CARICOM Business, Volume 5, No. 44

CARICOM Business – Vol. 5 No. 44
CARICOM Business
A weekly aggregation of some of the more topical business news occurring in or likely to impact CARICOM / Caribbean
Big airlines reap US$2 billion in profits
The three biggest United States airlines have reaped a combined profit of more than US$2 billion despite the 43% leap in airfares over the past year. American Airlines said that it earned US$483 million on record-breaking revenue that more than offset higher fuel costs in the third quarter. United Airlines reported a US$942 million profit, and Delta Air Lines posted third-quarter earnings of US$695 million. Executives at all three big US airlines said they see no indication that consumer concerns about inflation and the economy are hurting ticket sales. “American’s third-quarter results, including our record revenue performance, are significant considering the macroeconomic uncertainty facing so many people,” CEO Robert Isom said on a call with analysts and reporters. “Demand remains strong.” American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, predicted that fourth-quarter profit will be between 50 cents and 70 cents per share, which would beat Wall Street’s forecast of 19 cents per share. US air travel has roared back from pandemic lows in early 2020. The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.5 million travellers on a single day on a Sunday in October, the busiest day at the nation’s airports since February 2020. One reason fares are high is that the number of flights has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, leaving consumers vying for fewer seats. American, for example, did nearly 10% less flying in the third quarter than in the same period of 2019. American said it plans to run at 95% to 100% of 2019 levels next year. That is in line with Delta, which expects to restore its full schedule by next summer. United recently announced it will expand European flying next summer. (JG)
Guyana: Oil production to reach 1M bpd by 2030
The 3 biggest US airlines have reaped a combined profit of more than US$2 billion despite the 43% leap in airfares over the past year. American Airlines said that it earned US$483 M on record-breaking revenue that more than offset higher fuel costs in the 3rd quarter. United Airlines reported a US$942 M profit, and Delta Air Lines posted third-quarter earnings of US$695 M. Executives at all 3 big US airlines said they see no indication that consumer concerns about inflation and the economy are hurting ticket sales. One reason fares are high is that the number of flights have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. For example, American, did nearly 10% less flying in the 3rd quarter 2022 vs 2019. (JG)
Foreign Exchange Summary
Applicable rates as at October 28, 2022Applicable rates as at October 28, 2022
Barbados grows by 10.1%; earns $508.2 million from tourism
Tourism is leading the way as the Barbados economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic with the sector contributing an estimated $508.2 million to economic activity for the first nine months of 2022. In delivering his quarter economic review, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes also advised that the economy grew by 10.1% in the first 9 months of this year, including 9.8% growth between July and September. The forecast is for the economy to grow by 10% this year overall, followed by growth between 3.5% and 5% in 2023. In addition to expanded Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Barbados main economic indicators were inflation of 7.8%, unemployment of 9.3%, international reserves of $2.8 billion, a primary surplus of about $368 million, and Gross Public  Sector Debt of 126.6% of GDP. Tourism arrivals as at September 30, reached 302 863, some 58% of 2019 levels relative to the 239 639 visitors recorded for the first 9 months of 2021. Occupancy levels averaging 59% for the first 9 months of 2022, and was 9.5% less than the same period in 2019. The UK accounted for 71% of 2019 arrivals, USA (56%) and Canada (49%) over the corresponding 9 month period in 2019. (NN) (BT)
Corporate Movements
JMMB Group Limited has appointed Shuchane Johnson as JMMB Jamaica Country Compliance Officer effective October 3, 2022; MPC Caribbean Clean Energy Limited has appointed Lisl Bettina Lewis has been appointed as a Director effective 25th October, 2022;tTech Limited has announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christopher Reckord. Reckord effective November 30;Shiraz Hamid has been appointed the branch manager of South Park Branch for JMMB Bank (T&T) Limited effective October 1;Damion Brown has resigned as JMMB Group Limited’s Chief Investment Officer, effective November 25.
