Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 16, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
The World Bank has once again worsened its forecast for the Caribbean economies, going from an estimated 7.2% contraction in June to 7.9%.
The latest report on the region’s macroeconomic outlook reveals that mong the hardest-hit economies are those with a dependence on tourism. Those most impacted according to the Bank are: Saint Lucia (-18%), Belize (-17.3%), Bahamas (-14.5%) and Suriname (-13).
Haiti is set to see a -3.1% decrease, and the Dominican Republic, -4.3.
Guyana is the only country with an optimistic growth projection of 23.2%, given the country’s discoveries of oil fields.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Adam Boehler, led a US delegration to the Caribbean this week, to discuss economic prospects via the ‘Growth in the Americas’ Initiative.
The move is seen as the US’ counter to China’s silkroad plan in the Americas.
The countries visited were Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The DFC is the development finance institution of the US Federal Government and is primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects. In Guyana, Boehler said the agency is already eyeing a number of investment initiatives, including ways to bring down electricity cost, small and medium-sized businesses, agriculture and infrastructure.
Boehler added that the window for investment was open when Guyana found its way out of the recent electoral stalemate.
“We have now a foundation for an elevated and strengthened relationship between the US and Guyana, and it started with the finalisation of the elections that gave us the basis. The administration’s commitment to private enterprise, transparency and rule of law is critical for us to invest,” Boehler told a media conference.
The visit comes as Donald Trump signed into law on Oct. 10th, legislation extending preferential duty treatment for certain goods produced in the Caribbean Basin under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) until 30 September 2030. The CBERA, which was implemented on 01 January 1984, is intended to facilitate the development of stable Caribbean Basin economies by providing designated beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the United States market for most goods.
With its new found oil wealth, Guyana is now attracting a number of investors. The Guyana Stabroek News indicates representative of US billionaire, Mark Cuban, were recently in Guyana while Barbados developer and the principal behind that country’s US$175 million revamped Hyatt Ziva Barbados Resort and The Village at Coverly Housing Project, Mark Maloney, has met with President Irfaan Ali. He has reportedly expressed interest in housing investments there.
With multi-million dollar investments in transformational projects in his home country, Maloney also owns the Rock Hard Cement Company and shares a business partnership with Norwegian-born Barbadian developer Bjorn Bjerkham of the Preconco, Marina Construction, and the Jada Group and Caribbean Homes businesses.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has told St Lucians that the country is broke. In a television broadcast on Sunday night, Chastanet, said: “We have no more money. What we are hoping to do is to regain the strength of our economy so many persons can be re-employed.”
Antigua & Barbuda
Scotiabank is selling its Antigua and Barbuda operations to the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Limited (“ECAB”). Scotiabank’s general services in Antigua and Barbuda contains two branches with less than 75 employees. The settlement is subjected to regulatory permissions and other conventional closing requirements.ECAB is a full-service commercial bank placed in Antigua and Barbuda that is bound to expanding its operations and giving high-quality products and assistance to all stakeholders.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week dampened The Bahamas’ prospects of a swift rebound from COVID-19 by slashing this nation’s projected 2021 economic growth to 4.6 per cent. Its revised forecast, which shaved 2.1 percentage points off the 6.7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth it predicted for The Bahamas back in April, further signals that this nation – in common with many others – faces a longer and harder road to recover from the pandemic than initially thought. The Fund, which had forecast an 8.3 percent contraction during the first weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, is now predicting a 14.8 percent shrinkage.
Grenada’s Minister for Tourism, Clarice Modeste-Curwen, says cruise tourism is expected to resume in earnest in November. This despite the February 2021 resumption of cruise sailing date set by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The minister noted that two luxurious cruise ships namely Sea Born and Sea Dream Yacht Club operating out of Europe, have included Grenada on a list of islands to be visited in their weekly tour to the Southern Caribbean from November to April of 2021.
The Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS) says it will issue a bond on behalf of the country on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The NAf 75,000,000 sinking bond will have a duration of 25 years at 5 percent interest.
Up to Monday, October 19, 2020, at 10 A.M., the general public will be able to subscribe to this bond issue at all commercial banks in Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Subscription will take place according to the tender system in which parties indicate for which amount and price they wish to participate in the loan, thereby revealing their desired yield.
Talks continue between the Netherlands and Aruba and Curaçao about the third liquidity support tranche and future COVID-19 assistance for the Dutch Caribbean islands.
Ministers Plenipotentiary Anthony Begina of Curaçao, Eddy Paris of Aruba (acting) and Rene Violenus of St. Maarten said o final agreement has been reached but the Curaçao Parliament has given the green light for the OHO or the Entity for Reform and Development (“Orgaan voor Hervorming en Ontwikkeling).