SSL investors may soon hear about shares at JSE

Stock market investors who are clients of Stock and Securities with shares held in the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) may hear by next week if their accounts will be the subject of a sale of assets to another financial institution, a development that if were the happen would maximise the proceeds from all the company’s physical and intangible assets in the interest of all the company’s creditors.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange subsidiary

Stock market clients of SSL have been unable to trade their stocks since the Jamaica Stock Exchange terminated its Member Dealers Agreement with Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) effective February 24. Consequently, SSL and its clients were allowed to trade on the exchange.
Some SSL clients have been upset about their inability to trade, made worse by the absence of an update on the matter.
ICInsider.com contacted the Managing Director at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Marlene Street, to elicit her response on a number of issues relating to the ability of investors to get access to their shareholdings held through SSL.
What is the position of shareholders and their shares in the central depository?
Response:  Shareholders who have their securities deposited in the JCSD can rest assured that their securities are safe.  Ownership of these securities cannot be transferred without their consent.  Shareholders may view their statement from the JCSD Portal at jcsdportal.jamstockex.com or from the JSE’s website at jamstockex.com.”
Can shareholders access their shares now and if not, when and what is holding it up?
Response:  “All shares held by investors at the JCSD are held under the account of a Broker Participant.  To purchase or sell shares, an investor goes through their broker, the same applies if they desire to transfer their shares applies.  Since the shares are held under the account of SSL, in this instance, the JCSD cannot transfer securities without their concurrence.”
“ We have written to the Temporary Manager of SSL to request approval to transfer the securities held by JCSD SSL account holders to brokers of the investors’ choice.  We are aware that the Temporary Manager and the FSC are in discussions regarding same however, we await a final response to be able to guide the investors on how to access their shares.”

Sharp16% plunge in BOJ CD rate

The latest Bank of Jamaica 30 days CD offer on March 22 resulted in the first significant shift in interest rates, with the average rate plunging by 16 percent to 8.85 percent compared with the previous one held on March 17 2023, delivered an average rate of 10.54 percent.
The drop in rates and the amount of funds in BOJ CDs are the first signals that interest rates will be going down in the months ahead with the low level of inflation the country is now experiencing, with a monthly average of 0.20 percent monthly since November last year accompanied by revaluation of the local currency in recent weeks.
While the previous offer attracted 250 bids amounting to $14.98 billion with yields as high as 13.17 percent, the latest offer pulled in 348 bids valued at $57.86 billion, but only $18 billion was offered.
The highest successful bids for the March 22 offer received 9 percent, down sharply from the March 17 yield. BOJ cut the amount of funds held in CDs to $81.85 billion, down from $92.85 billion for the March 17 offer and $104.5 billion at the February 24 auction, which resulted in an average interest rate of 9.87 percent. BOJ has eased the tight liquidity that characterized the market for several weeks.

Remittances up in January for Jamaica

Remittance inflows into Jamaica rose 2 percent to US$248.6 million for January 2023, up from US$243.7 in 2022, data out of Jamaica’s central bank show and represent the 6th monthly increase since January last year, with increases in the first two months of the year, as well as August, November and December.
The slow increase for January is in stark contrast to some others in the region. Guatemala and Mexico with growth of 17.4 percent and 12.5 percent respectively and El Salvador with an increase of 6.4 percent, the Bank of Jamaica report shows.
Remittances in 2021 amounted to 58 percent of Imports, down from 61 percent in 2020 but only 37 percent in 2019 and 135 percent of the inflows from the tourist industry in 2021, 206 percent in 2020 and 67 percent in 2019. The ratio for tourism would have declined in 2022 and below the 100 percent level for 2023 based on the sharp recovery in that industry in 2022 and so far in 2023.

Jamaica tourists’ arrivals 17% upon 2019

Add your HTML code here...

Tourist arrivals to Jamaica likely jumped 17 percent in September 2022 over 2019, the best September on record, data out of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay indicate. According to a Tourismanalytics.com report, the total number of passengers handled by the airport in the month was 300,600, up from the 256,900 passengers passing through the airport in September 2019 and well up on the 191,000 passengers dealt with in September 2021.

Growth in tourism expected in 2023

At the same time, 137,000 passengers passed through the Norman Manley airport in Kingston in September, up from only 73,000 passengers in September 2021 and marginally down 3 percent from the 141,029 processed in September 2019.
Total passenger movements for Montego Bay increased 83.2 percent, from 1,761,000 in 2021 to 3,225,800 in the first nine months this year and was 89.1 percent of the 3,622,100 passengers handled in the same period in 2019.
Kingston Airport handled processed 99.6 percent more passengers for the first nine months of 2022, an increase from 565,900 in 2021 to 1,129,400 or 20 percent less than the 1,410,142 passengers handled in 2019.

BOJ hikes interest rate higher to 5.50%

The Bank of Jamaica hikes its overnight rate once more by 0.50 percent to 5.50 percent following the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
The decision the bank stated was “unanimously agreed to” by MPC who “also decided to continue pursuing other measures to contain Jamaican dollar liquidity expansion and maintain relative stability in the foreign exchange market.”
The Committee noted that “while inflation at May 2022 of 10.9 percent was lower than inflation at April 2022, core inflation remained elevated and headline inflation is likely to continue to breach the Bank’s target range over the next year.”
The MPC noted that its current decision reflects a cumulative increase in the policy rate of 500 bps since October 2021, which has taken the policy rate closer to the level that the Committee considers appropriate. The bank stated that “the measures are also aimed at reducing economic demand and, consequently, the ability of businesses to pass on price increases to consumers. These decisions are also expected to continue to support a relatively more stable foreign exchange market.”

