BNS & NCB in grand US$ sell off on Friday

Scotia hq 25 9-14 Authorized Dealers sold much more foreign currency that they bought on Friday. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and National Commercial Bank (NCB) were big net sellers of the US dollar, the second consecutive day of a big net sell off by dealers. BNS was the largest net seller, with US$4.58 million bought to US$15.26 million sold, followed by NCB buying US$4.13 million and selling US$12.6 million. On Thursday BNS bought US$7.33 million and sold US$14.23 million while National Commercial Bank, was buying US$2.67 million and selling US$5.54 million.
The Jamaican dollar slipped slightly against the US dollar, but appreciated against the Pound and the Canadian dollar, in Friday’s forex trading. Authorized dealers purchased the equivalent of US$49,065,272 versus US$27,673,332 on Thursday. The equivalent of US$60,366,852 was sold, compared with US$42,183,198 on Thursday.
FX sum 10-10-14In US dollar trading, dealers bought US$43,058,325 compared to US$25,657,012 on Thursday. The buying rate for the US dollar was up 6 cents to $112.29 and US$56,237,305 was sold versus US$40,190,794 on Thursday, the selling rate rose 3 cents to $112.65. The Canadian dollar buying rate, climbed 53 cents to $99.51 with dealers buying C$2,347,380 and selling C$2,099,384 at an average selling rate that declined 63 cents, to $100.49. The rate for buying the British Pound is up by 82 cents to $179.22, for the purchase of £1,814,232, while £918,229 was sold, at $180.70, down 73 cents. Other currencies bought, amounted to the equivalent of US$1,031,148, while selling was for the equivalent of US$783,955.
FXHL 10-10-14Highs & Lows| The highest buying rate for the US dollar, closed 10 cents lower, at $112.75, the lowest buying and the highest selling rates, were unchanged at $91.85 and $117.70 respectively, the lowest selling rate dropped $2.18 to $91.85. The highest buying rate for the Canadian dollar remained at $101, the lowest buying rate rose 83 cents to $80.26, the highest selling rate fell 46 cents to $103.54. The lowest selling rate closed down 10 cents to $96.20. The highest buying rate for the British Pound, increased by 55 cents to $182, the lowest buying rate was unchanged at $144.96. The highest selling rate, dropped $1.23 to $185.65 and the lowest selling rate rose $1.15 to $175.80.

Jamaica’s remittance inflows grow

FX_USPoundRemittance inflows into Jamaica, this year, continue to grow, with an increase of US$50 million or 5.6 percent in net remittances for the six months to June, over the same period in 2013, to reach US$949 million, according to information released by the country’s central bank.
“Total remittance inflows were US$1.06 billion, an increase of US$35 million while outflows declined compared with the 2013 period,” the Bank of Jamaica report states. Net remittances for June 2014, were US$154 million, an increase of US$8 million or 5.4 percent over the corresponding period of 2013, resulting from an increase in gross remittance inflows and a contraction in outflows. Gross remittance inflows for the month were US$168 million, an increase of US$2.3 million or just 1.4 percent relative to the corresponding month of 2013.
For June, total Remittance Outflows amounted to $15 million a reduction from the $20 million in June 2013 and for the six months, $106 million and $121 million in 2013.

NIR up in September

NIR_YELLOW280x150Bank of Jamaica paid back US$30 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during September, but the Net International Reserves (NIR) climbed from US$2.12 billion at the end of August to US$2.2 billion at the end of September, an increase of US$79 million.
Gross reserves amounts to $2.72 billion compared with $2.67 billion at the end of August.Estimated Official Gross Reserves represent 27.17 weeks of Goods Imports at the end of September, up from 26.68 weeks, in August and 19.52 weeks of Goods and Services Imports, an increase over the 19.17 weeks in August.
The reserves place the central bank in a good position to intervene in the foreign exchange market during the rest of the year, if they so desire. Importantly, it gives them the physiological advantage to keep speculators guessing as to their next move, now that the rate of the Jamaican dollar has been gaining, against the US dollar, since they had a major intervention, in the market on July 10.
Interestingly, the months of high demand and low supply commencing September, should end by Mid December has so far seen no serious dip in supply and no large demands, allowing the local dollar to appreciate. There are some indications that financial institutions who went long in their holdings of foreign exchange, have been offloading, with the absence of any serious overhang of demand that cannot be satisfied.
It does appear that the central bank will be adding to its holdings of foreign currency, as investors reduce their holdings, with the winter months not far away, a period when supply is usually higher than demand.

