Latest News

Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ) List First Bond for 2019 Published: 25 June 2019

  • Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ) listed its $500Mn bond on the JSE Junior Market on June 21, 2019.
  • This bond listing was the first bond listing on the Junior Market for 2019 and Scotia Investments Limited was the arranger.
  • Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest stated that “the Jamaica Stock Exchange is delighted to be able to provide the platform where companies can not only raise equity but debt to expand their businesses.
  • CPJ’s Chairman, Mr. Mark Hart stated that he was happy that investors had great confidence in CPJ to allow them to raise the $500Mn in short order. He stated that there was no better place for companies to raise capital, whether debt of equity than on the stock market.

 (Source: JSE)

Barbados-Drawdown #2 Published: 25 June 2019

  • Despite “minor delays”, Barbados has managed to make a strong start in implementing its economic austerity program, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday, prompting the IMF’s second release of credit to Bridgetown.
  • The IMF said the country passed its first quarter review, triggering an immediate injection of about $97.40Mn (US$48.70Mn) into its growing international reserves.
  • This takes the total disbursement so far to $194.80Mn (US$97.40Mn). The first was in December last year.
  • Under the four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement, Barbados is to receive an amount equivalent to about $578.8Mn (US$289.41Mn), or 220% of island’s quota in the IMF, which was approved by its Executive Board on October 1, 2018.
  • The nod of approval for the second disbursement came just over a month after an IMF team carried out a review of the island’s BERT program under the EFF.

 (Source: Barbados Today)

Panama Returns to Financial Watchdog Grey List Published: 25 June 2019

  • Panama is back on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which identifies countries with deficiencies to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • The decision came during the FATF plenary meeting, which is being held this week in Orlando, United States.
  • The Minister of Economy and Finance, Eyda Varela de Chinchilla, who had earlier reported that FATF was positive in regards to Panama said that although the FATF recognizes the progress made by Panama and its political commitment at the highest level, during the plenary this week, it was approved that Panama be included in the non-compliance document and under FATF monitoring. 
  • The organization analyzed the compliance of the 40 technical recommendations and 11 of effectiveness.
  • The inclusion of Panama in the grey list implies, for example, that the correspondent banks of the United States will be obliged to reinforce the control measures over transactions related to Panama.

 (Source: Newsroom Panama)

Three Chinese Banks Tumble After Report on North Korea Sanctions Published: 25 June 2019

  • Trade war tensions hit three of the biggest Chinese banks on Tuesday, sending their shares down after a U.S. media report suggested they could face fallout from an investigation into North Korean sanctions violations.
  • China Merchants Bank Co., Bank of Communications Co. and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co. fell in Shanghai and Hong Kong trading after the Washington Post said that a U.S. judge found three unidentified Chinese lenders in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to the probe.
  • All three banks said in statements that they were not under investigation for sanctions violations.
  • While the report didn’t suggest any U.S. action against the banks was imminent, the sell-off shows how sensitive investors have become to any indication of a heightening in tensions between China and America. In recent months, news of comments and deliberations by U.S. officials have triggered declines in Chinese stock.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Iran Says Diplomatic Path Shut After U.S. Sanctions Khamenei Published: 25 June 2019

  • Iran said the path to a diplomatic solution with the U.S. had closed after the Trump administration imposed sanctions against its supreme leader and other top officials, raising tensions days after the downing of an American drone brought the Middle East to the brink of war.
  • President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled sanctions on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and eight senior military commanders that deny him and his office access to financial resources. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said financial restrictions would also be introduced against Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later this week.
  • “The futile sanctions against the Iranian leader and the country’s chief diplomat mean the permanent closure of the diplomatic path with the government of the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by semi-official Iranian Students News Agency. “The Trump government is in the process of destroying all the established international mechanisms for maintaining global peace and security.”
  • Treasury futures pushed higher and most Asian stock markets slipped as increasing tensions rattled investors. Oil steadied after rallying almost 8% in three days as investors weighed mixed signals from the White House on Iran and signs that an extension of the OPEC+ production cuts may not be assured.

