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Oil drops after China abandons target for 2020 GDP amid coronavirus outbreak Published: 22 May 2020

  • Oil prices slumped on Friday after China’s decision to omit an economic growth target for 2020 renewed concerns that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will continue to depress fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil user.
  • Brent crude fell $1.56, or 4.3%, to $34.50 a barrel by 0323 GMT, after gaining nearly 1% on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by $1.79, or 5.3%, to $32.13 a barrel, having gained more than 1% in the last session.

(Source: CNBC)

138 Student Living turn around previous losses Published: 20 May 2020

  • 138 Student living reported unaudited net profit of $270.01Mn (EPS: 65¢) for the six months ended March 2020, representing a $ 226.46Mn improvement from the $43.4Mn (EPS: -11¢) loss reported in the corresponding period in the prior year.
  • This performance was largely driven by a 69.4% (or 308.60Mn) increase in total revenue coupled with a 7.6% (or 29.52Mn) reduction in admin expenses as well as 75.2% (or 27.53Mn) decline in tax expenses.
  • The stock has risen by 88.7% since the beginning of the calendar year. 138 Student Living closed Tuesday’s trading session at $8.00 and currently trades at a P/E of 21.1x earnings which is above the Main Market Real Estate Sector Average of 15.59x earnings.

(Source: 138 Financials)

Stanley Motta’s profits dips for Q1 Published: 20 May 2020

  • For the three months ended March 31, 2020, Stanley Motta’s net profits dipped 10.3% (or $7.29Mn), despite a 10.3% (or $10.42Mn) increase in revenues. Net profits were down to $63.21Mn (EPS: 8¢) from the $70.50Mn reported in the prior year.
  • The main contributor of this performance was a 93.9% (or $17.46Mn) increase in administrative expenses as well as a 104.9% (or $1.22Mn) increase in tax expenses.
  • The stock price has fallen 15.1% since the start of the year. Stanley Motta Ltd. Closed Tuesday’s trading session at $5.06 and currently trades at a P/E of 14.1x which is below the Main Market Real Estate Sector Average of 15.5x.

(Source: Stanley Motta Financials)

Pressure On Panama's President Will Increase After Covid-19 Crisis Subsides Published: 20 May 2020

  • Panamanian President Laurentino ‘Nito’ Cortizo’s comprehensive response to Covid-19 will boost his legislative and public support in the coming months.
  • However, sustained downward pressure on economic activity could present risks to social stability and policy formation in the medium-to-long term, particularly as unemployment heads higher and Covid-19 exposes economic and social disparities.
  • Fitch Solutions have revised Panama’s score in their Short-Term Political Risk Index (STPRI) to 66.4 out of 100, from 67.6 previously, to reflect higher unemployment and greater public pressure for the government to improve social services.

 (Source: Fitch)

The US-Mexico border restriction is extended by one month Published: 20 May 2020

  • In the framework of the covid-19 health emergency, the United States announced that it will maintain restrictions on non-essential travel from Mexico until June 22.
  • The measure applies to non-essential trips are practically for those who carry a laser visa or identification of residents of the Mexican border, and for those who have a visitor visa; they do not affect US citizens living in Mexico or legal residents who cross the border to work.
  • The restrictions also do not affect commercial exchange, since Trump has made it clear that they will continue legitimate commercial trade while limiting those who seek to enter the country for non-essential purposes.

(Source: Fitch)

CBO projects 38% drop in GDP, $2.1 trillion increase in the deficit Published: 20 May 2020

  • In its latest projections, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) sees GDP capsizing 38% on an annualized basis in the second quarter with the 26 million more unemployed Americans than there were at the end of 2019.
  • The forecasts are roughly in line with Wall Street economists and slightly less dour than the most recent tracking number from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which sees GDP falling about 42% in the April-to-June period.
  • If the collective outlook is anything close to accurate, it will represent the worst drop for a U.S. economy that was brought to a halt due to efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

(Source: CNBC)

Oil rises on signs of firmer demand, fall in U.S. crude stocks Published: 20 May 2020

  • Oil prices rose on Wednesday amid signs of improving demand and a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories but worries over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic capped gains.
  • Brent crude futures for July delivery were up 23 cents, or 0.7%, at $34.88 per barrel at 0347 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July were up 14 cents, or 0.4%, at $32.10 a barrel. The July contract closed on Tuesday at $31.96, up 1%.
  • Oil prices have mainly risen during the past three weeks, with both benchmarks climbing above $30 for the first time in more than a month on Monday, supported by massive output cuts by major oil producing countries and signs of improving demand.

(Source: CNBC)

Jamaica Stock Exchange Records Marginal Growth in Profit Published: 13 May 2020

  • The Jamaica Stock Exchange reported unaudited net profits of $125.14Mn (EPS:18¢) for the three months ended March 31, 2020, which represents a marginal increase of 1.2% (or $10.37Mn)  from the $123.60Mn (EPS:18¢) that was made in the same period of the previous year.
  • This outturn can be explained by the 14.3% (or $63.47Mn) increase in revenue as well as a 496.4% (or $5.50Mn) increase in investment income, which outstripped the 21.1% (or $55.18Mn) increase in total expenses.
  • Since the start of the year, JSE stock price has fallen 23.9%, closing Tuesday’s trading session at $20.98. At this price, the company trades at a P/E of 28.4x earnings, which is above the Main Market Financial Sector Average of 14.2x.

 (Source: JSE Financials)

Protocols Being Developed For Reopening Of Tourism Industry Published: 13 May 2020

  • Pertaining to the protocols, the Prime Minister informed that the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has been working with the industry to establish the necessary protocols.
  • “We have to be timing [it] very carefully, because other countries are going to reopen and people are going to travel, and Jamaica must be the number-one destination for travel — that is how we recover stronger from crisis,” Mr. Holness added.
  • “All of our stakeholders, the hoteliers, the airlines, the travel agencies and the attractions, we have established probably one of the strongest teams ever assembled for the business of building the tourism fabric in our country. We are satisfied that within a short period of time and in consultation with all the stakeholders and partners… we will be able to announce a specific date that we will begin opening the tourism industry,” he said.

 (Source: JIS)

Panama's economy to contract at least 2% in 2020 hit by coronavirus Published: 13 May 2020

  • The Panamanian economy, one of the fastest growing in Latin America, will contract at least 2% in 2020, impacted by the crisis unleashed by the coronavirus.
  • The authority explained that, after more than a decade ranking among the best performing countries in the continent, Panama will have negative growth due to the stoppage of most activities to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Earlier this year, before the health crisis unleashed, the Ministry of Economy and Finance had forecast that GDP would grow around 4.5% - higher than 3% last year - driven by the activities of a huge copper mine, which had to be temporarily closed due to the outbreak.

(Source: Fitch)