Downward trend of murders in Jamaica

Murders in Jamaica have been on the increase since 1962, the year of independence and surged sharply after, averaging just under 1,000 per year between 1996 and 2003, peaking between 2004 to 2010 with an average of 1,545 per annum, followed by a substantially lower average of 1,136 between 2011 and 2016 with the average climbing back to 1,415 since then.
Close analysis suggests that murders in the country may have peaked but that there has been a steady decline since, with more to come. The decline this year is a continuation of the new downward trend.
In 1962, the year of independence for Jamaica, there were 63 murders which jumped by 153 percent over the 351 in 1979 to 889 in the politically charged murderous 1980. Murders have gotten out of control since, with respective governments unable to tackle this chronic problem and bring resolution to it.
From a surge in 1980, murders fell back to the 400 level but it gradually started to rise at the start of 1990 and broke the 1,000 mark in 1997 when there were 1,038 murders and remained elevated, hitting 1,471 in 2004 and then 1,674 the following year before hitting a new high of 1,683 in 2009.
In 2011, there were 1,133 murders down from 1,447 in 2010 following the incursion into Western Kingston by the security forces that seemed to have disrupted some of the criminal activities in certain areas in the country.
The accompanying chart shows murders peaking with a downward trajectory even before an 11 percent decline in 2023 to August. The data also shows that the upward trend was broken in 2010, with murders falling back below the red line, although it spiked higher for a few years, that has not really changed the downward drift as can be seen from the black line that is sloping downward after peaking in 2005. Barring some extraordinary developments murders are set to be lower than the 2023 figure and likely to be the in the range of 2018 to 2020 with an average of 1,316 murders.
The chart shows annual murder in Jamaica from 1962 onwards and reflects a scenario where the trend line in the early years put the country with a murder rate around 600 per annum assuming there were no developments to reduce the rate below that level.

General Accident to jump Junior Market

General Accident Insurance advises that it has successfully applied for graduation of its listed ordinary shares from the Junior Market to the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, which will take place effective September 27,

General Accident spreading wings

According to the company, since being listed on the Junior Market over ten years ago, the Company has grown its gross written premium almost seven-fold. In addition to its market leadership in Jamaica, the Company has established a regional presence in Barbados and Trinidad. The Directors of General Accident believe the successful application reflects its growth, increasing scope and ability to comply with the applicable governance standards for companies listed on the Main Market.
The company with more than $15 billion in annual premium income reported a profit of $577 million last year and $246 million for the six months to June this year up from just $41 million for the same period in 2022. projected profit of more than $1 billion for 2023.
The move follows Eppley another member of the Musson Group that migrated from the Junior Market in December 2018.

Jamaica’ NIR jumps to record high

Jamaica’s net international reserves continue to scale new heights closing at the end of August 2023 jumped US$299 million to a record month end balance of US$4.43 billion, up from US$4.13 billion at the end of July.
The main factor driving the reserve is a reduction of amounts due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of $362 million moving the figure from US$508 million in short term debt down to US$146 million at the end of August.
At the end of December last year, the reserves stood at US$3.978 billion and have climbed US$456 million for the year to date.

Sharp jump in tourist arrivals in July

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Visitor arrival numbers passing through the Montego Bay Sangster International Airport jumped sharply by 19.4 percent to 513,700 in July this year compared with 430.400 in 2022, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, operators of both local international airports reported.
The July 2023 numbers also jumped 15 percent over the 447,934 passengers using the airport in July 2019, the last year that the data was not affected by the disruption to the industry by Cocid19 pandemic. Passenger traffic through the Montego Bay Airport, for the year to date, is up a solid 25.8 percent to 3.17 million in 2023, over 2.52 million in 2022 and nearly 6 percent up on the 2.998 million in 2019.
Data from Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico also revealed that Kingston had a 2.9 percent increase in traffic to 181,700 from 176,600 in July 2022 and a 13 percent jump on the 204,948 that passed through the system in July 2019. For 2023 to date, 25.3 percent more passengers used the airport facilities to hit 1.011 million from 807,200 in 2022, but 5 percent less than the 1.06 million in 2019.

