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Trump Bows to Economic Fears in Move to Delay China Tariffs Published: 14 August 2019

  • The U.S. and China are, much to the relief of markets, making moves to step back from the brink of an all-out trade war. 
  • President Donald Trump delayed the imposition of new tariffs on a wide variety of consumer products including toys and laptops until December.
  • Chinese officials are sticking to their plans to visit Washington in September for face-to-face meetings, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Whatever the chances of a positive outcome, investors have welcomed the pause in escalations from both sides. 

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Germany Economy Shrinks and China’s July Industrial Output Growth Weakens to 17-Year Low Published: 14 August 2019

  • German gross domestic product contracted by 0.1%in the second quarter, in line with expectations.
  • The drop in output was driven by a slump in exports as U.S.-China tensions rumbled on during the period.
  • Separate data showed euro-area GDP growth slowed to 0.2%, while industrial production in the currency zone plunged the most in more than three years in June. 
  • China posted the weakest industrial output growth since 2002, while disappointing credit data increased the pressure on officials to add stimulus to the economy.

 (Source: Bloomberg)

Yield Curves Invert in U.S., U.K. as ‘Doom and Gloom’ Spreads Published: 14 August 2019

  • The stream of investors seeking refuge in the safest parts of the market has triggered yet another recession warning, with yield curves inverting from the U.S. to the U.K.
  • The gap between two- and 10-year yields dropped below zero on both sides of the Atlantic after a wave of soft economic data globally.
  • Weaker-than-forecast Chinese retail sales and industrial output set the mood for the markets, with data later in the day showing Germany’s economy contracted, adding to the gloom.
  • Investors have been driving into areas of the bond market that still offer a positive yield, typically longer-dated assets that offer better returns, in order to protect their funds from a global slowdown in growth. 

 (Source: Bloomberg)

LASD reports dip in profit amid increased expenses Published: 08 August 2019

  • Net profit reported by Lasco Distributors declined by 29.8% for the first quarter ending June 30, 2019. Net profit ended the quarter at $163.91Mn (EPS: $0.05) compared to $233.64Mn (EPS: $ 0.07) reported last year.
  • The deterioration in performance can be attributed to an increase in the cost of sales (1.9%) together with increases also reported in operating expenses (9.7%) and a $5.48Mn rise in finance costs.
  • The stock has fallen 11.3% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $3.45 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 22.32x earnings which is below the Junior Market Distribution sector average of 25.64x.

(Source: LASD Financials)

Medical Disposables’ profit down for Q1 Published: 08 August 2019

  • For the three-month period ended June 30, 2019, Medical Disposables and Supplies reported a net profit of $16.09Mn (EPS: $0.06), a decline of 15.8% relative to the $19.09Mn (EPS: $0.07) reported one year prior.
  • For the period under review, total operating expenses increased by 19.7% to $102.45Mn. This upward move can be attributed to increases in administrative expenses (4.6%), selling and promotional costs (43.2%) and depreciation which increased by 16.8%. Additionally, total non-operational expenses increased 64.9% mainly due to a 33.9% increase in finance costs and a significant 124.0% increase in losses on disposals and foreign currency translation. These increased expenses contributed significantly to the reduced profit reported by the company.
  • The stock has fallen 4.9% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $7.11 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 13.42x earnings which is below the Junior Market Distribution sector average of 25.64x.

(Source: MDS Financials

Committee to evaluate bids for Pointe refinery Published: 08 August 2019

  • The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has appointed a ten-member committee to evaluate at least 25 bids for the sale or lease of the Guaracara refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre.
  • Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL) says the evaluation committee will be led by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul.
  • The committee will evaluate all bidders participating in the Guaracara request for proposal (RFP) and make a recommendation to the Cabinet on the preferred bidder. TPHL stated that the appointment of the committee will remove any requirement for the board of directors to conduct the evaluation and selection as the committee will assume full responsibility for the selection of the preferred bidder.

 (Source: Trinidad Express)

DR Economic activity posts sluggish growth in first half Published: 08 August 2019

  • During January to June 2019 economic activity, measured by the Monthly Economic Activity Indicator (IMAE) shows growth lower than in 2018 and similar to 2017, according to Regional Center for Sustainable Economic Strategies (CREES) senior economist Miguel Collado Di Franco.
  • “This behavior so far in 2019 has been characterized by political-institutional uncertainty, which has negatively affected the investment prospects of economic agents,” the economist said.
  • That uncertainty that does not dissipate in view of the continuing effort to amend the Constitution, “all this within an environment dominated by the processes of political parties with a view to the largest elections, within the scope of candidacies, of recent history.”
  • Collado Di Franco adds that other negative factors have joined this widespread perception of uncertainty, “such as a lower generation of currencies by sectors such as Free Zones and national exports, to which the effects of the sensational journalistic coverage of the tourism sector by means of international communication.”

 (Source: Dominican Today)

China Sets Yuan Fixing Stronger Than Expected, Soothing Nerves Published: 08 August 2019

  • Chinese policymakers tried to calm global worries by fixing the yuan stronger than expected.
  • While the new level is (just) weaker than 7 to the dollar for the first time since 2008, the strength compared to market estimates was seen as a signal that Beijing is seeking stability.
  • Global assets are calmer in the wake of the Chinese move.
  • It seems that President Donald Trump’s hopes of weakening the dollar will be less successful, as his trade position increases foreign bids for haven Treasuries which also boosts secular demand for the U.S. currency. 

(Source: Bloomberg)

Oil Regains Ground as Saudis Discuss Crude-Market Intervention Published: 08 August 2019

  • Yesterday’s session saw a crude drop to a seven-month low as it was hit by the risk-off sentiment in markets and a larger-than-expected expansion in U.S. inventories.
  • That slide started to turn around in late trading, a move which continued this morning after the Saudis said they were phoning other oil producers to discuss responses to the sudden drop.
  • A barrel of West Texas Intermediate oil for September delivery was trading at $52.21by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, still more than a $1 below Wednesday’s opening level. 

(Source: Bloomberg)

Lasco Manufacturing Records Good Start to Financial Year Published: 07 August 2019

  • Lasco Manufacturing reported a modest increase in unaudited net profit for the three-month period ended June 30, 2019. Net profit moved up from $237.66Mn (EPS: $0.06) in 2018 to $282.42Mn (EPS: $0.07) in 2019 representing an 18.8% YoY growth.
  • Contributing to the improved performance were increased revenues of $55.03Mn (or 3.2%) together with a $14.15Mn increase in other operating income. Moreover, gross margin increased to 37% from 35% and can be attributed to the on-going improvement in operational efficiencies.
  • The stock has risen 16.8% since the start of the calendar year, closing Monday’s trading session at $4.32 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 15.74x earnings which is below the Junior Market Manufacturing sector average of 33.23x.

(Source: LASM Financials)