100 days on from Hurricane Irma, the record category 5 hurricane, the BVI financial services sector is “back in business” according to BVI Finance.
Just over three months ago the BVI was battered by hurricanes Irma and Maria, with both causing significant damage to key infrastructure, including power, water, housing and roads.
However, due to the immediate activation of comprehensive business continuity plans, core services and operations in the financial services sector continued either on island or via international networks. This meant there was minimal disruption caused to the clients of the financial and professional services firms based in the BVI.
Over the last 100 days, there have been a number of key developments and initiatives that have contributed to the BVI’s continued success as a centre for enabling international trade and investment. These include:
- Financial services has been designated a priority area in the Government’s recovery plan.
- Company incorporations have continued with the figures for Q3 2017 showing a marginal increase on Q2 (413,273 vs 395,684) – this is despite both hurricanes occurring in September.
- A new MicroBusiness Companies Act, which will support SMEs and start-ups, has been passed by the House of Assembly.
- Ogier BVI advised Toys “R” Us on its global reorganisation and restructuring. They also acted for Suez on its US$ 3.4 billion acquisition of GE Water.
- Conyers Dill & Pearman BVI advised Despegar, a Latin American online travel company on its IPO on September 26th. It was 13.4 times oversubscribed and raised $382 million making Despegar one of the most valuable publicly listed BVI companies.
- Having relocated to Castries, St. Lucia, the Commercial Division of the High Court has been hearing matters since the end of September. Plans are now underway for the Court and its judges to return to the BVI early in the New Year.
- A steady flow of professionals who temporarily relocated elsewhere have returned, with more expected in the New Year.
- The BVI company register has continued to function via VIRRGIN, the online portal.
Commenting, Lorna Smith, OBE, Interim Executive Director of BVI Finance said:
“100 days on from Hurricane Irma and the BVI’s international business and finance centre continues to thrive. Undoubtedly challenges persist, but I have been delighted at the resilience and speed at which firms have adapted and continued to provide world-class advice and services to clients around the world.
“I would like to extend my immense gratitude and thanks to the private sector firms who have stood shoulder to shoulder with the BVI throughout the last three months. The support and commitments from across the industry has been tremendous and hugely influential in securing the future of the BVI’s business and finance centre.
“Fundamentally, whilst the hurricanes wrought significant damage and disruption, I am pleased to say that the BVI is back in business.”
A recent report by Capital Economics, the independent economics consultancy, found that the BVI facilitates global trade and investment to the tune of US$1.5 trillion. The report, Creating Value: The BVI’s Global Contribution, also revealed that BVI mediated investments contribute over US$15 billion in tax annually to governments around the world whilst also supporting two million jobs globally.
Tänak wins easily in the Arctic as Rovanperä grabs early title lead
Finn becomes youngest ever WRC leader with Belgian Neuville back in third.
Ott Tänak sealed a dominant start-to-finish victory at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox on Sunday afternoon.
The Estonian was never seriously challenged during the three-day encounter in Lapland’s frozen forests. He built a comfortable lead during the first two legs and eased through the finale to win the FIA World Rally Championship’s second round by 17.5sec.
Home hero Kalle Rovanperä fended off a charging Thierry Neuville to claim the best result of his career in second. At just 20 years old, he became the youngest driver to lead the WRC in the championship’s 49-year history. Neuville finished 2.3sec adrift in third.
Tänak won five of the 10 snow and ice speed tests in his Hyundai i20. Apart from a brush with a snowbank on Saturday, he avoided trouble on superfast roads near Rovaniemi to kick-start his title bid after retiring from the season-opener in Monte-Carlo.
“The pressure was there and we knew it was going to be very complicated to take the fight,” he said. “In the end we did a very good weekend, with only one mistake. It’s an amazing place, definitely one of the best places to have a winter rally.”
Rovanperä, starting just his ninth top-level rally, began the final day with a 1.8sec buffer to Neuville. He extended it by a tenth in the first of two passes through the 22.47km Aittajärvi test, before winning the final Wolf Power Stage to retain his grip on second.
The Toyota Yaris driver moved four points clear of Neuville at the top of the standings, relegating world champion Sébastien Ogier who had a disappointing weekend. The Frenchman finished 20th after burying his Yaris into a snow drift.
Neuville’s third place provided a double podium for Hyundai Motorsport, which reduced Toyota Gazoo Racing’s manufacturers’ championship lead to 11 points.
