Crude oil plunged 45% Monday

The price of West Texas crude has plunged 45 percent to the lowest level in decades, with the price hitting US$10.85.

Imports of fuel fell in 2016

On Thursday, the price dipped to close on the world market at US$19.73 from over US$62 in December last year. The fall takes place even as major oil producers agreed to cut production by nearly 10 million barrels a day, effective May.
The news is terrible for oil-producing countries but a tremendous gift to net importers of the commodity. In the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana net exporters of the product will be negatively affected, net importers in the rest of the Caribbean will enjoy a windfall should the low price persist. Jamaica will find the plunge a great gift as it will play a huge role in offsetting the fall in revenues from the tourist trade as at the current price, the country would save around one billion per year.
For consumers, the drop means lower fuel prices, electricity charges, but the government will see less advalorem taxes on petrol collected.

Junior Market up 33% from March low

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange continues its recovery from the savage decline of March and is back to levels reached in the first week of that month and is up 33 percent from the March low.
Within half an hour of trading, the Junior Market Index crossed over the 2,700 points mark to 2,706.06 and is up 63.25 points from Thursday close and is ahead of the March 5 ending of 2,656.41 points but lower than the close on March 4 of 2,758.76, but is some distance from the February close of 2,911.92.
The Main Market continues to recover and the All Jamaica Composite Index is up 5,703.56 points to 443071.44 and is above the March 16 close of 434,832.42.

Trans Jamaican Highway trades at $1.02

Shares of Trans Jamaican Highway trades at $1.02 after listing this morning. The stock that was sold to the public at $1.41 in February traded 17,804,223 up to $1.39 at 11.18 AM and has fallen 28 percent from the Initial Public Offer in the Jamaican dollar market but far less based on US dollar trading.
Bids in the market to buy are sparse with twenty bids to buy between $1.02 and a low of 50 cents, while sellers are dominant with 600 on the offer to sell from $1.03 upwards.
The public offer attracted 36,062 applicants and was oversubscribed and with a total intake of $25.12 billion.
The public offer attracted 36,062 applicants and was oversubscribed and with an intake of $25.12 billion.
The Concession Company and the Public Sector Employees reserve shares pool were undersubscribed. The excess was transferred to the Registered Pension Funds and E-Tag Reserve Pools. Applicants in the Registered Pension Funds Reserve and E-Tag Reserve Pool were fully allotted based on transfers to the Registered Pension Funds and E-Tag Reserve Pools. Underwriters Reserve Pool was allocated shares on a pro-rata basis as the pool was oversubscribed, with the excess moved to the General Public Pool.
Allocation to the General Public as a result of oversubscription was allocated up to 10,000 shares with applications in excess of 10,000 shares allocated increments of a further 10,000 shares until all shares were allocated.
Trans Jamaica came to the market at a PE ratio of 24 times 2020 earnings. Since the opening of the IPO much has happened in the capital market with prices falling sharply with the spread of the Coronavirus. Importantly, since March traveling around Jamaica has declined and that is expected to affect the revenues for the highway as long as business activity remains low.

Palace Amusement closes cinemas

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In the wake of COVID 19 in Jamaica and recent reports of community spread, the management of Palace Amusement Company has taken the decision to close its four cinemas – Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex in Kingston, Sunshine Palace in Portmore and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay – until further notice.

Carib Cinema, the flagship for Palace Amusement.

This on the heels of increased sanitization measures rolled by the Company this week to help minimize threats to valued patrons and its staff alike.
Marketing Manager, Melanie Graham says that Palace Amusement is now in unchartered territory with the uncertainties of this global pandemic. “We have been watching developments closely and staying tuned to local advisories on the virus since the news of COVID 19 broke earlier this week”, she said. “This has been a challenging week but we have made the difficult decision to close in the best interest of patrons and our employees alike. We will certainly be hard hit on many levels and at this time we are unable to project when we will resume”.
Globally the movie industry is undergoing a sharp downturn due to COVID 19, as producers and film companies continue to pull their pictures.
Among blockbusters which have been rescheduled, are the highly anticipated Fast and Furious 9 now pushed back one year to April 2021, No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie, now set be released in November and Disney’s Mulan and New Mutants which are delayed without any new release dates attached.
The fallout has also hit Alternative Content now shown exclusively at Palace Cineplex, with the Met Opera’s recent announcement of the cancellation of all performances through March 31.
“Palace Amusement wishes to extend heartfelt sympathy to all persons and families affected by COVID 19. We all have to do our part to ensure that we get through this difficult period in the best way possible.” Graham concluded.

