Jamaica’s trade deficit at the end of the January to November 2018 stood at US$4,082.9Mn, 7.6% above the US$3,796.3Mn which was recorded for the similar review period in 2017 according to the International Merchandise Trade (IMT) Bulletin release by (STATIN).
Expenditure on imports amounted to US$5,681.3Mn for the current review period, 12.8% higher than the US$5,038.0Mn spent in the similar period in 2017. Revenue from total exports was valued at US$1,598.4Mn, an increase of 28.7% when compared to the US$1,241.7Mn which was recorded one year prior.
Expenditure on imports from the United States of America (USA) - Jamaica’s main trading partner – was valued at US$2,536.5Mn for the current 2018 review period, an increase of 14.4%. Earnings from total exports to the USA amounted to US$528.3Mn, an increase of 7.7%. This resulted in the trade deficit with the USA increasing by 16.4%, from US$1,725.6Mn in 2017 to US$1,008.2Mn in the 2018 period under review.
Republic Bank in Trinidad and Tobago has requested a seven-year, $75m loan from IDB Invest to help pay for a digital integration process and fund mortgages and small business loans. The board of IDB Invest is scheduled to review the proposal on February 26, according to the multilateral lender.
Republic Bank said in November last year that it had agreed to pay $123m for Scotiabank's branches in nine Caribbean countries. The price included $25m for operations in Anguilla and $98m for the businesses in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Republic Bank already has operations in Guyana, Barbados, Grenada, and Suriname along with a subsidiary in Ghana.
Fitch anticipates that the Bank of Jamaica will maintain an accommodative monetary policy stance through H119, supporting investment and growth.
Additionally, the rating agency presumes that rising inflation expectations amid rising fuel import costs will likely prompt rate hikes in H219. They forecast interest rates to rise to 2.25%, from 1.75%, by end-2019.
The Government of Barbados is on a mission to improve this country’s ranking on the Doing Business record in an effort to attract more investment.
Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment Marsha Caddle announced yesterday that a Doing Business subcommittee is to be established which will work closely with a Competitiveness Council to ensure Barbados climbed the Doing Business ranks and measure up more favorably among the best.
Barbados was ranked 129th out of 190 countries in the 2018 Ease of Doing Business Report, a slight improvement over the 132nd position in 2017.
Fitch’s growth forecasts for the global economy remain unchanged from last month, and they continue to anticipate a 'synchronized slowdown’ in real GDP to 3.0% in 2019 from their estimate of 3.4% in 2018.
The major risk is that fragile markets feed through into weaker economic fundamentals, posing substantial downside risks to our global growth and monetary policy forecasts.