CARICOM BUSINESS, October 23, 2022

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CARICOM Business

A weekly aggregation of some of the more topical business news occcuring in or likely to impact CARICOM / Caribbean

Fitch: Fitch: Barbados assigned B rating with stable outlook

Fitch ratings has assigned a long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) of ‘B’ with a stable outlook to Barbados. It also assigned a short-term IDR of ‘B’, a country ceiling of ‘B’ and senior unsecured debt level of ‘B’. In its rationale, Fitch Ratings said the country’s latest ratings “balance high GDP per capita and governance scores, a strengthened external liquidity position, and a more favourable debt repayment profile following a comprehensive 2018-2019 restructuring, against its vulnerability to external shocks due to its heavy reliance on tourism, high public debt levels and limited appetite for domestic debt from local commercial banks.” “The rating is supported by the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff-level agreement to access the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) with an accompanying Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme which would underpin reform momentum and alleviate financing constraints, as well as Fitch’s expectation of a relatively quick reduction in the debt burden from high levels in the forecast period,” it explained. Pointing to the 10.5% economic growth during the first half of this year, the report noted that economic recovery has begun. Fitch said it was forecasting real GDP growth of 9% this year and 3% in 2023, although recessions in key source markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom pose downside risks. Fitch said there were a number of factors that could individually or collectively lead to a negative rating action in the future, including the emergence of financial constraints such as a breakdown in relations with international financial institutions or failure to consolidate fiscal accounts, as well as a sharp reduction in external liquidity such as a deterioration in the current account deficit stemming from an external shock. (BT)

Guyana earns US$493m in oil profits & royalties in 3rd qtr

Guyana earned US$493.1 million which included profit oil of US$442.1 million and royalties amounting to US$51 million from the oil and gas industry July to September, according to the Bank of Guyana (BoG) in its third-quarter report for 2022. The BoG said the increase in revenue was attributed to the additional Floating Production and Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel, the Liza Unity, being in operation in the Liza Phase Two of the Stabroek Block. Since oil production began in 2019, Guyana has recorded six lifts of profit oil, which have brought in US$1.2 billion in profit oil revenue and US$153.1 million in royalty payments. (CNW)

Foreign Exchange Summary

Applicable rates as at October 21, 2022

Applicable rates as at October 21, 2022

SVG records fiscal deficit of EC$90.7m as at September 2022

Government finances in St. Vincent and the Grenadines registered a deficit of EC$90.7 million as of September this year, compared to EC$81.8 million in 2021, despite higher revenue in 2022. According to Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves total revenue and grants for the first three quarters of the year stood at EC$516.9 million, compared to EC$522.6 million, year-on-year. He said current revenue for 2022 was EC$486.5 million as opposed to EC$473 million last year. Current revenue is up 2.9% while total revenue and grants is down 1.1%. Current expenditure increased by 1.7% to EC$496.7 million relative to the corresponding period last year. Gonsalves said that capital expenditure was EC$121.5 million, compared to EC$122.8 million in 2021, for a current balance deficit of EC$10.1 million as opposed to an EC$15.6 million deficit last year. Capital expenditure jumped to EC$191 million up from EC$122 million in 2021. (IWNSVG)

Corporate Movements

  • Dolla Financial Services Limited has appointed David Henriques as Chief Executive Officer, Ultra Financier Limited;
  • Access Financial Services has advised of the resignation of Frederick Williams, Chief Executive Officer, effective December 9, 2022;
  • The Scotia Group Jamaica has announced the appointment of Gabrielle O’Connor as VP, Finance and Chief Financial Officer effective October 10 and Maia Wilson as VP, Senior Legal Counsel & Company Secretary effective October 1;
  • Berger Paints Limited has advised of the resignation of Carlinton Montgomery, Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary, effective September 30, 2022;
  • EduFocal Limited has advised of the resignation of Chelsea Taylor as Operations Director effective October 5 and the appointment of Tianka Scott-Morrison as Education Director effective October 3.

