Latest News

Republic Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL’s) 1st Quarter profits up 3.1% Published: 05 February 2019

  • Republic Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL) recently declared that the banking group’s profit attributable for the quarter ending December 31, 2018, increased by $10.5 million or 3.1 percent, compared to the corresponding period of the previous financial year.


  • In a news release announcing the bank’s unaudited financial results for its first quarter of the 2019 financial year, RFHL chairman Ronald Harford said the group recorded $350.5 million in profits attributable to shareholders.


  • Harford said that, as at December 31, 2018, RFHL’s total assets stood at $72.5 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent over the total assets at December 2017 and 2.9 percent over September 2018.

(Source: Trinidad Express)

U.K. stagnates Published: 05 February 2019

  • The British economy is at risk of stalling after the dominant services sector barely grew in January, with IHS Markit’s gauge for the industry falling to 50.1.


  • Companies said they were less likely to start new projects and that clients were being cautious as Brexit uncertainty continues to fester.


  • In the euro area, composite PMI was revised higher to 51 from an initial reading of 50.7, with IHS saying the survey still signals “only weak growth in business activity.”

(Source: Bloomberg)

Trump to press border wall fight in State of the Union speech Published: 05 February 2019

  • Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress later today promises to be the most dramatic in years, with the president hinting that he may declare a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall.


  • Democrats have selected recent Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to deliver the party’s response.


  • While the wall and shutdown issues are likely to dominate proceedings, Trump may also make proposals on drug prices and announce details for upcoming summits with Chinese and North Korean leaders.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Jamaica Upgraded by Fitch on Primary Surplus, Lower Debt Published: 01 February 2019

  • Jamaica’s long-term foreign and local currency rating was upgraded to B+, with a stable outlook,  on large primary surpluses that have cut the debt-to-GDP ratio, Fitch said in a statement.


  • Jamaica primary surplus one of the largest of any sovereign rated by Fitch at 7% of GDP in FY2018; primary surplus has been above 7% since FY 2013. Strong growth in global consumption tax has driven growth in revenues as spending on infrastructure increased


  • The debt burden is on a downward path but still compares unfavorably to the current ’B’ median of 60.7% of GDP. The fiscal stance is being guided by a fiscal rule that aims to reduce debt to 60% of GDP by FY2025.


  • Economic growth to accelerate to 2% in 2019 and 2020 from 1.8% in 2018. Growth is low relative to B-rated peers but has picked up on construction, road infrastructure, rising tourist arrivals and reopening of an alumina refinery


(Source: Bloomberg)

OPEC funds Cuban waterworks Published: 01 February 2019

  • The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) said it has granted a $25m loan for a water project in Cuba.


  • The Cuban government will use the money to fund part of the second phase of water supply and sewage treatment project in Las Tunas province.


  • OFID has supplied more than $253m in financing for water, agriculture and energy projects in Cuba since 2002.


  • The fund recently approved a $50m loan to cover 25% of the project's costs for a $200m water supply project in Argentina.

(Source: Latin Finance)

Dominican Republic 10-Year Forecasts Published: 01 February 2019

  • Fitch expects the Dominican Republic to remain one of the Caribbean’s fastest-growing economies over the next decade.


  • The country's tourism and manufacturing sectors will be major growth drivers, attracting significant foreign direct investment.


  • However, the country’s economy will remain closely tied to that of the United States, despite recent attempts to diversify its trading partners, exposing it to external economic shocks.


(Source:  Fitch)

Trade progress Published: 01 February 2019

  • While both the U.S. and China cited progress at the high-level trade talks in Washington, they stopped short of announcing a breakthrough that would end the conflict.


  • They agreed to strengthen cooperation on technology transfers and intellectual property rights, while China said it would buy more U.S. goods. 


  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will visit the Beijing in mid-February to hold the next round of talks ahead of the March 1 deadline for avoiding further tariffs.

(Source: Bloomberg)

China Facing Greater Potential For Public Unrest In 2019 Published: 01 February 2019

  • Fitch expects that China will experience slowly growing pressures in terms of social stability over the coming years, driven in part by weakening growth and rising income inequality, a trend that is expected to become increasingly entrenched as the economy slows.


  • A challenging job market outlook, combined with several politically sensitive anniversaries in 2019, could see small pockets of social protests emerge.


  • Fitch expects Beijing, which has signaled that it will exercise even greater control over traditional and social media, will be able to contain any social unrest, even if the frequency and scale of demonstrations increase relative to less politically sensitive years.


(Source: Fitch)

Fitch Upgrades Jamaica’s Credit Rating to B+ Published: 31 January 2019

On January 31st, 2019 Fitch Rating agency upgraded Jamaica’s credit rating from B to B+ with a stable outlook

Fitch attributed the upgrade of Jamaica's Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to the country’s track record of large primary surpluses that have cut general government debt/GDP significantly. Jamaica has run one of the largest primary surpluses of any sovereign rated by Fitch at about 7% of GDP in 2018. The primary surplus has been above 7% since 2013, reducing general government debt/GDP to a projected 96.4% in FY 2018 from a peak of 135.3% in FY 2012. 

The debt burden is on a downward path but still compares unfavorably to the current ‘B’ median of 60.7% of GDP. The fiscal stance is being guided by a fiscal rule that aims to reduce debt to 60% of GDP by 2025. Fitch also expects current fiscal policy settings to lead to a sustained fall in debt/GDP.   Fitch’s debt dynamics model assumes rising interest rates in the U.S., medium-term growth of 2% and a narrowing of the primary surplus to 5.5% of GDP by FY 2027; under these assumptions debt is expected to fall under 60% of GDP by FY 2027.

Some key drivers of the rating upgrade include projections that government surplus as a percentage of GDP will improve, the decline in government interest burden, cross-party support for the economic reforms that began with the IMF and the BOJ bill that aims to make the central bank independent with inflation targeting the explicit goal of monetary policy.

Consider Buying Shares in Public Companies Listed on JSE – PM Holness Published: 31 January 2019

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness is encouraging ordinary Jamaicans to participate in the ownership of State entities being shortlisted for privatization through placement on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), by purchasing shares when Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) are announced.


  • He says this will, among other things, afford them the opportunity to share in the potential capital gains and profits to be generated.


  • This, the Prime Minister added, is consistent with the Administration’s thrust to create an ownership economy characterized by inclusive participation by Jamaicans at all levels.


  • He was speaking during the opening ceremony for the JSE’s 14th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (January 22)

(Source: JIS)