Treasury bill rates inched higher

Bids for Treasury bills for three offerings for the government of Jamaica that were auctioned on November 15 in the amounts of $700 million each resulted in modest increase in two and a slight decline in another.
The auction attracted $826,712,000 for the 91 days issue, $1,097,475,700 for the 182 days bill and $1.997 billion for the 283 issue. The bills attracted in less amounts than the previous auction in October by $895 million and $1.4 billion each for the other two issues.
Average Yield ended at 1.95181 percent for the 91 days instrument, up from 1.786 percent in October. The 182 days Treasury bill inched up to 1.98594 percent from 1.954 percent but the 283 instrument, slipped modestly, to 2.05676 percent from 2.064 percent.

Inflation moderates in October

Prices in Jamaica increased in October but at a slightly slower pace than in September according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in a release today.
“The All Jamaica Consumer Price Index for October recorded an inflation rate of 0.7 percent”, the report from Statin said, down from 1.1 percent in September. The movement in the October CPI was influenced by a 1.7 percent increase, for Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Prices for vegetables and starchy foods resulting in the group Food moving upwards by 1.8 percent. The Transport division increased by 0.5 percent as a result of an increase in the price for petrol and air travel.
The increases were tempered by a 1.3 percent decline in the division Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels due mainly to reduced rates for electricity despite the increased rates for water and sewage, the Statin report stated. The index

Crude price in sharp fall coupled with J$ appreciation to create negative inflation ahead.

for the group Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels fell by 2.5 percent while, the group Water Supply and Miscellaneous Services Related to Dwelling advanced by 0.5 percent.
The calendar year-to-date inflation was 3.5 percent while the movement in the index for the fiscal year-to-date was 3.8 percent with inflation over the last 12 months being 4.7 percent.
The higher inflation rate came as a result of the rate of exchange of the Jamaican dollar sliding from around $125 to one US dollar in May to a low of $137.95, that would have helped to push up the prices of imported items and petroleum and spiked inflation that ran at a negative rate up to May. Since October when the survey would have been done, the rate of exchange for the Jamaican dollar appreciated J$132.17 to the US dollar and since then appreciated further to J$126.58 to the US dollar and seems set to enjoy further appreciation.

Early Xmas present for Jamaicans

Imports of fuel fell in 2016

Consumers are set to get early Christmas present thanks to a sharply appreciating local dollars and a big drop in the price of oil.
The price of West Texas Crude oil is now down to 55.73 per barrel for the first time in almost a year. The price was at US$55.33 at the start of November last year and started to climb sharply after December to hit US$71 by mid-May this year and just over US$76.40 at the beginning of October before it started a steep decent to today’s level. The technical chart suggest that it could go lower still with excess supplies on the world market and slowing demand.
The cut in price has several implications for Jamaica that is a big importer of the product. It could mean savings in Foreign exchange around US$40 million per month at the current price. It will ease consumers cost as prices of petrol and electricity fall, but government will collect less taxes from petrol and GCT from JPS bills.
The fall also has implications for Bank of Jamaica with their inflation targeting, pitched extremely high originally at more than 4 percent and revised recently down to 3.5 percent on the low end for the fiscal year to March 2019. Those targets seem off as the fall in the price of oil coupled with the sharp revaluation of the local dollar is set to push the country through another round of deflation once more.

Lowest unemployment for Jamaica

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Jamaica’s unemployment dropped to the lowest on record at 8.4 percent in July 2018, down from July 2017 when the rate was 11.3 percent. The previous lowest unemployed rate was 8.6 percent reached on October 2007 before the country economy went into contraction.
Importantly, 1,226,400 persons were employed in July this year, an increase of 12,800 above the number recorded in July 2017. Helping with the sharp reduction in the rate of employment, was a simultaneous reduction in the number of persons in the labour force to 1,338,200 persons, a decrease of 2.2 percent compared to July 2017, Statin stated in their release of the data.
The male labour force, of 723,600 persons in July 2018 decreased by 1.5 percent relative to July 2017 while the female labour force decreased by 3 percent to 614,600 persons. The number of males employed increased by 5,900 to 681,800 while female employment increased by 6,900 to 544,600.

Construction saw increased employment.

The number of persons employed in the Construction industry in July 2018 increased by 9,400 persons to 103,700, compared to July 2017. A similar increase was observed in this industry for employed males. Among employed females, Wholesale & Retail, Repair of Motor Vehicle & Equipment industry accounted for the largest increase in employment of 5,200 moving to 129,400 in July 2018.
The number of unemployed persons declined by 27.7 percent to 111,800 persons in July 2018, compared to July 2017. The number of unemployed males decreased by 28.6 percent to 41,800, while unemployed females decreased by 27.2 percent to 70,000. Unemployed youth, aged 14 to 24 years, decreased by 14,600 persons to 45,200 in July 2018.

