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.

Some banks offloading US dollars

National Commercial Bank sold off US$ on Thursday.

The Jamaican dollar closed below the J$130 to the US dollar on Thursday, with the selling rate to buyers ending at an average of $129.62. The rate fell as National Commercial Bank bought just US$6.2 million and sold $14.8 million while JN Bank offloaded US$5.3 million while buying a mere $190,000.
On Wednesday, Scotiabank offloaded nearly US$23 million against buying $13.6 million. For the week to date, dealers bought US$182 million and sold US$204 million. In the previous full week, purchases amounted to $192 million and selling $188 million. With one more day of trading to come for this week, inflows will be well ahead of last weeks’ level which included purchases of US$10 from Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). No sale of foreign exchange was done by the central bank this week, and none are planned for the next four weeks. BOJ sold US$19 million to the market up to November 15 last year.
For the current week dealers also bought 5.9 million of Pound sterling and sold 3.4 million and purchased $21.2 million Canadian dollars and sold $18.9 million.
In 2017, for the first four days of the fourth week of October, purchases of all dealers and Cambios amounted to $196 million which including purchases from BOJ of US$10 million with sales of US$179 million.

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.

Falling interest rate was huge buy signal

Add your HTML code here...

Apartment complex in Kingston – Real estate values to benefit from low interest rates.

Declining interest rate is a huge buy signal for both stocks and real estate investments, if the fall is expected to last. Interest rates have fallen to the lowest levels on record, in Jamaica and while the low rate of 1.7 percent in treasury bills won’t last forever, it is expected that it will not go up too far from current levels any time soon.
In May this year, Bank of Jamaica cut the overnight policy rate, by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent that along with a further decline in short term Treasury bill rates on Wednesday.
IC Insider.com stated then, that the moves provided more ammunition for a big surge for Jamaican stocks. The piece went on to state that with a 15 percent fall in BOJ’s policy rate in 2018 so far, stocks are lagging behind, with an increase of just 6.6 percent for the Junior Market and 4 percent for the main market.
The fall in Treasury bill rates was far greater than the rise of the All Jamaica Composite Index, an indication of a lot more upside for stocks based on the downward movement of interest rates.
Investors seem to be focusing more on profits in valuing stocks than on interest rates so far. That will change. The fall in the overnight rate, translates to a 9 percent rise in stock market prices, but rates seem likely to decline some more before settling off, providing more ammunition for more gains in stock prices.
We stated that with the fall in interest rates, the PE of money is at the high end 40 times income and using corporate bond 12 times, but the PE ratio should be more tied to Treasury Bill rates and that PE is now in 30 range but stocks are mostly in the low teens and below. IC Insider.com further stated that most investors did not appear to be paying much attention to the tsunami that was on the way that will see prices move sharply higher.
Some were skeptical about the assertion that the fall in interest rates could drive stock prices. The record is clear as there are two main developments that drive stock prices – interest rates and profits. With just over five months passing, investors have not only warm to the fall in rates but many are not willing to part with their stocks. Late comers to the party will pay much higher prices than in May and June. Up to Friday the Junior Market is up 24 percent and the Main market is up 31.7 percent and rising. Technical reading of the market suggest that the Main market has another 25 percent run to make before probably cooling for a charge to 720,000 points on the All Jamaica Composite Index in 2019.
The fall in interest rates makes it cheaper to buy real estate with lower interest rates for each dollar borrowed. Additionally, investors will switch funds from fixed interest investments into stocks and real estate thus driving up their values.

NIR steady despite BOJ sales

Jamaica’s Net International Reserves slipped by just US$32 million in September according to data just released by the country’s central bank – Bank Of Jamaica ( BOJ).
According to BOJ the NIR stood at US$3.027 billion at the end of September down marginally from US$3.027 billion at the end of August. Reserves amounts to just over 19 weeks of Goods & Services Imports, the central bank states.
The change comes against the back ground of sale of US$41 million in B-FXITT weekly auction of foreign currency.

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

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.

Inflation picks up

Price increases in Jamaica for the year to August rose to 1.6 percent with August adding 0.9 percent increase to consumer prices, slightly less than the 1 percent increase in July while price increases for the past twelve months was 3.9 percent.
The fiscal year-to-date is running at 1.9 percent and seems to be running below the 4-6 percent range the central bank targeted but may fall just below the Bank’s latest revised forecast 0f 3.5-6.5 percent, with the months ahead, usually recording lower inflation than the summer months.
According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), “The upward movement in August 2018 CPI was influenced by a 1.6 percent increase, in the index for the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division, primarily due to higher prices for agricultural produce resulting in an increase of 0.6 percent in the class Vegetables and Starchy Foods.” “Another influence on the upward movement was the Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household maintenance division as a result of the increase in the Minimum Wage of approximately 13 percent,” Statin stated. A fall of 0.1 percent in the index for the division Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels, due to a lower electricity rates helped to ease the pressure of big increases.

Treasury bill rate almost steady at 1.71%

Interest rates essentially remained stable based on the latest Treasury bill auction that took place at Bank of Jamaica. The moved but was just modestly higher with a few basis points increase.
Applications were opened on Wednesday, at the Bank of Jamaica for $700 million Government of Jamaica Treasury Bills dated Friday, September 14, with maturity on Friday, December 14, 2018 for a 91 days duration. The Average Yield came out at 1.7093 percent with partial allotment at 2 percent. The offer attracted bids of $932,026,500. The latest T-bill rate comes against the back ground on the central holding their overnight policy rate at 2 percent.
At the auction in August, the 91 days Treasury bill cleared at an average of 1.694 percent with partial allotment at 1.756 percent. At that auction $1.863 billion chased after the $700,000 on offer. The 182 days instrument ended with an average rate of 1.878 percent with $2.53 billion going after the $700,000 in August.

Jamaica dollar in modest recovery

The Jamaican dollar traded at an average of $136.94 to the US dollar on Tuesday. Dealers sold US$52.7 million and bought $49.4 million at an average of $135.81.
Tuesday’s total intake of funds, amounted to the equivalent of US$61.96 million while US$62.65 million left the system.
Unlike Friday and Tuesday, Monday’s trading was moderate, with just US$27.65 million in all currencies bought by dealers and the selling of US$30.4 million. Buying of US dollars amounted to US$24 million at an average rate of J$134.56 and selling of US$28 million at $137.10 on Monday, compared to selling of US$40 million on Friday at $137.01. On Friday dealers sold a total of US$46.8 million in all currencies, having bought US$53.5 million, including $44.7 million in US dollars currency.
On Wednesday, last week, Bank of Jamaica sold $16.5 million to dealers pushing the total purchased for that day to US$57 million, while they sold $43.3 million at an average of $137.32. Trading of all currencies saw a total of US$55 being sold against $69 million bought by dealers.
On Thursday dealers bought only US$29.78 million, but sold US$51.4 million, with the rate clearing at an average of $137.55. In all, dealers sold the equivalent of US$53 million in all currencies.
Last week Wednesday, the BOJ offered US$16.5 million to the market and received 46 bids of US$39.15 million. The average clearing rate was $137.03. The highest bid was $137.50 and the lowest $135. On Wednesday, September 5, US$11 million, to be followed by US$10 million per week, over the next three weeks.