J$ revalues against 3 main currencies

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JamaicanMoney280x150In today’s world people are so busy, they don’t have time to smell and admire the beauty of the roses, around them. Busy as we are, things are happening under our very eyes and feet, and many don’t even know it. Generally, we are headline people, the details we leave for another time.
Jamaicans have been so caught up with concern of the effect of the sliding dollar Jamaican dollar against the US dollar and the impact on their lives, they have not been paying attention to the details of what is taking place in the overall currency market.
Internationally, there have been lots of movements in major world currencies this year. The Pound lost 4 percent, the Canadian 5 percent and the Japanese yen 4 percent against the US dollar so far this year. The local currency has had moderate revaluation against the US dollar since hitting a low of $112.87 in July and is now at $112.64 as of Friday. But the revaluation against the Canadian since its low of 107.55 on July 9 up to Friday when it closed at $100.80 to the Canadian is much larger at 6 percent and the revaluation against the British pound is even more, with the Pound declining from $193.50 on July 16 to $180.17 on Friday Oct 3, a gain of nearly 7 percent for the Jamaican dollar. Based on the flows of these two currencies, where inflows are always more than sales the revaluation against them could well be greater than these numbers show, if normal market forces were to prevail.
USdollarStacks600x250At the end 2013 the US dollar was selling for $106.38, the Canadian for $99.22 and the Pound at $175.84, to the Jamaican dollar. The end result is that the Jamaican dollar, has hardly lost value against the Canadian so far and the Pound is down around 2.5 percent for the year to date, but Jamaican dollar has devalued 6 percent versus the US dollar, this year so far.
Factors that could play out going forward. The tight fiscal discipline that the Jamaican government has to adhere to, is squeezing excesses out of the system and reducing demand for foreign exchange. The Bank of Jamaica’s large intervention in July, seems to have removed the overhang of demand for US dollar from the system. The expected high demand, low inflow period from September to mid-December is not reflecting the usual pattern of past years, allowing some revaluation to take place. The stability is encouraging portfolio shifts out of foreign exchange holdings, back into Jamaican dollar, as investors see a long period of stability to at least late next year. The rise in US dollar, is one reason why the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar versus the Pound and Canadian dollar, have been very moderate so far, this year. The US dollar rise is reducing the cost of oil, the price has fallen a bit this year from a peak of US$105, and is now at $89, having spent March to July over $95, the forecast is for lower prices as the US dollar gets stronger, with economic activity in the US picking up steam. Lower oil prices, mean less costly import of the commodity for Jamaica. The final scenario is how much change will Bank of Jamaica allow in the local currency?

GOJ tax revenue continues to lag

Rev ser cntreGovernment of Jamaica’s tax revenues for August, fell below target, resulting in a shortfall of $2.56 billion at the end of July, climbing to $5.9 billion at the end of August. Payments were also less than planned, with underspending of $7.69 billion at the end of July, climbing to $10.26 billion to August.
The fiscal deficit came in at $27.2 billion versus a budgeted $31.6 billion, $4.4 billion over projection. At the end of July, the deficit was $18 billion or $5 billion ahead of plan.
Revenue shortfall was experienced in Company tax collection, $2.2 billion lower than the $8.8 billion forecast and is slightly worse than the $1.9 billion shortage to July. Tax on interest which was ahead at $1.6 billion is now up by $1.9 billion. Local GCT fell short, $3.5 billion to August, worse than the $1.6 billion shortfall to July. GCT and SCT on imports fell short 900 million at the end of July and $1.2 at the end of August with SCT on target to August, up a bit from the $445 million shortfall at the end of July.
Spending on capital, budgeted at $14.8 billion has had only $9.5 billion spent so far in 2014.

Jamaica’s business confidence drops

Grph BCon -8-14Perception of present and future conditions is down in the business sector, according to data of a survey, released by Bank of Jamaica. The survey which was done in August showed a deterioration compared to June.
In the recent survey, there was a marked moderation in both the perception of present and future business conditions among respondents relative to the previous survey. The indices showed current business conditions at 110.2 versus June’s 121.1 and 102.5 in May. The perception of future business conditions as measured by the index declined to 119.4, from 129.9 in June. The level is still ahead of the May 2014 outturn, of 117.9.
The perceptions of present and future business conditions, continue to show a general upward trend since the low of 47.5 percent in April 2013 survey, for current business condition and 93.4 for future business conditions. The indices peaked at 157.9 in December 2011 for current business conditions and 148.8 in March 2013 for future business conditions.

Jamaica’s Economy grows 1.8% in Q2

Agriculture was the star performer in Jamaica's growth in the second quarter

Agriculture was the star performer in Jamaica’s growth in the second quarter

The Jamaican economy grew by 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared to the similar quarter of 2013, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) reported. The second quarter growth rate, is slightly better than the 1.6 percent growth in this year’s first quarter.
The Statin report goes on to state, this performance reflects an improvement of 6.3 percent in the Goods Producing industries and a 0.5 percent increase in the Services industries.In the June quarter, Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing grew 16.6 percent, Manufacture 4.1 percent and Construction 1.2 percent. Mining & Quarrying industry declined by 0.4 percent.
Manufacture benefited from a 111.9 percent increase in the production of sugar and a 26.1 percent growth in petroleum refining. Higher output levels in Construction resulted mainly from an increase in expenditure on road work activities, including the continued work on the North-South leg of Highway 2000. Lower production levels in the Mining &Quarrying industry was due to a fall in alumina production, resulting from the stoppage of activities at one of the alumina refining plant. However, crude bauxite production increased by 13.3 percent.
Increased output was recorded for all industries within the Services industries with the exception of the Producers of Government Services, down 0.2 percent and Electricity & Water Supply, down 1.6 percent. Higher output levels were recorded for; Hotels & Restaurants 2.3 percent, Other Services 1.1 percent, Transport, Storage & Communication 1 percent, Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 0.6 percent. The sharp jump in sugar production in the second which is not in line with increased production with the overall 2014 sugar crop, meant that growth in the first quarter would have been negatively affected by a late take off of the cane crop in 2014 which benefited the second quarter.

