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Moody's affirms Trinidad & Tobago's Ba1 ratings; maintains stable outlook Published: 27 June 2019

  • On June 26, 2019, Moody's Investor Service affirmed the Government of Trinidad & Tobago's Ba1 long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt rating while maintaining a stable outlook.
  • The affirmation of this Ba1 rating is supported by the sovereign’s sizeable fiscal buffers that were balanced against an elevated debt ratio relative to peers; its economic recovery which has been driven by the energy sector; and the low susceptibility to external financing risks given its high reserve coverage of external debt payments.
  • Moody’s stable outlook for the country has been maintained as a result of the expected balanced risks to the rating: on the upside, prospects of a sustained increase in oil and gas production would materially improve medium-term growth prospects, on the downside, institutional constraints continue to limit policy execution and the country's fiscal profile remains vulnerable to future commodity price shocks.
  • Moody’s could adjust the rating upwards if there is a reduction in government debt ratios; improved fiscal performance (particularly if supported by non-energy-related government revenue); and improved tax collection. Progress in institutional and economic reforms that increase competitiveness and the economy's shock-absorption capacity would also likely result in a higher rating.
  • However, the rating could be downgraded if government debt ratios deteriorate, or if a weakening of the balance-of-payments position increases external vulnerability risks.

(Source: Moody’s Investors Services)

Trinidad Petroleum Holdings 'BB' Ratings Affirmed and Off Watch Negative On Lower Liquidity Risks, Outlook Stable Published: 27 June 2019

  • Trinidad and Tobago-based oil company, Trinidad Petroleum Holdings (TPH), has secured the funds to meet the upcoming principal payment on its $850Mn notes due August 25th and reduced its concentration of maturities for the next 12 months.
  • The company raised the funds with a combination of a $570Mn bond exchange due 2026 and a $603Mn bank loan.
  • As a result, on June 26, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB' ratings on the company. S&P will also be removing the ratings from CreditWatch with negative implications. S&P assigned a stable outlook, due to the new debt structure and it is expected that the company will repay or refinance upcoming financial liabilities.

 (Source: S&P Global Ratings)

Fed Is Headed for Two Quarter-Point Rate Cuts This Year: Survey Published: 27 June 2019

  • Economists now expect the Fed to cut interest rates multiple times this year -- coming round to the view held by investors, though they haven’t gotten all the way there yet.
  • Respondents to a June 20-24 survey said they expected Fed officials will cut rates by a quarter-percentage point in September, and again in December.
  • Before last week’s meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee, a similar survey found the economists expecting just one quarter-point cut.
  • Economists remain more cautious in their assessments of what the Fed will do than investors, who are betting that the easing cycle will start in July and amount to about three-quarters of a percentage point by year-end.
  • Based on median responses, the economists saw a 50% probability of the U.S. and China agreeing at this week’s G-20 meeting in Osaka to resume trade talks. The odds of a more positive or more negative outcome were almost evenly split.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Trump Asks India to Reverse ‘Unacceptable’ Tariffs on US Goods Published: 27 June 2019

  • President Donald Trump called on India to withdraw an “unacceptable” increase in tariffs on US goods, ratcheting up tension against the Asian nation before a planned meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • “India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the US, just recently increased the Tariffs even further,” Trump said in a Twitter post, his first direct response to India’s move earlier this month to raise tariffs on a slew of products from walnuts to pulses.
  • The tariffs on almost 30 American products came in response to higher duties imposed by the U.S. and Trump’s move June 1 to end trade concessions on $6.3Bn of Indian goods.
  • Modi’s administration repeatedly deferred the move, originally announced in June last year, as it sought to relieve trade tensions through talks.
  • India levies an average tariff of 6.9% on imports, slightly higher than 6.0% in the U.S. and 6.1% in China, according to World Bank data as of 2017.

(Source: Bloomberg)

USAID Country Head Commends Establishment of Jamaica Social Stock Exchange Published: 26 June 2019

  • Country Head for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Jamaica, Jason Fraser, has hailed the newly established Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) as an innovative mechanism to mobilize capital for the public good.
  • This, he noted, by contributing to the financial viability of the non-profit sector and social enterprises.
  • An initiative of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), the JSSE was launched in January by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and is designed to facilitate funding, through donations, for the activities of entities involved in the delivery of social programs to the society’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.

 (Source: JIS)

IDB: Venezuelans will boost T&T economy Published: 26 June 2019

  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) became the first major multilateral lender to openly support the Trinidadian government’s registration of Venezuela migrants, saying over the weekend, the enlarged labor force will boost the economy.
  • The registration will result in successful Venezuelans receiving a one-year exemption from work permit restrictions.
  • In the IDB quarterly bulletin released Friday, IDB staffers Zubin Deyal and Lodewijk Smets said: “Increasing migration has been met with amnesty.
  • Trinidad and Tobago’s migrant population is steadily increasing following the intensifying crisis in Venezuela.

 (Source: Trinidad Express)

The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute reports 6.7Mn air passengers January to May Published: 26 June 2019

  • The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) recently reported that 6.7Mn passengers passed through Dominican Republic’s air terminals, in 50,683 international air operations in the first five months.

 

  • It said the figures “highlight the boom in civil aviation in the Dominican Republic and its significant impact on the economy.”

 

  • The IDAC monthly report also reveals that of the total 50,683 operations from January to May 2019 there were 42,405 regular flights and 8,278 charter flights.

 

(Source: Dominican Today)

U.S. Set to Delay More China Tariffs Ahead of Trump-Xi Meeting Published: 26 June 2019

  • The U.S. is willing to suspend the next round of tariffs on an additional $300Bn of Chinese imports as both sides prepare to resume trade negotiations, according to people familiar with the plan.
  • Latest calculations from Bloomberg Economics show the cost of an escalating trade war could hit $1.2Tn by the end of 2021. 
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on CNBC this morning, tried to sound upbeat on the prospects for a deal, saying that 90% of an agreement was already in place. Stock futures rose and Treasuries fell in the wake of his comments. 

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Businesses Are Canceling Investments in Asia as Trade War Deepens Published: 26 June 2019

  • The U.S.-China trade war is weighing more heavily on businesses operating in Asia Pacific, with companies reporting more delays or cancellation of investments than last year.
  • The impact on investment was cited by 54% of firms surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, up from 50% late in 2018.
  • More businesses than last year are also considering readjusting supply chains away from China and the U.S.
  • Over the past six months, 41% have seen a “slight” negative impact from the trade war, and 8% registered “strong” negative, while 32% reported no impact. Forty percent see the trade war deteriorating further, with 30% each saying it will stay the same or be resolved soon.
  • Vietnam was heralded as a trade-war winner amid rising tariff tensions, offering a high-growth, low-cost environment for businesses to shift orders and production.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Blue Power Reports Improvement in Performance Published: 25 June 2019

 

  • Profits for Blue Power Group Limited jumped 36.2% for the year ended April 30, 2019. Profits ended the year at $139.27Mn (EPS: $0.25) relative to the $102.24Mn (EPS: $0.18) recorded at the end of the previous financial year.
  • The improved performance was partly attributable to growth in revenues to $1.66Bn or 10.5% coupled with a movement in net finance income to $23.14Mn up from $66,184.
  • The stock has fallen 11.5% since the start of the calendar year. Blue Power Group Limited closed yesterday’s trading session at $4.46, and currently trades at a P/E of 17.92x earnings which is below the Junior Market Manufacturing Sector average of 26.48x.

(Source: Blue Power Group Financials)