Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has confirmed that Guyana has honoured its financial obligations to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) even as the regional body continues to face some financial challenges while executing its mandate.The Minister said as a general observation, many countries within the Region have experienced financial difficulties in recent years. However, he noted, “Financial challenges faced by Caricom are not the result of failure by Guyana to make itsForeign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidgecontributions.”Greenidge also made it clear that Caricom has to redouble its efforts to cut wastage of resources, both financial and otherwise, in order to meet the demands of a changing global arena.The Minister said that funding for many regional projects were on the decline and Caricom Member States were experiencing their own financial challenges in order to keep up with the increasing number of meetings, forums and engagements that require their participation and input.He said that these engagements while necessary, as Caricom seeks to forge ahead with its one economic policy and space and Latin America reintegration initiative, Member States were expressing scepticism about the bill they may have to foot as the situation domestically with regard to finances remained grim.“As the international community takes up all sorts of new challenges, whether it be environment, global warming, new institutions are established…it sometimes require additional technicians, more money and it becomes increasingly burdensome for most countries,” he added.Asked whether he anticipates that Guyana may be called upon to pay a large financial contribution to Caricom in light of the massive oil finds and exploration activities here, the Foreign Affairs Minister responded in the negative, stating that he did not anticipate any such indication. He said, “I wouldn’t expect responsible Caricom Government to be demanding that you pay now in anticipation of revenues to appear in 2020 and beyond. We have always contributed to Caricom development in accordance with our capacity. And when Guyana was doing well financially and economically, Guyana went out of its way to lend support to the integration movement, both by ways of financing and this will continue when we have resources to do so.” Caricom has been facing many financial challenges since the 2008 economic crisis which shattered the economies of several of its Member States. While some have managed to rebound from the impact of the crisis, others have generally been unable to meet their financial obligations as far as contributing revenue to the bloc to keep its Georgetown-based Secretariat going.Although Caricom is one of the oldest integration schemes in the Western Hemisphere and the largest in terms of membership, it is by far the smallest in economic and geographic terms. Caribbean economies have either stagnated or grown very slowly, and high unemployment has become chronic. Despite important policy changes, export diversification has been limited for generating huge growth rates.Despite the challenges faced by the bloc, particularly the ravaging effects of the 2017 hurricane season which has cast a long shadow over the Region, the over US$2 billion pledged at the Caricom-United Nations conference for long-term recovery for hurricane-affected countries and the establishment of the regional renewable energy centre were among the successes recently recorded by Caricom.
The downward slope of mortgage rates has seen a shift in the opposite direction, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS).The average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages experienced upward movement for the first time in 2017. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.19 percent for the week ended January 26, 2017, rising from 4.09 percent in the previous week. During this time last year, the average 30-year rate was hovering around 3.79 percent.The 15-year rate averaged 3.40 percent, up from 3.34 percent the previous week and higher than 2015’s 3.07 percent during the same time-period. The report notes that the 30-year rate increase exactly matched the 10-year Treasury yield increase of 10 basis points.“This week marks the first increase in the mortgage rate since December 29,” stated Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti. He does not expect the higher mortgage rate to cause any significant downward movement in housing prices.In fact, the shortened supply of homes for sale should keep home prices relatively high for the foreseeable future. “The 2.8 percent decline in existing home sales in December is a reminder of the lack of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, supply is at its lowest level since 1999, a factor that should support higher house prices regardless of the oscillations of the mortgage rate.”The movement in the rate should not be taken as sign of a continual trend, as the ongoing volatility will likely continue for some time. “Rates have been rather volatile since November, and such moves are not that unusual,” noted HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger.Gumbinger goes on to state that “it’s a reasonable bet that headlines of higher mortgage rates won’t be exactly welcomed by homebuyers or homeowners looking to refinance,” but he doesn’t think that the increase in the rate will have a meaningful effect on borrowers who are in the process of buying a home, as the costs incurred due to the increase are rather minimal. Mortgage Rates Break Out of Downward Cycle Share January 26, 2017 644 Views Fixed-Rate Mortgage mortgage rate 2017-01-26 Timothy McNally in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Secondary Market