Online Banking

Latest News

Farmers Urged to Increase Production to Supply Tourism Sector Published: 02 December 2022

  • The country’s farmers are urged to increase food production to supply demand in the hospitality sector, which is expected to double over the next five years. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in making the call, noted that with the number of hotel rooms expected to reach 40,000 in five years, it is also anticipated that the need for production will expand.
  • He noted that the current demand for agricultural produce in the sector is about $67 billion. As such, he said that opportunity exists for farmers to invest in increasing earnings, provide employment, save foreign exchange spent on imports, and ensure that tourists can eat fresh Jamaican food.
  • Currently, the supply to hotels of fresh fruits, such as strawberries, provides a lucrative opportunity.
  • The Ministry also provides means to connect farmers and buyers through the Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) project. Already, this year, this project was used to supply more than $125 million worth of produce between January and October.
  • Overall, the push towards increasing agricultural output bodes well for domestic consumption which is a positive for GDP growth.

(Source: JIS)

Revised Income Tax Relief Act to Facilitate Incentives for US Billion-Dollar Investments   Published: 02 December 2022


  • A revised Income Tax Relief (Large Scale Project and Pioneer Industries) Act, 2014, that incentivises investments of US$1 billion or more, is expected to be tabled in Parliament by the end of the fiscal year 2022/23, next March.
  • This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, while speaking during the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, on Tuesday (November 29).
  • He said the new regime is designed to create a transparent and automatic fiscal incentive framework, which will appeal to local or foreign investors.
  • “That amended Act will have some provisions in it that allow us to offer investors who are making that kind of commitment to Jamaica, with a minimum level of jobs created, certain benefits,” he told investors.

(Source: JIS)

Brazil's Economy Grows Less Than Expected In Q3 But Still Reaches Record Level Published: 02 December 2022

  • Brazil's economy decelerated in the third quarter, with a lower than expected growth, but still enough to place it at the highest level of the series since starting in 1996.
  • The country's gross domestic product rose 0.4% in the three months to September, below the 0.7% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters.
  • This was the fifth consecutive quarter of expansion, again bolstered by the services sector, putting the largest economy in Latin America 4.5% above the level posted before the pandemic, in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Still, the loss of steam underscores the challenges ahead as the central bank's aggressive monetary tightening to battle inflation begins to weigh more heavily on activity, overshadowing government stimulus ahead of Oct. presidential elections this year that helped boost demand.
  • The performance in the third quarter was fundamentally driven by a 1.1% growth in the dominant services sector, while industrial output grew by 0.8% and agriculture fell by 0.9%.

(Source: Reuters)

Guyana Raked In US$4.453Bn In Direct Foreign Investment Last Year Published: 02 December 2022

  • A recent report by the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) disclosed that the majority of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that came into the Caribbean in 2021 went to Guyana.
  • In the annual report titled ‘Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2022’ it was stated that in the Caribbean, Guyana exhibited the greatest growth in investments last year and even surpassed the Dominican Republic, which in prior years had been the leading recipient of investments in that sub-region.
  • The foreign investment in the Caribbean for last year totalled US$8.957Bn – this represents a 19.4% increase from 2020 – and is accounted for mainly by capital inflows in Guyana’s hydrocarbon sector and increased FDI in the Dominican Republic.
  • Guyana’s natural resources sector was listed as the ‘most dynamic’ racking up 63% of the total FDI the country received for the prior year. In fact, Guyana’s FDI for 2021, was an inflow of US$4.453Bn which is 116% more than in 2020. “Guyana has positioned itself for the first time as the leading FDI destination in the sub-region, accounting for 50% of inflows, followed by the Dominican Republic (35%),” the report stated.
  • ECLAC revealed that while the FDI in the Region received in 2021 is an increase from what was recorded in 2020, it was highlighted that the growth was not enough to achieve the levels seen before the pandemic. As such, the ECLAC called on countries in the Region to use FDI strategically, owing to the weak economic recovery recorded last year.

