GBTI notches up $1.1B profit, chairman says many gold miners have left sector

The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has registered an after-tax profit of $1.103B for the first six months of this year but its Chairman says a more conservative approach has been taken this year in lending, pointing to a series of challenges to the economy.
Chairman Robin Stoby in remarks accompanying the bank’s financials in today’s Stabroek News says that with the fall of gold prices many miners have left the sector permanently or temporarily. Stoby’s assertion will add to the growing view that lower gold declaration this year is as a result of miners leaving the sector because of narrowing margins rather than hoarding or smuggling.
Noting that the global economic recovery had improved over the last six months and had come with a strengthening US dollar, Stoby said that for Guyana the impact of this was the loss of gold as a hedge against economic uncertainty as the price of gold remains relatively low.
He said that the relatively low price came at a time when the local economy was being boosted by record output of gold. However for the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, Stoby said that miners found their profits “squeezed to the point where many miners exited the sector either permanently or temporarily”.
Stoby said that sugar continues to underperform in the backdrop of “numerous challenges” while the rice sector remains “heavily dependent” on the Venezuela rice market.
The chairman also lamented that energy costs remain high and this makes light manufacturing uncompetitive compared to the Caribbean.
Stoby adverted to the deadlock on the passage of the anti-money laundering legislation and said that this is causing apprehension in the business community.
“For the banking sector,the failure to resolve this issue is causing increased delays and difficulties in carrying out international payments on behalf of customers”, he said.

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