Inflation at 3.2% in July

first_imgStory Highlights Speaking at the Central Bank’s quarterly media briefing on Wednesday (August 29), at the BOJ Auditorium, downtown Kingston, Mr. Wynter said data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicate that the increase was mainly influenced by increased electricity, water and sewerage costs; rising costs for some agricultural produce; and higher transportation costs. Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, says the rate of inflation rose marginally to 3.2 per cent at the end of July, a 0.4 per cent increase over the out-turn at the end of June.Speaking at the Central Bank’s quarterly media briefing on Wednesday (August 29), at the BOJ Auditorium, downtown Kingston, Mr. Wynter said data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicate that the increase was mainly influenced by increased electricity, water and sewerage costs; rising costs for some agricultural produce; and higher transportation costs.Mr. Wynter reiterated that the lower-than-targeted 2.8 per cent June inflation out-turn and the July figure, which fell below the BOJ’s four to six per cent target, primarily reflected stronger-than-anticipated declines in food prices since the start of 2018.The Governor further noted that the June out-turn was due to a reduction in the pass-through of oil prices, and prevailing weaker-than-expected domestic demand.Mr. Wynter said the BOJ anticipates that increased economic activity will spur the inflation to rise to the four to six per cent range, consistent with the target under Jamaica’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and not through perceived manipulation of the foreign exchange rate by the Central Bank, to which he again declared “there is absolutely no truth”.“We have not done that, we are not now doing that, and we will not do that,” he further emphasised.The Governor indicated that the near-term inflation forecast is mainly predicated on an expected increase in domestic agricultural prices, oil prices remaining elevated, and the impact of improving economic activity, supported by the accommodative monetary conditions over the last year.Of note, he added, the level of inflation expected by businesses remains anchored in the midpoint of the Bank’s five per cent target.The Governor said the rate of private-sector credit growth is also expected to influence the inflation rate.He noted that credit extended by deposit-taking institutions to private-sector businesses and individuals grew at an annual rate of 15.9 per cent at June 2018, compared to 13.9 per cent in March, and 12.4 per cent at June 2017.This expansion, Mr. Wynter pointed out, was evenly balanced between business loans – 15.8 per cent, and personal loans – 16 per cent.Simultaneously, the Governor added, “we have seen the weighted average lending rates at commercial banks continue their decline during the June 2018 quarter”.“If this acceleration in private sector credit growth continues, the resulting increase in economic activity will [also] support inflation returning to the target of four to six per cent with greater certainty. The Bank of Jamaica is going to closely monitor these credit conditions and will make further cuts to the policy rate, if required,” he said.The BOJ announced on Tuesday (August 28), that it would be maintaining the policy interest rate on overnight placements at two per cent.The Bank said this decision reflects its updated assessment that inflation will rise towards the lower end of the four to six per cent target by the January to March 2019 quarter and, thereafter, will approach the middle of the range.Mr. Wynter pointed out that the inflation path continues to reflect “some slack” in the economy, which emphasises the continued elevated risk of the rate falling below the baseline projection.The Governor said an assessment of the risks to the forecast are “balanced”, with the main upside being worse-than-anticipated weather conditions, higher-than-projected domestic demand, and faster-than-anticipated exchange-rate depreciation, with international commodity prices, particularly crude oil, skewed to the downside.“While we are now seeing some encouraging signs of the faster expansion in private-sector credit that we need, we need to be sure that it is sustained, so that the ‘slack’ [in the economy] is removed as quickly as possible”.Noting that Jamaica’s overall macroeconomic indicators “continue to reflect stability”. Mr. Wynter said this environment will enable the BOJ to “continue with an accommodative policy stance in support of expanded output and job creation, which will return inflation to the Bank’s four to six per cent target”. Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, says the rate of inflation rose marginally to 3.2 per cent at the end of July, a 0.4 per cent increase over the out-turn at the end of June. Mr. Wynter reiterated that the lower-than-targeted 2.8 per cent June inflation out-turn and the July figure, which fell below the BOJ’s four to six per cent target, primarily reflected stronger-than-anticipated declines in food prices since the start of 2018.last_img read more