(Source: Kaieteur News)

China Set To Loosen COVID Curbs After A Week Of Protests Published: 02 December 2022

  • China is set to announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the coming days and a reduction in mass testing, sources told Reuters, a marked shift in policy after anger over the world's toughest curbs fuelled widespread protests.
  • Cases nationwide remain near record highs but the changes come as some cities have been lifting their lockdowns in recent days, and a top official said the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening.
  • Health authorities announcing the easing in their areas have not mentioned the protests - the biggest show of civil disobedience in China for years - which ranged from candle-lit vigils in Beijing to street clashes with police in Guangzhou.
  • The frustration boiled over last week in demonstrations of public defiance unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. The unrest comes as the economy is set to enter a new era of much slower growth than seen in decades.
  • Expectations have grown around the world that China, while still trying to contain infections, could look to re-open its borders at some point next year once it achieves better vaccination rates among its hesitant elderly. Health experts warn of widespread illness and death if COVID is let loose before vaccination is ramped up.

(Source: Reuters)

BoC to Keep Up Pace With 50 Basis Point December Rate Hike Published: 02 December 2022

  • The Bank of Canada will hike its key interest rate by another 50 basis points to 4.25% on Dec. 7, according to a slim majority of economists in a Reuters poll that suggests the central bank will then hit pause on a nine-month tightening campaign.
  • An economy that grew at a solid annualized 2.9% rate in the third quarter is increasingly at risk from a falling property market and one of the highest household debt-to-income ratios in the world, with the full effect of rate rises yet to be felt.
  • Inflation, at 6.9% in October, is still running over three times the central bank's 2% target. That has left economists and markets at odds over whether the BoC, which has raised rates by 350 basis points since March, will opt for another half-point move and aim to wind up an aggressive campaign before an expected recession set in.
  • Just over half, 16 of 30, of the economists polled over the last few days expected a half-point rise on Dec. 7 to 4.25%, matching a move in October and in line with current expectations for the U.S. Federal Reserve's December meeting.
  • Fourteen said the BoC would dial down its pace to 25 basis points. Markets are pricing in an over 80% chance of 25bps, which would be a third straight reduction in rate hike size by policymakers from a peak of 100 in July.
  • Although there was no clear consensus on when the overnight rate would peak, around 90% of respondents, or 26 of 29, predicted a terminal rate of 4.25% or higher, suggesting the BoC may be done in December and if not, soon afterwards.
  • With inflation expected to stay above the BoC's target for the coming year, 10 of 13 economists who answered an additional question said the bigger risk was also that rates reach a higher peak, and later than they currently expect.

(Source: Reuters)

Producer Prices Decline in October 2022 Published: 01 December 2022

  • For October 2022, output prices for producers in the Mining and Quarrying industry decreased by 9.4% while in the Manufacturing industry, prices declined by 1.0% as indicated by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). These declines represent the 4th consecutive month of declines for both industries.
  • The movement in the index for the Mining and Quarrying industry was mainly attributed to a 9.9% decline in the index for the major group ‘Bauxite Mining & Alumina Processing’. This is due primarily to the fact that the Jamalco refinery is only partially reopened. The index for the other major group ‘Other Mining & Quarrying’ recorded negligible movement.
  • The main contributor to the decline in the index for the Manufacturing industry was the ‘Refined Petroleum Products’ group, which fell by 6.4%. This was due to the moderat energy prices. The impact of this fall on the industry was tempered by a 0.4% increase in the index for the major group ‘Food Beverages & Tobacco’.
  • For the period October 2021 – October 2022, the Mining & Quarrying industry’s index fell by 19.8% while the point-to-point movement for the Manufacturing industry’s index increased by 14.6%. The three major groups contributing to the movement in the Manufacturing industry were ‘Refined Petroleum Products’ (24.7%), ‘Food, Beverages & Tobacco’ (13.5%), and ‘Chemical and Chemical Products’ (12.4 %).

