Latest News

Bank of England Hints at Slow Rate Hikes Even as Growth Improves Published: 02 May 2019

  • The Bank of England signaled that it’s in no rush to raise interest rates despite stronger economic growth, as policymakers stayed united on the need to keep borrowing costs on hold for now.
  • In an upbeat set of forecasts, Governor Mark Carney and his colleagues upgraded their expectations for growth, saying unemployment will fall further and the economy will generate more excess demand than previously predicted.
  • Yet the Monetary Policy Committee cut its inflation outlook. Investors predict only one more quarter-point hike between now and 2021.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Caribbean Cement Company Profit Soars in Q1 Published: 30 April 2019

  • For the three months ended March 31, 2019, Caribbean Cement Company reported an unaudited net profit of $1.1Bn (EPS: $1.33) which represents a 237.4% increase relative to the $334Mn (EPS: $0.39) recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
  • Contributing to the improved performance was an increase in revenues which grew by 2.4%.
  • Moreover, increased operational efficiencies have resulted in reductions in costs in key areas such as repairs and maintenance and equipment hire. Additionally, the termination of the lease with Trinidad Cement Company concluded in April 2018 with the acquisition of Kiln 5 and Cement Mill 5, further contributed to the reduction of costs.
  • The stock has risen 69.86% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed at $72.02 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 18.76x earnings which is below the Main Market Industrial & Material sector average of 32.54x.

 (Source: CCC Financials)

Jamaican Economic Growth to Trend Higher, Following Structural Reforms Published: 30 April 2019

  • Fitch Solutions has highlighted that its expectation is for economic growth in Jamaica to accelerate in the coming quarters as economic reforms pay dividends and accommodative monetary policy supports credit growth. 
  • The mining sector is anticipated to be a key engine of growth as alumina and bauxite facilities ramp up production, supporting Fitch’s forecast for real GDP growth to accelerate to 2.1% in 2019, up from 1.9% in 2018.
  • However, despite improvements, Fitch still expects that structural weaknesses will limit real GDP growth over the coming decade.

(Source: Fitch)

Cost of Living Increases in Belize in 2019 Published: 30 April 2019

  • The Statistical Institute of Belize released their Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for the month of March 2019, which highlighted notable differences in the prices of some consumer goods in comparison to March of 2018.
  • The average price of goods in the categories Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Transport and All Other Goods and Services all recorded increases of 0.3%, 0.4%, and 0.7% respectively.
  • The sole category of consumer goods which underwent a price decrease was that of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels, with prices declining by 0.4%.
  • Overall, the CPI has indicated that the average Belizean household has experienced a 0.3% price increase of regularly purchased goods and services as of March 2019 in comparison to March 2018.

(Source: Statistical Institute of Belize)

Private Consumption to Drive Guatemalan Growth Published: 30 April 2019

  • According to Fitch, Guatemala will see strong real GDP growth in 2019 as low inflation, credit growth and robust remittance inflows support private consumption.
  • However, Guatemalan economic growth will face headwinds from political uncertainty surrounding the 2019 presidential election, weak investment and rising energy prices.
  • Fitch Solutions forecast that economic activity will accelerate to 3.3% YoY in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020, from 3.1% in 2018.

(Source: Fitch)

The Fed Has a Problem at the Heart of Its Battle to Spark Inflation Published: 30 April 2019

  • There’s a flaw at the heart of central banking’s approach to inflation targeting that’s become a hot issue for the Federal Reserve as it takes a long, hard look at its strategy.
  • For decades, central bankers have pursued price goals while saying financial stability risks are better curbed by regulation.
  • The contradiction is that monetary policy is often the most powerful fuel for asset bubbles as central bankers hold interest rates low to try and lift inflation that remains weak despite solid growth and rising productivity.
  • As central bankers meet Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll see an economy growing strongly while the core inflation rate slowed to 1.6% last month. That’s well below their 2% goal and continues a persistent undershoot which has prompted a year-long review of the Fed’s price strategy.

(Source: Bloomberg)

What Oil at $100 a Barrel Would Mean for the World Economy Published: 30 April 2019

  • Surging crude prices are posing another headwind for the world economy after President Donald Trump’s “zero” pledge on Iran oil sales.
  • Brent crude has risen about 33% this year and is close to the highest in six months. While higher prices due to strong demand typically reflect a robust world economy, a shock from the constrained supply is negative.
  • Exporting nations will enjoy a boost to corporate and government revenues, while consuming nations will bear the cost at the pump, potentially fanning inflation and hurting demand.
  • Ultimately, there comes a point where higher prices may be damaging to everyone.

(Source: Bloomberg)

GraceKennedy Profits up for 2018 Published: 26 April 2019

  • GraceKennedy Limited reported a modest improvement in profit for the year ended December 31, 2018. The company reported an audited net profit of $5.6Bn (EPS: $5.05) relative to the $4.8Bn (EPS: $4.15) recorded for 2017 which represents an increase of 18.3%.
  • The improvement in net profit was partly attributable to a 5.5% increase in revenues to $97.6Bn as well as a $1.4Bn (+66%) increase in other income. 
  • GK’s stock has fallen 5.69% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed at $59.89 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 11.9x earnings which is below the Main Market Distribution sector average of 17.6x.

(Source: GK Financials)

NCB Group Records Marginal Dip in Profits Published: 26 April 2019

  • For the six months ended March 31, 2019, NCB Financial Group reported an unaudited net profit of $12.2Bn (EPS: $5.07) which represents an 11.1% decline relative to the $13.9Bn (EPS: $5.63) recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
  • This decline in profit was partly attributable to a 13.7% increase in operating expenses as a result of expenditure in various areas including the implementation of a digitization strategy and improvement of customer experience. The rise in operating expenses was also driven by amortization of intangibles following the acquisition of Clarien, with no comparable charge in the prior year.
  • The stock has fallen 3.01% since the start of the calendar year. The stock closed at $144.73 yesterday and currently trades at a P/E of 13.4x earnings which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 17.6x.

(Source: NCB Group Financials)

Private Consumption To Drive Guatemalan Growth Published: 26 April 2019

  • Guatemala will see strong real GDP growth in 2019 as low inflation, credit growth and robust remittance inflows support private consumption.
  • However, Guatemalan economic growth will face headwinds from political uncertainty surrounding the 2019 presidential election, weak investments, and rising energy prices.
  • Fitch Solutions forecast that economic activity will accelerate to 3.3% YoY in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020, from 3.1% in 2018.

(Source: Fitch Solutions)