GCT drops to 15% in April

Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance

The Minister of Finance announced a cut in GCT by 1.5 percentage points to 15 percent, effective April and will results in a loss in revenues of $14 billion as he announced a raft of measures that will result in tax reduction and subsidies for some entities and low-income earners.
The across the board reduction in the GCT tax rate is the first such reduction since the tax was introduced in the early 1990s. The adjustment follows calls by Leader of the PNP’s Peter Phillips for a 2.5 cent point reduction in the tax rate. The government is reducing the asset tax on financial institutions by 50 percent, takes effect in the next fiscal year. The removal will reduce the added cost of providing services by financial institutions to the public and amounts to $3.2 billion in lost revenues.
The SME sector will benefit from a new SME tax credit of $350,000 for 2020 onwards and will cost an estimated $1 billion. They are reducing fees paid for import licenses by Agricultural boards by 50 percent effective April. Reduction in fees paid to Trade Board for import license by 50 percent.

TransJamaican IPO pulled in $25.5B

Ministry of Finance, Dr. Nigel Clarke in his budget presentation in the Jamaica Parliament stated that the TransJamaican Highway IPO pulled in $25.5 billion from 36,428 applicants.
National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) that owned all the 12.5 billion ordinary shares that are issued, 8 billion ordinary shares at $1.41 each and they upsize the offer by an additional 2 billion shares.initial
the issue attracted more applications than the 31,000 brought in by Wigton Windfarm. The shares went to the market at a PE ratio of 24 times earnings and will hit the market at a time when the market values have declined sharply since the debut of the IPO in February.

Oil prices plunged

Jamaica and the majority of Caribbean nations got some great news on Sunday, with the price of oil plunging 27 percent to just over US$30 per barrel.

Oil prices fell sharply in 2016 as well

Oil traded over $65 per barrel late 2019 but has fallen to the low US$50 recently. The price opened at US$32.87 and traded as low as $30 on Sunday, Jamaica time. The price is back to where it was in early 2016 when it tumbled from just over US$100 per barrel. According to Market Watch, a USA publication, Asian stock markets plunged Monday after global oil prices nosedived on worries a global economy weakened by a virus outbreak might be awash in too much crude.
Jamaica, a heavy oil user, imports around 20 million barrels per year and could save nearly US$400 million per annum if the price were to stay around these levels. If the price holds, it will result in gasoline price dropping, electricity bills will fall, but the government will collect far less taxes on petroleum.

Worse day for Jamaican Stocks

The Jamaica Stock Exchange suffered it worse day with a fall of 24,224.80 points off the Composite index on Thursday, beating the 14,424.69 points fall on Tuesday when the market closed at 511,165.47.
Main Market stock suffering significant declines include NCB Financial $1.55, Caribbean Cement $2, PanJam Investments $2.01, Scotia Group $2, Sygnus Credit $3.30 and Wisynco off $2.45.
The Junior Market that has been under pressure some months and fell 99.62 points on Wednesday dropped another 102.35 points on Thursday, to close at 2,656.41. Junior Market stocks that suffered the greatest losses that to Thursday’s sharp fall include Access Financial down $2.11, Blue Power off 56 cents, Cargo Handlers with a loss of 96 cents Express Catering falling 46 cents, General Accident down 80 cents, Knutsford Express off by 65 cents and Stationery and Office Supplies down 75 cents.

Caribbean Assurance oversubscribed

Caribbean Assurance Brokers Initial Public Offer of shares to the public closed shortly after opening on Tuesday, February 18, with the issue oversubscribed, Mayberry Investments, brokers for the issue announced.
Caribbean Assurance Brokers offered 52.5 million ordinary shares at the price of $1.91 per share to the general public and selected group of subscribers.  Mayberry will advise Applicants of the preliminary basis of allotment of the shares by Friday, February 21, under the Junior Market Rules of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (“JSE”). The Company has made an application to list the shares on the Junior Market of the JSE.
The stock is attractively priced and is likely to surge sharply after the issue opens for trading.

Sweet River delisted from Junior Market

Sweet River Abattoir and Supplies became the first Junior Market company to have its shares delisted from the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The delisting is effective on Monday, February 10, 2020. According to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, “the delisting is in accordance with Junior Market Rule 505 (14) (a) (i) and the Company’s failure to remedy Board Level and financial requirements breaches.
Sweet River was listed in2014 and the shares were undersubscribed, leaving the company short of critical working capital to function properly, as it embarked on building out a new abattoir. The targeted in the IPO was to raise $180 million from the sale of 46.6 million shares to the public, but subscribers only applied for approximately 30.6 million shares amounting to $118 million. Recently, the company’s land and buildings were auctioned off and acquired by the purchaser for far less than the more than $300 million they are recorded on the books.
Sweat River ran up losses of $124 million up to June 2019, according to the last interim report the company released to the JSE and had a net worth of just $19 million.