T&T central bank raised repo rate to 5%

Down town Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank hiked the repo rate by 25 basis points to 5 percent in June, in response to rising rates in the United States and signs of some improvement in the Trinidad economy.
The bank said, “rising interest rates in the US combined with relatively stable rates domestically have pushed the TT-US yield differential on three-month Treasuries further below parity. The differential currently stands at -74 basis points. The US Fed has signaled that further hikes are planned in the context of the solid US growth outlook. Should this materialize it could further widen the negative TT-US interest rate differential if domestic interest rates remain unchanged.”
The Central Bank further stated, “on the domestic front growth in the first five months of 2018 has been concentrated in the energy sector and is expected to spill over into non-energy activities, and there are encouraging signs in distribution and a recovery of business credit, although construction remains sluggish. Meanwhile, headline inflation continued to be low, measuring 1.1 percent(year-on-year) in April 2018, up from 0.8 percent in the previous month.”
The central bank went on to state that “private sector credit growth maintained its positive momentum, rising in April by 5.8 percent (year-on-year). Lending continued to be driven by loans for refinancing and debt consolidation, while some rebound in business credit suggests that private sector confidence could be strengthening. Further, the commercial banks’ weighted average lending rate has been falling since December 2017 and stood at 8.15 percent at end-March 2018. Liquidity levels trended lower but remain comfortable.”

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