Business Express

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Top Story

Overheating Economy

Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran in his first monetary policy presentation for 2015 announced recently that Trinidad and Tobago’s economy was approaching “full capacity”. He explained that this meant that much of the country’s resources were being used up, which could result in rising food prices. Read more »

  • Need for proper study of the economics of Carnival

    The aftermath of Carnival may not be the best time to undertake a study that evaluates the economic value-or cost-of the festival to the national economy. At some point, though, and better sooner than later, an institution such as The University of the West Indies (The UWI) or the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), should commission such an exercise. Read More »

  • CDB warns of downside risks

    Countries in the Caribbean will experience economic growth of between one and three per cent this year, the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank has said. It said while countries like Trinidad and Tobago will record growth at the lower end, Haiti, Guyana and Suriname should record higher growth of between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent this year. Read More »

  • Trotman’s sweet deal

    Carnival is over and so is Valentine’s Day. Chocolates on many grocery shelves were sold out on February 14. At the desperate eleventh hour, brand did not matter. But the curious thing is that while chocolate is one of the most sought after gifts shared between lovers, few would have purchased the product made from the cocoa being grown in the shaded hillsides of the Caribbean islands. Read More »

  • Monkey see: monkey do

    This was my first Carnival in Trinidad for many years and I tried to see what most defined or captured the changes over the years. I believe the difference is in the pronunciation of one particular word associated with Carnival. The word “costume”. I started playing “Mas’” as a five-year-old in Carapichaima and wore my little “Robber” costume to the competition which was held on the top of the Trinidad Government Railways (TGR) huge cistern between the Post Office and the Railway Station. Read More »

  • Why oil prices must go up

    It may be difficult to look beyond the current pricing environment for oil, but the depletion of low-cost reserves and the increasing inability to find major new discoveries ensures a future of expensive oil. While analysing the short-term trajectory of oil prices is certainly important, it obscures the fact that over the long-term, oil exploration companies may struggle to bring new sources of supply online. Read More »

  • ‘Trinidad remains the island of opportunity’

    On whose shoulders rests the responsibility for boosting crude oil production in Trinidad and Tobago (now at an unacceptable 70,000 b/d or thereabouts)? Not bpTT (though, as I pointed out last week, it is back in the oil business and making a modest contribution to crude output), BG TT or EOG Resources. They are all principally in the gas producing business, though they do provide a liquid fuel, condensate, which comes with the gas as a useful by-product. Read More »

  • How toys have become big business

    With 13,000 international buyers and the equivalent of seven football fields full of exhibitor booths, Toy Fair 2015 looks and sounds like the best-behaved children’s party ever. Without the young ones in attendance, of course. Because this party is serious business. Buyers come to see new products and place orders for stores, family restaurants and schools around the globe. Read More »

  • Integrity Reflections

    This column sets out my reasons for seriously questioning the motivation and priorities of the Integrity Commission. Despite my doubts as to the way in which successive Commissions have operated the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA), I have continued to offer suggestions as to how their work could be made more effective. Read More »

  • Managing debt collection in a small business

    Regardless of the business operation, we all face the dreaded task of running down clients for unpaid goods or services. For many larger organisations, an external debt collection agency may be employed or a separate unit or individual may be assigned to try to recover bad debts before they are written off. Many smaller businesses with limited resources are sometimes forced into cash restraints due to the inability to recover sales income. Read More »

  • Why surging American dollar is bad for business

    The biggest obstacle for Coca-Cola and Pepsi these days isn’t tied to taste tests, the declining popularity of sugary drinks or even their century-long rivalry. It’s the surging United States dollar. The two soda giants rely on overseas customers for roughly half of their revenue. When they turned in their quarterly results last week, both reported a drop in sales. Read More »

  • New airline starts Caribbean route

    A tranquil Caribbean island getaway on Anguilla is now easier than ever to get to with the announcement of Seaborne Airline’s weekly scheduled service. Chairman of the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) Ralph Hodge said the direct flights between Anguilla and San Juan, which will commence from April 30 and will provide direct access into Anguilla from the island’s major markets. Read More »

