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Exim Bank Continues To Support MSMEs Published: 01 April 2020

  • For the 2020/21 fiscal year, the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica Limited (EXIM) will continue to pursue activities aimed at facilitating the growth and development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Those targeted are involved in the manufacturing, agro-processing, mining, services, information, communications and technology and the creative industries.
  • This is contained in the 2020/21 Public Bodies’ Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, tabled in the House of Representatives by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.
  • The Bank also projects loan utilisation of $9.3Bn, supported by increased marketing activities, brand building and market analysis.

(Source: JIS)

Aruba To Fall Into A Deep Recession In 2020, As Covid-19 Stalls Tourism Industry Published: 01 April 2020

  • The global spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic will significantly impact Aruba’s economy, as domestic restrictions and a sharp drop in demand for travel will push the country into recession in 2020.
  • Fitch Solutions forecast -13.0% y-o-y real GDP growth in Aruba in 2020, down from the previous forecast of 0.7%, as risks from the virus have played out.
  • While the Aruban government’s prompt response to its domestic outbreak offers some reason for optimism, risks to our view are heavily to the downside.

 (Source: Fitch)

Cuba suspends arrival of international flights to stop coronavirus Published: 01 April 2020

  • Cuba said on Tuesday it was suspending the arrival of international passenger flights and asking all foreign boats to withdraw from the Caribbean island’s waters to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
  • Cuba, which has confirmed 186 cases of the fast-spreading disease, partially closed its borders last week, banning the arrival of foreign tourists and the departure of Cubans.
  • But Cubans and foreigners with Cuban residency continued to return on a dwindling number of flights, although they were required to spend two weeks in quarantine at state isolation centres. The new measures appear to close that door.

 (Source: Reuter)

China's ports brace for second hit as virus spread wipes out exports Published: 01 April 2020

  • China’s ports and shipping firms are bracing for a second wave of supply chain disruptions that may be deeper and more prolonged than during the country’s coronavirus lockdown as the global spread of the virus chokes off international demand.
  • With Beijing reporting only sporadic domestic transmission of the coronavirus since March, workers have been allowed to return to posts, factories are restarting and ports are rushing to clear a backlog of cargoes.
  • China’s container processing volumes fell 10.6% in the first two months of 2020 compared to the year before, while exports dropped 17.2%.
  • But with virus outbreaks now overwhelming healthcare systems and shutting logistics channels in other major economies, exporters and industry analysts warn that global demand for products made and shipped out of China looks set to plunge.

(Source: Reuters)

Oil falls towards $25 as oversupply fears mount with U.S. inventory rise Published: 01 April 2020

  • Oil fell towards $25 a barrel on Wednesday, within sight of its lowest in 18 years, as a report showing a big rise in U.S. inventories and a widening rift within OPEC heightened oversupply concerns.
  • Pledges of higher output from Saudi Arabia and Russia after a supply pact collapsed and a slide in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak have hammered the market. Global benchmark Brent crude fell 66% in the first three months of 2020 in its biggest ever quarterly loss.
  • As of 1217 GMT, June Brent LCOc1 was down 94 cents, or 3.6%, at $25.41. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for May Clc1 was down 11 cents at $20.37. Brent fell to $21.65 on Monday, the lowest since 2002, when the now-expired May contract was the front month.

 (Source: Reuters)

Tourism Stakeholders Pleased With Stimulus Package Published: 31 March 2020

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says tourism stakeholders have responded positively to the Government’s stimulus package for the sector, to cushion the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • “The workers of the industry are very heartened by the action of the Government. In fact, they have been indicating their delight that something is being done. We are in the process of working out the details of it, but the feeling is one of hope, and the feeling is one of appreciation of the steps the Government is taking,” he told JIS News.
  • I “Hopefully, at the end of the day, we can come out with a better product and with a better understanding of the new realities. Then Jamaica would be in a position to take off ahead of anybody else, and that’s the objective,” the Minister said.

(Source: JIS)

Government Allocates $140 Million For Councillors To Assist In COVID-19 Fight Published: 31 March 2020

  • The Government has allocated $140 million to Councillors across the island to help in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to assist persons in their division who have been affected by the virus.
  • These funds, Mr. McKenzie said, will be used under specific guidelines set out by the Ministry, along with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service as well as the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
  • “The details of those will be worked out, but the benefits of this programme is to reach those in the various communities across the country who are affected by what is taking place,” the Minister added.

(Source: JIS)

Brazil To Cut Rates Further To Ease Credit Conditions Published: 31 March 2020

  • Fitch has revised its end-2020 policy interest rate forecast in Brazil to 3.25%, from 4.25% previously, expecting an additional 50 basis points of cuts over the coming months.
  • Despite pressures from capital outflows, the Banco Central do Brasil will continue to ease monetary policy in order to support credit and economic activity as the economy is pushed into recession due to Covid-19 (coronavirus).
  • A range of additional policy measures, such as cuts to reserve requirements and repo operations, will further support liquidity in the financial system.

(Source: Fitch)

Barbados Central Bank Announces Monetary Policy Measures to Soften Impact of Covid-19 Published: 31 March 2020

  • The Central Bank announced several policy measures to address Covid-19 on Monday including:The Bank’s discount rate at which it provides overnight lending to banks and deposit-taking non-banks licensed under the Financial Institutions Act will be reduced from 7% to 2%.
  • The Bank will reduce the securities ratio for banks from 17.5% to 5%. The Bank will also eliminate the 1.5% securities ratio for non-bank deposit taking licensees.
  • The Bank also stands ready to make collateralised loans for up to six months as liquidity support for licensees, if necessary.

(Source: Central Bank of Barbados)

Oil prices are on track for their worst ever quarter as coronavirus slashes demand Published: 31 March 2020

  • Oil prices are on pace to register their worst quarterly performance on record, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to crush global demand for crude.
  • International benchmark Brent crude traded at $23.36 a barrel Tuesday morning, up more than 2.6%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $21.26, more than 5.8% higher.
  • Brent futures fell to their lowest level in 18 years on Monday and WTI ended the previous session below $20, before both benchmarks pared some of their losses on the final trading day of the first quarter.
  • To date, Brent futures have fallen more than 65% through the first three months of 2020, putting the benchmark on track to register its worst quarter through our history to 1990, according to data compiled by CNBC.

(Source: CNBC)