Unemployment At Its Lowest, LNG Launched, JNBS Bank Approved

Here is the latest weekly digest (Nov 14th – Nov 20th, 2016). A quick easy read of this week’s top and most relevant business news. No fluff, just the highlights.

National Highlights

  • Jamaica has finally launched an LNG Terminal in Jamaica. After almost 2 decades of planning, Jamaica has finally been able to execute on its desire to have a different (and cheaper) energy source in the country. Jamaica could also become a hub to supply other countries
  • The government is reporting that unemployment (at 12.9%) is now the lowest it has been in 5 years. As at July 2016 1.19m people were employed.
  • The government has also announced that the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) is undertaking a $4.92-billion upgrading project, which is expected to be completed by October next year (2017).
  • Gov’t economists are maintaining a positive economic outlook for the current quarter of Oct-Dec 2016 as real gross domestic product (GDP) for the period is expected to grow within the range of one to two per cent.
  • Jamaica remains one of the top places to start a business – the Doing Business 2017 report positions Jamaica now as the second-highest ranked economy in the Caribbean, and seventh in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of the ease of doing business.
  • Keith Duncan, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group, is expected to replace Richard Byles as co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC).
  • The Jamaican government which currently employs about 100,000 persons and has a budgeted wage bill of ~$170b for the 2016/17 fiscal year, is expected to start cutting public sector jobs by August 2017. The government’s wage bill is currently too high at 10% of GDP (according to the IMF), and they are aiming to bring it down to 9% of GDP by 2018/19. Initial areas of focus include shared communications, human-resource management, asset management and Legal services.
  • The Governor of Jamaica’s Central Bank, Brian Wynter has stated that a revaluation of the Jamaican dollar is possible

Companies & The Markets

  • Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), this week received approval from its members to convert the building society to a commercial bank, as well as to restructure the JN Group, after members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the proposal.
  • The executive changes at Scotia Bank Jamaica continue. David Noel was appointed as Deputy CEO and reports to Jacqueline Sharpe. There has been a worrying number of high profile executive changes at Scotia Bank Jamaica this year.
  • Larry Watson succeeds Warren Mcdonald as Jamaica Chamber of Commerce president for a one year term ending Sep 2017
  • The acquisition of Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation by DADA Holdings LLC for US$24.4 million has resulted in more than 800 jobs being saved in Jamaica.
  • A number of companies also released (mostly impressive) results this week including EPLY, PJAM, JMMBGL, KEY, JP, DTL, KW, and JETCON
  • NCBJ shot up to $58 this week – a new 52w and possibly all time high. JETCON also hit a new high this week. While PJX and KEY hit new lows
  • Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust Ltd got the go ahead from their shareholders in a meeting this week to drop the word ‘trust’ from their name (as the trust deed has expired and doesn’t represent their current focus). They will however retain other existing parts of their name and will now be PanJam Investment Limited.
  • Eppley Ltd Logo

    Eppley Ltd

    Shareholders of EPLY approved a 150:1 stock split which will become effective at the start of trading December 1, 2016.

  • EPLY also released its Junior Market prospectus for their 8.25% Fixed Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preference Shares Due 2021

Thanks for reading Vol. 2016 Issue No. 6 of our weekly digest. ( 14.11.2016 – 20.11.2016 ). All Weekly reviews can be viewed here.

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