TTLine Orders Green Ship in China

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Germany-based ferry company TT-Line has placed an order for a dual fuel vessel with China’s shipbuilder Jiangsu Jinling.Under the deal, which includes an option for one further unit, the company’s new ferry would be delivered during 2022. Following delivery, the vessel would be used within TT-Line’s route network in the Baltic Sea.The shipping firm said that the 230-meter-long vessel would be optimized for efficiency and flexibility. Compared to the previous generation of RoPax vessels, the latest vessel will reduce more than 50% of emissions while still maintaining the speed, the company explained.The dual fuel ship would be able to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), leading to very low emissions of particulate matter.“TT-Line will set a new standard in terms of cutting harmful emissions by choosing LNG as a fuel for the innovative TT-Line Green Ship. This innovative and future-oriented TT-Line Green Ship will be the most environmentally friendly RoPax ship in our trading area,” Bernhard J. Termühlen, Managing Director of TT-Line, said.The new TT-Line vessel builds on the company’s Green Ship concept and is designed to carry 800 passengers and more than 200 trucks and trailers. While designing the vessel, a particular emphasize was put on flexibility and fast turnarounds in ports.last_img read more

Technology gives a face to mother of baby found dead in Calgary

first_imgThe Canadian PressPolice have released a high-tech image they say is a likeness of the mother of a baby girl found dead in a dumpster on Christmas Eve.They have also released a composite sketch of the baby.Police say the mother’s image was produced by a company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping, which can predict physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA.It’s the first time Calgary police have used the technology.“They have had success in the United States,” Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the homicide unit said Wednesday. “This technique actually has been publicly utilized in Canada twice already in Ontario – in Windsor and Sudbury.”Police said they received numerous tips after the baby was found in the northwest community of Bowness, but all were investigated and ruled out.“We have exhausted all other investigative inquiries,” said Schiavetta. “We are really at an investigative standstill.”As part of that investigation, police found biological material at the scene that they sent in for the DNA phenotyping.The results indicate that the mother is likely to be of mixed race – possibly Indigenous – with fair skin. Her hair is described as dark, probably brown or black, and her eyes are hazel that may also appear green.Schiavetta said the technology cannot predict age, weight, height or hairstyle.“This is a scientific approximation and obviously a mother’s – or anyone’s – physical appearance can change,” he said. “Concentrate on the hair colour, the eye colour and the ethnicity.”Schiavetta said investigators hope the image will lead to tips that help find the mother.An autopsy showed the baby was breathing on her own at some point after being born.Police said identifying the mother will help determine what led to the baby being placed in the dumpster. They still don’t know whether the death is suspicious, so the mother is not being sought as a suspect.“We have some really difficult and challenging questions to ask the mother, but please do not assume that the mother placed the baby there,” said Schiavetta.Anyone who may know the identity of the woman in the Calgary case is asked to call the homicide tip line at 403-428-8877 or the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234.Another Canadian case where the same technology was used in 2017 was the homicide of Renee Sweeney in Sudbury, Ont. The case has stymied police since 1998 when she was repeatedly stabbed behind the counter of the adults-only video store where she worked.In Windsor, Ont., police used the technology in the 1971 murder of a six-year-old girl named Ljubica Topic. She was playing outside her home with her older brother when a man approached the pair and offered her money to come with him. Her body was found nearby four hours later.Both cases remain unsolved.The company, Parabon Nanolabs, said on its website that the images from the DNA profile have helped in several U.S. cases – including police arresting and charging a Baltimore resident with murder in January for the 2017 death of his girlfriend.A Texas man confessed to murder in November 2017 after police released an image matching his description.The technology also helped identify and convict a North Carolina man who gunned down a couple in their home in 2012.last_img read more

