Latest News

Grim Economic Outlook For Puerto Rico In The Coming Years Published: 26 April 2019

  • Fitch Solutions expect that emigration to the mainland US and a declining birth rate will see Puerto Rico’s population continue to fall at a rapid pace over the coming years.
  • A worsening demographic profile will create a number of economic headwinds, particularly to government finances and Puerto Rico’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
  • The rate of emigration will likely accelerate in the near term as economic growth slows, particularly if we see more delays in the distribution of federal aid.

 (Source: Fitch Solutions)

Sandals contributed to record arrivals – BHTA Published: 26 April 2019

  • Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) chairman, Stephen Austin, has linked record tourist arrivals to the emergence of Sandals hotel resorts there.
  • “The preliminary arrivals in Barbados from January to March 2019 showed an increase in visitors of 2.9%, which represent 5,971 more visitors compared with last year,” said Austin.
  • This increase can be mainly identified with increased visitors from the UK (+11.7%0, Germany (+8.7%) and the US (4.7%).
  • While not saying if the BDS$840 million projects would be canceled, a Sandals official had indicated that they were “fully committed to supporting and working alongside all stakeholders for the future growth and development of the island”.

 (Source: Barbados Today)

U.S. Growth of 3.2% Tops Forecasts on Trade, Inventory Boost Published: 26 April 2019

  •  U.S. economic growth accelerated by more than expected in the first quarter on a big boost from inventories and trade that offset a slowdown in consumer spending, bolstering hopes that growth is stabilizing after its recent soft patch.
  • GDP expanded at 3.2% in the January-March period, according to Commerce Department data released today that topped all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey which predicted 2.3% growth.
  • This improvement follows a 2.2% expansion in the prior three months.
  • The growth pickup mainly reflected a downturn in imports, greater state, and local government spending, and rising inventories that were partially offset by slower consumer spending and fixed investment, the Commerce Department said in a statement Friday with the GDP data.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

May’s Government Persists With ‘Difficult’ Labour Brexit Talks Published: 26 April 2019

  • Theresa May’s government will continue talks with the main opposition Labour Party aimed at securing a Brexit compromise, as time runs out before the U.K. is forced to take part in European Parliament elections.
  • The premier’s spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly, told reporters on Friday that, “The talks are ongoing and they will continue next week. We will work as hard as we can to try and break the impasse.”
  • The Labour Party wants May to guarantee the U.K. will join a post-Brexit customs union with the European Union; May argues that would rule out pursuing free-trade deals with countries including the U.S.
  • Without a cross-party agreement, the U.K. looks certain to hold elections for the European Parliament on May 23, almost three years after the country voted narrowly to leave the bloc. 

(Source: Bloomberg)

China’s Xi Signals Approval for Trump’s Trade War Demands Published: 26 April 2019

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed some 40 world leaders at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing, but his speech may have been aimed at a head of state not in the audience - U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Xi spent a large portion of his speech Friday addressing Chinese domestic reforms, pledging to address state subsidies, protect intellectual property rights, allow foreign investment in more sectors and avoid competitive devaluation of the yuan.
  • All four are issues the U.S. is addressing in trade talks with Beijing.
  • “We will establish a binding enforcement system for international agreements," Xi said, adding that China will standardize all levels of government in terms of issuing administrative licenses and market regulation, and also "eliminate improper rules, subsidies, and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market."

(Source: Bloomberg)

Bank of Jamaica to Cut Interest Rates Further Published: 25 April 2019

  • Fitch is expecting the Bank of Jamaica to lower its benchmark policy rate by an additional 25 basis points at its May meeting, as inflation remains below target.
  • Over the longer term, it is anticipated that rising energy and food costs will cause inflation to pick up, leading policymakers to raise rates in 2020. 
  • As a result, Fitch has lowered its inflation forecast over the longer term as reforms to the BOJ have seemingly caused inflation expectations to be firmly anchored. In particular, the rating agency has lowered its long-term average forecast (2021-2028) for Jamaican inflation to 5.50%, from 6.00% 

(Source: Fitch)

IMF indicates further cut in reserve requirement may be needed; urges BOJ to reduce footprint in FX market Published: 25 April 2019

  • The IMF has noted that further monetary easing is needed to restore inflation to the midpoint of the 4–6% target range.
  • The BOJ’s recent reduction in the reserve requirement on Jamaican dollar deposits will support its more accommodative policy stance but further rate cuts are likely required, according to the IMF.
  • The multilateral agency highlighted that in deciding further policy loosening, the BOJ should carefully assess all incoming data.
  • Additionally, the IMF recommends that the BOJ should continue to reduce its FX market footprint, which includes limiting its FX sales in disorderly market conditions.

(Source: IMF)

Trinidad Petroleum Creditors Balk at Debt Exchange Proposal Published: 25 April 2019

  • A committee of creditors holding Trinidad Petroleum Holdings bonds due in 2019 and 2022 said they do not support the company’s consent solicitation, and are seeking a deadline extension and modifications to the proposed debt exchange.
  • The Committee of “large international investment institutions” said deadlines proposed by the company for creditors to accept exchange offer “are unreasonable and do not provide adequate time to evaluate the proposal,”.
  • The Creditors are also “concerned about what appears to be a lack of inter-creditor equity” in the proposal and apparent subordination of new bonds offered by the company compared with certain other company liabilities.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

T&T Stock Exchange (TTSE) profit rises to $14.9m for 2018 Published: 25 April 2019

  • The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE) announced improved results in the financial performance of the TTSE and its subsidiary, the Trinidad and Tobago Central Depository (TTCD), for the year ended December 31, 2018.
  • The Group recorded net profit after tax of $14.9Mn in 2018, an increase of 275% over the previous year of $4Mn. This was attributed to certain one-off transactions, followed by stronger performance in the value of trades for the year which increased by 11.7% to $1.3Bn.
  • During 2018, the TTSE saw its largest corporate bond listing totaling $4Bn from the National Investment Fund Holding Company Ltd (NIFHCL). It also welcomed its first listing in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sector, an area of growth it will be giving particular attention to in the coming months.

 (Source: Trinidad Express)

What Props Up First-Quarter U.S. Growth May Be a Drag Later Published: 25 April 2019

  • The U.S. economy’s first quarter is looking a lot rosier than a few weeks ago, but the factors supporting that growth may be more ephemeral rather than a sign of sustained momentum.
  • That’s because rising inventories and a smaller-than-expected trade gap were among the main forces pushing up gross domestic product estimates for the first three months of 2019.
  • Thanks partly to those two volatile components, a Commerce Department report Friday is expected to show GDP expanded at a 2.3% annualized pace in the period -- up slightly from the fourth quarter and about in line with the 10-year average -- rather than the 1.5% seen in early March, according to Bloomberg’s surveys of economists.
  • “It’s a good news, bad news story,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp. “If inventories are a big driver of growth in one quarter, then that sets you up for slower growth in subsequent quarters.”

(Source: Bloomberg)