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BPO Sector Expands As Intelcia Provides 600 New Jobs   Published: 27 September 2022


  • Global outsourcing company Intelcia officially opened its first Caribbean office in Kingston on Thursday (September 22). Intelcia is a global player in outsourcing offering solutions in four main areas – business processes, information technology (IT), innovative consulting, and multichannel customer experience (CX). The company, based in New Kingston, now employs 600 Jamaicans, with more persons to be engaged as the entity continues to build out its staff complement.
  • Intelcia joins more than 70 firms operating in Jamaica’s global services sector, which has continued to thrive despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill added that Jamaica’s global services sector has been averaging a 20% employment growth, which is among the highest in the world.
  • Additionally, it is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the country. The resilience of the sector, the Minister said, is further evidenced by the 8.7% growth rate last year, and 5.7% in the last quarter. With further investments expected in the sector considering Jamaica’s geographic positioning, and its English-speaking, educated and trainable population, the BPO sector is forecast to be one of Jamaica’s high-growth sectors for the foreseeable future that will aid in job creation and contribute to economic growth.

(Sources: JIS and NCBCM Research)


Rebounding Tourism To Propel Economic Growth In Barbados, Despite Expected Global Slowdown   Published: 27 September 2022


  • Fitch forecasts 5.9% real GDP growth in Barbados in 2022, driven by the revival of the international tourism sector.  In 2021, the economy grew 5.0%, a revision from the previous estimate of 1.6% due to additional government data releases for 2021, which showed a faster recovery from the pandemic-induced recession than was expected.
  • Growth in 2022 will be driven primarily by a continued recovery in Barbados’ tourism sector. This will underpin real export growth of 9.5% in 2022, and 7.0% in 2023.
  • Private consumption will grow 5.5% in 2022 and 3.0% in 2023, from 8.4% in 2021, as a stronger tourism sector will continue to boost employment levels in the hospitality sector and drive household spending. As a result, Fitch expects unemployment will continue to moderate in the months ahead.
  • In 2023, it is forecasted that inflation will come down in the second half of the year, but it will still average 6.0% for the year as a whole. With elevated inflation in 2022 and the beginning of 2023, it is expected that private consumption will steadily slow in the quarters ahead.
  • Central banks in Barbados’s key tourism source markets are likely to continue raising interest rates aggressively to battle historically high inflation. Should economic conditions in these markets deteriorate more severely than expected, Barbados’s post-COVID economic recovery could stall.
  • Additionally, if slower global growth heavily impacts Barbados’s tourism sector, weaker growth would also likely delay the government’s push to bring down its debt in accordance with its IMF agreement, potentially forcing the government to make deeper spending cuts in the long term that limit the economy’s growth potential.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)


CARICOM Launches Online Market Place – CIMSUPro   Published: 27 September 2022


  • CARICOM is launching a major regional platform to facilitate intra-regional trade in goods and agricultural products.
  • This CARICOM Marketplace dubbed CIMSUPRO (CARICOM Market Place and Suspension Procedure) will register suppliers and buyers of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) originating goods.
  • CIMSUPRO when populated will create a ‘Marketplace’ that will allow regional buyers to find sellers of regionally produced goods, thereby creating the conditions for direct contact between parties.
  • The online platform also has the potential for improving the efficiency of the application process for a suspension of the Common External Tariff (CET).
  • The platform will help to build the resilience of regional economies by increasing intra-regional trade and supply of goods, especially food, and reducing the high and unsustainable dependence on imports.


Bank of England 'Will Not Hesitate' To Act As It Monitors Market Turmoil   Published: 27 September 2022


  • The Bank of England said on Monday it would not hesitate to change interest rates and was monitoring markets "very closely", after the pound plunged to a record low and British bond prices collapsed in response to the new government's financial plans.
  • Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng sent sterling and government bonds into freefall on Friday with a so-called mini-budget that was designed to grow the economy by funding tax cuts with huge increases in government borrowing.
  • Such was the market turmoil on Monday that there was growing speculation in financial markets that the BoE would make an emergency interest rate rise after it hiked rates only last week to 2.25% from 1.75%.
  • Instead, with the pound fragile and bond prices still tumbling, Kwarteng issued a statement just before the British stock market closed to say he would set out medium-term debt-cutting plans on Nov. 23, alongside forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility of the full-scale government borrowing.
  • S. Federal Reserve official Raphael Bostic said the market moves could lead to greater economic stress in Europe and the United States, while analysts and investors said the government had done the bare minimum to reassure markets.

(Source: Reuters)

Oil Prices Hit A Nine-Month Low On Recession Fears   Published: 27 September 2022


  • Oil prices hit nine-month lows on Monday, driven down by an expected decline in fuel demand as rising interest rates raise the likelihood of global recession, with further price pressure coming from a surging U.S. dollar.
  • Brent crude futures for November settlement slipped by 82 cents, or 1%, to $85.33 a barrel at 1110 GMT. The contract fell as low as $84.51, the lowest since Jan. 14.
  • S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for November delivery dropped 74 cents, or 0.9%, to $78. WTI dropped as low as $77.21, the lowest since Jan. 6.
  • Both contracts slumped by about 5% on Friday. The dollar index that measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies climbed to a 20-year high on Monday. A stronger dollar tends to curtail demand for dollar-denominated oil.

