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QWI Reports Significant Improvement in Bottom-line Published: 02 February 2021

  • For the first quarter ending December 2020, QWI Investments Limited reported an unaudited net profit of $91.74Mn (EPS: $0.07), which is a significant improvement when compared to the net loss of $94.48Mn reported in Q1 FY 2019/20.
  • During the quarter, the company took advantage of the favorable conditions in the USA and realized gains of $34.5Mn. This combined with unrealized gains of $33Mn and $64Mn from the US and local portfolios, respectively, contributed to an investment income of $132.43Mn, which was $225.03Mn above the investment loss of $92.60Mn recorded last year.
  • QWI’s Q1 FY 2020/21 net asset value per share has increased by 6.5% relative to Q4 2019/2020 but fell 11.5% to $1.15 year over year. This decline was largely due to a $375.56Mn (22.5%) drop in the amount of quoted investments held locally.
  • QWI’s stock price has increased by 23.7% since the start of 2021 and closed Monday’s trading session at $0.94. At this price, the stock trades at a P/B of 0.8x, which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 1.6x.

(Source: QWI Financials)

Salada Foods Jamaica Limited – Board Approved Stock Split and Increased Authorized Share Capital Published: 02 February 2021

  • Salada Foods Jamaica Limited (SALF) has advised that its Board of Directors has approved the resolution that the maximum number of shares that the company is entitled to issue be increased from 500,000,000 shares of no par value to 1,500,000,000 shares by the creation of an additional 1,000,000,000 ordinary shares of no par value.
  • Each share will be ranked pari pasu in all respects with the existing ordinary shares or stock units in the capital of the Company.
  • They also approved that each of the issued ordinary shares in the Company is subdivided into 10 ordinary shares with effect from the close of business on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.
  • This will result in the total issued share capital of SALF being increased from 103,883,290 ordinary shares of no par value to 1,038,832,900 ordinary shares of no par value.

(Source: JSE)

Sluggish Rebound In Bahamas As Continued Spread Of COVID-19 Restrains Tourism Activity Published: 02 February 2021

  • Economic activity will remain weak in H1 2021 as the global spread of COVID-19 keeps the Bahamian tourism sector effectively closed.
  • However, Fitch Solutions expects H2 2021 will see a strong rebound as the widespread availability of vaccines and strong fiscal stimulus in key source markets catalyzes travel demand.
  • It has revised up its 2021 real GDP forecast to 2.6% y-o-y, from 1.2% previously, as the widespread availability of vaccines in key tourism source markets will take place sooner than previously anticipated.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

Mexico Faces A Two-Speed Recovery Published: 02 February 2021

  • Fitch Solutions forecast real GDP in Mexico will grow 3.8% in 2021, after contracting 8.3% in 2020 according to preliminary estimates.
  • While recent high-frequency data suggests Mexico's economic rebound is broadening, with a recovery in the industrial and services sectors, the worsening of the pandemic implies a near-term slowdown in momentum.
  • Over the coming quarters, the agency expects a divergence will become visible between the export-oriented manufacturing sector, which will benefit from robust US demand, and weak domestic consumption due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

Fed Maintains Monetary Stimulus, Cites Moderating Recovery Published: 02 February 2021

  • Federal Reserve officials left their benchmark interest rate unchanged near zero as they flagged a moderating U.S. recovery and reiterated a pledge to use all available tools to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The central bank’s policy-making body also repeated it would maintain its bond-buying program at the current pace of $120 billion of purchases per month until “substantial progress” toward its employment and inflation goals has been made.
  • The revised language followed reports showing U.S. employment fell in December for the first time since April, and retail sales tumbled for a third straight month, amid resurgent coronavirus outbreaks across the country.

(Source: Bloomberg)

New Chart Shows China Could Overtake The U.S. As The World’s Largest Economy Earlier Than Expected Published: 02 February 2021

  • The latest GDP reports show that of the U.S. fell by 2.3% in 2020, while China’s grew by 2.3% amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The divergence means China will likely overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy a few years earlier than anticipated, economists said.
  • However, they pointed out the two countries have different economic structures, and China’s per capita GDP is still far below that of the U.S.

(Source: CNBC)

Gov’t To Review Proposals On Resumption Of Entertainment Sector Published: 28 January 2021

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government will be reviewing proposals submitted by stakeholders regarding the resumption of the entertainment sector.
  • “The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Minister of Health, will be meeting next week to review the proposals … and at the end of that review, we will come back to Parliament and report as to what might be possible,” he said.
  • Until then, Mr. Holness noted that the restriction on all events remains in effect.

(Source: JIS)

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2020 Article IV Consultation with The Bahamas Published: 28 January 2021

  • IMF Executive Directors noted in the most recent consultation on The Bahamas that the recovery to pre-pandemic levels will likely take years and downside risks loom large, reflecting the uncertain evolution of the pandemic and the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
  • Directors agreed that the near-term priority is to save lives and livelihoods and postponing the achievement of the public debt target by another two years in response to the pandemic is appropriate.
  • However, putting debt on a clear downward path over the medium‑term and rebuilding buffers will require significant fiscal effort.
  • Directors called for tax policy and administration reforms and expenditure prioritization to ensure a robust and equitable consolidation once the pandemic abates.

(Source: IMF)

Pandemic, Slow Recovery Pose Risks To Barbadian Ruling Party In Coming Years Published: 28 January 2021

  • An increase in COVID-19 cases in Barbados poses downside risks to public support for Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the ruling, center-left Barbados Labour Party (BLP), as the recent surge of cases will likely delay the country’s economic recovery.
  • The continued spread of the disease also implies that the Mottley government will look to implement significant fiscal consolidation measures in the medium term to comply with the country’s IMF program.
  • The combination of a national lockdown in February 2021, economic hardship, and the continued spread of COVID-19 increase the risk of widespread protests in the coming months.
  • As a result, Fitch Solutions has revised down Barbados’ score in its Short-Term Political Risk Index (STPRI) to 71.5 out of 100, from 72.1 previously.

(Source: Fitch Solutions

German Government Slashes GDP Growth Forecast As Extended Lockdown Bites Published: 28 January 2021

  • The German government on Wednesday slashed its growth forecast for Europe's largest economy to 3% this year, a sharp revision from last autumn's estimate of 4.4%, caused by a second coronavirus lockdown.
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders agreed last week to extend the lockdown until mid-February as Germany, once a role model for fighting the pandemic, struggles with a second wave and record daily numbers of COVID-19 deaths.
  • The economy shrank by a smaller-than-expected 5% last year. That still marked the second-biggest economic plunge in post-war history, surpassed only by the record -5.7% in 2009, during the financial crisis.

(Source: Reuters)