Latest News

Research and Development to be Included in GDP Published: 08 February 2019

  • Come September 2020, the Government will be amending the format for measuring Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP), to include research and development as a subsector.


  • Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says this will entail incorporating the 2008 GDP measurement update under the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA), being used by a number of countries, including the United States (US).


  • The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile economic activity measurements. The system is a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macro-economic accounts in the context of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.


(Source: JIS)

Market Bites Published: 08 February 2019

  • Yesterday’s trading session ended with more losers than winners with 56 stocks changing hands, of which 23 advanced, 27 declined and 6 held firm.


  • All major indices declined, with the JSE Junior Market Index leading the way with a -0.57% contraction to close at 3,156.02.


  • Trading was dominated by JMMB Group Limited 7.50% preference shares with 2.01Mn units traded (33.89%), followed by Jamaica Broilers Group with 1.53Mn units (25.93%) and WISYNCO Group Limited with 589,188 units (9.98%)


  • The top two advancers for the day were 138 Student living, which grew by +13.00% to close at $3.40, followed by SSL Venture Capital which grew by +11.43% to close at $1.95. The top losers on the day were Blue Power Group Limited which declined by -11.67% to close at $5.30 and Consolidated Bakeries (Purity) which declined by -13.79% to close at $1.75.


(Source: JSE, NCBCM Research)

‘Early days yet’ on BERT’s impact – CDB official Published: 08 February 2019


  • The jury is still out on whether the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme will be enough to stem the tide of economic turmoil, the Caribbean Development Bank’s chief economist told journalists today.
  • The CDB’s Director of Economics Dr. Justin Ram said while it was critical that the Mia Mottley administration stick to its targets, it should also focus on improving the country’s ease of doing business and reduce joblessness among young people.
  • “Our assessment of the BERT programme, it is still early days, but the progress made thus far is very heartening,” Dr. Ram said at the CDB’s annual news conference at the regional development bank’s headquarters at Wildey.
  • Dr. Ram: “There is still some more that has to be done with respect to fiscal consolidation. Again, what would really propel the Barbados economy into a transformation is doing the institutional reforms that will seek to improve the ease of doing business. I cannot reiterate that enough.”
  • Pointing to the Grenadian and Jamaican experiences, the CDB official said obtaining economic growth was critical.

(Source: Barbados Today

Here we go again Published: 08 February 2019

  • Markets are having a rough time after Europe practically gave up on the whole idea of economic momentum for the time being and Tariff Man said he won’t meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before the March 1 expiry of the current truce.
  • Oh, and the trade cease-fire between the U.S. and EU? That’s not looking too good either. Net result: An already dubious rally is facing that familiar existential crisis.
  • Does Jerome Powell have the stock market’s back? Does easy money even work? All we know is it’s a good time to be in bonds.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Brent oil edges up, heads for weekly loss on slowdown worries Published: 08 February 2019

  • Benchmark Brent oil inched up on Friday but was heading for a weekly loss, pulled down by worries about a global economic slowdown, although OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela provided crude with some support.
  • Weighing on financial markets were concerns that a trade dispute between the United States and China would remain unresolved, denting global economic prospects.
  • International Brent crude futures had erased earlier losses by 1036 GMT, gaining 12 cents to $61.75 per barrel. On the week, they are set for a loss of around 1.5 percent.
  • S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures stood at $52.53 per barrel, down 11 cents and looking at a 5 percent weekly slump, their steepest this year.
  • S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he did not plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to strike a trade deal.

(Source: Reuters

Increase in Revenues and Lower Finance Costs Boost LASM Profits Published: 07 February 2019

  • Lasco Manufacturers profit for the nine month period ending December 31, 2018, grew by +32% to $700.5Mn (EPS: $0.17), relative to the $532.15Mn (EPS: $0.13) earned a year prior.


  • This was driven by a +6% increase in revenues and a 9% reduction in finance costs.


  • Lasco Manufacturers stock has declined by -12.43% YTD since the start of 2019 and currently trades at a P/E of 19.14x earnings which is below the junior market average of 32.52x earnings.


(Source: LASM Financials)

Other Operating Income Boost LASD Profits Published: 07 February 2019

  • Lasco Distributors made a profit of $620.85(EPS: $0.18)  for the nine months ending December 31, 2018, which represents a +16% increase over the $535.22Mn (EPS: $0.16) earned in 2017. This was driven by a boost in other operating income which grew by +150%, coupled with a +9% increase in revenues.


  • Total operating expenses during the period amounted to $2.1Bn, an increase of 13.6% compared to the corresponding period in 2017. This was primarily due to start-up marketing costs from newly launched brands, as well as increases in insurance and depreciation expenses related to warehouse expansion, and other capital expenses for increased operational capacity.


  • LASD’s stock price has remained flat YTD with a very marginal +0.26% appreciation and currently trades at a P/E of 12.16x earnings which is below the junior market average of 32.52x earnings.


(Source: LASD)

Sagicor Hires Alignvest executive as new CFO Published: 07 February 2019

  • SAGICOR Financial Corporation said yesterday that it had appointed Alignvest executive Andre Mousseau as its chief financial officer (CFO), effective from last Friday.


  • Mousseau's appointment as CFO was signaled in late November when Sagicor announced an agreement to be acquired by Alignvest Acquisition II Corp in an offer valued at US$536 million.


  • Alignvest Acquisition II Corporation is a Canadian company, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange that is a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC).

(Source: Trinidad Express)

TTD: Near Term Hold But Long-Term Downside Risks Published: 07 February 2019

  • Fitch maintains its expectation that the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago will devalue the Trinidadian dollar in 2019 in response to capital outflows and shortages of hard currency.


  • However, Fitch acknowledges significant upside risk to its forecasts, given the government’s strong preference for maintaining the peg as a means of containing inflation and boosting purchasing power.

(Source: Fitch

Clear as mud Published: 07 February 2019

  • There is a segment of the market that thinks too much attention is paid to every single utterance of the world’s central bankers. Cue, today: The financial world is tying itself in knots trying to decipher the somewhat hawkish comments of recently dovish hawkish Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who gave a brief but positive assessment of the economy at an event on Wednesday.


  • Look, it’s perfectly clear: Depending on various stuff, they could hike, cut or maybe hold. Still confused? Don’t feel bad. Even former Fed head honcho Janet Yellen has no idea what’s next. And since we’re talking policymakers, the Bank of England meets today and is expected to neither cut nor raise while telling us they stand ready to cut or raise.


  • At least one central bank is in the mood to shake things up: Indian policymakers delivered a surprise cut today.


(Source: Bloomberg)