China orders North Korean business closed under UN sanctions

first_imgBEIJING, China – China on Thursday ordered North Korean-owned businesses to close, cutting foreign revenue for the isolated North under U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs.China is North Korea’s main trading partner, making Beijing’s co-operation essential to the success of sanctions aimed at stopping the North’s pursuit of weapons technology. China, long North Korea’s diplomatic protector, has gone along with the latest penalties out of growing frustration with leader Kim Jong Un’s government.North Korean businesses and ventures with Chinese partners must close within 120 days of the U.N. Security Council’s Sept. 11 approval of the latest sanctions, according to the Ministry of Commerce. That would be early January.North Korean companies operate restaurants and other ventures in China, helping to provide the North with foreign currency. North Korean labourers work in Chinese factories and other businesses.Also Thursday, China’s foreign ministry appealed for dialogue to defuse the increasingly acrimonious dispute between U.S. President Donald Trump’s government and North Korea.“The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is related to regional peace and stability,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. “Breaking the deadlock requires all relevant parties to show their sincerity.”China, one of five permanent Security Council members with veto power, supports the latest sanctions but doesn’t want to push North Korea too hard for fear Kim’s government might collapse.Chinese leaders argue against doing anything that might hurt ordinary North Koreans. They agreed to the latest sanctions after the United States toned down a proposal for a total ban on oil exports to the North.Chinese officials complain their country bears the cost of enforcing sanctions, which have hurt businesses in its northeast that trade with the North.The latest round of U.N. sanctions bans member countries from operating joint ventures with North Korea, most of which are in China.They also ban sales of natural gas to North Korea and purchases of the North’s textile exports, another key revenue source. They order other nations to limit fuel supplies to the North.China, which provides the bulk of North Korea’s energy supplies, announced Saturday it would cut off gas and limit shipments of refined petroleum products, effective Jan. 1. It made no mention of crude oil, which makes up the bulk of Chinese energy supplies to North Korea and is not covered by the U.N. sanctions.China also has banned imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ore, and seafood since early September.On Thursday, the Ministry of Commerce defended its recent imports of North Korean coal, saying they were permitted by U.N. sanctions.A ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said imports that were reported in August trade data were allowed by a “grace period” for goods that arrived before the U.N. ban took effect.The imports are “in line with the (U.N.) resolution,” Gao said.last_img read more

HBC RioCan joint venture explores sale of downtown Vancouver property

first_imgTORONTO – A joint venture between Hudson’s Bay Co. and RioCan Real Estate Investment trust says it may sell its downtown Vancouver property.RioCan-HBC JV says in a statement that it’s engaged with CBRE and Brookfield Financial Real Estate Group to explore a sale.The Granville Street property is currently occupied by a Hudson’s Bay department store, which has a long-term lease.Interim CEO Richard Baker says any sale would include the continued operation of the store.The joint venture also says it expects to close on a $200-million mortgage on the property and the proceeds will be distributed proportionally to its partners.The joint venture owns or controls 10 flagship properties in Canada.last_img

Transcontinentals Q4 results tops expectations shares surge higher

first_imgThe Canadian Press MONTREAL — Shares in Transcontinental Inc. shot higher after the company reported a fourth quarter that topped expectations for both profits and revenue.Shares in the Montreal-based company were up $1.40 or more than seven per cent at $20.77 midday on the Toronto Stock Exchange after going as high as $22.42.Transcontinental reported a profit of $67 million or 76 cents per share for the quarter ended Oct. 28, down from $73.4 billion or 95 cents per share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, Transcontinental says it earned 99 cents per share for the quarter, up from 91 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.Revenue for what was the company’s fourth quarter totalled $829.2 million, up from $527.2 million, boosted by its acquisition of Coveris Americas earlier this year.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 76 cents per share and revenue of $777.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Companies in this story: (TSX:TCL.A, TSX:TCL.B)last_img read more

