Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 30, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
Caribbean economist, Marla Dukharan, has released her latest economic report for the Caribbean. The key findings include:
The Barbados economy contracted 18% y/y in Q3, and 16% y/y for Jan-Sept 2020 as tourism declined 66% y/y in Q3, and manufacturing fell 3% y/y, driving a 47% y/y contraction in tradeables. Unemployment remains high with 32,000 claims made from March to Sept and USD60 million in unemployment benefits paid.
The Cayman Islands has lost over 7% of its population in 2020 so far and overall contraction of 7.8% is expected in 2020 as unemployment is set to reach 7.6% by the end of the year. The Hotel & Restaurant sector will contract 79%, and visitor arrivals are expected to remain far below 2019 levels through 2025, according to ESO projections.
In Jamaica, unemployment reached 12.6% in July 2020, meaning 60,900 more people are jobless. Inflation in Sept 2020 was 4.9% as the economy contracted by 10.2% y/y in H1 2020, with the goods producing sector contracting 4.4%, and services 11.5%. The hotel and restaurant sector contracted 50.
Fitch Ratings downgraded Suriname on Oct 26th, to C from CC, highlighting their view that a process of default is underway, as government missed an interest payment and announced it would take advantage of the 30-day grace period to engage with investors. Fitch estimates central gov’t debt/GDP will reach 137% at the end of 2020 (65% of which is external).
And in Trinidad and Tobago, the economy is expected to decline 6.8% in 2020. The non-energy sector contracted 9.1% in Q2 2020, and the energy sector contracted 8.3%.
Guyana has received its third payment of oil and gas royalty from ExxonMobil, a sum of US$4.3 million, which has been deposited into the New York-based Natural Resource Fund (NRF).
Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told the Guyana Times that the latest tranche of payment brings Guyana’s total in the United States Federal Reserve account to approximately US$148 million.
The Bank of Guyana’s half- year report, which covers the period up to the end of June 2020, had recently revealed that Guyana produced over 10 million barrels of oil during the first half of 2020.
The news comes as the country’s Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, during his address to the newly installed Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) board at the agency’s Kingston headquarters on Wednesday, revealed that a number of hotel investors and airline carriers, including the Fly Always and West Jet airlines, are seeking to invest in Guyana.
Jamaica became the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to join the IDB’s regional InvestmentMap initiative. The Jamaican government, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), this week has launched ‘InvestmentMap Jamaica,’ an online interactive portal that tracks the country’s public investment projects and makes information available to citizens in a user-friendly map-based format.
In recent years, Argentina , Colombia , Costa Rica , the Dominican Republic , Paraguay and Peru have launched InvestmentMap platforms under the initiative, and more countries are joining.
Bermuda’s Labour Minister Jason Hayward says the government is to close off 41 more job categories to foreign workers after noting “unprecedented” unemployment in the island’s “worst jobs crisis in modern times” stood at double 2019 levels. Hayward said the 41 new job categories — including journalists, barbers and entertainers — were added to the existing 12-strong closed category list for immigration.
Grenada’s Tourism Minister, Clarice Modeste, says that the announced four weeks lockdown in the United Kingdom will have a negative effect on the island’s tourism industry which began the rebound phase following the resumption of international flights on October 1.
“It is going to affect us, one month without flight is going to seriously impact us,” Modeste said during the post-cabinet weekly news conference on Tuesday.
Grenada went into lockdown in late March as part of measures aimed at controlling and containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after confirming its first case of the virus that killed more than one million people and infected 47.4 million others globally since the first case was detected in China last December.