Supplementary Unemployment Benefit extended 

The Supplementary Unemployment Benefit [SUB] has been extended to November 30th, the Government of Bermuda has confirmed. According to the Minister of Economy and Labour (MEL) , Jason Hayward, since its inception in September 2020 to 31 August 2022, payments totalling $2,818,751 have been made to individuals. Furthermore, the total    benefit and health insurance payments, coupled with the administrative cost for the SUB, amount to $3,006,899.  Minister Hayward said, “As we move beyond the pandemic toward greater economic stability the MEL will continue leveraging policies within its remit that support the reintegration of all Bermudians into the local economy.” (BER)

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Caribbean might not be ready for electric vehicles as US market poised to grow by 386%

There are mounting concerns that some Caribbean countries may not be ready to transition to electric vehicles (EVs). According to Valentine Fagan, Chairman of the Office of Utilities Regulation’s Electric Vehicle Working Group in Jamaica, says a full implementation of EVs without proper planning can pose problems for electricity distribution. He said data from Tax Administration of Jamaica show there are more than 500,000 vehicles in the country, but if just one per cent of those vehicles are EV, this would “bring a significant strain on the electricity grid”. However, he said the issue can be resolved with proper management and the implementation of additional infrastructure. In the meantime, the electric vehicle market in the United States is on track to grow from $28.24 billion in 2021 to $137.43 billion in 2028 or 386.6% by 2028 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.4%. Major automakers from Ford to GM have launched EV ranges. The U.S. crossed the tipping point for EV mass adoption earlier this year when 5% of all new car sales were fully electric. At the beginning of 2022, the U.S. became the third biggest EV market after Europe and China. Based on this achievement, a quarter of U.S. car sales could be all-electric by as soon as 2025, a year earlier than originally predicted. (RJR) (OP)

Hurricane Ian could dampen investor appetite for cat bonds

Capital unable to get significant returns from insurance-linked securities (ILS) investment could bolt for greener pastures, a Fitch Ratings assessment has determined. The report says the fallout from Hurricane Ian could test the investor appetite for bonds. Reinsurers have used the insurance-linked securities market to manage risks and to pay insured losses, amid rising rates and increasingly volatile catastrophic losses. Of its latest report, Fitch says: “ILS investors not properly compensated for risk or facing elevated losses amid fallout from Hurricane Ian may choose to reinvest capital elsewhere, which would exacerbate the demand/supply imbalance of the reinsurance sector, which is especially acute in the Florida property market.” Fitch says: “ILS include catastrophe bonds, collateral reinsurance, sidecars and industry loss warranties, representing around 20%, or $100 billion, of global reinsurance capacity.“ Cat bonds are approximately 30% of the ILS market. Commentary from the Monte Carlo Rendezvous 2022 indicated a pipeline of ILS deals of $5 billion of additional reinsurance capacity, which would benefit insurers facing a hardening market. “However, the ILS market will assume a fair share of losses from Ian, with Fitch estimating total insured losses of $35 billion to $55 billion, second only to Hurricane Katrina at $65 billion ($90 billion in 2021 dollars). (RG)

Jamaica inches closer to full employment

As Jamaica inches closer to full employment, the unemployment rate as at July 2022 stands at 6.6%, 1.9 percentage points lower than the 8.5% recorded in July 2021. The male unemployment rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points from 6.3% to 5.2%, while the female unemployment rate declined by 2.8 percentage points from 11.1% to 8.2%. The youth unemployment rate (persons aged 14-24 years) was 16.7% in July 2022, 7.2 percentage points lower than in July 2021. In July 2022, there were 1,268,000 employed persons, an increase of 53,000 compared to the similar quarter of 2021. There were 42,000 more employed females, representing 79.2% of the total increase in employment. The occupation groups ‘Clerks’ and ‘Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers’ combined accounted for the majority of the increase in the employed labour force. There were 132,200 persons employed in the occupation group ‘Clerks’ in July 2022, an increase of 25,400 or 23.8 per cent compared to July 2021. In July 2022, there were 739,600 persons classified as Outside the Labour Force, a decrease of 27,900 (3.6%) compared to 767,500 in July 2021. There was a decrease of 1,700 males and 26,200 females. (STATIN)

