Online Banking

Latest News

TransJamaican Highway Limited (TJH) Announces Big Dividends Amid Stellar Performance Published: 27 September 2023

  • TransJamaican Highway Limited (TJH) has announced an exciting development for its shareholders. On September 26, 2023, the company's Board of Directors declared an interim dividend payment of JMD$0.1866 per share.
  • This dividend payment will be extended to shareholders on record as of the close on October 10, 2023, with the actual payment slated for October 25. Potential investors should note the ex-dividend date is set for October 09, 2023.
  • As of September 26, 2023, the dividend yield stood at an impressive 7.3%, notably higher than its average yield of 6.3% since its listing on the stock exchange.
  • This dividend declaration can be attributed to the company’s strong performance which came on the back of a significant reduction in operating expenses since the acquisition of Jamaican Infrastructure Operator (JIO), coupled with increased revenues driven by rate adjustments and increased traffic flow.
  • That said, the company has reported a whopping 387% increase in year-to-date profit, and its cash generated from operations has surged by 71%. This financial robustness places TJH in a strong position in the market and augurs well for both current and potential investors.
  • TJH's stock price has surged year to date by 99.3%, closing at $2.79 on September 27, 2023, with a P/E of 14.8x. Future prospects for TJH seem promising. The company aims to ride on the momentum of its recent JIO acquisition and has detailed plans to go cashless by 2028. By embracing technologies like debit and credit cards, along with the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for toll payments, TJH expects to boost operational efficiency. This digital transition can significantly reduce costs, positioning TJH at the forefront of technological advancement in the sector.
  • The company remains vigilant in exploring opportunities to further its market position and extend its profitability horizon. A cornerstone of this expansion strategy involves the potential operation of the new leg of Highway 2000 East-West (‘Phase 1C’, 28km between May Pen and Williamsfield). With the recent completion of this new leg, TJH holds the right of refusal to purchase a Concession that allows it to either partially or fully own, manage, and operate this leg.

(Source: JSE)

Legislation Passed to Integrate Audit Commission Functions into Finance Ministry Published: 27 September 2023

  • The House of Representatives, on Tuesday (September 19), passed legislation to provide for the integration of the functions of the Audit Commission into the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
  • Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who piloted the Financial Administration and Audit (Amendment) (no.2) Act, 2023, explained that the move is in keeping with the government’s policy on the categorisation and rationalisation of public bodies under the public-sector rationalization programme.
  • This includes merging, closing and divesting entities and reintegrating others. The objective is to “achieve a reduction in their numbers as well as facilitate improved operational efficiencies”.
  • The Audit Commission was established as a statutory body according to Section 33 (C), subsection one of the FAA Act. It is charged with evaluating the performance of audit committees within government departments to ensure their continued effectiveness, promoting best practices in the operation of audit committees, monitoring the performance of each audit committee against its Charter, and performing such other functions as are assigned to it by the Minister, among other things

(Source: JIS News)

Trinidad & Tobago: Inflation Decreasing; But Only Slightly Published: 27 September 2023

  • The Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported a 0.2% decrease in inflation for the month of August for Trinidad and Tobago, according to a release of its retail price index on Friday.
  • The inflation rate, measured as a percentage change in the average all items index, for January to August 2023/2022 amounted to 6.2%, compared to 6.4% for the period January-July 2022/2023.
  • The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages decreased from 147.5 in July to 147.0 in August, reflecting a decrease of 0.3%.
  • Contributing significantly to this decrease was the general downward movement in the prices of tomatoes, white flour, parboiled rice, melongene, ochroes, soya bean oil, chilled or frozen chicken, celery, cheddar cheese and eddoes.
  • However, the full impact of these price decreases was offset by the general increases in the prices of chilled or frozen beef or pork, fresh beef, whole chicken (fresh or frozen), Irish potatoes, plantains, green pigeon peas, steak (fresh) and garlic.
  • Notwithstanding, though this August 2023 figure represents a month-on-month decrease, the country's inflation rate for August was 1.3 percentage points (pp) higher than the 4.9% recording during the period January-August 2022/2021.

