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Fed broadens access to dollars with repo agreement for foreign central banks Published: 31 March 2020

  • The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday broadened the ability of foreign centrals banks to access U.S. dollars during the coronavirus crisis by allowing them to exchange their holdings of U.S. Treasury securities for overnight dollar loans.
  • The new repurchase program, distinct from the swap lines with major central banks in which dollars are exchanged for foreign currencies, “should help support the smooth functioning of the U.S.
  • Treasury market by providing an alternative temporary source of U.S. dollars other than sales of securities in the open market,” the Fed said. The program is to be running by April 6 and last for at least six months.

(Source: Reuters)

Hotels Scaling Down Operations Due To COVID-19 Published: 26 March 2020

  • Several hotels operating locally have decided to temporarily close their properties as a result of a number of global travel restrictions that have been instituted, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Among these are the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Grand Rose Hall in St James, which has closed from March 24 to April 30.
  • “In light of the world health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19 globally, we are following all current protocols and recommendations published by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities,” the hotel explained in a statement.
  • “As a result, we are taking the following measures, with the health and safety of our guests and employees as our maximum priority. As of March 19, guests arriving at our hotel – Iberostar Rose Hall Beach – will be redirected to the Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites where they will be accommodated,” the hotel said.

(Source: JIS)

Covid-19 Tourism Shutdown To Weigh On Costa Rican Growth Published: 26 March 2020

  • Economic growth in Costa Rica will slow in the near term as the global Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak strains the country’s tourism industry, weighs on investment and drives unemployment levels higher.
  • Limited fiscal space will constrain the government's response to the pandemic, causing monetary policy to serve as the primary response tool to combat the economic impact of coronavirus.
  • Fitch revised its 2020 real GDP growth forecast to 1.1% y-o-y, from 2.6% previously, and note downside risks to its outlook if the Costa Rican government ramps up domestic mobility and travel restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

  (Source: Fitch)

Banco Central De Chile To Maintain Loose Policy During Covid-19 Outbreak Published: 26 March 2020

  • The Banco Central de Chile (BCC) will lower its benchmark monetary policy rate to 0.75% by end-2020, from 1.00% currently, in an effort to limit the economic impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
  • Despite rising inflation, the BCC will use loose monetary policy and several other measures over the coming quarters to attempt to stabilize financial markets.
  • Risks to the interest rate forecast are weighted to the downside, as the economic impact of the coronavirus could be larger than is anticipated, which would likely prompt the BCC to loosen monetary policy further.

  (Source: Fitch)

World Bank Group and IMF Call to Action on Debt of IDA Countries Published: 26 March 2020

  • The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for International Development Association (IDA) countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.
  • With immediate effect—and consistent with national laws of the creditor countries—the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund call on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance.
  • This will help with IDA countries’ immediate liquidity needs to tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak and allow time for an assessment of the crisis impact and financing needs for each country.
  • The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets. The international community would welcome G20 support for this Call to Action.

(Source: The World Bank)

US jobless claims hit 3.3 million, quadruple previous record Published: 26 March 2020

  • Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
  • The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is doing to the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.
  • The pace of layoffs is sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms, and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have close factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they’re cutting jobs to save money.
  • As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.

(Source: Associated Press News)

PanJam’s Year-End Profit Soars Published: 25 March 2020

  • PanJam Investment Limited reported audited net profits attributable to shareholders of $8.31Bn (EPS: $7.85) for the year ended December 31, 2019. This represents a 55.8% (or $2.97Bn) increase from the $5.33Bn made in the prior year.
  • A 41.7% (or $1.36Bn) increase in revenues that overshadowed the 4.4% (or $73.96Mn) increase in total expenses drove this performance. Additionally, a $1.58Bn increase in gains on the disposal of shares in associate companies supported the improvement in the company’s bottom line.
  • The stock price has fallen 21.9% since the start of the year, closing Tuesday’s trading session at $78.82. At this price, PanJam trades at a P/E of 10.0x, which is below the Main Market Conglomerate Sector Average of 12.4x.

(Source: PanJam’s Financials)

Sagicor reports a 10.0% increase in Net Profits Published: 25 March 2020

  • For the year ended December 31, 2019, Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited reported audited net profit attributable to shareholders of $15.65Bn (EPS:$4.01), up by 10.0% relative to the $14.23Bn reported one year prior.
  • This improvement was driven by a 31.2% (or 22.01Bn) in total revenues, which outstripped the 28.4% (or 7.47Bn) increase in expenses.
  • The stock price has fallen 44.1% since the start of the year. Sagicor closed Tuesday’s trading session at $40.55 and is currently trading at a P/E of 10.1x, which is below the Main Market Financial Sector Average of 15.7x.

(Source: Sagicor’s Financials)

Mexican Growth Revised Deeper Into Contraction Amid Covid-19 Outbreak Published: 25 March 2020

  • Fitch has revised its 2020 real GDP growth forecast for Mexico to –2.8% y-o-y, from -0.2% previously, the worst annual growth performance in the country since 2009.
  • This revision is driven by the view that the global economy will tip into recession, and the country’s relative lack of preparations for a domestic outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
  • While it is expected that the country’s economy will begin to recover in H220, downside risks to this timeline are significant.

(Source: Fitch)

Local Covid-19 Outbreak, Global Downturn Will Suppress Near-Term Panamanian Growth Published: 25 March 2020

  • It is expected that the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak will significantly stunt real GDP growth in Panama in the coming quarters as the government implements restrictions on mobility and commercial activity.
  • Meanwhile, a drop in global growth will further limit Panamanian exports given the economy's reliance on the Panama Canal and other service sector exports.
  • Fitch has significantly revised its 2020 Panama real GDP growth to 1.8% y-o-y, from 3.9% previously, as restricted domestic production and meagre global growth hinder economic activity. In 2019, growth was 3.4%.

(Source: Fitch)