BOJ cd rate falls below 10%

Interest rate fell on Bank of Jamaica’s latest certificate of deposit offer to just 9.7 percent at an auction of $11 billion on Wednesday this week from over 10.02 percent at last week’s Wednesday regular offering, at $37 billion.
The auction attracted $33 billion from 361 applicants, with just 90 being successful. The highest bid clearing the auction was 9.98 percent. Following, the regular auction of last week, the Central Bank placed an unscheduled offer of $18 billion on the market on Thursday, attracting 245 bids for $28.46 billion, resulting in an average rate of 9.21 percent, with 140 bids being successful, with the highest successful rate being 9.74 percent.
At the close of this week’s auction, $129.5 billion in 30 days CD’s will be outstanding. This seems to be a continuation of the recent decline in CD rates that could be heralding a period of lower interest rates, following two years with rates being at an elevated level for the since second half of 2022.
Jamaica has had four straight months of high levels of deflation that seem set to continue into May and probably beyond and would demand a lowering of interest rates sooner rather than later.

Jamaica tourist arrivals hit the skids

After a robust start to stopover arrivals in the early months of the year, data on passenger traffic passing through Jamaica’s two major international airports declined in May, with passenger traffic passing through the Sangster International Airport slipping from 402,000 in May last year to 401,500, down 0.3 percent.
The airport traffic although not telling the full picture of stopover arrivals, is a good barometer of likely outcomes showing that Sangster International Airport which accounts for around 85 percent of visitor arrivals is up just 3.9 percent to 2,294,800 for the year to date.
This is the second month of decline for Montego Bay that had a 4.2 percent reduction to 435,500 in April from 454,500 for the same period last year, bringing the year to date increase then to 4.8 percent to 1.8928 million.
Traffic through Kingston’s Norman Manley continues the decline since the start of the year, with a fall of 1.1 percent to 139,900 compared to 141,500, with traffic for the first five months of this year, declining by 2.2 percent to 667,300 from 682,300.
The data is taken from a report on airport traffic during May published by Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacifico operators of Jamaica’s two major airports.

BOJ CD rates inched higher

Rates on Bank of Jamaica certificate of deposits (CDs) closed higher to end at an average of 10.02 percent in Wednesday’s public auction of $37 billion. The highest rate cleared at 10.325 percent which was only partially filled with 334 successful bids out of a total of 373 covering $444.283 billion that the central bank received for the auction.

Today’s average rate was slightly above the 9.98 percent in last week’s auction. This week’s auction will result in the total amount of 30 days CD’s that the Bank of Jamaica holds falling to $125.5 billion from $128.5 billion in the previous week.

Remittance inflows to Jamaica slip

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After a modest increase in total remittance inflows into Jamaica in February, remittances for March slipped from the same period last by 1.3 percent to US$297.5 million but was higher than the US$295 million in March 2022, data released by the country’s central bank show.
Remittance inflows which are major source of foreign for the country and remains fairly stable, slipped moderately for the three months to March this year, with total inflows down a mere 0.4 percent to US$797 million compared with US$801 million to March 2023.  The decline in March albeit small, is a continuation of several months of decline since May 2023.
The United States of America continues to be Jamaica’s largest source of remittance flows in March 2024, accounting for 69.8 percent of total flows, down from 71.7 percent in March 2023. Other countries which contributed a notable share of remittances for the month were the United Kingdom, with 10.6 percent followed by Canada at 8.7 percent and the Cayman Islands with 6.7 percent, the report from Bank of Jamaica states.

BOJ CD rates fall below 10%

The Bank of Jamaica’s latest offering of $47 billion to the public in certificates of deposit (CD), resulted in a fall in rates with an average of 9.98 percent at the auction that attracted $60.6 billion in 445 bids of which 358 were successful with the highest rate peaking at 10.35 percent.
This week’s rate is 16 percent lower than the peak on April 5, this year, with the average rate then of 11.59 percent.
The average rate of today’s auction is the lowest in months and is lower than last week’s average of 10.19 percent following an auction of $34.5 billion which cleared at an average of 10.19 percent. The total amount of 30 days CD outstanding is $128.5 billion.
Investors should pay attention to developments in this section of the financial market to get an early reading as to the trend in interest rates and not on Bank of Jamaica overnight rate.

