GBTI first half profits up 35%, economic slowdown seen

The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry has seen a 35% increase in unaudited net after-tax profit for the first half of this year compared to last year abut says there was also a noticeable slowdown in the economy for the first half of the year though there have been some improvements.

Chairman of the Board of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), Robin Stoby in his report in today’s Stabroek News said that the local economy had benefited last year from a surge in gold prices but that with the recent positive outlook for the US economy and a projected policy shift by the US Federal Reserve, the gold price slumped to below US$1,200 per ounce from a high of over US$1800 per ounce.

“This along with a delayed signing of a new contract with Venezuela to supply them with rice and paddy, low production of sugar in the first crop of 2013 and a National Budget that was cut by $31B, we have seen a noticeable slowdown in our economy and this has put some pressure on Exchange Rate stability”, he said.

Some local businessmen have recently fretted that US dollars were in short supply on the local market and the asking price had moved up to $209 to US$1.

Stoby also adverted to the implications for banks from the political gridlock in Parliament.

“The effect of our present political circumstances has rendered us unable to pass legislation to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering of the Financing of Terrorism requirements of (the) Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (C.F.A.T.F), our Regional Regulatory Body. This has serious implications for our Banks and by extension our customers who make and receive international payments”, Stoby said.

He noted that there were improvements in the first half with the signing of the Venezuelan rice supply deal and the price of gold recovered somewhat.

Net profit after tax reached $1.02B for the first six months of the year and this was 35% higher than the corresponding period last year. The board has as a result approved an interim dividend of $5 per share.

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