T&T’s 2022 deficit cut to 0.2% a 14 year low
The Ministry of Finance has reported that T&T’s deficit for the 2022 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2022, has been revised downwards to 0.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Ministry of Finance, total revenue for fiscal 2022 has been determined to be $54.21 billion, “which is $2.57 billion more than the revised estimate announced in September 2022, and $10.88 billion more than the original revenue estimate of $43.33 billion for fiscal 2022, made in October 2021.” It added that with total expenditure for fiscal 2022 now estimated at $54.54 billion, the fiscal   deficit for 2022 is now estimated at $329 million, which is less than 0.2% of GDP, well below the international benchmark for fiscal deficits of 3% of GDP. “In essence, we have achieved an almost balanced national budget in Fiscal 2022, something that has not occurred in Trinidad and Tobago since 2008, 14 years ago,” said the Ministry of Finance. (TE)
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EU agrees on effective ban of new fossil fuel cars from 2035The European Council and the Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on stricter CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans. A 100% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and vans is to become effective from 2035, representing an actual ban on the sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles. The agreement also includes a 55% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and 50% for new vans from 2030 compared to 2021 levels, much higher than the existing target of a 37.5% reduction by then. The agreement includes wording on CO2 neutral fuels, whereby the European Commission will make a proposal for registering vehicles running exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels after 2035.The agreement also includes a number of other provisions, including:A reduction of the cap of emission credits that manufacturers can receive for eco-innovations that verifiably reduce CO2 emissions on the road, to up to 4 g/km per year from 2030 until 2034 (currently set at 7 g/km per year).The regulatory incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV) will be kept until 2030. As part this mechanism, if a manufacturer meets certain benchmarks for the sales of zero- and low-emission vehicles it can be rewarded with less strict CO2 targets. The co-legislators agreed to increase the benchmark to 25% for cars and 17% for vans until 2030.A review clause will ensure that in 2026, the Commission assess the progress made towards achieving the 100% emission reduction targets and the need to review these targets taking into account technological developments.The Commission will develop a common EU methodology, by 2025, for assessing the full life cycle of CO2 emissions of cars and vans placed on the EU market, as well as for the fuels and energy consumed by these vehicles. Based on this methodology, manufacturers may, on a voluntary basis, report to the Commission on the life cycle emissions of the new vehicles they place on the market.The agreement maintains a derogation for small volume manufacturers until the end of 2035.The proposal revises existing rules, last amended in 2019. The text of the provisional political agreement will be made available soon, the European Council said in a press release. The provisional political agreement reached in trilogue negotiations will now have to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament. (DN)
Travel data firm predicts 19% tourist arrivals growth for Caribbean in Q4Travel to the Caribbean is up 19% in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period in 2019 according to information from travel data analytics provider Forward Keys. Dominican Republic and US Virgin Islands are leading the pack, with 40% and 33% growth respectively in the fourth quarter. The Bahamas and Jamaica are 8th and 9th on the list with projected growth of 15% and 8% respectively. Turks and Caicos Island’s is expected to record 21% growth this quarter. The US and Canada remain the largest source market to the Caribbean at 73 percent, 19 percent higher than 2019 numbers. Latin America and the Caribbean are at 10 percent this quarter, up 21 percent over the same period in 2019. However, there is an upsurge in new categories of travellers with Premium cabin travel to the Caribbean in Q3 is up 27% versus the pre-pandemic. Curacao and Bonaire, have already realised triple-digit increases versus 2019 levels with increases of 120% and 110% respectively. A further sign that times are changing is that affluent travellers are flying from both North America and more recently, South America. In Q4 the Caribbean is extremely popular with Colombians. There is a 54% change in arrival numbers versus the same time in 2019. While Curacao can see a +304% change from Argentina. Lastly, some Caribbean destinations are even managing to attract the non-leisure market. Throughout the region, business travel is returning and in growth mode. Saint Lucia is up by 22% in business travellers in Q4 this year versus 2019 levels, an achievement as the destination has tried hard to interest more business events. (NG)
Caribbean travel outlookIn Q4, the Caribbean is clearly shifting to “Growth Mode” International worldwide arrivals in Q3 and Q4 2022, as of 14 September; vs 2019 levels 4074740.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net
