Jamaica’s FX inflows surpass 2020 flows

There is a sharp surge in the earnings of foreign exchange in the first two months of this year and the first week of March for Jamaica over the similar period despite the impact that the Covid pandemic has had on business in the country and, in particular the tourism industry.
Data out of Bank of Jamaica shows purchasing by Authorized dealers and Cambios for the year to March 4 amounts to $777 million US$103 million more than in 2020, while selling was just $33 million more in 2021 than in 2020. This development is a huge revelation with the tourism sector, a large foreign exchange sector operating around a third of capacity compared to a full capacity for the similar period last year.
Trading for last week’s Friday resulted in purchases of US$38.5 million and selling of US$60 million against 2020 purchases on the same day of $34.5 million and sales at $47.7 million in all currencies. On Thursday, purchases totalled US$63,861,970 and sales US$59,145,237, well ahead of the same day in 2020.
On Wednesday, purchases amounted to US$54,236,293 and sales US$63,794,632, with the amounts purchased being well ahead of last year’s figure but with sales just $2 million less than last year. Tuesday’s purchases amounted to US$62,667,923, with sales of US$71,359,269, both being much higher than for the similar day in 2020. On Monday, US$67,469,686 were purchased while US$61,868,091 were sold, falling below the 2020 trades.
Last year, trading on the first Monday in March brought in US$73,900,712 while selling amounted to US$73,904,949. Tuesday’s purchases amounted to US$44,971,292 and selling US$65,382,991, while on Wednesday purchases were US$55,679,393 and sales US$79,738,789 and on Thursday, March 5 last year, dealers purchased US$53,369,689 from the system and sold US$47,373,166.
Financial institutions have been selling US dollar short as demand weakens and the rate is appreciating. Monday last week saw just US$2.5 million sold in excess of purchases, but National Commercial Bank went short by nearly US$7 million and JMMB Bank by $3 million. Traders went short on Tuesday to the tune of US$15 million with NCB, the major short seller with US$9 million and BNS, FCIB, JMMB Bank, Sagicor and VMBS, making up the bulk of the rest.

NCB is a big player in the FX market.

On Wednesday, net selling amounted to just over US$12 million, with the big net sellers being First Caribbean International Bank, First Global Bank, JMMB Bank, NCB and Sagicor Bank.
On Thursday, there were no overall net sales as purchases exceeded sales, but Scotia Bank, JN Bank and Sagicor Bank sold more than they bought on that day.
One usually reliable and knowledgeable source indicates that from where he sits, “increased inflows are coming from remittances, entities selling US dollars to pay taxes, increased BPO flows and from some exporters”. The high level of short selling is based on demand being soft currently as financial institutions take advantage of the higher rate that the Jamaican dollar sits at. Others are confirming increased flows from the BPO sector that has grown over 2020, increased remittances and exports. Additional flows may be coming from entities or individuals who bought last year in anticipation of the local dollar running away but may have decided to cash in with the price peaking around the $150 million mark.
On Monday, March 8, dealers bought a total of US$43.3 million in all currencies and sold US$59 million, with short selling of US dollars amounting to $20 million and the selling rate for the US dollar ending at J$148.97. The major short-sellers are BNS, US$3 million, Citibank, US$7.6 million, JMMB Bank, US$2.5 million, JN Bank US$US$2.3 million and Victoria Mutual, US$1.8 million.

Jamaican dollar makes more gains

NCB had the highest net sale of US$ on Friday

The rate of exchange for the United States and Jamaican dollar inched further in favour of the local currency on Friday as dealers sold US$42.2 million at an average rate of $127.99 on Friday, down from an average of 128.126 with the sale of $67 million on Thursday.
On Friday, dealers bought US$37.38 million at an average of $126.74, a decline from $127.38 with the buying of US$61 million on Thursday.
Dealers bought $45,56 million in all currencies on Friday and sold US$50.28 million compared to purchases of US$77.6 million and sale of US$82.5 million on Thursday. Thursday’s trading includes the buying of Can$19.7 million and sale of Can$19.4 million.
Major net sellers of US dollars on Thursday are, Citibank with the purchase of US$160,000 and sale of US$1.65 million, First Global Bank buying US$271,000 and selling US$1.96 million. JMMB Bank ended with the buying of US$839,000 and selling $3.6 million, JN Bank purchased $868,000 and sold $2.48 million, Victoria Mutual Building Society bought $720,000 and sold of $2.45 million but First Caribbean purchased $5.6 million and sold just $1.38 million.
On Friday, Bank of Nova Scotia purchased $9.2 million and sold just $5 million, First Caribbean Bank bought US$813,000 and sold US$1.3 million, JMMB Bank ended buying US$1.87 million and sold $4.8 million, JN Bank purchased $1.16 million with sales of $1.87 million. National Commercial bought US$3.56 million and sold $8.5 million, Sagicor Bank bought $852,000 while selling US$1.99, Victoria Mutual Building Society purchased $693,000 and sold $1.3 million but Citibank purchased US$1.7 million and sold just US$587,000.