(Source: STATIN)

MFS Capital Partners Limited (MFS) – Prospective Acquisition Published: 01 December 2022

  • MFS Capital Partners Limited (MFS) has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the shareholders of Micro Financing Solutions Limited to acquire 100% of its shares.
  • Micro Financing Solutions Limited is a Kingston-based private company licensed by the Bank of Jamaica. The company began operations in 2014 as a microlender and licensed cambio, and since then, has expanded its operations into other areas including remittances, bill payment services and large credit. It has also gone on to take equity positions in several other entities. The company is a sub-agent of Lasco Moneygram and Western Union.
  • This acquisition is a part of MFS’s strategy to target companies involved in money services, investment banking and real estate that show robust growth potential. This transaction would be the first major deal executed under the new management team of MFS. Completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approval.
  • Given the approval, MFS will have a foothold in both micro-financing and cambio services which are two key areas that have the potential to boost company revenue.

(Source: JSE)

Muted Private Consumption Will Weigh Heavily On 2023 Growth In Costa Rica Published: 01 December 2022

  • Fitch Solutions maintained its forecast that Costa Rica will grow by 3.7% in 2022. As expected, headline inflation peaked at a historic high of 12.1% y-o-y in August, the highest since 2009, which has caused household consumption and economic activity growth to slow significantly in the third quarter.
  • In 2023, growth is expected to ease to 2.9%, below the 2015-19 average of 3.4%, as net export growth will weaken from a 0.8pp contribution to GDP in 2022 to 0.4pp in 2023, as a slowdown in tourism growth will overshadow easing consumer goods imports.
  • However, mounting headwinds, such as elevated inflationary pressures and interest rates, will yield weaker activity primarily in the US, the Netherlands and Central America (which together receive roughly 60.0% of Costa Rican goods exports) in 2023. This will dampen these markets’ demand for goods exports as well as tourism.
  • Private consumption growth is expected to stagnate from a 1.9pp contribution to GDP in 2022 to 1.8pp in 2023. The primary driver of weak household consumption in the year ahead will be persistent inflationary pressures. Inflation is expected to come down from an average of 8.7% y-o-y in 2022 to 6.3% in 2023, which would be the second-highest level since 2009, eating into households’ purchasing power and weakening spending in real terms.
  • Further, the Banco Central de Costa Rica (BCCR) is expected to raise its policy rate to 9.25% by end-2022 – with risks skewed to the upside – and will keep it elevated through H1 2023, which will increase the cost of borrowing, exerting downward pressure on investment for businesses. Investment will decline from 0.4pp contribution to headline growth in 2022 to 0.3pp in 2023, primarily due to tighter monetary policy.
  • A less-severe slowdown in US growth poses an upside risk to Fitch’s growth forecast. If the US economy’s slowdown is less pronounced than Fitch’s forecast, particularly if inflationary pressures continue to ease or if the US Federal Reserve undertakes a less aggressive rate-hiking approach, Costa Rican export growth would see a less severe slowdown than currently forecast.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

The Bahamas Beats Pre-COVID Tourism Volumes By 25.8% Published: 01 December 2022

  • The Bahamas has finally beaten pre-COVID tourism volumes as higher-spending stopover visitor arrivals for September exceeded 2019 numbers by almost 26%.
  • Aided by the removal of COVID-related restrictions that impacted 2021’s performance, and continued pent-up travel demand in the US, the Central Bank said: “Tourism sector output remained buoyant, bolstered by healthy growth in the high value-added air segment and recovered sea traffic given the relaxed pandemic restrictions and pent-up demand for travel in the key source market.”
  • With COVID restrictions now lifted, total visitor arrivals were said to be up 403% year-over-year largely due to the cruise industry’s resumption. That sector was completely shut down until June-July 2021 and, as a result, 2022 sea arrivals to The Bahamas for the nine months to end-September were some 1,033.2% up on last year. Air arrivals are 73.4% ahead. Meanwhile, visitor departures for the first nine months of 2022 were some 83.7% ahead of the prior year. Those to the US were up 69.3%, while departures to other destinations rose 301.6%.
  • Meanwhile, acknowledging that The Bahamas remains caught in an inflationary spiral. “Average domestic consumer price inflation - as measured by the All Bahamas Retail Price Index - increased to 5.1% during the 12 months to September from 2% in the same period of 2021,” it said.

(Source: The Tribune)