As food security crisis deepens, 26 countries impose food export bans

Data for May to September 2022 shows high inflation in almost all low-income and middle-income countries; 88.9% of low-income countries, 91.1% of lower-middle-income countries, and 96% of upper-middle-income countries have seen inflation levels above 5%, with many experiencing double-digit inflation. The share of high-income countries with high food price inflation has risen to 85.7%. Compared to two weeks ago, the agricultural price index is 1 percentage point higher. Average wheat, maize, and rice prices in October 2022 are 18%, 27%, and 10% higher, respectively, than in October 2021. Meanwhile, wheat and maize prices are 38% and 4% higher, respectively, and rice prices are  21% lower than in January 2021. According to the World Bank, the war in Ukraine has altered global patterns of trade, production, and consumption of commodities in ways that will keep prices at high levels through the end of 2024 exacerbating food insecurity and inflation. According to an IMF paper, $5 billion to $7 billion in further spending is needed to assist vulnerable households in 48 countries most affected by the higher food and fertilizer import prices. An additional $50 billion is required to end acute food insecurity over the next 12 months. The global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices. As of October 10, 2022, 21 countries have implemented 26 food export bans, and eight have implemented 12 export-limiting measures. (WB)

Food Security Update 

High energy and fertilizer costs, poor weather in key producing countries, and the Ukraine-Russia war risks have led to high domestic food price inflation. Geopolitical risk highlighted as a major driver of price volatility (Update as at October 13, 2022

thedocs.worldbank.org

Credit card use up 57 percent during pandemic

Credit card payment use in The Bahamas shot up 57% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dollar figure of these kinds of transactions has, over a period of ten years, increased from $400 million to more than $1 billion, according to a report titled “Cash Transformation in the Bahamas”. The report, which was developed in partnership between RBC Royal Bank Bahamas and Oxford Business Group, explains that in 2020 The Bahamas had its highest increase in real-time gross settlement (RTGS) transactions. The report also explains that cheque use had already been on the decline before The Central Bank of The Bahamas announced that they would be phased out. “Although check elimination is set to take place by the end of 2024, in 2019-2020 there was a 40% reduction in the number of cleared checks,” the report said. “This reduction has been more than offset by processing digital payments through the RTGS. Cooperation between commercial banks, financial institutions and the government has been the cornerstone of this progress.” The report gives kudos to the development of central bank digital currency (CBDC) the Sand Dollar, and explains that the total amount in circulation at this time amounts to about one percent of total money in circulation. The report added that only about seven percent of the population utilizes e-wallets, which are used to hold the CBDC. (NG)

Report: How has public-private collaboration boosted digital and cash transformation in the Bahamas? | [term:name] 2022 | Oxford Business Group

Report: How has public-private collaboration boosted digital and cash transformation in the Bahamas? | [term:name] 2022 | Oxford Business Group

Public-private collaboration aimed at boosting digital payments and reducing cash usage in the Bahamas has made gains in a relatively short timeframe.

oxfordbusinessgroup.com

BMA seeks comment on proposed new digital asset business code

The Bermuda Monetary Authority is seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the Digital Asset Business Act 2018: Code of Practice and Digital Asset Business (Client Disclosure) Amendment Rules 2022. It is in relation to an initiative establishing a conduct of business regulatory framework, which ensures protection for customers using the services of regulated financial institutions. The BMA said: “The code of practice and client disclosure rules amendments seek to ensure that, among other things, a digital-asset business shall: have an obligation to treat clients fairly and equitably; have continuing regard for clients’ interests in the conduct of their business; ensure that communications with clients are fair, clear and not misleading; provide the necessary protection against the loss of clients’ assets due to internal fraud or misuse; handle complaints and errors in a manner that is fair and expedient; and ensure that clients, especially retail clients, are aware of their responsibilities within the business relationship and facilitate access to appropriate resources to help them understand their responsibilities within the business relationship.” (RG)