Aquaman outswims Poppins Bumblebee with 674M debut

first_imgNEW YORK — In a flood of new releases, “Aquaman” easily swam past “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to lead the busy pre-Christmas weekend with an estimated $67.4 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.Without a “Star Wars” film on the December schedule for the first time in four years, a crowded slate of films sought to capitalize on the lucrative holiday period in theatres.The DC Comics superhero film “Aquaman,” which cost Warner Bros. $200 million to make, arrived already a juggernaut overseas, where it has grossed more than $400 million in three weeks of release. Including advance previews, the Jason Momoa-led “Aquaman” reeled in $72.1 million in U.S. and Canada theatres, bringing its global total to $482.8 million.“Aquaman,” directed by James Wan, has proven to be a stabilizing “Justice League” spinoff for Warner Bros. following bumpier DC releases outside of “Wonder Woman.” The film garnered an A-minus Cinemascore from audiences.For the studios, the weekend was as much about setting themselves up for Christmas to New Year’s, when theatres are routinely packed through the week. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, studio executives said the weekend was an unpredictable and distraction-filled one, competing with some of the busiest shopping days of the year.“We really kick off starting Tuesday,” said Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, who said the “Aquaman” performance came in just above the studio’s $65 million forecast. “With kids not really returning to school until January 7, this aligns the stars for us in a really positive way.”Returns were more modest for Disney’s “Mary Poppins” sequel and Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff, though each had reason to expect strong business through the holidays.“Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and directed by Rob Marshall, debuted with $22.2 million over the weekend and $31 million since opening Wednesday. That was on the low side of expectations for the musical, which cost $130 million to make.“May Poppins Returns,” which co-stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, will depend heavily on legs through the holiday season. On its side are good if not spectacular reviews (77 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), an A-minus CinemaScore from moviegoers and four Golden Globe nominations.“It’s a great weekend to start yourself off on a launch pad into the holiday period,” said Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney. “We’re looking forward to great word of mouth building over the next few weeks. And we’re looking forward to a long run.”“Poppins” still narrowly edged “Bumblebee,” which opened with $21 million. That, too, is a soft beginning for a film that cost about $135 million to make after tax credits. It’s also far off the pace of the “Transformers” films, the last of which (“Transformers: The Last Knight”) debuted with $44.7 million in summer 2017.But “Bumblebee,” a “Transformers” prequel directed by Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld, has something the Michael Bay films never had: good reviews. “Bumblebee” was the weekend’s most acclaimed new wide release with a 94 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences also gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.“The pre-Christmas preoccupation for moviegoers affected everyone. All movies were impacted slightly by that,” said Kyle Davies, head of distribution for Paramount. “It doesn’t concern me. We played really well with great reactions. The game plan has always been that we’re now starting that play period where people go multiple times over the next few weeks, and that’s the whole point.”“To me, this weekend was a dress rehearsal for the big push that starts Christmas Day,” added Davies.Also in the mix is Sony’s well-reviewed “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which slid to fourth in its second week with $16.7 million in ticket sales. The film also made one of the best debuts for an animated release in China where it was no. 1, grossing $26.1 million over the weekend.Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” added $9.3 million in its sophomore frame, bringing its two-week total to $35 million. Bradley Cooper, who co-stars in “The Mule,” could also celebrate his “A Star Is Born” crossing $200 million domestically.Largely overlooked in the onslaught at theatres was STXfilms’ “Second Act,” starring Jennifer Lopez. The romantic comedy debuted with an estimated $6.5 million in 2,607 locations, drawing an audience that was 70 per cent female.But the weekend’s real flop was “Welcome to Marwen,” the Robert Zemeckis-directed fantastical drama starring Steve Carell as an imaginative man whose scale model town helps him rehabilitate after a trauma. The film, which cost at least $40 million to make, earned just $2.3 million in 1,900 theatres. It’s the second straight flop for Universal (which teamed with DreamWorks for “Marwen”) following “Mortal Engines.” That $100 million film debuted last weekend with $7.5 million film in ticket sales.Yet the weekend managed to nearly equal the box office of the same weekend last year when “The Last Jedi” was in its second week of release and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” opened. Ticket sales for the “Star Wars”-less weekend were down a mere 2.1 per cent, according to Comscore.Year to date, the domestic box office is up 7.5 per cent and was expected to just eke past 2016’s record $11.38 billion sometime late Sunday or early Monday, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.“The collective and cumulative strength of these newcomers, particularly ‘Aquaman,’ and a huge slate of holdovers gave us a stronger weekend than anyone imagined,” Dergarabedian said. “A superhero movie in December can make up for not having a ‘Star Wars’ movie in December.”Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:1. “Aquaman,” $67.4 million.2. “Mary Poppins Returns,” $22.2 million.3. “Bumblebee,” $21 million.4. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” $16.7 million.5. “The Mule,” $9.3 million.6. “The Grinch,” $8.2 million.7. “Second Act,” $6.5 million.8. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” $4.6 million.9. “Welcome to Marwen,” $2.4 million.10. “Mary Queen of Scots,” $2.2 million.___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Presslast_img read more