Barbados records $368 million fiscal surplus for the first six months of the fiscal year, there was a significant improvement in Barbados’ fiscal  accounts. Preliminary data indicates that the primary balance, which excludes interest expenditure, registered a surplus of $368 million, enabling an overall positive fiscal balance for the period. The more than ten-fold increase in the primary balance reflects the combined effects of the inflation dividend caused by rising prices and the containment of non-interest spending. Revenue growth is anticipated to slow while expenditure, particularly on capital works, is anticipated in the second half of the year, resulting in an overall primary surplus equivalent to approximately 2 percent of GDP.  Total revenues rose by $254 million, on the strength of broad-based increases in tax revenues. VAT receipts grew by $86 million due to the pick-up in domestic economic activity, higher imports and a reduction in transfers for current year refunds to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA). The higher imports also led to import duties rising by $16 million but excises and the fuel tax incurred a cumulative decline of $22 million, in part due to timing differences in the transfer of taxes by the Barbados National Oil Company. Non-interest expenditure declined by $78 million given one-off capital spending occurring during the previous fiscal year, including the recapitalisation of the NIS ( $50 million) and the purchasing of roll-out carts under the Sanitation Service Authority ($18 million). Grants to public institutions also registered a $27 million decline given a shift in the timing of transfers to some SOEs while grants to individuals contracted by $7 million during the period. Goods and services rose by $47 million as spending on property maintenance, general operating expenses and utilities increased over the period. Wages and salaries remained broadly in line with the previous fiscal year while spending on interest payments increased as the step-up interest rate feature on domestic bonds commenced. (CBOB)
Review of Barbados’ Economic Performance (Jan – Sept. 2022)The Barbados economy continues to recover, as reflected in the double-digit growth achieved for the first nine months of 2022. During the third quarter, the resurgent tourism sector helped to catalyse economic activity and restore employment levels. The economy is not yet producing at pre-pandemic levels but, based on encouraging forward bookings, tourism is expected to sustain its rebound for the remainder of the year. www.centralbank.org.bb
Bermuda’s life reinsurance business grew to $539bn in 2021US life insurers cede more than a half a trillion dollars in annual premiums to Bermuda’s long-term reinsurers, and a new study claims it has become a source of industry concern. In fact, Bermuda was by far the largest foreign reinsurance destination for US life insurers and accounted for just over a third of total ceded life and annuity reserves at year-end 2021, the report has revealed. Total L&A reserves ceded to Bermuda companies grew from more than $424 billion in 2020 to nearly $539 billion in 2021. The report said ceded life insurance and annuity reserves to Bermuda was still growing from one third of total business ceded by US life insurers at year-end 2021. And some insurance groups use it to a much greater degree than average. The ceded life and annuity reserves to Bermuda at year end 2021 had grown to 33.62% of the total, up from 26.19% the year before. As the Bermuda portion grew, the US portion fell from 68.15% in 2020 to 59.35% in 2021.No other country was close. The next was Cayman Islands, which took in just less than 3% of total US ceded life and annuity reserves. The report concludes: “With a sizeable and growing volume of business ceded outside the purview of US regulators, there is increasing concern among some industry participants regarding this practice. (RG)
Cayman’s fund industry resilient amid economic headwindsCayman’s fund industry has shown continued strong fund formations in the face of high volatility, record inflation and a growing likelihood of an economic recession. In the third quarter of 2022, Cayman added a net number of 81 mutual funds and 319 private funds, growing the total number of active funds by 0.2% and 2.1%, respectively. Since the beginning of the year, the total of mutual funds registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority increased by 297 to 13,016, or 2.3%, while the number of private jumped by 983 to 15,662, or 6.7%. The slowing growth of mutual fund formations in Cayman in the third quarter reflects the international trend for hedge funds. Hedge Fund Research estimated in September that the number of new hedge fund launches fell to only 80 in the second quarter, down from 185 in the first three months of this year. According to the data provider, institutional investors withdrew about US$26 billion from hedge funds in the third quarter as the total estimated global hedge fund industry capital fell to $3.78 trillion. The average industry-wide hedge fund management fee was unchanged from the prior quarter at an estimated 1.36% but is at the lowest level since 2008, when HFR began publishing these estimates. The average incentive fee increased narrowly by 2 bps to 16.05% in the second quarter. (CC)Regulations drafted to combat financial crimes via wire transfers it strives to keep pace with evolving international practices, the government of