Jamaica’s unemployment drops to record low

Jamaica’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level on record in April 2023, with only 4.5 percent of persons said to be out of work, according to data released today by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) and is 1.5 percentage points lower than the 6 percent in April 2022.
There were 1,373,800 persons in the Labour Force, 23,500 or 1.7 percent more than in April 2022, but 43,300 persons gained employment, according to the official government body that collects the data.
The number of persons Outside the Labour Force in April this year was 725,700, a decrease of 20,700 or 2.8 percent compared to 746,400 in April 2022.

Biden appoints Jamaican to economic council

Dr C Kirabo Jackson

President Biden announced his intent to appoint Dr C. Kirabo Jackson to be a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers. Jackson an American-born Jamaican whose father Dr. Clement Jackson was head of the Planning Institute of Jamaica in the 1980s is the Abraham Harris Professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He is also a Professor of Economics, a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Jackson also attended Hillel in Kingston, Jamaica in his early formative years.
Currently, Jackson serves as the Editor-In-Chief of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. He was previously Co-Editor for the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and the Journal of Human Resources. Jackson earned his Bachelor’s in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University and obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. His research interests include labour economics, public finance, and applied econometrics, with a focus on the economics of education. His research has explored the role of teachers in the K-12 system, the causal impact of public-school spending on students, methods to measure impacts on students’ socio-emotional skills, and other education-related subjects.
His work has been published in the highest-impact economics journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, the American Economic Review: Insights, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, and the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. His research findings have garnered attention from numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington PostBloomberg, and others.
In 2020, Jackson was elected to the National Academy of Education and received the David N. Kershaw Award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in recognition of his contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management. In 2022, Jackson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honour that celebrates excellence and leadership across various disciplines and practices.

Remittance inflows rise for Jamaica

Remittance inflows into Jamaica continue to track close to the 2022 flows, with a slight reduction year to date, but inflows for May 2023 rose 2.4 percent over last year after a US$7 million increase to US$290 million, data out of the country’s central bank show and that was well up on the $272 million pulled in during April this year.
Inflows for the year to date are down marginally by 0.2 percent to US$1.36 billion compared to the same period in 2022.
The continued strong inflows seem tied to the robust economic activity in the country’s primary source – the United States of America, which accounted for 70 percent of the inflows.

Huge gains for TransJamaican directors

Directors and management at TransJamaican Highway (TJH) are enjoying a bountiful period of a fistful of dollars from their recent investment in the company’s shares fueled by a sharp cut in cost with the acquisition of the Subsidiary that was costing them around US$12 million per year and placing them in a position to enjoy a potential of more than tripling of profits over that generated in 2022 from ongoing operations.
Trades by directors and connected parties in listed companies may speak volumes about what is currently occurring in their operations and can be a short term signal to follow. Not all trades have immediate significance, as they may be for reasons unrelated to the company’s performance, like the need for cash or reallocation of investments; regardless, investors would be well advised to take a keen interest in such actions.
The latest announcement of worth is the sale of director TJH that sold 10,457,450 of the company’s shares on June 29, when the average price was $2.45 but traded as high as $2.50, this trade looks like profit taking and seems as if it connected with a big purchase by Steven Gooden who bought 20 million units on March 21, 2023 at a time when the stock was trading at an average of $1.35 with a total of 30.87 million being traded for the day, that included a 2.2 million purchase by a member of the Audit Committee and follows an 800,000 share purchase by a member of the Audit Committee on May 19, 2023. According to the financial report for March this year, John Bell, who previously owned 1.8 million shares, ended with 4.2 million shares, and Ian Dear owned 693,459 shares at the end of the quarter, with none in December. Susan Garriques moved her holdings from 5.042 million to 6.042 million.