Craig Breen finished fourth in another i20 after a four-rally absence. Tyre management was crucial and the Irishman fell back on Saturday as he struggled for grip on deteriorating roads after ending the opening day in second. He was 52.6sec adrift of Tänak.
Breen kept Elfyn Evans at bay in the final test after the Welshman closed to within 3.6sec in the penultimate stage. The final gap between them was 8.9sec. Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta rounded off the top six in another Yaris.
Tributes were made on the podium to Finnish rally great Hannu Mikkola. The 1983 world champion and three-time runner-up died on Friday and the Finnish Air Force led the accolades with an F18 Hornet flypast.
The WRC moves to the asphalt Croatia Rally for round three, which is based in Zagreb on April 22-25.
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 2hr 03min 49.6sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +17.5sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +19.8sec
4. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +52.6sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 01.5sec
6. T Katsuta / D Barritt JAP Toyota Yaris +1min 37.8sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 2 of 12)
1. K Rovanperä 39pts
2. T Neuville 35
3. S Ogier 31
4. E Evans 31
5. O Tänak 27
Euro zone factories buzzing in February as demand soars
By Jonathan Cable
LONDON (Reuters) – Euro zone factory activity raced along in February thanks to soaring demand, a survey showed on Monday, although the burst of business led to a shortage of raw materials and a spike in input costs.
Restrictions imposed across the continent to try to quell the spread of the coronavirus have shuttered vast swathes of the bloc’s dominant services industry, meaning it has fallen to manufacturers to support the economy.
IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to a three-year high of 57.9 in February from January’s 54.8, ahead of the initial 57.7 “flash” estimate and one of the highest readings in the survey’s 20-year history.
An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Wednesday that is seen as a good guide to economic health, climbed to 57.6 from 54.6, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
“Manufacturing is appearing as an increasingly bright spot in the euro zone’s economy so far this year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
“The solid manufacturing expansion is clearly helping to offset ongoing virus-related weakness in many consumer-facing sectors, alleviating the impact of recent lockdown measures in many countries and helping to limit the overall pace of economic contraction.”
A Reuters poll last month showed the bloc was in a double dip recession and that the economy would contract 0.8% this quarter after shrinking 6.9% in 2020 on an annual basis. [ECILT/EU]
Rocketing demand for manufactured goods pushed factories to increase staffing levels for the first time in nearly two years.
But lockdown measures disrupted supply chains and factories struggled to obtain raw materials, leading to a big increase in delivery times.
“The growth spurt has brought its own problems, however, with demand for inputs not yet being met by supply. Shipping delays and shortages of materials are being widely reported, and led to near-record supply chain delays,” Williamson said.
Those shortages allowed suppliers to hike their prices at the fastest rate in almost a decade. The input prices PMI bounced to 73.9 from 68.3.
(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Strong exports lift German factory activity to three-year high in February – PMI
BERLIN (Reuters) – Higher demand from China, the United States and Europe drove growth in German factory activity to its highest level in more than three years in February, brightening the outlook for Europe’s largest economy, a survey showed on Monday.
IHS Markit’s Final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, jumped to 60.7 from 57.1 in January.
It was the highest reading since January 2018 and came in slightly better than the initial “flash” figure of 60.6.
Factories have been humming along during the pandemic on higher foreign demand, helping the German economy avoid a contraction in the last quarter of 2020 and offsetting a drop in consumer spending amid a partial lockdown to contain COVID-19.
Many manufacturers reported higher demand from Asia, especially China, as well as the United States and European countries, with export sales posting their biggest increase since December 2017, the survey showed.
Phil Smith, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, said supply chain pressures intensified as more firms reported delays than ever before in nearly 25 years of data collection.
“There looks to be further upward pressure on inflation in the German economy from supply bottlenecks and a subsequent surge in manufacturing input costs,” Smith noted.
The survey suggested that supply disruption is making it more difficult to replenish stocks, which could complicate production in the coming months, he cautioned.
“Nevertheless, the overriding sentiment for the longer-term outlook is optimism, with a record number of manufacturers expecting to see output rise over the next 12 months.”
Still, economists expect the economy to shrink in the first quarter of this year due to a stricter lockdown, which has shut most shops and services since mid-December, and freezing temperatures that slowed construction activity in February.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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