend­ed that LNG pro­duc­tion, which was in­ter­rupt­ed in June by main­te­nance ac­tiv­i­ty and pow­er out­ages at the At­lantic LNG fa­cil­i­ty, is like­ly to nor­malise in the sec­ond half of 2019.
  • The CBTT said that the re­sponse of pri­vate in­vest­ment will be key to de­ter­min­ing how fast the non-en­er­gy econ­o­my re­cov­ers. Ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mates by the CBTT for the first half of 2019, ac­tiv­i­ty re­mained mod­er­ate in the non-en­er­gy sec­tor while ac­tiv­i­ty de­clined in sev­er­al cru­cial sub-sec­tors such as man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­struc­tion.

(Source: T&T Guardian)

France puts Bahamas and Seychelles on its tax haven blacklist Published: 06 December 2019

  • France has added The Bahamas, Anguilla, Virgin Islands, and Seychelles to its blacklist of tax havens for lack of cooperation, according to Public Accounts Minister Gerald Darmanin.
  • The Bahamas Attorney General Bethel told the local press that a final decision has not been made by the French government.  "As I understand it France is advising that they may blacklist us. I'm not aware that it has gone beyond foreshadowing by their Minister."
  • Earlier this year The Bahamas avoided being blacklisted as a tax haven by the European Union (EU).

(Source: International Investment)