the Bahamas  intends to soon pass into law new regulations to combat financial crimes conducted through wire transfers, Attorney General Ryan Pinder has said. “We have finalized Financial Transactions Reporting (Wire Transfers) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 that will soon go to Cabinet and be executed into law. These regulations keep pace with the ever-changing framework of AML [anti-money laundering] rules in the digital asset space by setting a framework to implement the “travel rule”. The travel rule prescribes how financial institutions should implement a variety of policies and procedures to combat wire transfer-related financial crime,” Pinder said in the Senate recently. “Particularly, the travel rule addresses what information related to both originators and beneficiaries of cross border transactions should be obtained, maintained, and shared between financial institutions, supervisory authorities, and law enforcement, relevant to wire transfers. These requirements also apply to cross border digital asset transfers and are currently addressed in the regulations. Keeping pace with implementing international best practices is good governance.” Pinder was speaking during debate on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (Amendment) Bill, 2022. (NG)Belize: Imports up 32.5% but exports lag by 14.6% Merchandise imports in Belize for the period, January to September 2022, amounted to $1.992 billion, representing a 32.5% or $488.2 million increase from the same period last year, when imports totalled $1.503 billion.  This was led by Mineral Fuels and Lubricants imports, which increased by 83.9 percent or $153.4 million, from $182.7 million to $336.1 million, the combined effect of higher world market prices and increased quantities of kerosene and regular gasoline being imported. Merchandise exports for the period January to September 2022 totalled $383.4 million, up 14.6% or $48.8 million from $334.6 million for the same period last year. Earnings from sugar rose by $18.5 million during the period, from $120 million in 2021 to $138.5 million in 2022, as the country exported larger quantities of this product at more favourable prices. On the other hand, bananas export earnings declined by 6.0% to $62.8 million relative to the corresponding period of 2021. Exports of red kidney beans also declined, falling by $1.5 million from $9.9 million to $8.5 million, while sales of black-eyed peas declined by $1.2 million from $3.8 million in 2021 to $ 2.6 million in 2022. (SIB)GLOBAL ECONOMIC NEWS IN BRIEF
German economy grows 0.3% in Q3Germany’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar variations in the third quarter of 2022 was 0.3% higher in comparison to the previous three-month period, the country’s Federal Statistical Office Destatis said in a report released on Friday. “After the slight increase seen in the second quarter of 2022 (+0.1%), the German economy managed to hold its ground… The economic performance in the third quarter of 2022 was mainly based on private consumption expenditure,” it was said in the report. Adjusted for price, the GDP expanded by 1.1% on an annual basis for the third quarter of 2022. Economic growth in the third trimester of 2022 was 0.2% higher compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, making it the first time economic activity topped the pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.Bank of Japan keeps ultra-low interest ratesThe Bank of Japan on Friday kept its ultra-low interest rates, but raised its inflation forecast through 2024. The BoJ held its key short-term interest rate unchanged at -0.1% and for 10-year bond yields around 0% at its October meeting, in line with market forecasts. The Japanese yen stabilized on the day around 146.25 per dollar after falling 0.4% following the move. The yen rose 4% from last week’s 32-year low of 151.94. “The Bank will continue with Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing with Yield Curve Control, aiming to achieve the price stability target of 2 percent, as long as it is necessary for maintaining that target in a stable manner,” it said in a statement. In its quarterly outlook report, the bank revised its inflation forecasts upwards by 0.6 percentage points to 2.9% for the year ending in March due to surging costs of energy, food, and durable goods. Inflation is expected to ease to 1.6% over the next two years, below its inflation target of 2%. The bank cut its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast for fiscal 2023 and 2024, to 2% and 1.9%, respectively. According to data out earlier on Friday, consumer prices in Tokyo surged at the fastest pace since 1989 with 3.4% in October, higher than forecasts.US economic growth rebounds in Q3 on trade, but demand is slowingThe US economy grew at a 2.6% annualised rate in the third quarter, the US Commerce Department said in its advance GDP estimate on Thursday, ending two straight quarterly decreases in output, which had raised concerns that the economy was in recession. The economy contracted at a 0.6 per cent pace in the second quarter. While the economy may not be in recession, the risks of a downturn have increased as the Fed doubles down on rate hikes as it fights the fastest-rising inflation in 40 years. The US central bank has raised its benchmark overnight interest rate from near zero in March to the current range of 3.00 per cent to 3.25 per cent, the swiftest pace of policy tightening in a generation or more. The trade deficit narrowed sharply in part as slowing demand curbed the import bill. Exports also increased for much of last quarter. Wild swings in trade and inventories were behind the contraction in GDP in the first half of the year. Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, slowed to 1.4 per cent rate from the April-June quarter’s 2.0 per cent pace.ECB raises interest rates by 75 basis points to fight record inflationThe European Central Bank raised its interest rate benchmarks by three-quarters of a percentage point at a meeting in Frankfurt, matching its record increase from last month and joining the US Federal Reserve in making a series of rapid hikes to tackle soaring consumer prices. Inflation remains far too high and will stay above the target for an extended period, the bank said in a statement. The ECB has now raised rates for the 19-country euro area by a full 2 percentage points in just three months, distance that took 18 months to cover during its last extended hiking phase in 2005-2007 and 17 months in 1999-2000. The ECB foresees inflation falling to 2.3% by the end of 2024. The ECB’s benchmark for short-term lending to banks now stands at 2%, a level last seen in March 2009. Central banks around the world are rapidly raising interest rates that steer the cost of credit for businesses and consumers. Their goal is to halt galloping inflation fueled by high energy prices tied to Russia’s war in Ukraine, post-pandemic supply bottlenecks, and reviving demand for goods and services after COVID-19 restrictions eased. The US Federal Reserve raised rates by three-quarters of a point for the third straight time last month.Growth in Asia-Pacific region to slow down in 2022, 2023, says IMFThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report released on Friday that economic growth in the Asia and Pacific region is expected to slow down in 2022 and 2023. This reflects headwinds from several aspects, including global financial tightening and the Russia-Ukraine war, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying. Asia’s strong economic rebound early this year is losing momentum, with a weaker-than-expected second quarter, said the IMF. It cut growth forecasts for Asia and the Pacific to 4 per cent this year and 4.3% next year, down by 0.9 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively, compared to the April forecasts. The levels in April’s outlook were well below the 5.5% average over the last two decades. However, Krishna Srinivasan, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, believed that “Asia remains a relative bright spot in an increasingly dimming global economy”. Srinivasan said that for policymakers, further tightening of monetary policy will be required to ensure that inflation returns to target and inflation expectations remain well anchored. He also suggested that fiscal consolidation is needed to stabilize public debt and support the monetary policy stance.EU, US set up task force to resolve feud over electric vehicle batteriesThe U.S. and the European Union have set up a task force tasked with resolving a dispute over electric vehicle batteries that the EU says would discriminate against manufacturers in the 27-nation bloc and break World Trade Organization rules. Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed by U.S. Congress in August, electric car buyers are eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 as long as the vehicle runs on a battery built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent. The EU believes that the measure is a potential trans-Atlantic trade barrier discriminating against foreign producers. Further manufacturers in Europe and South Korea, which sell millions of vehicles in the U.S., have threatened to lodge legal complaints with the World Trade Organization. The EU announced on Wednesday that Bjoern Seibert, the head of cabinet to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met in Berlin with U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Mike Pyle to launch the task force. A first meeting will take place next week.Russia holds rates at 7.5%, cautions on inflationary effects of mobilisationRussia’s central bank held its key interest rate at 7.5% on Friday, cautioning that expectations of price rises had grown and that Russia’s partial mobilisation could stoke longer term inflation due to a shrinking labour force. In the immediate aftermath of Moscow sending its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24, the central bank hiked its key rate to 20% from 9.5% in order to mitigate risks to financial stability. Since then it has cut rates six times and omitted forward-looking guidance at its previous meeting in September about studying the need for future reductions. Inflation, which the central bank targets at 4%, stood at 12.9% as of Oct. 24, according to the economy ministry. The central bank tweaked its year-end inflation forecast to 12-13% from 11-13%. “According to the Bank of Russia’s forecast, given the monetary policy stance, annual inflation will drop to 5.0–7.0% in 2023 to return to 4% in 2024.” The central bank improved its GDP forecast for this year to a contraction of 3-3.5% from an expected 4-6% decline previously. In late April, it had expected GDP to shrink 8-10%. The bank forecasts a further contraction in 2023 before GDP returns to growth in 2024-25. The next rate-setting meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16.Egypt