First Global’s big year

FGB2015 was a big year for the Grace owned First Global Bank in recording a strong 39 percent increase profit after tax to $440 million over 2014. The strong growth emanated from a sharp increase in Loans and advances of 23 to $21.8 billion at the year end helping to drive interest on loans by 23 percent to $2.56 billion.
Net interest and other income amounted to $3.7 billion versus $3 billion in the previous year, for 25 percent increase.
Customer deposits grew 10 percent to $24.6 billion but interest cost grew to $566 million from $521 million for depositors.
The bank, one of the smaller one in Jamaica enjoyed growth in interest income by over 20 percent for the 2015 financial year over the 2014 as they posted interest revenue of $3.6 billion compared with $3 billion for 2014. Interest cost grew 11.3 percent from $893 million in 2014 to $992 million in 2015.
Fees and commissions recorded significant growth of 32 percent moving from $724 million to $956 million for financial year 2015. Foreign exchange gains grew 16 percent to $231 million, while gains on investment activities more than quadruple from $25 million to $116 million.
A 28 percent increase in staff costs helped to push operating expenses to $3.3 billion, for a 25 percent increase over the 2014 period. The bank’s asset grew by over 12 percent to $47 billion against $42 billion recorded for 2014 and shareholders’ equity climbed to $7.2 billion from $6.9 billion in 2014.
While profit had climbed sharply, close to half a billion, corporate taxation was ended being nil as tax free income wiped out any likelihood of a tax liability for the year.

Grace grows Q3 profit 7%

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Grace HStRevenues for Grace Kennedy rose a strong 14.4 percent in the nine months to September, this year, to $59.7 billion from $52.2 billion generated in the corresponding period of 2014. Profit attributable to owners of the group for the third quarter of 2015 was 7 percent higher than for the similar period last year, reaching $754 million.
Profit declined by $338 million or 14.2 percent for the year to date, compared with the similar period of 2014, moving from $2.38 billion to $2.05 billion.
The earnings per stock unit to September amount to $6.19, down from $7.21 in 2014, for the full year should end around $3.4 billion or $10.30 per share.
“The Group’s performance was in part impacted by the costs associated with the integration of our expanded US Food operations through GraceKennedy Foods (USA), recognition of the total asset tax liability in the first quarter, lower foreign exchange gains and higher finance costs”, Group Chief Executive Officer, Don Wehby and chairman Gordon Shirley said in his report to shareholders.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Don Wehby

Group Chief Executive Officer, Don Wehby

Segments|The Food Trading segment reported revenue growth of 17 percent over the corresponding period last year but with falling profit of $754 million compared with $1.02 billion in 2014. The distribution businesses in Jamaica, UK, Canada and Belize reported higher profits when compared to prior year, the report stated. “The Banking and Investments segment reported higher profits when compared to the prior period due to growth in First Global Bank’s net interest income and non-interest income. The growth in net interest income was bolstered by year over year growth in loans and deposits of 28 percent and 21 percent respectively. The Insurance segment delivered higher revenue and profits due to the improved underwriting performance of GK General”, the report to shareholders further stated.
“The Money Services segment recorded higher revenues and profits due to higher remittance transactions and increased market share in Jamaica, higher revenues from our cambio operations in Trinidad, and cost containment initiatives implemented by the segment”, Wehby and Shirley stated.
Shareholders’ equity stands at $37.2 billion with book value per share of $112.47. The company will pay a third interim dividend of 90 cents per stock unit on 16th December.
Grace’s shares are listed on the Stock Exchanges of Jamaica and Trinidad and last traded at J$68.11 and TT$3.60 giving it a PE of 6.7 times 2015 earnings leaving room for quite some growth.