Latest News

Unemployment Continues Downward Trajectory Published: 22 January 2019


  • In October 2018, the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent which represents a reduction of 180 bps relative to the  10.5 percent recorded in October 2017.


  • The largest change in employment by industry group was in ‘Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities’ which increased by 9,700 persons, (11.9%) moving from 81,700 in October 2017 to 91,400 in October 2018.


  • The increase in employment for females was more than twice that of males, the number of employed males increased by 4,300 to 672,400 and employed females by 10,100 to 547,300.


  • It must also be noted that there was a reduction in the number of unemployed persons and a simultaneous decline in the labor force. 


(Source: STATIN Press Release)

Iron Rock Makes Small Profit in UN-audited Year End Results Published: 22 January 2019

  • The company earned profits that amounted to $0.8Mn (EPS: $0.00) in the 12 months ending December 2018, which is a significant improvement over the prior year loss of $47.8Mn (EPS: $0.22) in 2017.


  • Management credits the results to the strong performance of the insurance portfolio, as evidenced by the improvement in profit commissions and very low loss ratios in its motor and liability classes.


  • The stock appreciated by 73% in 2018 and has remained unchanged at $4.90 since the beginning of 2019.


(Source: Unaudited Year-End Financial Statements)

GHL independents approve NCB offer Published: 22 January 2019

  • Independent directors of Westmoorings-based insurance company, Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL), have recommended that all GHL shareholders accept NCB Financial Group’s (NCB) offer of US$2.79 per share takeover bid.


  • It is the considered view of the board that acquisition of a controlling interest in GHL by NCB will confer on GHL a number of benefits,” the board stated.


  • It also said NCB was a major, profitable, fast-growing and forward-looking Caribbean financial institution, whose shares are listed on the Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchanges.


(Source: Trinidad Express

IMF Chair Christine Lagarde Cuts global growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5% Published: 22 January 2019

  • IMF Chair Christine Lagarde cuts global growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5% from 3.7%.


  • Speaking at the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, she said the move was due to the high level of economic risks that are accelerating around the globe


  • These include the US/China trade war, Brexit and China’s slowing economy.


(Source: CNBC)

Oil Prices Slump Published: 22 January 2019


  • In commodities, oil prices fell more than 1% as pessimism about world growth stoked concerns over future crude demand.


  • S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 70 cents, or about 1.3%, at $53.34 a barrel, while International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.87 per barrel, down 87 cents, or around 1.4%.


  • Weekly data on U.S. crude supplies from the American Petroleum Institute will be delayed to Wednesday, one day later than usual, due to Monday's holiday.



No move Published: 18 January 2019

  • Political standoffs are in fashion this season, with Brexit talks going nowhere right now.


  • Prime Minister Theresa May is refusing to move on her “red lines” as she tries to reach a compromise with parliamentary opponents.


  • She also canceled plans to attend Davos. Currency markets are relatively sanguine, with the pound trading close to $1.30 this morning, but bond investors are worried.


(Source: Bloomberg)

US officials debate lifting tariffs on China to get a trade deal: WSJ Published: 18 January 2019

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering a proposal to lift some or all U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in a bid to push trade talks between the U.S. and China, further along, sources tell the newspaper.


  • Shares spiked when the news broke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1% before settling back.


  • Both countries have slapped tariffs on each other's goods in an escalating trade dispute.


(Source: CNBC)

Currency Unification Still Likely In Cuba, But Timeline Remains Foggy Published: 18 January 2019

  • Fitch believes that Cuba will likely unify its dual exchange rate system in the quarters ahead, given the economic costs imposed by the current system.


  • Exchange rate reform will provide tailwinds to growth over the long term, by making exports more competitive and reducing the complexity of pricing systems.


  • Fitch forecasts that unification will take place in 2019, though they acknowledge substantial risks to this view given the opacity of the Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) and concerns about the impact of the move on political stability.

(Source: Fitch)

T&T's External Accounts To Be Supported By Export Strength Published: 18 January 2019


  • Fitch expects Trinidad & Tobago’s current account surplus to widen in 2019 on the back of increased energy exports.


  • Higher natural gas prices will support export growth while T&T’s managed exchange rate will constrain imports.


  • Nevertheless, T&T’s overall external position will continue to weaken due to capital outflows, forcing the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) to further draw down foreign reserves.

(Source: Fitch)

Slight Decline In Jamaica’s Remittance For First Three Quarters In 2018 Published: 18 January 2019

  • For the period January to September 2018, Jamaica recorded net remittance inflows of US$1,553.3Mn, which represents a decline of 0.3% or US$4.8Mn relative to the corresponding period in 2017.


  • The decrease reflected a marginal decline in remittance inflows by 0.1% or US$1.5Mn along with an increase of 1.9% or US$3.4Mn in outflows. The decrease in inflows was attributable to a decline of 0.5% in Remittance Companies partly offset by an increase of 2.6% in Other Remittances.


  • The largest source market of remittances to Jamaica in September 2018 remained the USA (63.1%), which saw an increase in its share from 62.5% recorded September 2017. The remaining share of remittances for September 2018 came from Canada (12.5%), followed by the UK and the Cayman Islands at 11.9% and 6.8 percent, respectively.


  • In contrast to Jamaica’s relatively flat growth rate for the month, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador registered growth rates of 15%, 11.9 %, and 9.6%, respectively. Overall, the January to September 2018 period had gross remittance inflows totaling US$1,736.8Mn.

(Source: BOJ)