Trinidad ready to boost LNG, ammonia exports once more gas is online

Trinidad and Tobago, Latin America’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and among the world’s three top exporters of ammonia, is exploring ways to boost shipments of gas and petrochemical products to help ease global shortages, Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Wednesday. Trinidad has three liquefaction trains in service and 11 ammonia plants with a total production capacity of 5.2 million metric tonnes per year. “Right now, we have a significant capacity in our plants – LNG, methanol, urea and ammonia – all of them can produce more than we need, once we have access to natural gas,” he said. Trinidad relies on costly offshore production to supply gas to its LNG and petrochemical complexes. Private producers are rushing projects to bring new production online in the coming years while the government is in talks with oil and gas producer Venezuela. Young said he is discussing with producers in Trinidad green ammonia projects, a form of ammonia produced from air and water using renewable power, considered more environmentally friendly. The final product can serve as a fertilizer or an energy-dense fuel. (Reuters)

GLOBAL ECONOMIC NEWS IN BRIEF

Turkey slashes interest rates by 150 basis points despite inflation at 83%

Turkey’s central bank on Thursday slashed its key interest rate by 150 basis points for the third consecutive month of cuts, from 12% to 10.5% — despite Turkish inflation at more than 83%. Consumer prices for the country of 84 million people climbed to a new 24-year high of 83.45% in September, though many people living in Turkey say prices for basic goods have in some cases more than tripled in the past year. The country’s monetary policy, directed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is based on a pursuit of growth and export competition rather than calming inflation. Erdogan vocally espouses the unorthodox belief that raising interest rates increases inflation, rather than the other way around, and has called hiking rates “the mother of all evil.” The policy consistently provokes criticism and bafflement from economists, and plays a major role in the dramatic weakening of Turkey’s currency, the lira, which has lost roughly 28% of its value against the dollar this year.

Malaysia’s trade turnover posts double-digit growth for 20 consecutive months

Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said the nation’s trade continued its upward trajectory in September 2022, up by 31.4% year on year to 256.91 billion RM (54.43 billion USD), marking the 20th consecutive month of double-digit growth. As reported by the country’s news agency Bernama, the ministry said exports increased by 30.1% to 144.31 billion RM, marking the 14th successive month of double-digit growth, while imports expanded by 33% to 112.60 billion RM. As a result, Malaysia’s trade surplus achieved a new record high of 31.71 billion RM. MITI largely attributed the export growth to robust external demand for electrical and electronic (E&E) products, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude petroleum, optical and scientific equipment as well as machinery, equipment and parts. Malaysia’s exports to major trading partners, notably ASEAN, the US, the EU, and Japan, recorded double-digit growth, with the figure for Japan registered the highest monthly value ever. 

UK inflation back at 10.1%

The consumer price index for the United Kingdom rose 10.1% in September, according to estimates published Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics. The CPI monthly rate was 0.5% in September 2022, compared with 0.3% in September 2021. In September 2022, the CPI annual inflation rate returned to the July level, which was the highest annual CPI inflation rate in the National Statistic series, which began in January 1997. Inflation unexpectedly dipped to 9.9% in August, down from 10.1% in July, on the back of a fuel price decline. Increasing food, transport and energy prices were the biggest contributing factors to inflation, the ONS said. Food was up 14.6% year-on-year, transport was up 10.9% compared to last year, while the price of furniture and household goods rose 10.8%. The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) rose by 8.8% in the 12 months to September 2022, up from 8.6% in August. The inflation data comes just as the Bank of England plans to sell off some of its government bonds, known as gilts, from November 1.