BOJ FX auction rate drops $1 to $132.75

The average rate for the sale of the US$10 auction sale by Bank of Jamaica in its regular B-FXITT Standard Intervention on Wednesday, fell by $1 to $132.74 this week from $133.75, in the previous week’s auction.
The central bank offered US$10 million to eligible bidders that attracted 31 bids amounting to $21.5 million, 17 bids were accepted and resulted in an average rate of $132.74. the out turn suggest that rates in the spot market for foreign exchange could decline in the next series of trading.
Interestingly, the highest bid was priced at $133.90 and the lowest at $130.83. The lowest bid that was successful was at $132.30 and received just 16.3 percent of the amount applied for.
The final scheduled auction for October will be on the 17th when US$10 million will be auctioned.
In trading on the foreign exchange market on Tuesday, dealers bought $46.28 million in US dollar currency at an average of $132.39, slightly below the rate in today’s auction. Dealers sold US$46.94 million at an average rate of $133.34 overall, trading of all currency amounted to just over $55.3 million for both selling and buying. In trading on Monday, US dollars purchase amounted to just US$20 million at an average rate of $131.11 and sale of US$34 million at $133.99.
On Monday overall, trading of all currencies, amounted to just over $25 million and US$36.74 million, buying and selling respectively.

All Jamaica hits record 418,000

Jamaica Stock Exchange All Jamaica Composite index hit the 418,000 mark in trading on Monday, as it gained 1,044.42 points to reach a record 418,000.53. The JSE Main Index rose 951.59 to a record 380,845.80 with 14 minutes of trading elapsing.
The Junior Market has moved modestly by 8.44 to 3,423.64.
The main market pulled back slightly with 22 minutes of trading passing, with the All Jamaica Composite Index at 417,968.53 and the JSE Main Index at 380,816.64 in a relatively quiet trading session so far.

Jamaican$ plunges below $134 to US$1

In another day of buoyant foreign exchange trading, the Jamaican dollar pushed below the $134 mark for one US dollar at the close of the market on Friday.
Dealers bought US$48.8 million at an average rate of $132.914 and sold US$46 million at $133.80 bettering the closing rate on Thursday of $134.02 for the $40.32 million sold and a bit higher than the $132.88 for the US$30.92 Million bought by dealers.
Overall the market had US$56.6 million of inflows of all currencies and US$53.17 million of sales on Friday compared to the buying of US$45.26 and the selling of US$44.58 million of all currencies.
Friday’s rate is the lowest since July 24, when it averaged $134.05 with July 23 just below at $133.39. The local dollar slipped to its lowest level ever on August 23, this year at $137.96

All Jamaica pass 415,000 Points

Gains in Grace Kennedy, Scotia Group, Seprod and NCB Financial were mostly responsible in pushing Jamaica Stock Exchange main market to a new record high in early trading on Friday.
The All Jamaica Composite Index jumped 7,892.89 points to a record 415,112.65 and the JSE Index surged by 7,191.32 points to a record of 378,214.61 points after 41 minutes of opening of the market.
The Junior Market has not participated in the bullishness and slipped 3.76 points to 3,397.17.

J$ rate could make more gains

The rate of exchange for the Jamaican dollar versus the US dollar could fall below the J$134 mark at the close of trading on Thursday for the first time since the early summer.
At mid-day on Thursday, the average rate for selling US dollar, declined to J$133.999 for one US dollar, down from $134.25 on Wednesday, $134.43 on Tuesday and $134.51 on Monday.
In Thursday trading, at mid-day, dealers bought $14 million in United States dollars and sold $12 million while they bought Can$ 15 million and sold just $4 million. That compares with Can$ 5 million being purchased on Wednesday and selling of Can$11 million.
The softening in the rate for the US dollar comes from the Bank of Jamaica’s weekly intervention into the market, by a scheduled sale of US$10 million on Wednesday.
BOJ next scheduled sale is US$10 million each on 10th and 17th of October with none planned on October 24.

Fall in Scotia pushed market down

Scotia Group dropped to $56 from $61 close of Wednesday, Grace Kennedy fell to $61 from $63 and from a trade at $75 in early trading and Jamaica Broilers fell to $28 from $31 and pulled the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange under water, with 45 minutes of trading left for the day.
All the gains earlier in the morning that pushed the market into record territory was given up with the All Jamaica Composite Index pulling back 1,892.60 points from Wednesday’s close, to trade at 406,560 and the JSE Index fell 1,724.38 points to 370,422.16.
Earlier, the All Jamaica Composite Index on Wednesday moved higher by 3,093.31 points to a record 411,545.91.