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Finance

White Christmas for UK means consumers will have to fork over more ‘green’

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, November 24, 2022 – Winter is coming in the United Kingdom as meteorologists heralded in snow, heavy wind and rain for the early part this week.  The white stuff started coming down in Scotland over the weekend and parts of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were under yellow alert for extreme flooding, ice and wind all day on Monday.

It was expected that wind gusts of up to 65 mph on land and up to 80 mph in coastal areas would occur in England and temperatures in some areas of the UK were projected to hit below zero.

The frigid temperatures come after one of the hottest summers on record for the UK.

More cold weather means more heating costs for everyone across the UK as oil and gas continue to rise in cost.  British residents initially would have had a cost cap on their fuel bills for the next two years requiring they pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bills.  However, that time frame has been reduced to next April, only five months away.  Still, though the grace period is much shorter than the original plan, it will at least get them through this winter season.

The weather is expected to become more mild by the end of the week, a caveat given consumers have been hit with record high energy prices even with the government assistance.

 

caption:  FILE PHOTO, SCOTLAND 2019/2020

Finance

After Thanksgiving, its Black Friday & Cyber Monday shopping which this year should see $158 Billion in spending

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

November 25, 2022 – Every year, after a day Thanksgiving holiday,  shops in the US both on line and on the corner slash their prices and residents flock to sites and malls to snatch up all the savings.  This year is no different and though the tradition originated in America, it has spread across the hemisphere with Caribbean businesses picking up the trend as well.

In addition to savings from local store owners, with the advent of online shopping, US marketed Black Friday  deals aren’t just limited to their home countries.  Residents across the Caribbean will be able to shore up on everyday goods, electronics, and Christmas presents offered from major retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Target and many others.

Some deals presented themselves earlier that Thursday and will last until 12 pm Friday.  But if you miss the sales don’t worry Cyber Monday, the biggest shopping day of the year is coming up just two days after.

Started back in 2005, it was founded by the National Retail Federation for online-only sales and deals to combat the long lines and crowds of Black Friday and dethroned the traditional Friday as the largest shopping event. If you want the in store experience, Friday is your chance but for those who shop online the two are hardly distinguishable.

Experts at business insider say tech deals are better on Cyber Monday but only slightly so if you’re worried about something selling out, it might be best to pick it up on Friday.

It is also worth noting that over the years, even the Saturday in between has taken shape to promote smaller stores.  This shopping day is dubbed: Small Business Saturday and it ensure that the mom and pop or boutique-styled stores are not forgotten in the spending frenzy.

It is estimated that Americans will do 50 per cent of their shopping this holiday weekend; spending some $158 Billion.

Happy shopping!

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Caribbean News

Jamaican Investors Can Now Access Shares Traded on The Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange

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#Kingston, November 24, 2022 – Jamaican investors are now able to acquire shares in entities listed on the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange (DCSX).

This, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), facilitating the arrangement between the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and the DCSX.

The MOU was signed during a Bell-Ringing Ceremony at the JSE in Kingston on Tuesday (November 22).

The partnership will also enable the cross-listing of companies on both exchanges and facilitate greater educational training, via the JSE e-Campus, and leveraging of online trading platforms.

In his remarks, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, welcomed the arrangement, describing it as one which supports Jamaica’s economy, which, he pointed out, grew by 8.2 per cent in 2021.

Senator Hill, who noted that the Companies Office of Jamaica registered 4,570 new companies and 13,432 business names since January, said this indicated that “business confidence is high, up to 18.3 points [in] September”.

“We’re seeing [that] that’s the highest [out-turn recorded] in about 20 years,” he added.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the JSE Group, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, said the MOU allows local investors a “foot into [the] European [markets]”, adding that “[the] DCSX will also have a foot into Jamaica and the other Caribbean islands”.

“The strength of this relationship is the fact that if our smaller exchanges combine externally, it will be seen as a force and people will see it as a place to invest. When you’re smaller, it’s harder to attract capital inflow [and] foreign direct investments. So, joining together with other exchanges in the region is really the way to go,” she said.

For his part, Managing Director of DCSX, Dirk-Jan de Graaff, said focus will be placed on furthering the Exchange’s linkages with international partners, noting that their collaborations have, so far, afforded them access to markets in Latin and South America.

He added that “via our European partnerships, we try to connect Dutch and European capital, not only to our local community but also to our international partners”.

To this end, Mr. de Graff advised that “we are intensifying relationships with other countries in the region [as well as] Colombia, Brazil, and Suriname [among others]”.

 

Contact: Chanel Spence

Release: JIS

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Ministry of Finance:  S&P Global Ratings Affirms The Bahamas’ B+ Sovereign Credit Rating

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The Outlook Remains Stable as Government Executes its Fiscal Strategy

 

#TheBahamas, November 24, 2022 – On November 22, 2022, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ‘B+’ long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The outlook remains stable.

The basis of the rating is the improvement in the Bahamian economy driven by growth in tourism. S&P advises that higher government revenues and lower social spending has led to lower deficits and slowing in the growth of government debt. S&P expects this to continue into 2024.

The government remains committed to putting the country on a sustainable path to fiscal consolidation. Performance in the past fiscal year, 2022, and in the first quarter of this fiscal year, 2023, provides ample evidence of this. Fiscal 2022 saw deficits fall to 6% of GDP from 13.7% of GDP in fiscal 2021, and Q1 of 2023 saw the narrowing of the fiscal deficit to $20.6 million, a $115.8 million decrease from the deficit of $136.4 million experienced in the year prior.

The market has taken note of these improvements and has rewarded the country with improving bond yields. The Ministry continues to work assiduously to execute on its borrowing plan to mitigate against the impact of elevated external costs.

The plan has identified the local market and multi-laterals as major sources of financing during this period. This, in combination with lower gross financing needs, has eliminated the need to go to the overseas bond markets in the near to medium term and therefore serves to reduce the need for foreign exchange to service debt.

We continue to believe that as we execute the strategy outlined in our fiscal strategy report and our borrowing plan, there will be improvements in debt affordability and fiscal consolidation which will put upward pressure on our ratings.

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