UK financial outlook downgraded to negative by rating agency Moody’s

Moody’s rating agency has cut its UK’s financial outlook to negative but maintained its sovereign rating at Aa3. On Friday, the agency lowered the UK’s outlook to negative from stable, citing policy uncertainty amid high inflation and weaker growth prospects. Moody’s said the government’s “ability to engender confidence in its commitment to fiscal prudence” will be a consideration for Moody’s in “resolving the negative outlook”. It added that the unchanged Aa3 rating “reflects the UK’s economic resilience supported by its wealthy, competitive and diversified economy”. The report said there was also “risks to the UK’s debt affordability from likely higher borrowing and risk of a sustained weakening in policy credibility”. On 23 September, former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced around £45bn pounds of permanent, unfunded tax cuts alongside an expensive plan to cap energy tariffs for household and businesses. The move sent sterling and bond markets into a tailspin and triggered a political crisis that led to Liz Truss firing Mr Kwarteng and then reversing almost all the planned tax cuts before then announcing her own resignation. New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he will do “whatever it takes” to restore confidence in Britain’s public finances. He is due to announce a plan on 31 October aimed at bringing down public debt as a share of economic output in the medium term.

Eurozone inflation inches towards double digits

The euro area annual inflation rate was 9.9% in September 2022, up from 9.1% in August. A year earlier, the rate was 3.4%. European Union annual inflation was 10.9% in September 2022, up from 10.1% in August. A year earlier, the rate was 3.6%. Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes these figures. The lowest annual rates were registered in France (6.2%), Malta (7.4%) and Finland (8.4%). The highest annual rates were recorded in Estonia (24.1%), Lithuania (22.5%) and Latvia (22.0%). Compared with August, annual inflation fell in six Member States, remained stable in one and rose in twenty. In September, the highest contribution to the annual euro area inflation rate came from energy (+4.19 percentage points, pp), followed by food, alcohol & tobacco (+2.47 pp), services (+1.80 pp) and non-energy industrial goods (+1.47 pp). 

Japan’s trade deficit balloons for 14th month on energy costs, cheap yen

Japan marked a trade deficit for the 14th month in a row, government data showed on Thursday, with exports and imports ballooning to record highs, as the declining value of the yen added to the soaring costs of imported energy, food and other goods. Imports totalled 10.9 trillion yen (USD 72.7 billion) in September, according to the Finance Ministry, up nearly 46 per cent from the same month a year ago on the back of rising oil and gas costs. Imports have grown for 20 months straight on-year. But import costs were lower than the previous month’s, indicating some commodity prices have begun to stabilise. Exports totalled 8.8 trillion yen (USD 58.7 billion), with the strongest growth in autos and steel. It was the 20th straight month of year on year monthly gains. The Japanese yen has weakened drastically as the Bank of Japan maintains its negative interest rate policy, to keep economic activity going, while the US Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy to combat growing inflation pressures. Experts say that rate difference leads to a weaker yen. But the Bank of Japan has said Japan’s inflation is not as serious as the problem in the US and some other nations. Until recently, Japan has instead been striving to keep deflation, or falling prices, at bay.

U.S. budget deficit cut in half for biggest decrease ever

The U.S. budget deficit was sliced in half for fiscal 2022, the biggest drop in history following two years of huge COVID-related spending. Though still large in historical terms, the budget shortfall declined to $1.375 trillion, compared to the 2021 deficit of $2.776 trillion. The decline would have been steeper had it not been for the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program. Education spending totalled $639.4 billion for the fiscal year, $408 billion higher than estimated. The 2022 fiscal year saw $4.896 trillion in revenue against $6.272 trillion in outlays. The outlays number represented about a $550 billion decline in spending but an $850 billion increase in revenue. The revenue total is by far the highest ever for the U.S. government. Deficits in the previous two years soared as Congress shelled out massive sums to combat the pandemic. The shortfall hit a record $3.13 trillion in 2020 due to more than $5 trillion in CARES Act spending and other outlays. In 2019, the deficit was $983.6 billion. Prior to 2020, the highest deficit ever was $1.41 trillion in 2009 as the financial crisis came to a close. The U.S. briefly ran a surplus from 1998 to 2001.