New joint report finds high degree of support from First Nations to

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. — A new report that was conducted by both the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the First Nations LNG Alliance finds First Nations have a “high degree of support” for the development of an LNG export industry in B.C.The joint report from the First Nations NGO and the Ministry stems from regional engagement sessions that the two organizations hosted last fall. “In fact, many First Nations representatives raised the need to push the remaining projects over the finish line,” adds the report.“We’re releasing the report to show that there is strong and real First Nations support for LNG development in BC,” said Alliance CEO Karen Ogen-Toews. “That means, by definition, responsible development that balances economics and the environment, and respects First Nations rights and title.”According to the report, which was released earlier this week, the issue of poverty and the need for economic and employment opportunities for First Nations was raised on a consistent basis. It adds that many First Nations view LNG projects as an important opportunity to improve poor socio-economic conditions in their communities. “If LNG projects are done in a way that respects First Nation interests, they will be the most safe, environmentally rigorous, and human-rights-compliant projects in the world,” the report added.The report makes four key recommendations that should be implemented by the provincial government: developing an Indigenous labour market strategy to support LNG projects; supporting agreements and mitigate negative impacts of cancellations on First Nations; engaging First Nations on regulatory improvements; and partnering with First Nations during engagement with the LNG industry.“What we really need is for communication and dialogue to continue and to be strengthened,” said Ogen-Toews. “Too many people have been told that First Nations oppose LNG development. That’s not true. Others believe that LNG development is automatically a negative. That’s not true either. As the report points out, many First Nations see LNG projects as a source of jobs and training and careers, and a way to improve poor socio-economic conditions. We need all this, and the report includes important ideas on how to make it happen. The Alliance partnered with BC because we value engagement with and among First Nations on these issues. The report supports the further need for more discussion and engagement. LNG development is not going to happen on its own. It takes a co-operative partnership of industry and First Nations, and with support from government. The engagement sessions supported by the BC ministry have helped show how First Nations are on board with responsible development.The full report can be read below.last_img read more

FSJ city council approves grant to Peace Country River Rats

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John city council has approved a grant to the Peace Country River Rats to help host the 2019 World Jet Boat Race Championships.Peace Country River Rats had requested that the city funds the race with a $2,500 grant.Council has passed a motion to fund the full amount requested by the group. This funding will help alleviate the cost associated with the hosting of the race.The 2019 World Jet Boat Race will be coming to the Peace on July 10 to 21, 2019.last_img

Wild goat spotted by the Water Station

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – There has been a wild goat spotted travelling about the city of Fort St. John for approximately the past month according to Facebook posts.The goat was last seen close to the highway by the Water Station leaving Fort St John.BC Conservation Officer, Tristan Montjoy shares, to give the goat adequate space and not to approach the goat as it is a wild animal and could act out aggressively. Montjoy does not know why the wild goat is in the area. Motorists are being advised to travel with caution.last_img