With the tourism sector getting ready to welcome the return of international visitors on June 15, one of the Caribbean and Jamaica’s biggest attractions says it is far advanced in regard to health and safety protocols, as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Chukka Caribbean Adventures in St. Ann, with more than 800 employees locally and 1,000 more at locations across the Caribbean, told JIS News that it has instituted a programme – dubbed ‘Chukka Checked’ – which is designed to ensure the well-being of its team members and guests “throughout our nature adventure experiences”.
“On our water-based tours, all water equipment will be sanitised before and after every use. Also, no footware will be allowed on board and all boats/vessels will be sanitised after every activity,” explained Chukka’s Group Marketing Manager, Khristina Rose.
Melville said there is no doubt that the demand is there, and it “is just going to boil down to the comfort level of our guests and the regulations of the Governments in markets we operate in”.
S&P Global on Tuesday cut its sovereign long-term foreign currency credit rating on Costa Rica by one notch to B from B+ citing a deeper than expected economic contraction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and what it describes as "mixed signals" from government over structural fiscal reforms.
In late May, then Finance Minister Rodrigo Chaves stepped down after only six months on the job. Press reports at the time said he did so over differences on state spending priorities with President Carlos Alvarado, who had asked for his resignation. Alvarado signed legislation that exempted local governments from complying with portions of the fiscal reform law that passed in 2018.
The firm now expects Costa Rica's general government deficit to rise to 9% of gross domestic product this year and remain little changed in 2021. Elections in February 2022 likely slow an fiscal adjustments until then while net general government debt-to-GDP is seen rising above 70% in 2022 and interest to revenue to average 20% over the next three years, S&P said.
S&P said it expects GDP to contract 3.6% this year due to the spending to fight the pandemic and the drop in tourism receipts. That is slightly worse than the forecast from the World Bank, released on Monday, which sees Costa Rica's economy shrinking by 3.3% this year before rebounding with 3.0% growth in 2021.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said Tuesday that it sold $4 billion worth of five-year bonds in US dollars after the orderbook closed with more than $5.75 billion.
IDB received orders from 117 investors with 42.2% from the Americas, 34.4% from Asia Pacific and 23.4% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Central banks and other official institutions bought 50.2% of the notes on offer, while commercial banks acquired 32.5%, asset managers 14.9% and pension funds and insurance companies 2.4%, the bank said.
The joint lead managers BMO, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Nomura put the coupon on the new 2025 notes at 0.625% and priced them at 99.97 to yield 0.631%, equal to 17 basis points over mid-swaps or 22.4 basis points over 0.25% US Treasury notes due 2025.
U.S consumer prices fell for a third straight month in May as demand remained subdued amid a recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Labor Department said on Wednesday its consumer price index dipped 0.1% last month after plunging 0.8% in April, which was the largest decline since December 2008. In the 12 months through May, the CPI gained 0.1% after climbing 0.3% in April.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the CPI unchanged in May and gaining 0.2% year-on-year.
Oil fell more than 2% towards $40 a barrel on Wednesday after a report showed a rise in crude inventories in the United States, reviving concerns about oversupply and weak demand due to the coronavirus crisis.
The report from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said crude stocks rose by 8.4 million barrels, rather than falling as analysts forecast. The U.S. government’s official stocks figures are due out later on Wednesday.
Brent crude was down 82 cents, or 2%, to trade at $40.36 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate dropped 99 cents, or 2.5%, to trade at $37.95 per barrel.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has called on support from Germany in removing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries from the European Union’s (EU) money-laundering blacklist.
Jamaica is among four CARICOM nations named in a new EU anti-money laundering and terrorism financing list published in May.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of Foreign Ministers of Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany on Wednesday (June 3), Senator Johnson Smith said that the EU blacklisting continues to be a concern for Jamaica and other countries in the region.
“We, therefore, seek the support of the Government of Germany in leveraging its influence in major multilateral fora to have these crippling structural imbalances in the international economic system swiftly addressed,” she said.
The House of Representatives, on Tuesday (June 2), approved the Fiscal Administration and Audit (Suspension of Fiscal Target Requirements) Order, 2020, to suspend Jamaica’s fiscal rules until March 2021 as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the triggering and activation of the suspension of the provisions of the fiscal responsibility framework.
This, as the crisis has led to the need to deploy significant additional fiscal resources, primarily in the form of social and economic support through the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, and health expenditures for new personnel, equipment and supplies, as well as other critical expenditures.
Dr. Clarke said the suspension of the fiscal rules will allow the Government to target a lower primary surplus of three and one-half per cent of GDP this fiscal year, down from 5.4 per cent. “This will allow us to accommodate the COVID-19 response expenditures in light of the reduced revenue that we are likely to experience. After the suspension has expired, the Government will be required to implement recovery mechanisms,” Dr. Clarke said.
Esteban Ferro, Ecuador's deputy finance minister, said on Wednesday the nation still faces a $3.5 billion financing gap as its struggles to cope with the overwhelming cost of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a video conference open to the public, he said the shock of not only the pandemic but also the sharp drop in oil prices that slammed the economy prompted a call for "the support of our creditors to address this crisis to help Ecuador back onto a path of growth and development."
Gross financing needs widened in 2020 to $13.5 billion from $5.6 billion, and financing gaps are expected to remain high in the coming years.
The value of exports from Latin America fell 3.2% in the first quarter this year as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated a downward trend that started in early 2019 , the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said in a report published on Wednesday.
The IDB analyzed trade in 15 countries in Latin America and found that a slump in global demand led to lower prices and a 1.2% drop in export volumes in the region.
The value of exports from South America dropped 7.6% year-on-year in the first quarter this year, while exports from Mexico slipped 0.6% as the pandemic reached the United States, their main market. Exports from Central America, however, rose 9.1% in the first quarter, led by increases of 16.9% in Guatemala and 9.4% in Costa Rica.
Employment stunningly rose by 2.5 million in May and the jobless rate declined to 13.3% according to data Friday from the Labor Department that was far better than economists had been expecting and indicated that an economic turnaround could be close at hand.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payrolls to drop by 8.333 million and the unemployment rate to rise to 19.5% from April’s 14.7%. The May gain was by far the biggest one-month jobs gain in U.S. history since at least 1939.