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Banco De México Likely To Pick Up Pace Of Rate Hikes After November Inflation Print Published: 15 December 2021

  • Fitch Solutions, now expects the Banco de México (Banxico) will hike its benchmark rate by 50 basis points, to 5.50%, during its December 16 meeting, due to the risk that recent upside inflation surprises de-anchor inflation expectations. Fitch forecast that inflation will likely end in 2021 at 7.50%, up from 7.00% previously. 
  • In 2022, it is expected that Banxico will hike its rate to 6.50%, from the previous forecast of 6.00%, as inflation remains above-target and financial markets expect US monetary policy to tighten. 
  • Deputy Finance Minister Victoria Rodríguez Ceja’s appointment to lead the Banxico board from January 2022 onwards increases uncertainty around monetary policy direction, with risks to both the upside and downside.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

TCL hikes cement price by 15 per cent Published: 15 December 2021

  • Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) yesterday morning announced an ex-factory increase of approximately 15 per cent in the price of the commodity. The price increase becomes effective on December 20, which is next week Monday. 
  • In a message to its “valued clients,” TCL said: “We have been absorbing rising input costs for a long time and are now unable to continue to maintain our prices. “The main attributing cost factors are natural gas, imported spares and other raw materials that go into the manufacturing the highest quality cement brands”. 
  • “We assure you that, in the interest of protecting the vulnerable construction sector, our price adjustment is only a marginal increase when compared to the escalating operating expenses with which we are faced.” 
  • The cement company did not specify the quantum of increased costs or their contribution to the 15 per cent price increase. TCL, which is majority-owned by Mexico’s Cemex group, is at this time the monopoly supplier of cement to the local market.

(Source: Trinidad Express)

Global hotel cancellations rise ahead of holidays due to Omicron Published: 15 December 2021

  • Concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant and fresh travel restrictions have led to a spike in hotel booking cancellations globally, online hotel search firm Trivago said on Tuesday, threatening to upend a fragile recovery in global tourism. 
  • Cancellation rates increased to 35% since November and holiday travel planning was down 10%, the company said, adding that most travelers were choosing domestic destinations. 
  • The Omicron outbreak, first reported in southern Africa, has led to a flurry of new testing rules and border closings, raising concerns ahead of the important Christmas travel season. 
  • International flight searches from the United States were down between 35% and 39% in the first week of December, according to Booking Holdings Inc's travel website Kayak. They were down about 25% just before Thanksgiving, a day before the World Health Organization named the new COVID-19 variant and said it may spread more quickly than other forms, according to Kayak.

(Source: Reuters)

Key Global Monthly Views: Equities Published: 15 December 2021

  • Breadth across equity markets declined sharply in November as the market sold off and positioning turned very bearish, with the American Association of Individual Investors recording a surge in bearish positions. 
  • However, the S&P 500 bounced off its 50-day moving average, which has provided support in the past and rallied by approximately 4.0% from the early December low to now. 
  • Going forward, however, Fitch believes that the outlook will become more challenging for global equity markets as cross-currents arise due to slower earnings growth, mid-term election risks, and greater uncertainty concerning monetary tightening.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

IDB President Commends Government’s Fiscal Management Published: 14 December 2021

  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is commending the Government of Jamaica for its fiscal management of the country. IDB President, Mauricio Claver-Carone, said that the handling of the economy before the COVID-19 pandemic has put Jamaica in a great position to rebound. 
  • Claver-Carone said that with the Government’s leadership, the IDB is interested in helping Jamaica accelerate its path to growing out of debt and the pandemic, and is particularly interested in forging new public-private partnerships (PPPs). He pointed out that the more they can work on improving the logistics in terms of transportation, including energy, and the skills of the nation, it will become more attractive to investors. 
  • Claver-Carone told JIS News that the IDB is committed to making Jamaica the first choice for investment. He noted that Jamaica’s reputation among global investors is respected. As part of the mission to Jamaica, the IDB President and his team met with the leadership of JAMPRO, where they were able to get an update on the activities that have been implemented to foster growth. The bank is exploring how working with JAMPRO can drive greater investment from the digital services companies to Jamaica.