(Source: Bloomberg)

IMF staff concludes visit to Jamaica Published: 21 June 2019

 

  • An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Uma Ramakrishnan visited Kingston from June 10 to 14, 2019, ahead of the sixth and final review under the SBA planned for September 2019. At the end of the visit, Ramakrishnan issued the following statement:
  • “Jamaica’s improved economic growth in FY2018/19 was buoyed by construction and mining. Unemployment is now at an all-time low of 8%, inflation outturn was 3.9% YoY in April, closer to BOJ’s target range. The primary surplus was almost 7½ % of GDP in FY2018/19, and public debt fell to 95% of GDP at end-March 2019. Non-borrowed reserves were US$430Mn above target at end-March 2019, providing a critical buffer against unforeseen global economic shocks.”
  • “The IMF welcomes the recent BOJ’s accommodative policies aimed at restoring inflation to the target range. The reduction in the Cash Reserve Requirement by 5 ppts this year and the successive policy rate cuts to 0.75% should support private credit expansion as the government continues to deleverage”.

(Source: IMF)

 

Tourism Sector Will Underpin Economic Growth In St. Lucia Published: 21 June 2019

  • St. Lucia will see moderate real GDP growth in the coming quarters as tourism and related services drive economic activity.
  • However, it is expected that tourism growth will slow in the coming years which, combined with the economy’s vulnerability to natural disasters, will curb St. Lucia's long-term growth potential.
  • Fitch revised its 2019 real GDP growth forecast to 3.0% YoY, from 2.9% previously, and its 2020 forecast to 3.0%, from 3.2%, as a weaker global growth environment constrains demand for St. Lucian service exports in the longer term. 

(Source: Fitch)       

Panama Growth To Accelerate In 2019, But Headwinds Loom Published: 21 June 2019

  • Fitch Solutions forecast Panama's real GDP to grow at the fastest pace in the region at 4.8% in 2019 and 4.7% in 2020. Strong construction activity and increased use of the expanded canal will be key growth drivers.
  • Growth is expected to remain below the pace seen over the last decade as global trade tensions and a strong dollar weigh on trade flows and canal activity.
  • A further worsening of trade relations between the US and China, or the US and other major trade partners, could severely undermine government revenues, which are supported by Panama Canal transit fees.
  • Over the long term, an increasingly close economic relationship with China could pose upside risks to Fitch’s growth outlook as stronger trade relations boost export volumes and investment helps to drive the expansion of the construction sector.

 (Source: Fitch)

EU Eyes Another Trade Deal as Wait for U.S. Drags On Published: 21 June 2019

  • Europe isn’t wasting much time expanding its global trading relationships while President Donald Trump shreds the U.S. playbook on multilateralism and tries elsewhere to overhaul the rules of international commerce.
  • As Trump charted his “America First’’ political course in 2016, the European Union restarted negotiations with the Mercosur group of countries including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
  • Those talks may be close to becoming the EU’s next big deal in the Trump era, with two-way trade in goods valued at 85 billion euros ($96 billion).
  • Chief negotiators from the two regions are holding technical discussions this week in Brussels, and if successful, will lead to a political meeting next week to iron out final details.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Members and Organisations in Diaspora Encouraged to Support JSSE Published: 20 June 2019

 

  • Members and organizations in the diaspora are being encouraged to support the newly established Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE).
  • An initiative of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), the JSSE, which was launched in January by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is designed to facilitate funding, through donations, for the activities of entities involved in social programme delivery to the society’s most vulnerable and marginalised citizens.
  • Addressing delegates during the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference earlier this week, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, described the JSSE as an “exciting concept” and “expansion of what many of you [in the Diaspora] are already doing… making investments in Jamaica”.
  • Noting that the dividends are not only monetary but also social, Senator Johnson Smith expressed the hope that diaspora donors and investors can be matched with the social business enterprise projects of the organizations already approved for funding under the JSSE.

 (Source: JIS)