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Knutsford Express Services Limited Q2 Profit Skyrockets to $58.8Mn Published: 24 January 2023

  • Knutsford Express Services Limited (KEX) Limited recorded a net profit of $58.8Mn for the second quarter that ended November 30, 2022. This represents a 2665.9% increase in profitability when compared to the $2.1Mn recorded over a similar period in 2021.
  • This added to the positive Q1 results influencing a 965.5% increase in the bottom line for the first six months.
  • Revenue for the quarter was up by 65.4% yoy to $398Mn. Similarly, the YTD showed a 71.8% increase in revenues for the company. This was driven by increased local and international travel, and its courier services. Additionally, one of its key initiatives, The Knutsford Centre in Drax Hall is now creating rental income to supplement its core business.
  • Despite a 38.3% increase in administrative expenses for H1 - owing to the strong revenues - operating profit skyrocketed to $187.57Mn from $20.87Mn, representing a 798.6% increase.
  • KEX’s stock price has increased by 40.5% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed Monday’s trading session at $12.49 and currently trades at a P/E of 25.5x which is above the Junior Market Other Sector Average of 21.6x.
  • Given further improvements in tourism that are expected this year, we expect that the company should continue experiencing improved top and bottom-line growth in the coming quarters. However, one risk to the outlook is the possibility of a global recession that could depress travel and weigh on the company’s performance in the near term.

(Sources: JSE and NCBCM Research)

Peru's Annual Inflation to Soar Over 8.8% As Blockades Hit Food Prices Published: 24 January 2023

  • Inflation in Peru will likely end January at a rate between 8.8% and 8.9% on an annual basis, the country's minister of economy said on Monday, as protests and road blockades push up food prices.
  • However, he expects the impact to be temporary due to economic stimulus measures the government is proposing for regions roiled by protests.
  • Peru has been embroiled in political turmoil since December, with anti-government protests blocking roads and clashes with security forces leading to the death of dozens of people. In December, Peru registered monthly inflation at 0.79%, ending the year at 8.46%, the highest annual measurement in the last 26 years.
  • Despite the high rate in January, the country's central bank expects a decreasing trend in year-on-year inflation in March, and a return to the inflation target range of between 1% and 3% by the end of 2023.

(Source: Reuters)

‘Let’s Move Together’- Trinidad Eyes Natural Gas From Guyana, Other Caribbean Nations Published: 24 January 2023

  • A new partnership among Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Guyana, and the other gas-producing nations in the southern Caribbean region could help meet the region’s energy needs, the Twin Island’s Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Monday.
  • According to the Minister, proven reserves offshore Guyana and Suriname, coupled with possible finds offshore Barbados and Grenada, can be integrated into Trinidad’s existing gas production. Young also noted that T&T has been involved in natural gas production for years- making it the most experienced player in the Caribbean.
  • Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil are already working towards the development of an energy corridor, while Guyana and Suriname - part of the prolific Guiana basin - are expected to pool natural gas resources.
  • The Guyanese President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, reasoned these efforts are not only meant to harness newfound resources but are also being pursued to counter the high prices and fuel shortages experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine/Russia crisis.
  • The president stood by his position that the developing Caribbean nations should be allowed to exploit their oil and gas resources even as much of the globe clamours for less fossil fuel usage.

(Source: Newsroom)

Economic Barometer Warns That A US Recession Could Come Soon Published: 24 January 2023