  • AIB achieves top ranking

    The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) MBA programme has placed 4th in Australia and 10th in the world according to the latest MBA rankings released in the Winter 2014/15 edition of CEO Magazine (UK). The Australian Institute of Business (AIB)’s MBA programme has taken out a rankings trifecta, ranked amongst the best in Australia and the world for the third year in a row, with its distance learning offering taking first place in Australia. Read More »

  • Sterling brings CNG Mercedes to T&T

    German automakers Mercedes-Benz have added a particularly economical and environmentally friendly variant to their E–Class family of cars - the CNG E-Class.This vehicle offered by Sterling Service, local distributors for Mercedes-Benz, is the first CNG and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) car in Trinidad and Tobago, a statement said. Read More »

  • IMF reviewing Grenada

    A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is here conducting a review of the island’s homegrown structural adjustment programme. A government statement said that the delegation, led by Aliona Cebotari, will review the period July – December 2014. Read More »

  • Venezuela allows US dollar sale at black market rate

    Venezuelans lined up last Thursday for their first chance in years to change bolivars into dollars without having to justify why they need foreign currency. The socialist South American country launched a new exchange system last week that allows individuals and businesses to circumvent decade-old currency controls and legally buy greenbacks. Read More »

  • Blink/Bmobile in D Vale

    The 2015 edition of D’ Original Vale Breakfast Party scored with patrons in attendance this year. Now in its 21st year, the blink/bmobile-sponsored Carnival Sunday morning ritual brought together a mix of local, regional and international soca lovers. Read More »

  • What’s Next For TCL

    Trinidad Cement Ltd’s chairman Wilfred Espinet is adamant that the focus of the six-month-old board of directors will not be shifted. Read More »

  • BTTT wants a bigger bite...

    Anyone who listened carefully, could have picked up a great deal of useful information about individual companies and the energy industry in general, from the various papers presented to the annual Energy Chamber conference at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel two weeks ago that did not catch the ear of reporters covering the event in the same way as the more dramatic announcements may have done. Read More »

  • Grenada now on JetBlue’s list

    United States airline JetBlue says it is continuing its push into the Caribbean, announcing last Wednesday that Grenada would become its newest destination. Read More »

  • Caribbean business primer

    Travelling and working throughout the Caribbean have taught me a few salutary lessons. The first and perhaps the least surprising is that if death came from the Caricom Secretariat, we would all live forever. Read More »

  • T&T’s EITI journey: a personal memoir

    Introduction Trinidad and Tobago’s journey as a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) took a giant step forward on January 23 when the EITI board promoted the country from Candidate Country status to Compliant Country status, the highest level of membership. Ms Clare Short, chair EITI Board, delivered the news in her feature address at the Energy Chamber’s Energy Conference 2015 on January Read More »

  • Oil’s survival of the fittest

    With crude oil prices collapsing and small American oil producers faced with grim choices for survival, the Darwinian nature of commodity market cycles rears its head, dictating that only the fittest will survive—and only the fittest of the fittest will thrive. As the herd of small companies that formed the backbone of the shale boom is culled, there emerges a new focus on junior players who are sitting on prime prospects where oil can be produced at US$20 per barrel or lower and still turn a healthy profit at today’s prices hovering around US$45 - $52 range. The biggest winners will be those investors who are stepping into the market right now, investing in conventional oil stories. Read More »


    If you have not yet purchased your Carnival 2015 costume, chances are you may not get one in time for the “Greatest Show on Earth” next Monday and Tuesday. Read More »

  • Hats off to the public officers

    It is at times like these, when politicking trumps governance, when a prime minister makes changes to the composition of her Cabinet, that we recognise the stability that our public servants bring to the ministries and other State institutions that they oversee and serve. Read More »

  • Carnival’s one-stop shop

    The Carnival experience may just have become a lot more enjoyable, not to mention easier, thanks to – a single digital platform that could service practically all the needs of the Carnival industry. Read More »

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