Refrain from measures that erode tax revenues, IMF tells Ukraine

The IMF has “encouraged” the Ukrainian authorities “to refrain from measures that erode tax revenues, as they strive to align expenditure with available financing.” This was the guidance provided by an IMF staff team, which met with the Ukrainian authorities in Vienna, Austria from October 17–20. According to the IMF, the discussions focused on recent macro-financial developments and outlook, the budget for 2023 and associated external financing needs, financial sector issues and the mix of policies to support macroeconomic stability. However, the Fund acknowledges that, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine that started over seven months ago has caused tremendous human suffering and had a severe economic impact. Real gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted significantly, inflation has risen sharply, trade has been substantially disrupted, and the fiscal deficit has risen to unprecedented levels.” /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Value of imports up 20 percent in Q1 in the Bahamas 

The trade deficit in the Bahamas has widened during the first quarter by $751 million, although exports increased 25% and imports jumped by 20% relative to the corresponding period of 2021. According to the Bahamas National Statistical Institute merchandise imports increased to $839 million, up from the $699.4 million during the first quarter of 2021. “The major groups of merchandise, were ‘food and live animals’ which totalled $157 million, ‘machinery and transport equipment’ at $149 million and ‘mineral fuels lubricants and related materials’ which totaled $137 million. The combined value of these categories represented 53% of total imports,” the BNSI said. “Other categories that contributed to total imports were ‘manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials’ which accounted for $117 million, ‘miscellaneous manufactured articles’, valued at $107 million and ‘chemicals’, at $88 million. These groups together represented 37% of total imports.” On the other hand, the value of merchandise exports during the first quarter was $124 million, compared to $80.9 million in the first quarter of 2021. “The categories that contributed the largest proportion to the exports were ‘mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials’, which totalled $43 million, ‘food and live animals’ at $30 million and ‘manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials’ at $24 million, representing 79 percent of total exports,” the BNSI said. “Commodities that showed significant increases were ‘miscellaneous manufactured articles’, and ‘crude minerals, inedible except fuels’ which increased by 1,249%, and 193% respectively when compared to the same quarter last year. The United States remained the largest trade partner, accounting for $676 million worth of commodities, followed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at $6.9 million, Canada at $6 million, the United Kingdom at $5.78 million and Caribbean nations at $3.9 million. (NG)

Inflation of 9.3% for Jamaica

Jamaica has recorded point-to-point inflation (September 2021 – September 2022) of 9.3% down from 10.2% recorded in August. This is attributable mainly to the point-to-point inflation rate for the divisions: ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ (10.5%), ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ (8.5%) and ‘Restaurants and Accommodations Services’ (19.4%). For the fiscal year- to-date, the inflation rate stands at 4.2%. In the meantime, for the month of September 2022, the All-Jamaica Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 1.4 per cent. This upward movement was largely the result of a 4.1 per cent increase in the index for the division ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. The rise in this division’s index was due mainly to a 9.2 per cent increase in the group ‘Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’. This resulted from the cessation of the Government of Jamaica’s 20.0% subsidy on electricity bills for customers who use 200 kilowatts per hour or less. Meanwhile, the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division increased by 1.1%, Education increased by 5.3%. However, the inflation impulses abated somewhat by a reduction in the Transport division which declined by 0.3% due to a decrease in petrol prices for the period. (STATIN)

TCI increases projected expenditure by 4.5% for FY22/23

The TCI government has increased its projected expenditure for the 2022-2023 financial year by an additional $18.4m (4.5%), bringing it to a historic $420.3m. According to Minister of Finance, Investment & Trade Hon Erwin. Jay Saunders, the additional funds will be utilised to address the inflationary and cost of living pressures, aggressively respond to the surge in crime and to make provisions for disaster recovery following Hurricane Fiona. Saunders explained that government revenues have ticked upwards, and it is forecast to come in at $404.2m (including a Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility payout of $670k and grants and contributions of over $790k). The Finance Minister said to fund the additional spending, the government will draw down $16.0m from its cash reserves, which now stand at $240m, up from $189m at the start of the Financial Year (i.e. 1st April 2022). (TCW)