Steven Gooden bought 20 million TJH shares in March 2023.

Gooden could have sold around 10.5 million units at $2.50 and fully paid for the 20 million he bought.
A senior manager bought 1,000,000 TJH shares on March 23 and March 24, a director bought 693,459 shares, this seems to be Ian Dear, and a member of the Audit Committee bought 200,000 TJH shares; the other previous trades took place between December 21 and 23, last year when the Chairman of the Audit Committee traded 1,091,164. Bell is the Chairman of the Audit Committee.
TJH released first quarter results with profit before tax of US$6.7 million, an increase of US$5.5 million compared to US$1.2 million for the first quarter of 2022. This increase in profitability mainly resulted from savings realized on the cost to operate the motorway following the acquisition of the Operator and now Subsidiary, plus higher revenues earned for the quarter. Net profit ended at US$5 million, up from just US$0.7 million for the 2022 quarter. has projected earnings to 0.02 US cents per share or 31 Jamaican cents, indicating much more room for the price to run. At a price that is now less than ten times 2023 earnings, the stock is Buy Rated.

SSL investors may soon hear about shares at JSE

Stock market investors who are clients of Stock and Securities with shares held in the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) may hear by next week if their accounts will be the subject of a sale of assets to another financial institution, a development that if were the happen would maximise the proceeds from all the company’s physical and intangible assets in the interest of all the company’s creditors.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange subsidiary

Stock market clients of SSL have been unable to trade their stocks since the Jamaica Stock Exchange terminated its Member Dealers Agreement with Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) effective February 24. Consequently, SSL and its clients were allowed to trade on the exchange.
Some SSL clients have been upset about their inability to trade, made worse by the absence of an update on the matter. contacted the Managing Director at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Marlene Street, to elicit her response on a number of issues relating to the ability of investors to get access to their shareholdings held through SSL.
What is the position of shareholders and their shares in the central depository?
Response:  Shareholders who have their securities deposited in the JCSD can rest assured that their securities are safe.  Ownership of these securities cannot be transferred without their consent.  Shareholders may view their statement from the JCSD Portal at or from the JSE’s website at”
Can shareholders access their shares now and if not, when and what is holding it up?
Response:  “All shares held by investors at the JCSD are held under the account of a Broker Participant.  To purchase or sell shares, an investor goes through their broker, the same applies if they desire to transfer their shares applies.  Since the shares are held under the account of SSL, in this instance, the JCSD cannot transfer securities without their concurrence.”
“ We have written to the Temporary Manager of SSL to request approval to transfer the securities held by JCSD SSL account holders to brokers of the investors’ choice.  We are aware that the Temporary Manager and the FSC are in discussions regarding same however, we await a final response to be able to guide the investors on how to access their shares.”

Sharp16% plunge in BOJ CD rate

The latest Bank of Jamaica 30 days CD offer on March 22 resulted in the first significant shift in interest rates, with the average rate plunging by 16 percent to 8.85 percent compared with the previous one held on March 17 2023, delivered an average rate of 10.54 percent.
The drop in rates and the amount of funds in BOJ CDs are the first signals that interest rates will be going down in the months ahead with the low level of inflation the country is now experiencing, with a monthly average of 0.20 percent monthly since November last year accompanied by revaluation of the local currency in recent weeks.
While the previous offer attracted 250 bids amounting to $14.98 billion with yields as high as 13.17 percent, the latest offer pulled in 348 bids valued at $57.86 billion, but only $18 billion was offered.
The highest successful bids for the March 22 offer received 9 percent, down sharply from the March 17 yield. BOJ cut the amount of funds held in CDs to $81.85 billion, down from $92.85 billion for the March 17 offer and $104.5 billion at the February 24 auction, which resulted in an average interest rate of 9.87 percent. BOJ has eased the tight liquidity that characterized the market for several weeks.