  • A key barometer for the health of the economy continues to flash a recession warning sign, indicating a downturn is in store for the US in the near future. A growing number of business leaders agree the US economy is getting worse.
  • America is not in an official recession but the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index declined for the 10th consecutive month, falling in December by 1% to 110.5, according to a report released Monday by the business think tank. Economists were expecting a decline of 0.7%, according to Refinitiv. On average, the index peaks about a year ahead of a recession, according to the Conference Board. The index appears to have peaked in February 2022, the Conference Board noted.
  • “There was widespread weakness among leading indicators in December, indicating deteriorating conditions for labour markets, manufacturing, housing construction, and financial markets in the months ahead,” Ataman Ozyildirim, the Conference Board’s senior director of economics, said in a statement. Seven of the index’s 10 components declined in December, and the trajectory of the Leading Economic Index (LEI) continues to signal a recession, according to the report.
  • US economic activity has shown signs of slowing in recent months as the Federal Reserve has been raising the interest rate to bring down inflation. Fed officials say they’re seeing progress on inflation but that restrictive monetary policy — and future hikes — will continue to occur.
  • The next two-day meeting for the Fed’s rate-setting committee starts January 31. Expectations are for the central bank to raise rates by a quarter point, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

(Source: CNN)

China Says COVID Outbreak Has Infected 80% of Population Published: 24 January 2023

  • The possibility of a big COVID-19 rebound in China over the next two or three months is remote, as 80% of people have been infected. The mass movement of people during the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday period may spread the pandemic, boosting infections in some areas. Still, a second COVID wave is unlikely in the near term, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on the Weibo social media platform.
  • Hundreds of millions of Chinese are travelling across the country for holiday reunions that had been suspended under recently eased COVID curbs, raising fears of fresh outbreaks in rural areas less equipped to manage large outbreaks.
  • China has passed the peak of COVID patients in fever clinics, emergency rooms and with critical conditions, a National Health Commission official said on Thursday, January 19. Nearly 60,000 people with COVID had died in hospitals as of Jan. 12, roughly a month after China abruptly dismantled its zero-COVID policy, according to government data.
  • However, some experts said that figure probably vastly undercounts the full impact, as it excludes those who die at home, and because many doctors have said they are discouraged from citing COVID as a cause of death.

(Source: Reuters)

Jamaica on Course to Generate Over US$4B in Record Tourism Earnings Published: 12 January 2023

  • Jamaica’s tourism sector continues to rebound strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic fallout, generating earnings of US$3.64 billion in 2022. Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett made this disclosure during Tuesday’s (January 10) sitting of the House of Representatives.
  • “We ended the year equalling our record-breaking earnings from tourism of US$3.64 billion, and the [2022/23] fiscal year, which I will report on when we make our [2023/24] budget presentation, is going to show US$4.2 billion earnings in tourism, which would be US$500 million more than 2019, which is the best year in our history,” Mr. Bartlett said.
  • He highlighted that the 2022/23 winter season has, so far, “started with a bang,” with January’s figures, to date, showing a 463% increase over last year and 29 percentage points growth over 2019.
  • As tourism continues to drive Jamaica’s recovery, the improvements in the sector are anticipated to continue positively contributing to both economic growth and job creation in 2023.

(Source: JIS news)

Jamaica's NIR increased in December Published: 12 January 2023

  • Jamaica's Net International Reserves (NIR) increased in December. At the end of the month, the NIR was US$3.98 billion.
  • This was $128.1 million higher than November’s reserves of $3.85 billion. The reserves at the end of December could cover up to 25 weeks of goods and services imports.
  • The concept of Net International Reserves (NIR) is widely used as an indicator of a country’s external vulnerability. It is defined as the difference between reserve assets and reserve liabilities with reserve assets being readily available claims on nonresidents denominated in foreign convertible currencies and reserve liabilities being all foreign exchange liabilities to residents and non-residents.
  • With a global recession being anticipated, an improvement in the NIR puts the country in a better position to withstand adverse exogenous shocks. Moreover, the government is also better positioned to service debt-related obligations should adverse economic conditions arise.

