BOJ engineers cut in CDs interest rates

Interest rates on Bank of Jamaica dropped to an average of 10.6 percent at the latest CD auction on Wednesday, April 24, following an offer of $34.5 billion to the public in a competitive price auction. The previous auction of $39 5 billion attracted only $37.8 billion in bids, resulting in an average rate of 11.032 percent.
In today’s auction bids amounting to just over $55 billion were received from 399 applications but only 257 were satisfied, with rates ranging from 9 to 11 percent. The latest offer brings the total amount of 30 days CDS to $125.7 billion which is down sharply from $155 billion on April 5, this year with the averaget rate then of 11.59 percent.
On April 22 the bank offered $14 billion in a 25 month CD that attracted $29 billion in bids and resulted in an average rate of 8.93 percent and put the total amounts in two year CDs to nearly $60 billion.

Barrows to head Wigton in May

Gary Barrow now heads Wigton Windfarm (WIG) management as Chief Executive Officer the company announced that will take place effective on May 6.
The position of Chief Executive Officer is a new one, in addition, the position of Head of Energy which was held by Miss Michelle Chin Lenn will be dispensed with and she will be appointed to the new position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
According to the release on these appointments, the Board of Directors of WIG is of the “view that the aforementioned changes, and specifically the appointment of Gary Barrow following a successful recruitment process, will further allow the Company to fully realize its vision of being a profitable, regional conglomerate with successful clean energy and other investments”.
Barrow has a multi-disciplinary background in Engineering, Finance, Technology, Innovation, Business Transformation, Process Re-Engineering, Governance and People Management will allow him to hit the ground running at WIG.  His last appointment at the Jamaica Public Service, was Chief Operating Officer. Barrow holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.

Grace up stakes in Spur Tree Spices

The GraceKennedy a wholly owned subsidiary – GK Investments Limited, purchased 60,000,000 units of shares in Spur Tree Spices thereby increasing its ownership to 20.18 percent. this was the objective Grace had before the company went public.
On Wednesday Spur Tree reported that two directors sold 30 million units each, which seems to have met the demand from Grace, but it may not be the last of the big trades for the company whose products have strong appeal internationally.
The company has been struggling to grow its profit since listing on the Junior Market in 2022. Profit of $116 million fell to $88 million in 2023, with earnings per share of 5 cents last year and 7 cents in 2022.

Spur Three stock traded at $2.42, up 2 cents on the junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Jamaica’s inflation plunges but BOJ cautious

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The Statistical Institute of Jamaica reported negative inflation of 0.6 percent for March, for a second consecutive month and point to point inflation of 5.6 percent to the year to date and follows and negative inflation of 0.6 percent in February and negative 0.10 in January.
With most businesses having granted healthy wage increases in 2022 and 2023, this publication does not expect there to be much wage pressure on inflation this year. With the inflation rate for the first three months of the year now at negative1.3 percent, which could climb even more in April, the increases in the summer months that usually flow from farm produces is likely to wipe out the gains in the early months but that should set the stage for the point to point to continue to trend to the lower end of BOJ’s mandate of 4 to 6 percent.
Bank of Jamaica has taken note of the inflation outturn in March 2024. According to a released by the central bank, “the 12-month point-to-point inflation (March 2023 to March 2024) was 5.6 per cent, which is within the Bank’s target range. The Bank welcomes the reduction in headline inflation, which was 0.6 percentage points lower than the 6.2 per cent point-to-point inflation rate for the period February 2023 to February 2024 and also lower than our most recent forecast”.
“The Bank notes that this is the second consecutive month of decline in headline inflation, which is a positive development, and the first time that the inflation outturn was within the Bank’s target range since October 2023.”
The bank went on to state “the analysis of the inflation numbers shows that the downward movement in the Consumer Price Index, for March 2024 was largely influenced by a 1.8 per cent decline in the index for the heaviest weighted division, Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. While the Bank had anticipated a decline for this division, the contraction was larger than expected and reflected reductions in the prices of some agricultural produce, such as tomato, yam, sweet potato, cabbage and carrot.”
“The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will continue to closely watch the inflation numbers and other incoming data over the ensuing months to assess the extent to which the current level of inflation will be sustained, before making a  determination on whether to change the Bank’s monetary policy stance’ the statement concluded.