(Source: Reuters)

Express Catering Limited (ECL) sees a strong first quarter for FY2023   Published: 25 September 2022


  • ECL reported a net profit of US$652.8k for its first quarter ending August 31, 2022, which represents an increase of 15.5% relative to the prior period. This increase in profitability was mostly attributed to the 35.0% increase in revenues.
  • Revenue increased as total passengers accessing the departure lounge of Sangster International Airport during the quarter was 37.4% higher than the similar period last year. This higher trend in total passenger arrivals is expected to continue throughout the company’s financial year. 
  • Additionally, construction is underway for a few new food outlets and some will be open in time for the winter season. These include the Bob Marley One Love food outlet, Freshens and Bento Sushi which are expected to contribute positively to the company’s revenues and bottom line.
  • ECL’s stock price has increased by 4.7% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed Thursday’s trading session at $5.35 and currently trades at a P/E of 48.2x which is above the Junior Market Sector Average of 20.2x.

(Source: JSE and NCBCM Research)

Barbados Issues World's First Pandemic-Protected Bond Published: 25 September 2022

  • Barbados has issued the world's first government bond with a clause allowing payments to be suspended in the event of another global pandemic, a move expected to attract interest from dozens of other countries ravaged by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The country’s new bond - finalised in a deal with bankers on Wednesday - is likely to leave an even bigger imprint, especially with smaller, tourism-dependent countries that were pushed to the brink of economic collapse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The bond, to be repaid over the next 15 years, will be the first to allow a government to suspend its payments if another outbreak similar to COVID-19 happens. Payments can be suspended for up to two years at a time and twice if necessary, but it cannot be cancelled altogether.
  • Most notably, credit guarantees provided by the Inter-American Development Bank and an organisation called The Nature Conservancy (TNC) means Barbados can borrow more cheaply, saving itself between $40-$50 million compared to its replaced old bond.
  • That money will be used specifically for protecting and rehabilitating the surrounding Caribbean Sea, according to the terms of the deal, making it what is known as a 'blue bond'.

(Source: Reuters)

Mexico's Banxico Will Hike To 10.00% By End-2022 Due To Price Pressures, More Aggressive Fed   Published: 25 September 2022


  • Fitch anticipates that Banxico will hike by 75bps (to 9.25%) at its meeting on September 29, and then to 9.75% on November 10 and to 10.00% on December 15. This is an upward revision compared to the previous forecast that policymakers would only take the rate to 9.50% by the end of the year.
  • The revision is buoyed by surprisingly strong inflationary pressures that will encourage policymakers to tighten policy further and more aggressive rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) over the remainder of the year, which will prompt Banxico to step up its own rate hiking cycle in response. 
  • Notably, while the spike in inflation this year has been driven in part by higher food and fuel prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, core price pressures have also continued to gain steam, suggesting that price pressures are broad-based and likely to persist. 
  • Risks to the forecast for 2022 remain to the upside but are more balanced in 2023. In the near term, Fitch forecast two risks: firstly, inflation continues to accelerate or comes down more slowly than currently forecast. Secondly, the US Fed opts for even more aggressive hikes than currently forecast. In either scenario, Banxico would likely hike the rate past 10.00% by end-2022.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

Bank Of England Raises Rates To 2.25%, Despite Likely Recession   Published: 25 September 2022


  • The Bank of England raised its key interest rate to 2.25% from 1.75% on Thursday and said it would continue to "respond forcefully, as necessary" to inflation, despite the economy entering a recession.
  • The BoE estimates Britain's economy will shrink 0.1% in the third quarter - partly due to the extra public holiday for Queen Elizabeth's funeral - which, combined with a fall in output in the second quarter, meets the definition of a technical recession.
  • Economists polled by Reuters last week had forecast a repeat of August's half-point increase in rates, but financial markets had bet on a three-quarter-point rise, the biggest since 1989, barring a brief, failed attempt in 1992 to support the sterling.
  • The BoE move follows the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday to raise its key rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, as central banks worldwide grapple with post-COVID labour shortages and the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on energy prices.
  • The BoE now expects inflation to peak at just under 11% in October, below the 13.3% peak it forecast last month before Liz Truss won the Conservative Party leadership and became Britain's prime minister with a promise to cap energy tariffs and cut taxes.

(Source: Reuters)


EU approves up to $5.2 billion in public funding for hydrogen projects   Published: 25 September 2022


  • The European Commission on Wednesday approved up to 5.2 billion euros (roughly $5.2 billion) in public funding for hydrogen projects, a move it said could unlock a further 7 billion euros of investments from the private sector.
  • The executive arm of the EU said the bloc’s flagship project to support the research, deployment and construction of hydrogen infrastructure, referred to as IPCEI Hy2Use, had been prepared by 13 member states that will supply the public funding.
  • The commission said IPCEI Hy2Use would support the construction of “large-scale electrolysers and transport infrastructure, for the production, storage and transport of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.”
  • The initiative will focus on developing “innovative and more sustainable technologies for the integration of hydrogen into the industrial processes of multiple sectors” like glass, cement and steel.

(Source: CNBC)