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Fitch Rates Panama's 2030 USD Bonds and 2060 USD Bonds 'BBB' Published: 19 July 2019

  • Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BBB' rating to Panama's USD1.25 billion bonds maturing 2030 and to the USD750 million bonds maturing 2060.
  • The bonds maturing 2030 carry a coupon of 3.16%. The bonds maturing 2060 carry a coupon of 3.87%.  Proceeds from the issuance will be used for general budgetary purposes.
  • The bond ratings are in line with Panama's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB'. 
  • The bonds are sensitive to any change in Panama's Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR. Fitch affirmed Panama's Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR at 'BBB'/Stable Outlook on Feb. 13, 2019.

(Source: Fitch)

Solid Insurance And Tourism Growth To Support Bermuda's Rebound Published: 19 July 2019


  • Bermuda is expected to recover from a minor recession in 2018, powered by solid growth in the insurance and tourism industries.
  • The forecast is that Bermuda will experience real GDP growth of 1.1% y-o-y in 2019 and 1.0% in 2020, after economic activity contracted by less than 0.1% in 2018.
  • Risks to the forecast are weighted to the downside, as an uptick in natural disasters could damage profitability in the insurance industry and a slowing global economy could weigh on tourism.

(Source: Fitch)

Fed Officials Shake Markets With Rate Cut Comments Published: 19 July 2019

  • There was some confusion yesterday when markets interpreted a speech by Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams in which he said central banks should move quickly when they see signs of trouble as referring to upcoming policy actions.
  • A New York Fed spokeswoman later clarified that Williams’s prepared remarks were “an academic speech on 20 years of research” rather than a short-term signal.
  • Whatever Williams meant to say, there is no getting away from market expectations of a cut at the next meeting -- it’s just the magnitude that’s still under debate.
  • Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is expected to signal further easing at its meeting next week.

(Source: Bloomberg)     

Boris Johnson Faces a Fight for Survival Before He’s Even Won Published: 19 July 2019

  • Boris Johnson has not even entered Number 10 Downing Street as Britain’s prime minister and already he is facing a battle to keep the government he hopes to lead alive.
  • If, as expected, Johnson is named Conservative leader on Tuesday and becomes prime minister on Wednesday, he will inherit a country in crisis and a governing party so divided that some members fear it could break apart.
  • While Johnson’s allies prepare for a fight, one minister threatened to try to topple the next administration rather than allow the new premier to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
  • Hammond said he would be “very cautious” about backing a motion of no confidence in his own party’s administration -- but did not rule it out. If such a motion were passed, it would put Britain on course for a general election.

(Source: Bloomberg

Unemployment Rate Declines to 7.8% for April Published: 18 July 2019

  • The Unemployment Rate for April 2019 was 7.8% which represents a 2.0% fall from the 9.8% recorded for April 2018. Male unemployment rate declined by 1.8% to 5.5% and the female unemployment rate declined by 2.1% to 10.6%.
  • The employed labour force increased by 29,900 (2.5%) persons to 1,244,500 for April 2019 relative to 1,214,600 in April 2018.  The number of unemployed persons was 105,400, a decrease of 25,900 persons (or 19.7%) when compared to April 2018.
  • There was also a fall in the unemployment rate for youth 14-24 years, which was 19.5% for April 2019, a decrease of 6.4% from 25.9% in April 2018.
  • As a result, persons classified as ‘Outside the Labour Force’ dipped to 736,900, 4800 (or 0.7%) less than in April 2018. This decrease was due entirely to the male population; males outside the labor force in declined by 5,500 persons.

 (Source: STATIN)

GWEST Corporation Assures the Public of Change Strategy Published: 18 July 2019

  • GWEST Corporation has sought to assure investors that the company will continue as a going concern after the auditor’s report expressed concern surrounding same.
  • In the audited financial released earlier this year, the company reported increased revenues however expenses also increased drastically as well.
  • The main hindrance to growth has been the facility’s inability to accept insurance cards because of a lack of accreditation of the lab by the Ministry of Health.   
  • The company has however highlighted that it has since undertaken the following measures to revamp business: Restructuring of operations as a cost-cutting measure;  Sale of office space upon closure ; Debt restructuring and additional financing to continue expansion plans

 (Source: GWEST Corporation)

Antigua And Barbuda Growth To Continue On Strength Of Construction And Tourism Published: 18 July 2019

  • It is expected that Antigua and Barbuda’s economic growth will moderate in 2019, as a hurricane recovery-driven construction boom slowly fades.
  • That said, growth is expected to remain relatively strong, as activity in the tourism and construction sectors remain robust.
  • Fitch forecast real GDP growth of 4.4% in 2019 and 3.3% in 2020.  Over the medium term, a slowing global economy and pressure on the government to rein in spending will provide headwinds to growth.

(Source: Fitch)

Moody's lauds Petrotrin closure...but rating agency slaps policy weakness Published: 18 July 2019

  • Moody's Investors Services believes the Government has so far shown effective policymaking by restructuring Petrotrin. The international credit rating agency posited that had the Government not done so, it could have devolved into a potentially hazardous political and fiscal situation.
  • The Trinidadian government is now accepting bids for the Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, and the rating agency believes that if the new owner improves the refinery's operations, this would have a positive short-term impact on economic growth and potentially positive effect over the longer term.
  • Moody's also expects that over the next two years, the non-energy sector will return to growth and that gas output will stabilize along with an increase in oil production.
  • Nevertheless, although it expected that the economy will return to growth, the country's prospects for economic diversification away from hydrocarbons remain limited because of ‘deep-seated institutional shortcomings and short-term policy decisions’.

(Source: Trinidad Express Newspaper)

Global Economy Threats Prompt Cautious G-7 Pledge on Fiscal Aid Published: 18 July 2019

  • Group of Seven finance chiefs acknowledged gathering threats to the global economy and gave a cautious pledge to provide fiscal support if those dangers materialize.
  • After a two-day meeting in Chantilly, France, finance ministers and central bankers declared risks for the global economy remain “tilted to the downside,” even if growth is stabilizing and there should be a moderate pickup next year. That’s a later timeline for improvement than envisioned at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka last month.
  • Fiscal policy should be flexible and growth-friendly while rebuilding buffers where needed,” according to a summary of the talks prepared by the French G-7 presidency. “Monetary policy will continue to support economic activity while remaining mindful of financial stability and recognizing that monetary policy alone cannot address all economic challenges.”

(Source: Bloomberg)

Oil steadies, shrugging off Iran's seizure of tanker in Gulf Published: 18 July 2019

  • Oil initially rose more than 1% on Thursday after Iran said it had seized a foreign tanker in the Gulf, but prices gradually lost their gains as it emerged that the vessel had only a small cargo and was detained on Sunday for fuel smuggling.
  • Prices steadied by 1330 GMT with Brent crude LCOc1 futures up 1 cent at $63.67 a barrel, after hitting a session high of $64.46.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 futures were down 7 cents at $56.71 after the U.S. benchmark hit a session high of $57.32.
  • Iran said the vessel, which it did not identify, was smuggling fuel and had been carrying 1 million liters, or around 6,200 barrels, in the area of Larak Island and had 12 foreign crew 

(Source: Reuters)