(Source: JIS News)

Bahamas’ National Debt Just Under Economy’s Size at 98.4% Published: 14 December 2021

  • The Bahamas’ national debt was just a few percentage points shy of the size of the economy at the end of September 2021 after increasing to almost $10.5Bn over the previous three months, it was revealed yesterday. 
  • The Central Bank’s 2021 third-quarter review revealed that the debt expanded by a net $132.2Mn, or 1.3 percent, during that period to take the Government’s total debt - both its direct liabilities and those guaranteed on behalf of state-owned agencies - to a new high of $10.488Bn. 
  • However, the slower pace of debt increase, coupled with increased economic activity, as The Bahamas continued its post-COVID re-opening, grew gross domestic product (GDP) just enough to ensure the latter was marginally bigger than the national debt.  
  • The Bahamas’ debt-to-GDP ratio dropped from 100.4 percent at the end-June 2021 to 98.4 percent some three months later, according to the Central Bank. However, it is still at an elevated level that continues to give the Government and many citizens much cause for concern. “The national debt, inclusive of contingent liabilities, expanded by $132.2Mn (1.3 percent) over the three months, and by $1.141Bn (12.2 percent) on an annual basis to $10.488Bn,” the Central Bank report said.


(Source: The Tribune)

Cuba sees slow economic recovery at 4% in 2022 Published: 14 December 2021

  • A cash-short and crippled Cuban economy will grow 4% next year as the Communist-run country struggles to recover from an economic crisis, according to a report by the Prime Minister posted over the weekend. 
  • Prime Minister Manuel Marrero’s annual report said the economy began a slow recovery of around 2% this year after declining 10.9% in 2020 and stagnating for several years before that. New U.S. sanctions on top of the decades-old trade embargo and the coronavirus pandemic cost the import-dependent nation at least $4Bn in revenues over the last two years, according to the government. 
  • The shortfall led to a 40% decline in imports and has hobbled the government's ability to provide Cubans with food, medicine, consumer goods, and inputs for industry and agriculture. Cuba has defaulted on some payments to its creditors and suppliers. 
  • The government's decision to devalue the peso for the first time since Cuban leader Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution combined with increased dollarization of the economy have sparked triple-digit inflation estimated by local economists at around 500% this year.


(Source: Reuters)

Key Global Monthly Views: New Year, Old Risks Published: 14 December 2021

  • Fitch Solutions forecast global economic growth to slow from a multi-decade high of 5.5% in 2021 to 4.1% in 2022 and 3.3% in 2023, which would be broadly in line with the five-year pre-pandemic average of 3.1%. 
  • As has been the case over most of the past 12 months, Fitch’s 2022 forecast remains below the Bloomberg consensus estimate of 4.4%, although the consensus seems to be converging slightly lower. 
  • The latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) data show that economic momentum remains robust across developed markets (DMs) and emerging markets (EMs), with the number of major DMs and EMs with PMI readings above the crucial 50 mark increasing in recent months. 
  • However, several developments have recently emerged which have added downside risks to Fitch 2022 growth forecasts. These include the new COVID19 variant Omicron, more hawkish stances by central banks, and greater financial market volatility.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)

Consumer sentiment rises unexpectedly in early December Published: 14 December 2021

  • U.S. consumers' moods brightened unexpectedly in early December with an outsized increase in sentiment among lower-income households, lifting overall sentiment from the lowest in a decade, a survey showed on Friday. 
  • The University of Michigan's closely watched Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 70.4 this month from a final November reading of 67.4, which had been the lowest since November 2011. Economists polled by Reuters had been expecting it to slip further, with a median estimate of 67.1. 
  • The increase in headline sentiment was powered entirely by a 23.6% improvement among households in the lower one-third of the survey's income distribution, the biggest monthly increase for that group since 1980. This was driven by expectations of improving incomes in the year ahead. Sentiment slipped further for the middle and upper thirds.

(Source: Reuters)

Gov’t Investing $31.2Bn To Build Out Public Health Infrastructure Published: 10 December 2021

  • The Government has committed up to $31.2Bn to build out the public health infrastructure over the next three years, according to the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton. He noted that this level of investment is the most significant for hospital upgrading since independence in 1962. The plan includes the construction and rehabilitation of 13 facilities, comprising ten health centres and three hospitals under the Health Systems Strengthening Programme. 
  • Existing structures, built decades ago, cannot meet present demands, and the current environment demands a modern and technologically advanced infrastructure as well as the appropriate human and technical resources. 
  • This will ensure that the Jamaican healthcare system has the capacity to respond to a rapidly changing health environment, an ageing population, and high levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are responsible for over 70.0% of all deaths in Jamaica. 
  • The work will be undertaken through funding arrangements with local and international partners such as the National Health Fund (NHF), the European Union (EU), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 
  • This development will position the health sector to more adequately meet the needs of those who require health care services, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and, expectations from the World Health Organization that the world is at increased risk of the spread of infectious diseases going forward. It will also help Jamaica advance on its health related vision 2030 plans and should also support continued growth in the construction sector.

(Source: JIS News & NCBCM Research)