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Guyana to digitize development approvals process

Guyana is seeking to transition to a single-window planning permit system and in this regard will be seeking to enact legislation by year-end to facilitate this process. According to Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues “the government has recognised the need to introduce a far more automated process that streamlines workflow both within the CHPA (Central Housing and Planning Authority) and with stakeholder agencies that are part of the overall approval process.” The Minister added that “the goal is to have an integrated electronic permitting system where the agencies will no longer operate as silos but rather within an integrated mix of processes that take place concurrently.” “This is an initiative to bring certainty and predictability to the approval process by clearly identifying the requirements for various types of development, reducing unnecessary steps in the process or redundancy in the process,” the Minister said. Already within the Region, some countries are already incorporating electronic development approvals systems in their planning processes with the application management and data automation (AMANDA) software being an early front-runner. (NG) (CB)

China Plans Mammoth Offshore Windfarm

The Chinese city of Chaozhou in Guangdong has plans to begin construction on its massive 43.3 GW offshore wind farm within the space of a few years, according to the city’s most recent five-year plan. The location of the wind farm is ideal, with winds strong enough to run the turbines between 43% and 49% of the time—a figure that is high for the industry. At 43.3 GW of power generating capacity, the offshore wind farm will be capable of churning out as much power as the entirety of Poland or Argentina. For comparison, China added 16.9 GW of offshore wind capacity in 2021. This one plant, set to be complete in just three years, would dwarf that by a factor of 2.5. China has the largest fleet of offshore wind turbines in the world, according to Bloomberg. (OP)

International Oil Prices

Oil Prices at the close of business on October 21, 2022

Oil Prices at the close of business on October 21, 2022

Scotiabank introduces new digital payment solution for businesses

With Scotia eCom+™, the latest digital payment solution from Scotiabank, businesses can now accept online payments from their customers within 24 hours. Cristina Abreu – Director, Global Transaction Banking, Caribbean South and East at Scotiabank said the new system enables clients to start accepting credit and debit card online payments from anywhere in the world. “We continue to invest in solutions that drive business value for our clients and support their transition to more secure and convenient digital options,” she said. Scotia eCom+ allows clients to accept customer payments using Scotiabank’s secure payment page. (LOOP)

Regional Stock Market Report

Jamaica Stock Exchange 

Overall Market activity resulted from trading in 58 stocks of which 22 advanced, 28 declined and 8 traded firm. Market volume amounted to 6,909,965 units valued at over J$29,190,379.41. Wigton Windfarm Limited Ordinary Shares was volume leader with 1,760,085 units. The JSE Index   declined by 669.30 points to close at 353,428.65.    

Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange 

Overall market activity resulted from trading in 41 stocks of which 17 advanced, 14 declined and 10 traded firm. Market volume amounted to 3,421,711 units valued at over J$9,593,021.99. Index closed at 4,133.53.      

Barbados Stock Exchange 

One security traded firm as 4,000 shares traded on the   Regular Market, with a total value of $12,000.00. Goddard   Enterprises Limited was the sole security trading. Index closed at 2,370.39. 

Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange 

Overall Market activity resulted from trading in 19 securities of which 6 advanced, 6 declined and 7 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 419,313 shares crossing the floor valued at TT$12,908,382.59. GraceKennedy Limited was volume   leader with 190,783 shares changing hands valued at TT$992,094.00. The All T&T Index advanced by 2.91 points to close at 2000.98 and the Composite Index advanced by 0.68 points to close at 1335.79. 

Guyana Stock Exchange 

1 stock advanced, 3 traded firm and 2 declined as 10,892 units traded. Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (BTI) was volume leader with 4,000 shares. Index closed at 1,547.70 

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) 

5 stock traded 2,975 units. S. L. Horsford & Company Ltd was volume leader with 1,250 units. 

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