News Highlights – November 23, 2011

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr Christopher Tufton, who announced the revised motor vehicle import policy yesterday, painted a bleak picture of the local used car market, pointing out that the sector has declined by nearly 57 per cent in the last two years.

6,200 used vehicles were imported in 2009, a sharp fall off from the 14,000 that were imported in 2008.

Under the revised motor vehicle import policy, which was approved at Monday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, the new age limit for motor cars will move to five years, up from three, while the age limit for light commercial vehicles such as pick-ups and cargo vans will move to six years, up from five.

The changes take place in about a week.


Jamaica’s highway company has reported a record J$6.15 billion of net profit even as it revealed a fresh dispute with French contractor Bouygues over the ongoing Mount Rosser project, which could materially affect its capacity to service its debts.

The National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC) says its profits were up 230 per cent at yearend June 2011, but that much of it came from a “gain on the sale of bonds” used to finance the Highway 2000 project.


Jamaica ranks among the riskiest jurisdictions for banks to make money, according to new analysis by Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

The Banking Industry Country Risk Assessments (BICRA) report places Jamaica as the 7th worst of 86 countries reviewed by the S&P.

Canadian, Swiss and Australian banks topped the list operating with the lowest industry and economic risk.

Banks operating in Jamaica earn double-digit returns on average equity, which arguably reflects the premium placed on the riskiness of operating in the island.


Amid fears of a second recession in the Eurozone, wholesalers of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (JBM) say that hope for a return to pre-recession sales volumes in Europe are now quite dim.

The new outlook contrasts with early 2010 when European distributors were touting a recovery of the premium market.


AMG Packaging and Paper Company is finalising purchase of a new property that will add some 10,000 square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space as it executes plans to expand the business.

“A downpayment has been made on the property and the directors have approved the structural layout for the warehouse,” AMG said in a statement to shareholders.


Trinidad and Tobago is seeking to provide assistance to Panama to develop its energy sector, and to do business with that country, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced Monday.


JetBlue Airways is said to have snatched up an estimated 10 per cent of market share in Jamaica in under three years, and plans to double its Kingston passenger traffic to 144,000 next year when it launches a second daily flight to Fort Lauderdale.


JAMAICA Gas Trust (JCT), the new company that will handle the purchase and sale of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Jamaica, is expected to go to the capital market to raise US$100 million ($8.6 billion) in private equity by next April, says the chairman of the LNG steering committee, Chris Zacca.

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