BOJ is wrong as inflation keeps falling

Jamaica’s central bank (BOJ) was granted independence in 2021 but they seem to be making a mess of it. For much of last year they fiddled around telling the country that inflation was well under control and that it would remain within the band of 4-6 percent for two years, that’s before they found out that it wasn’t.
They informed the Ministry of Finance in April last year, why they could not increase interest rates as that would trim economic growth. In May, they made an erroneous statement that inflation was still getting higher when the underlying data was suggesting that it was improving and close to their target.
According to BOJ inflation was 11.8 percent in April and would get worse over the next two months.
ICInsider.com advised that they were wrong and that inflation was running close to the target since October and therefore was not getting worse but was improving.
According to the BOJ after its meetings held on 12, 13 and 18 of May 2022, “the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted that inflation at April 2022 of 11.8 percent was higher than the outturn at March 2022 and represented the ninth consecutive month that inflation has been above the Bank’s target range of 4.0 to 6.0 percent. While inflation is forecasted to rise further over the next two months, the Bank forecasts inflation to fall in the second half of the year, consistent with consensus forecast for a fall in commodity prices. This means that the public should start to see lower inflation rates each month, beginning in the second half of 2022, as long as tensions between Russia and Ukraine do not escalate and inflation among Jamaica’s trading partners falls.”
The latest data from Statin is once more confirming what we stated last month and casting serious doubts on the authority of the central bank.  Statin’s latest reading on inflation is 0.3 percent for May with the year or year rate down to 10.8 percent, which is down 100 basis points from the April reading. The monthly rate for May is the lowest since November last year with zero inflation and April with negative 0.5.
Since October last year, some seven months ago even before the interest rate hikes took effect, inflation was just over 6.4 percent per annum. With an average of 0.535 percent per month. For the period from December last year, the average rate is 0.547 percent per month, but since January it is running at 5.46 percent per annum.
The rate is moderating, but the country is not out of the woods as yet. There are some hopeful signs for the coming months. The rate of exchange of the Jamaica dollar is now officially J$153.45 to the US dollar compared to around $156 up recently, this will cut the cost of imports and will contribute in a major way to cutting imported inflation. The recent increase in interest rates will also slow down economic activity.
The inflation trend since October last year, suggests BOJ has overdone the interest rate hike and the rate should start the downward trek before the end of the year.

Strong buying interest for Dolla

Buying interest in Dolla Financial is extremely high and selling low, with 332 million in bids and 6.2 million on offer, just after 9 am on Thursday. Bids are up to $1.72 with minimal offers of 60,000 units up to $1.72 which hardly dented the demand.
At the opening of the market, bids at $1.72 jumped to 48 million shares, with the lowest offer at $1.75. Trading in the stock is halted with the 30 percent price movement being triggered, with the price now 72 percent up on the IPO price of $1.
After the opening of trading, there were 3,650 bids to buy 364.4 million units between 70 cents and $1.72 and just 260 offers to sell 7 million units. the equilibrium price could be some way off.

$10 billion chased Dolla IPO

Some $10 billion is said to have chased after the 500 million shares at $1 each, offered in the Initial Public offer in Dolla Financial from approximately 10,000 applications, ICInsider.com has been advised by persons who would be in a place to know.
This could mean that each applicant may end up with an average of approximately eight percent of which they applied if over 40,000 shares.
The issue that was clearly very popular and oversubscribed closed at 4.30 on Friday, the same day of opening.
The shares are slated for listing on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and are expected to more than double based on the earnings for the first quarter to March this year, with profit before tax of $66 million up from $17 million in 2021 and the high level of oversubscription.
The company reported an audited profit of $129 million after taxation of $38 million for 2021, from revenues of $379 million and ended with shareholders’ equity of $315 billion.

Dolla IPO oversubscribed and closed

The Initial Public offer of shares in Dolla Financial was oversubscribed and closed at 4.30 on Friday, the same day that the issue opened.
The issue comprised 500 million shares of $1 each with the shares slated for listing on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. A very popular issue that is expected to be heavily oversubscribed, with the stock expected to more than double based on the earnings for the first quarter to March this year, with profit before tax of $66 million up from $17 million in 2021.
When listed it will bring the total Junior Market listings to 46, with three listings for the year to date and the total number of ordinary shares to be listed on that market to 50, with one failure and three migrating to the Main Market.

Seprod slated to make big acquisition

Seprod is in the process of acquiring a distribution company headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago and is involved in food, grocery, hardware, housewares, pharmaceuticals and beverages.
ICinsider.com gathers the acquisition, which Seprod states is slated to be concluded by the end of May, would about double Seprod’s size in revenues. The target has 1,300 employees and revenues of US$240 million around J$37 billion, just below Seprod‘s sales of J$43 billion for 2021. The group, AS Brydens which is being acquired, also operates in Barbados and Guyana and is expected to boost Sperod’s profit per share, from the majority ownership that they will hold along with others within the Musson Group.

IC Insider.com gathers that Seprod expects to benefit from increased sales of locally manufactured goods through the new linkage.