(Sources: Central Statistical Office of Trinidad and Tobago & T&T Newsday)

Dominican Republic: More Property Regulations To Come Published: 27 September 2023

  • The informality of property is a historical evil that dates back more than 60 years with about 60% of the country’s properties not formally regularized or titled, said Héctor Pérez Mirambeaux, general director of the National Cadastre (DGCN).
  • To face this problem, the DGCN, the Ministry of Finance, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the Project for the Development and Implementation of the Geographic Information System to strengthen cadastral information and improve access to services for the population.
  • The system seeks to strengthen the process of land registration and titling while having a more reliable real estate inventory, allowing the application of valuation techniques that will positively impact revenue management and strengthen the cash availability of the treasury.
  • The Vice-Minister of the Treasury, Derby de los Santos, said that by having a better capacity to know the cadastral information of the country, the State could simultaneously increase its revenue collection capacity. He emphasized that the investment to create this system is a loan of more than US$500,000 from the IDB.
  • On the other hand, Ariel Zaltsman, IDB’s leading specialist in tax management, explained that this system is part of the Program to Improve the Efficiency of Tax Administration and Public Expenditure Management. As part of this program, the design of the geo-referencing application in an open-source tool and the acquisition of a geo-referencing tool and computer equipment have been financed so far.

(Source: Dominican Today)

Oil Headed For $150 Without U.S. Support For More Drilling, Shale Executives Say Published: 27 September 2023

  • Oil is headed as high as $150 a barrel unless the U.S. government does more to encourage exploration, according to Continental Resources Inc., the shale driller controlled by billionaire Harold Hamm.
  • Crude output in the Permian basin will one day peak as it already has in rival shale fields such as the Bakken region of North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas, Continental Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. Without new exploration, “you’re going to see $120 to $150” oil, he said.
  • “That’s going to send a shock through the system,” he said on the sidelines of Hamm’s first-ever American Energy Security Summit in Oklahoma City. Without policies encouraging new drilling, “you’re going to see more price pressure.”
  • Sprinkled among pro-oil presentations from Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Solomon, shale executives issued calls for the Biden administration to adopt consistent policies that will allow them to drill more. Failure to do so, they warned, will lead to tighter energy supplies and higher prices. 
  • Haley said she would seek to boost domestic energy production by expanding drilling, speeding up permitting and building interstate pipelines. She also vowed to roll back some energy subsidies and regulations and revive the Keystone XL project.

(Source: Bloomberg)

Hedge Funds Boost Bearish Bets On US Equities Amid Market Jitters Published: 27 September 2023

  • Hedge funds increased their bearish bets mainly on U.S. stocks last week when the major stock indexes plunged, Goldman Sachs showed in a report. The bank said its clients mostly added short positions while also getting rid of long positions. Among sectors, consumer discretionary, industrials and financials were the most net sold.
  • "Hedge funds have been pressing U.S. shorts in five of the past six weeks, and this week's notional short selling was the largest since Sept. 22," Goldman Sachs' prime brokerage team wrote.
  • After a tumultuous week for stocks, as Treasury yields hit 16-year highs, all three major U.S. stock indexes posted weekly losses, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq registering their largest Friday-to-Friday percentage drops since March.
  • Goldman Sachs also said hedge fund managers decided to unwind risk last week, mostly by selling long equity positions. "This week's notional de-grossing activity in Japan – long and short combined – was the largest since December 2021," the bank said.

(Source: Reuters)

Derrimon Trading, Intcomex Partner To Roll Out Electronics Store   Published: 26 September 2023

  • Derrimon Trading Limited has formed a partnership with Intcomex, a distributor of computer products, to operate an electronics store. The operation will be under the brand, Select Tech. 
  • So far, the companies have invested $100 million in establishing and stocking a retail outlet on the mezzanine of a newly opened Select Grocers store in the Clarendon-based mall, but the investment is expected to nearly double by the end of the year as the partners expand the store's product offerings. Select Grocers is a supermarket business controlled by Derrimon.
  • Select Tech now sells electronic items such as games, phones, computers, printers, television sets, network and cabling equipment, and other small appliances, but it wants to expand its offers to include vehicle radios, smart home fixtures and fittings, security cameras, and other items.
  • Derrimon intends to present Select Grocers as a one-stop shop with the opening of the new Select Tech store, which will eventually resemble a miniature version of the American Best Buy chain.
  • With this new move to expand its offerings, we expect to see some improvement in Derrimon’s performance over the coming quarters.