Jamaica’s NIR at record US$5.14 billion

Jamaica’s Net Internal Reserves surged to a record US$5.14 billion at the end of March buoyed by a hefty US$438 million inflows in March, moving the reserves from US$4.7 billion at the end of February this year. The surge follows a US$770 million build in the reserves in 2023 that saw the total rising to $4.76 billion at the end of 2023.
An examination of the financial statement of Jamaica’ central bank the inflows came from funds received mainly by the government of Jamaica.
ICInsider.com gather that the government was in the process of selling forward 20 years rental income for the two main international airports as such the inflows could well be related to this. The Minister of Finance in his budget presentation alluded to this.

Tourism traffic slows in March

Tourism traffic into Jamaica slowed in March compared with the earlier months of 2024, data for tourist arrivals and departures for Sangster and Norman Manley International airports show.
The data while not the exact outcome of stopover tourist arrivals to the country, provides a good indication of tourist traffic flows into the country.
Traffic through the Montego Bay Airport for March 2024, was up 6.4 percent, with 522,900 passengers passing through up from 491,300 handled in March 2023 data from Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico operators of both airports show.
For the first quarter of 2024, Sangster International Montego Bay Airport processed 1,457,300 passengers, a solid 7.9 percent more than the 1,351,000 passengers in the first quarter of 2023.
But Norman Manley Airport suffered a 4.6 percent decline in passenger traffic in March 2024, to 129,700 passengers from 136,000 passengers in March 2023.
For the first three months of 2024, Kingston Airport saw total passengers handled, decrease by 0.6 percent, to 392,000 in 2024 falling from 394,300 in the 2023 first quarter.
The data was taken from Tourism Analytics.com.

BOJ pumps life into J$ with high interest rates

Jamaica’s Central Bank is pumping a great deal of life into the Jamaican dollar, lifting the value from just under J$158 to one United States dollar in February this year, to under $155 currently and driving rates on CDS up by almost 26 percent from a year ago, as the bank moves aggressively to bend year over year inflation within the mandated 4-6 percent, from 6.20 percent to February.
Liquidity in the financial has been drained with BOJ pulling out all available liquidity. At the most recent auction of Certificate of Deposits, the bank offered $42.5 billion to the public and attracted bids amounting to $43.16 billion, resulting in an average yield for successful bids of 11.12 percent, with the rate of 13.29 percent being partial satisfied.
The total outstanding 30-day CDs now amount to $157.5 billion, in contrast, a year ago the total outstanding 30-day CDs was $81.85 billion with the average yield at that auction being 8.85 percent.
Revaluation of the Jamaican dollar is critically important in curbing inflation as it cuts the cost of imported items and, most importantly, the cost of fuel that feeds into a wide array of goods and services. These include petrol for vehicles, electricity for households and businesses and powering the water supply. Of course, it affects other imported items such as foods clothing to name just two.

Negative inflation in February

Point-to-point inflation in Jamaica has bent back close to the Bank of Jamaica’s target of 4-6 percent based on the February 2024 data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, with a reading of 6.2 percent following monthly inflation plunging by 0.6 percent for the month and follows a fall of 0.10 percent in January.
The decline was influenced by the decreases in the index for the divisions ‘Food and Non Alcoholic Beverages’ (1.1 percent) and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ (1.6 percent).

Solid gains for Jamaica’s tourist arrivals

Jamaica continues to see positive development in the country’s economic progress, with the critical tourism sector continuing to record solid growth in stopover arrivals in 2024 and continuing to drive foreign exchange earnings and employment in the sector.
The sector that is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner saw the point of entry on the country’s northern coastal town, Montego Bay enjoying a 7.8 percent increase in passenger traffic passing through the Sangster International Airport to 442,500 compared with 410,700 in February 2023 and is up a solid 8.7 percent to 934,500 from 859,600 passengers for the first two months of the year.
At the same time, Kingston Norman Manley Airport with 112,200 passengers passing through Jamaica’s second largest airport in February 2023, had a 1.5 percent increase in passenger traffic in 2024 to 113,800 and a similar increase in 2024 from 258,200 in 2023 to 262,100.

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American Airlines inaugural first to Ocho Rios

Saturday marked another chapter in Jamaica’s tourism history, with American Airlines commencing its inaugural scheduled flight to  Boscobel Ian Flemming International Airport, utilising an Embraer 175 aircraft.
The flight was scheduled to take off at twenty minutes after 10 o’clock, this morning but was delayed by 15 minutes due the traffic congestion in Miami but landed at 11.50 am, well ahead of the 12.20 pm scheduled landing time.
The initial plans call for twice a week flights, but with the region being a major resort in Jamaica the time saved by landing at this airport could be very appealing for tourist who would prefer to forgo the trip into Montego Bay with a near two hours drive by road to get to their destination. a flight into Ian Flemming would see less congestion at the airport making easier and faster to be processed.

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