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Fiscal Reforms In Nicaragua Unlikely To Drive Significant Deficit Reduction Published: 02 August 2019

  • Nicaragua’s fiscal deficit will remain wide in 2019, as a severe economic contraction will weigh on government revenues.
  • While the February 2019 passage of a tax and pension reform is likely to improve the country’s long-term fiscal trajectory, the impact in 2019 is likely to fall short of government projections.
  • Fitch Solutions forecast Nicaragua’s fiscal deficit will narrow slightly to 3.8% of GDP in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020, from 4.0% in 2018.

(Source: Fitch)

Trade with China jumps 44.1% to US$1.4Bn in first half Published: 02 August 2019

  • Trade between China and the Dominican Republic was US$1.4 billion in the first six months, a 44.1% jump, said Chinese ambassador Zhang Run. He said with the confidence in the country’s political stability, trade relations will develop at a considerable pace.
  • The diplomat spoke in a meeting with the Dominican Republic Merchants Federation chaired by Iván García, who said they’ll continue doing business with greater legal certainty and confidence with Chinese exports to the country. “We will propel exports from the country to the Asian nation.”

(Source: Dominican Today

Trump’s Latest Tariff Threat Betrays Impatience for a China Deal Published: 02 August 2019

  • Having waited all week for an update on how the latest round of trade talks between the U.S. and China were going, President Donald Trump answered that question emphatically with a series of tweets.
  • Trump said the U.S. will impose 10% tariffs on another $300Bn of Chinese goods not already subject to levies. The final list of which has yet to be released but it is likely to include consumer goods and tech.
  • The effects of Trump’s tweets were seen in Treasury yields which dropped the lowest levels since 2016; oil also took a beating and is now on track for a loss this week, and stock traders were caught in the midst of a brutal 48 hours between the Federal Reserve decision and the tariffs.
  • It leaves an already-struggling global economy steeling itself for more difficulties and has analysts asking questions about when China’s currency may break through a key level against the dollar and what kind of opportunities it may bring for stock investors.

(Source: Bloomberg)

BOE Grapples With No-Deal Brexit Prospect: Decision Day Guide Published: 02 August 2019

  • Another topic on the tip of market watchers’ tongues all week has been no-deal Brexit, the increased threat of which has sent the pound tumbling lower.
  • The Bank of England decision on Thursday left markets confounded and likely only adds further to the uncertainty as the central bank effectively decided not to assume no-deal outcomes in its latest inflation reports, even as markets do just that.
  • The markets’ reactions appear warranted given the signals from the U.K.’s government, which has doubled its spending on preparations for leaving the European Union without a deal in place, but that’s been complicated by the government's majority being cut to one.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Mayberry’s Profit Plummets Published: 31 July 2019

  • Mayberry’s net profit for the six-month ended June 2019 plummeted to $97.17Mn (EPS: $0.09) which is a 79.5% drop from the $474.72Mn (EPS: $0.35) recorded in 2018.
  • Rising expenses and falling revenues have significantly contributed to the deterioration in performance. A decline in the net interest income and other revenues by $195.57Mn (or 16.2%), together with a 28.7% increase in operating expenses were the main drivers behind the pull-back in the company’s performance.
  • The stock has fallen 2.3% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $8.91 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/B of 0.54x book which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 2.49x.

(Source: Mayberry Investments Limited Financials)

Sagicor Reports Strong Financials Published: 31 July 2019

  • Net Profit for Sagicor Group increased 35.1% moving up from $5.28Bn (EPS: $1.36)  in June 2018 to $7.13Bn (EPS: $1.64) for the second quarter ended June 2019.  
  • This performance was supported strong earnings growth from most of its operating segments including Employee Benefits (+14.4%), Investment Banking (+238.2%), Commercial Banking (+35.1%) and Other Divisions (+328%), with the only exception being the Individual Lines that saw a 13.2% contraction year-on-year.
  • The stock has risen 56.2% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $58.52 per share. At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 14.89x which is below the Main Market Financial sector average of 23.60x.

(Source: Sagicor Group Financials)

AMLO dodges recession but growth grinds to a halt in Mexico Published: 31 July 2019

  • Mexico’s economy narrowly missed falling into recession in the second quarter, surprising most analysts, while posting growth well short of the pace pledged by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • GDP rose 0.1% quarter over quarter, better than all but one forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, according to preliminary data published Wednesday by the country’s statistics institute. However, on an annual basis it contracted a more-than-expected 0.7%, the most since 2009. The final figures are due out Aug. 23.
  • Bloomberg analysts are projecting Mexican growth of 1.0% this year, the slowest since the 2009 recession. Oviedo is even more pessimistic, estimating growth of 0.5% for the full year.

(Source: Bloomberg)

China Says U.S. Trade Talks to Continue With September Meeting Published: 31 July 2019

  • Chinese and U.S. negotiators concluded a round of ‘cordial’ trade talks, but there was little immediate evidence of progress being made toward ending their year-long dispute.
  • The talks, which began with U.S.  Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sitting down to dinner with Chinese counterparts on Tuesday, were the first in months.
  • Presumably, it was all politeness when the teams were face-to-face, despite U.S. President Donald Trump throwing barbs at the Asian nation on Twitter from the outset.
  • The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, responded to Trump on Wednesday with a commentary saying that China has no motive to “rip off” the U.S. and has never done so, and China won’t make concessions against its principles on trade.
  • China and the U.S. plan to meet again in September to extend trade talks, as the latest round of negotiations in Shanghai ended with signs the sides discussed Chinese purchases of American farm products -- a key demand of President Donald Trump.

(Source: Bloomberg)

All eyes on the Fed. Again Published: 31 July 2019

  • Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are widely expected to lower the federal funds rate by a quarter-point when they complete their two-day meeting this afternoon. 
  • Barring any surprises from that announcement, attention will be trained on Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference and whether he will give any hints on future easing.
  • That’s by no means a given, considering recent U.S. data. It’s a different story elsewhere: Numbers this morning showed economic growth in the euro area slowed by half in the second quarter, the latest in a string of reports flagging a deteriorating outlook which have investors mulling the chances of a return to central bank stimulus.

(Source: Bloomberg

Jamaican Teas reports improvement in profit Published: 26 July 2019

  • For the nine-month period ended June 30, 2019, Jamaican Teas (JAMT) reported a net profit of  $267.75Mn (EPS: $0.32)  representing a 103.9% improvement when compared to the $131.32Mn (EPS: $0.23) registered one year prior.
  • The main contributors to the improved performance were a decline in the cost of goods sold (32.4%) as well as an increase in other income to $206.92Mn, up from $61.77Mn in 2018.
  • Notably, the other income figure includes $126.30Mn for fair value gains on equity investments.    Excluding this, the company would have realized a normalized net profit of $150.30Mn for the current period, which represents a 14.9% improvement over the prior year.
  • JAMT’s stock has fallen 0.4% since the start of the calendar year, closing yesterday’s trading session at $4.48 per share.  At its current price, the stock now trades at a P/E of 10.77x earnings which is below the Junior Market Manufacturing sector average of 31.19x.

(Source: Jamaican Teas Financials)