(Source:  RJR News)

A More Sustainable Tourism Product is the Sector’s Future Published: 26 September 2023

  • Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett, has called on industry stakeholders to play a critical role in promoting a more sustainable tourism sector. He noted that travellers, industry workers and policymakers all have the power to make a difference.
  • The Minister made the call in a speech delivered by the Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, David Dobson, at the Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) Thanksgiving church service held at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God, St. James on Sunday (September 24).
  • While the COVID-19 pandemic provided an unprecedented opportunity for Jamaica to reimagine tourism for the future, a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient model needs to be developed.
  • He noted that the country is ahead of the curve, with a tourism growth strategy that is centred on strengthening linkages with other sectors of the economy, increasing benefits for residents and communities, promoting broader participation through training and certification, and ensuring the safety, security, and sustainability of the environment.
  • Jamaica’s tourism sector has emerged as a key driver of the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery and maintains its dominance as the largest generator of foreign exchange, a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and a significant source of employment. Jamaica welcomed 3.3 million visitors and generated US$3.7 billion in earnings in 2022, and the trend has continued into 2023, with 2.77 million visitors and US$2.93 billion in revenue between January and August.
  • The country is on course to meet projections of 3.8 million visitors and foreign exchange earnings of US$4.1 billion by year-end which bodes well for the industry and by extension, the overall economy.

(Source:  JIS News)

Ageing Technology Fuels Electricity Demand Concerns In Dominica Published: 26 September 2023

  • Concern is growing from residents and officials alike, that Dominica is facing a mounting energy crisis. The island nation’s ageing power plants, once the backbone of its electricity supply, are now grappling to keep pace with the surging demand for energy.
  • This was disclosed at the press conference of Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC), with one of its top officials calling the situation to be “insufficient generation capacity.”
  • “We have been seeing in 2023 increased consumption, what you call increased load, so our peak so far for the year is 17.62 megawatts,” DOMLEC Manager Bertilia McKenzie explained. She went on to highlight the contrast with 2021 when the peak was 16.38 megawatts, representing a significant increase of over 1 megawatt in customer consumption in 2023 compared to two years prior. In 2022, the peak was also high at 16.35 megawatts.
  • McKenzie emphasized that not only are Dominicans consuming more power in 2023, but DOMLEC is also grappling with the challenge of ageing machinery.
  • To promptly tackle the emergency, DOMLEC is leasing two megawatts of temporary generation from an outside source. McKenzie also stressed the need for additional generation, citing Dominica’s first geothermal plant that will be commissioned “in a few years.”
  • The construction of the plant, which is expected to generate 10,000 kilowatts, is ongoing with transmission networks currently being set up as the next phase of the project.

(Source: Caribbean News Now)

Traders Aren't Buying the Fed's 'Higher-For-Longer' Vision Published: 26 September 2023

  • It's a now-familiar dance: Federal Reserve officials signal to the world that interest rates are not dropping anytime soon. Financial markets respond with bets to the contrary. That dynamic, which has played out repeatedly over the course of a U.S. central bank policy tightening regime that began 18 months ago, was back on full display last week.
  • Forecasts published on Wednesday by the U.S. central bank showed that a majority of its policymakers see the Fed's benchmark overnight interest rate ending this year at 5.6%, which implies one more interest rate hike in the next three months. They also now anticipate an end-of-2024 policy rate of at least 5.1%, half a percentage point higher than they projected three months ago.
  • Meanwhile, interest rate futures contracts continue to price in only about a 50% chance of further tightening in 2023, and see a 4.65% policy rate by the end of next year. Also, that disagreement over the policy trajectory, while not unusual, could complicate the Fed's efforts to smother inflation, if easier financial conditions spur spending or investment that rekindles price pressures.
  • Inflation by the Fed's preferred measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index, peaked in the summer of 2022 at 7% and had fallen to 3.3% this past July. With non-housing services inflation still sticky, Fed officials project underlying inflation pressures will ease only slowly from here.
  • Financial markets may be more optimistic about easing price pressures than the more guarded Fed policymakers. "We continue to expect a faster pace of fed funds rate cuts than what the Fed currently projects, as we're anticipating a faster pace of inflation reduction," said Preston Caldwell, chief U.S. economist at Morningstar, predicting core PCE inflation will drop to 1.9% by the end of next year. Fed policymakers see end-of-2024 core inflation at 2.6%.

(Source: Reuters)