adopts flexible exchange rate as precondition to $3 billion IMF loanThe International Monetary Fund reached a preliminary agreement with the Egyptian government Thursday that paves the way for the Arab nation to access a $3 billion loan. In a statement, Egypt’s IMF mission chief Ivanna Vladkova Hollar said the 46-month Extended Fund Facility allows Egypt access to the $3 billion loan on the condition it implements a series of economic reforms. In the hours before the announcement, Egypt’s central bank announced a series of economic measures, including a hike in key interest rates by roughly 2 percentage points and a switch to a more “durably flexible exchange rate.” The bank said the exchange rate switch would now allow international markets to “determine the value of the Egyptian pound against other foreign currencies.” Following the announcement, the Egyptian pound dropped to a record low against the U.S. dollar from 19.75 to around 22.99, according to data provided by Egypt’s central bank. Before Wednesday’s flotation of the Egyptian currency, the U.S. dollar was traded at an average of 23 pounds in the black market. Since the beginning of the year, the Egyptian pound has lost around 46% of its value against the U.S. dollar. “The commitment to durable exchange rate flexibility going forward will be a cornerstone policy for rebuilding and safeguarding Egypt’s external resilience over the long term,″ said Hollar. In a statement issued Thursday morning, Egypt’s central bank said it had raised the new lending rate to 14.25% and the deposit rate to 13.25%. The discount rate was also raised to 13.75%, it said. Egypt’s monetary reforms and the IMF loan are designed to help offset rising inflation, which passed 15% in September, and lighten the financial pressure on lower- and middle-income households. Some of the agreement’s main goals are to reduce Egypt’s overall debt and bring about broad reforms to its fiscal policy, Hollar said. As part of its monetary reforms, the central bank said it would begin removing a system for importers, a red tape process introduced in February to control the demand on the currency for imports. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly announced an 11.1 % increase in the minimum monthly wage, from 2,700 pounds ($137) to 3,000 pounds ($152), the fourth such increase since 2014. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Bahamas: Govt revenue up 9% year over yearGovernment revenue in the Bahamas in August stood at $197.8 million, a 9% increase year-over-year, but a 24% decrease over the previous month. According to the Ministry of Finance, “during the month, revenues increased by 9.4% ($17 million) to $197.8 million compared to the prior year. The improved performance is largely attributed to an increase in revenue collection from international trade and transaction taxes ($12.4 million), other taxes on goods and services ($5.2 million), the sale of goods and services ($5.9 million), and VAT receipts ($3.9 million).” The Ministry also explained that “… month-over-month, revenues decreased by 24% ($62.6 million) largely due to seasonal trends of lower VAT receipts ($50.6 million) for August relative to July as domestic consumption eases with more summertime traveling.” “Total expenditure increased by 6.9% ($15.3 million) to $237.4 million compared to the prior year, owing to increased outlays on the use of goods and services ($10.2 million) and subsidies ($12.9 million).” the Ministry said. “Compared to the prior month, August 2022 expenditure increased by 8.4 percent ($18.4 million), mostly due to additional disbursements for the acquisition of non-financial assets ($21.3 million).” Government paid $23.1 million in public debt interest payments, $64.6 in personal emoluments, $47.9 million in subsidies, $38.4 million on the use of goods and services and $17.3 million in social assistance. In August, government’s debt increased by $8 million. (NG)Barbados to implement local number portabilityThe Barbados government says consumers will soon be able to switch telephone service providers for mobile and landline services without having to change their phone numbers. It said the local number portability or number porting will be free to consumers. The only cost persons are likely to incur is a small fee to unlock their handset for it to work on the new network. According to Industry, Innovation, Science, and Technology Minister, Davidson Ishmael, the legislation and regulations mandating the introduction and launch of the local number portability service are ingrained within the national telecommunications legislation of Barbados and the government is making it easier for new companies to join the telecommunications market. “We have put measures in place to ensure that these new firms can connect to existing networks at a fair price, so that they can offer competitive services to you, the consumer, giving you more choices and more power when it comes to the choice of your phone company,” Minister Ishmael said. (CNW)_________________________________________________________________________________
Belize records inflation of 6.2%
