Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 10, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
Bermuda Premier David Burt was among the VIP accounts hacked on Twitter. Hackers took over dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian, and Apple and used them to post bitcoin scam links
Burt on Wednesday tweeted from another account: “I am not allowed to tweet from my official account @bermudapremier, as twitter has blocked all verified accounts from tweeting. Do NOT send your bitcoin to anyone! -DB.”
The affected accounts posted messages urging their followers to send $1,000 in bitcoin to a specific address, promising to double the contributions in return. The messages appear to employ a common scam tactic used to fleece people out of money by falsely promising to send a bigger sum in return for a payment. Several of the scam tweets were deleted shortly after they were posted, only for similar tweets to come out of the accounts minutes later.
By Thursday morning, however, the account was cleared and back on.
The Presidents of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Chief Executive Officer of IDB Invest, this week signed a mutual cooperation agreement. The new agreement between the IDB Group and CDB support economic development and integration of the Caribbean community and common market.
The new agreement sets out how CDB, IDB, and IDB Invest will cooperate in the financing or co-financing of projects, in order to build social, economic and environment reliance in the region, to further inclusion and equality, and to enhance good governance and innovation. The agreement includes joint financial and advisory services and building capacity and training.
And CARIFORUM food and beverage manufacturers are invited to express their interest in having their products featured in an online cooking show hosted by Chef(s) focused on Caribbean cuisine, who are also social media influencers. Find out more and apply by July 30, 2020.
Delays in sanctioning the ExxonMobil-led Payara project offshore Guyana could result in a gap of more than $1.5 billion of revenues for the project partners and the country if startup lags the original 2023 target date by a year, energy consultancy Rystad Energy said on July 15th.
Guyana’s government could generate around $4.4 billion in oil production revenues by 2028 from Payara, one of 16 ExxonMobil discoveries on the country’s deepwater Stabroek block, if the original startup date of 2023 for that project were kept intact, Rystad said.
But revenues diminish “quite substantially” if the project is delayed, the consultancy said. A six-month delay means the project would generate around $3.6 billion in revenues, leaving a gap of $800 million, and drops to about $2.8 billion in revenue — for a gap of $1.6 billion — with a 12-month delay.
The ongoing election process and uncertainty around the next administration has slowed government approvals of the Payara development plan, ExxonMobil said in a May conference call.
Fitch Ratings tish week downgraded Suriname’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency (FC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘RD’ from ‘C’. The downgrade of Suriname’s LT-FC IDR to ‘RD’ and the issue rating on Suriname’s 2023 notes to ‘D’ from ‘C’ follows the agreement by commercial bondholders on July 9th to the government’s “consent solicitation” dated June 30th to amend the amortization schedule of Suriname’s 2023 notes and the related accounts agreement. Fitch deemed that a material change of terms of the original securities was agreed to avoid a traditional payment default by the expiration of the grace period on July 10th, which constitutes a distressed debt restructuring and a default event according to Fitch’s sovereign rating criteria.
Trinidad & Tobago
Victoria’s Secret has opened its first retail store in Trinidad and Tobago. The iconic brand opened its doors at Gulf City Mall last Friday. “First Retail Inc. has decided to first launch the Victoria’s Secret Brand to Trinidad and Tobago with the mission to make our customers feel sexy, sophisticated and forever young, and we are committed to deliver on this promise by providing high-quality, safe and effective products,” the company’s website stated.
Curaçao and Sint Maarten
COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting major economic damage in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team has concluded. GDP is projected to drop by 23 percent in Curaçao and 25 percent in Sint Maarten, wielding major impact on fiscal revenue, social security systems and balance sheets in all sectors, the team, led by Dmitriy Kovtun, said.
Support measures could be needed through at least the end of this year, which could lead to sizeable increase in debt, the IMF team said. It is key that the authorities implement measures to put the debt firmly on a downward path as the crisis abates, the report added. They also recommended a strong commitment to deep structural reforms.
Belize will strengthen its response to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with US$12.4 million from the World Bank. The funds will be used to provide social assistance to poor and vulnerable households impacted by the crisis.
The funds will support Belize’s social protection response to the COVID-19 emergency, implemented by the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MHDSTPA). The financing will provide support for existing beneficiaries of Belize’s main poverty reduction social protection program, Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation (BOOST). It will also support poor households not receiving other social assistance or employment income through a temporary Belize COVID-19 Cash Transfer (BCCAT) Program. This program will target households screened through a poverty assessment tool and who meet set criteria, including households with pregnant women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Specific details on eligibility criteria and the scope of the emergency social assistance will be published by the Government of Belize prior to roll-out. In total, over 13,000 households in need are expected to receive cash transfers through this emergency response.