(Source: RJR News)

Sharp Decline In Exports From Guyana Published: 12 January 2023

  • Exports from Guyana fells from 68.1% in 2021 to 16.8% last year, a new report from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stated. According to the Bank, the value of goods exports from Latin America and the Caribbean increased at an estimated rate of 18.8% in 2022, which represented a sharp decline. The downward trend in the region’s external sales contracted during this period, after growing 27.8% in 2021, according to a report by the IDB.
  • The region’s export performance was mainly explained by higher prices, while volumes lost momentum. In the coming months, the export growth rate is expected to slow in response to the downward trend in commodity prices, the war in Ukraine, restrictive monetary policies to reduce inflation and the slowdown in global growth.
  • The latest edition of Trade Trends Estimates: Latin America and the Caribbean has found that “After a rapid recovery in 2021, a series of global shocks have sent exports from Latin America and the Caribbean into a slowdown that will continue into 2023. Reversing this trend will be key to shoring up economic growth in the region,” said Paolo Giordano, Principal Economist at the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector.
  • The region’s external sales were driven by shipments to the United States, which are estimated to have grown by 21.3% in 2022. Demand from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean’s major trading partners slowed dramatically compared to 2021. Sales grew by 2% to China, 14% to the European Union, and 25.6% to Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Exports from the Caribbean rose by an estimated 38% in 2022 after growing by 44.4% in 2021. The United States accounted for most of the increase, followed by the European Union. Latin America and the Caribbean’s total imports increased at an estimated rate of 26.3% in 2022, after growing by 37.4% in 2021.

(Source: Kaieteur News)

Caribbean Must Keep Momentum In Attracting Tourists Published: 12 January 2023

  • The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is urging Caribbean nations to keep the momentum of tourism in the region to be able to join the top five of the world’s fastest-growing economies that rely heavily on tourism.
  • CTO’s acting secretary-general Neil Walters disclosed that the organisation has come up with ways to maintain the momentum that the tropical region has gained post-pandemic. Walters said that in 2022, the “Caribbean was among the fastest-recovering region globally” and would have “reclaimed between 85% and 90% of total arrivals in 2019.” He expects the arrivals to equal or exceed these levels in 2023.
  • To achieve this, Walters is eyeing to tap markets other than the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe. “To date, the majority of our efforts have been focused on traditional markets, resulting in the significant recovery outlined above,” Walters said.
  • Some Caribbean nations are already aligning their tourism agenda to the CTO’s call. The small island of Dominica, for example, is keeping its tourism eco-friendly and close to nature with its massive support on eco-tourism. The government has been developing eco-resorts with the funds generated through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI). 
  • The CBI programme also funds Dominica’s first international airport, which is expected to be up and running by 2026. The country hopes to usher in more tourists with the international airport, as it reduces the travel time for international visitors coming into the island.

(Source: Caribbean News Now)

Oil gains 3% on global economic optimism, despite surprise U.S. crude build   Published: 12 January 2023


  • Oil prices rose 3% to a one-week high on Wednesday as hopes for an improved global economic outlook and concern over the impact of sanctions on Russian crude output outweighed a massive surprise build in U.S. crude stocks. Much of the market's optimism was pinned on top oil importer China's reopening of its economy after the end of strict COVID-19 curbs.
  • Brent futures rose $2.46, or 3.1%, to $82.56 a barrel by 1:14 p.m. EST. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $2.33, or 3.1%, to $77.45. That put both benchmarks on track to close the day at their highest since Dec. 30 with WTI up for a fifth day in a row for the first time since October 2022 and Brent up for a third day in a row for the first time since December 2022.
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude inventories jumped by 19.0 million barrels last week, the third biggest weekly gain ever and the most since stocks rose by a record 21.6 million barrels in Feb 2021. Last week's increase came as refiners were slow to restore production after a cold freeze shut operations in late 2022. That compares with the 2.2 million-barrel decline in crude stocks that analysts forecast in a Reuters poll and industry data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), showing a 14.9 million-barrel build.
  • An international price cap imposed on sales of Russian crude took effect on Dec. 5 and more curbs aimed at product sales are set to come into force next month as the European Union keeps working on more sanctions against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the country's oil producers have had no difficulties in securing export deals despite Western sanctions and price caps.
  • EIA said the upcoming EU ban on seaborne imports of petroleum products from Russia on Feb. 5 could be more disruptive than the December 2022 EU ban. EIA also forecast that U.S. crude production will reach all-time highs in 2023 and 2024.

(Source: Reuters)