The year-to-date inflation rate in Belize for the first nine months of 2022 stood at 6.2% relative to the corresponding period in 2021. On a point to point basis inflation as at September 2022 increased by 7.1%. As in previous months this year, inflation was primarily driven by higher prices for motor vehicle fuels, several food items, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), restaurant services, and household cleaning products. The ‘Transport’ category, with a year-to-date inflation rate of 19.1%, was directly responsible for more than a half of the overall increase in consumer prices for the nine-month period, as considerably higher costs were seen across all types of motor vehicle fuels, as well as new motor vehicles, and passenger transport services. The ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category had a year-to-date inflation rate of 6.7%, due mostly to higher prices for cereal products, dairy products, meats, cooking oils, fresh produce, fish, and other seafood. ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ recorded a 2.8% year-to-date inflation rate, due to a 24.4% rise in LPG prices and 14.4% increase in construction materials for household use over the first nine months of the year. Higher prices for restaurant services resulted in a 5.2% year-to-date inflation rate for the category of ‘Restaurant and Accommodation Services’. Among the other categories, prices were notably higher for laundry products, soaps, detergents, and cinema entrance fees. The only category to record an overall decrease in prices for the period was ‘Information and Communication’, which declined by 0.8 percent, as a result of lower prices for internet provision services. On a point to point basis inflation as at September 2022 increased by 7.1%. (SIB)
Record U.S. Crude Exports Push Oil Prices Higher
December WTI crude oil futures closed higher for the week ending October 28. A number of factors including optimism over record U.S. crude exports, signs that recession fears are fading and of a weaker U.S. Dollar fuelled the bullish price action. Helping to put a cap on gains were worries over demand from China. Longer-term traders noted that the start of OPEC+ production cuts and the European Union’s embargo on Russian crude oil were also underpinning prices all week. U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose in the most recent week, even as the volume of exports hit an all-time record, the Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday. Crude inventories rose by 2.6 million barrels in the week to Oct 21 to 439.9 million barrels, nearly triple analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 1-million-barrel rise. The big surprise that drove prices higher, however, was the news that crude exports surged to a weekly record of 5.1 million barrels per day, cutting net crude imports to just over 1 million bpd, also a record. (OP)
International Oil Prices
Oil Prices at the close of business on October 28, 2022Oil Prices at the close of business on October 28, 2022
Grenada: 49.2% capital funding comes from CBI programme
An estimated 49.2% of capital expenditure in Grenada in 2022 is being funded by its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. In fact, a significant amount of the revenue garnered is used to pay international creditors or debt and fund capital programmes for the Government. Since launching the CBI programme, over 6,500 people from various territories and jurisdictions such as the USA, Nigeria, India, South Africa, and Russia, have successfully paid for their Grenadian citizenship through Sections 10 and 11 of the CBI law. At the start of the Russian war on Ukraine, the Government of Grenada suspended accepting applications but resumed in April 2022. All applications from Russia must first be checked against the sanction list of the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and all countries with similar lists. (NOWG)
Regional Stock Market Report
Jamaica Stock Exchange Overall Market activity resulted from trading in 52 stocks of which 15 advanced, 26 declined and 11 traded firm. Market volume amounted to 38,324,413 units valued at over J$144,259,709.50. Wigton Windfarm Limited Ordinary Shares was volume leader with 31,654,375 units. The JSE Index declined by 1,837.93 points to close at 348,203.83. Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange Overall market activity resulted from trading in 38 stocks of which 18 advanced, 15 declined and 5 traded firm. Market volume amounted to 6,115,628 units valued at over J$18,600,896.19. Index closed at 4,150.00.      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 18 securities of which 8 advanced, 3 declined and 7 traded firm. Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 215,345 shares crossing the floor valued at TT$2,111,993.80. Massy Holdings Limited was volume   leader with 108,619 shares changing hands valued at TT$489,491.02. The All T&T Index advanced by 5.08 points to close at 1971.45 and the Composite Index advanced by 3.74 points to close at 1320.63. Guyana Stock Exchange 2 stock advanced, 2 traded firm and 1 declined as 134,057 units traded. Banks DIH (DIH) was volume leader with 90,212 shares. Index closed at 1,607.58.Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) 2 stocks traded 6,869 units. St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank was volume leader with 6,819 units.  
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Did you enjoy this issue? Yes NoJoseph Cox @josephbbcoxA weekly aggregation of some of the more topical business news occuring in or likely to impact CARICOM / Caribbean 
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CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

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