BOJ’s overnight rate held at 7%

Following the May meetings that concluded Monday of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Bank of Jamaica held its overnight policy rate at 7 percent, although sighting lower inflation than projected, the rate has been at this level since November 2022, but the bank maybe signalling rate reduction in late summer.
According to the Central Bank Jamaica, the “headline inflation rate at April 2024 was 5.3 percent, which was within the Bank’s target of 4 to 6 percent and 0.3 percentage point lower than the rate recorded at March 2024. It was also lower than the Bank’s most recent forecast, mainly due to a faster-than-projected deceleration in agricultural food inflation. Core inflation (which excludes food and fuel prices from the Consumer Price Index (CPI)) was 5.7 percent in April 2024, marginally lower than the 5.9 percent in March 2024.”
BOJ cautioned that ‘while some key drivers of headline inflation, such as international grain prices and inflation expectations, continued to decline, international oil prices have increased. Inflation in the economies of Jamaica’s main trading partners has continued to moderate albeit at a slower-than-projected pace. The exchange rate has remained generally stable, given Bank of Jamaica’s (BOJ) monetary policy actions as well as strong tourism and remittance inflows.”

Jamaica’s Central Bank

BOJ went to further state, “the moderation in inflation is expected to be interrupted temporarily as inflation is projected to breach the upper end of the target range towards the end of the June 2024 quarter, mainly reflecting seasonally higher agricultural food inflation, a normalisation in electricity rates following significant declines in the same quarter of 2023, as well as higher transport costs due to an uptick in international oil prices. Inflation thereafter is projected to return to the target range and generally remain there over the next eight quarters except for a few months in 2025. The projected breaches in 2025 largely reflect a normalisation of agricultural prices following sharp declines in March 2024, which are not projected to re-occur.”

Interest rates drop

Bank of Jamaica may be ushering a period of lower interest rates in Jamaica, with decline in rates on the latest certificate of deposit (CDS) when they offered a mere $7 billion in CDs to the public on Wednesday but received bids for $25 billion from 279 applications, resulting in 151 being successful with the CD rate declining from just over 10.38 percent at the previous 30 days offer to an average of a flat 10 percent.
At the end of the auction total CDs that will be outstanding for 30 days amount to $128.5 billion this is down from under $160 billion dollars in late March when the average rate was 11.13 percent.
The amount offered in the auction and the fall in rates could be interpreted as an indication that the Bank of Jamaica has started the process of interest rate reduction in light of continued deflation for the first four months of this year in the order of 2 percent per annum.
The central bank had previously offered $20 billion in CDS for 25 months on May 13 resulting in an average rate of 9.08 percent even as it was undersubscribed with the bids amounting to $19.3 billion.
Bank of Jamaica raised their overnight rate to 7 percent in November 2022 and has maintained that rate since. Inflation for the year to date suggests that the country may be in a longer period of deflation than was thought possible by the authorities who may now be signalling that the policy of high interest rates may have outlived its time from late 2024.

BOJ’s policy pushes Jamaica into deflation

The inflation continues to moderate at a rapid pace, with the latest report out of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reflecting a fall of 0.7 percent for April, following the decline in March 2024 of 0.5 percent bringing the year over year inflation to around 4.8 percent from 5.6 percent in March, still within the BOJ target of 4-6 percent but to the lower end of the target.
The 2024 calendar year inflation is now negative 1.9 percent and seems set to push inflation to zero by the end of summer after the months when inflation tends to rise above norms.
According to Statin, downward movement in the CPI for April was due mainly to a 2.3 per cent decline in the index for the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ division as a result of lower electricity, water and sewage rates. Also contributing to the fall in the inflation rate was a 0.6 per cent fall in the index for the division, ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’.
Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) based there focus wrongly on past inflation rather than currently what is happening is placing the country into dire straits as month by month inflation has cooled from several months ago and deflation is what appears to be taking place now.

April’s Jamaica Tourist arrivals drop

Visitor arrivals dropped 7.7 percent at Kingston’s Norman Manley to 135,100 in April this year from 146,500 in 2023 and down 2.6 percent to 526,500 from 540,600 for the first four months of the year.
Montego Bay Sangster International Airport had a 4.2 percent reduction to 435,500 from 454,500 for the similar period in 2023 and rose 4.8 percent to 1.8928 million from 1.8055 million.
The data was taken from a report on airport traffic during April published by Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacifico operators of Jamaica’s two major airports.
The monthly decline may be due to a shift in the Easter holiday period to the close of March this year would have pushed stopover traffic with March compared with 2023 with Easter coming at the end of the first week in April.
Note that the numbers represent incoming and outgoing traffic as such actual arrivals would approximate half of the amounts reported above.

Jamaica’s NIR drops

Jamaica’s Net International Reserves declined by US$35 million in April moving from US$5.137 billion at the end of March this year to US$5.102 billion at the end of April 2024, data recently released by Bank of Jamaica show.
The balance at the end of April which exceeds the balance of US$4.76 billion at the end of December last year represents 25.78 weeks of Goods & Services Imports and 37.51 weeks of imports of goods, the Bank of Jamaica report stated.

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