Trade deficit improvement loses steam in June

ContainerShipTrade280x150Jamaica’s trade deficit declined marginally during the first six months of 2014 ending at US$2.18 billion, compared to US$2.19 billion in the 2013 period, a decline of 0.3 percent, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reported, today.
For the period up to May the trade deficit was US$125 million. Trade balance in June effectively wiped out the small positive gains to May.
For the six months period Jamaica imported goods valued at US$2.9 billion, a decrease of US$133 million or 4.4 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Total exports for the six months to June 2014, fell by US$125 million to US$729 million, down from US$854 million in the 2013 period.
The decline in imports was due mainly to a reduction in Mineral Fuels, Chemicals, Beverages & Tobacco, Animal & Vegetable Oils Fats.Imports of “Raw Materials and Intermediate Goods” decreased during the 2014 review period, and were valued at US$1.77 billion, compared to US$1.97 billion in the 2013 period, a 9.8 percent decrease.
Crude Oil imports amounted to US$413 million, moving down from US$451 million in the similar period of 2013, a decrease of 8.4 percent. Imports of Capital Goods (Excl. Motor Cars) increase from US$243 million in the 2013 period to US$264 million in the current year to June.

Little gain from NCB’s KWH sale

NCB Nkgn -2014National Commercial Bank will collect $3 billion for the sale of its 32.59 percent investment in Kingston Wharves, which it executed today, on the Jamaica Stock exchange at $6.50 per share. But the banking group will not see a boost in its profit from the transaction although the shares were purchased at much lower price than what they have been sold at.
At the end of September last year, the investment was booked at $2,705,495 as the group accounted for their share of profit from the time the investment was made some years ago shortly after the banking was taken over by Lee Chin the majority owner of the bank. Since then Kingston Wharves reported profit of $734 million of which $240 million would be attributable to the bank’s holding. That would bring the amount booked up to June this year to $2.945 billion leaving a small difference which is less than the amounts of profit they would have booked had the sale not taken place.
The group will benefit going forward, from funds that it can either lend or invest in other areas. Jamaica will benefit from some foreign exchange inflows, as a result of the sale.

JPG ups Kingston Wharves holding, NCB out

ncb-logoNCB Capital Markets purchased 466,435,712 on behalf of a client. Shares held by the NCB group were part of the transaction. NCB Jamaica Limited had 360,807,145 or 28.27 percent of the company and NCB Capital Markets Ltd. A/C 2231 had 105,283,757 or 8.25 percent. Steven Gooden of NCB Capital Market only comment is “a release will be made after the close of the Jamaica Stock Exchange today”.
The transaction is clearly not one of a name change as that would have been done as a block transaction. As a result of the transaction, Seaboard is acquiring 21 percent and Jamaica Producers 11.59 percent of the outstanding Kingston Wharves shares. Producers will now own approximately 42 percent of the company. Jeffery Hall CEO of Jamaica Producers confirm the groups interest in the deal and advised of a release after trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, to provide the full details.
KingstonWharves280x150Jamaica Producers Group already owns 431,777,188 or 33.83 percent of the company and would end up with just over 70 percent of the company. The transaction which was mostly done at $6.50 per share or $1.49 above Tuesday closing price cost $3 billion and would effectively trigger a compulsory takeover offer to the minority shareholders if it was all purchased by Jamaica Producers. The transaction took place in three main blocks that were all done at $6.50,and include 300,345,000 units costing 1,952,242,500, 60,462,145 shares costing $393,003,943 and 105,283,757 at a cost of $684,344,421. Apparently, the largest block was sold to more than one party to the transaction and would have been the reason for the split up of it. This arrangement could mean that Jamaica Producer’s Group would not be a majority shareholder and therefore not trigger the take over clause. the increase in the price exceeds the 15 percent rule of the JSE but the stock had closed Tuesday with a bid of $5.75 which was a set up to allow for the traded at todays price.
In 2012,Jamaica Producers had increased their holdings in Kingston Wharves when they bought Three Hundred and Fifty Seven Million Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand (357,550,000) ordinary shares of KWL at a price of $5 per share to help fund the company’s expansion and modernization in pursuit of increased business expected to flow form the Panama canal expansion.
the transaction will boost NCB 2014 earnings as it comes days ahead of the bank’s year end and whatever gains there will be, will be in the incorporated into the results.