Category: Finance

National Shipping of America Expands San Juan Service

JOC Staff | Oct 03, 2013   Nation­al Ship­ping of Amer­i­ca has expand­ed its Isla Verde Express ser­vice with the addi­tion of a south­bound call at Port Ever­glades in Flori­da. The expan­sion pro­vides a con­nec­tion between the U.S. main­land and Puer­to Rico with a two-day tran­sit time. Pre­vi­ous­ly, the ser­vice, which was launched ear­li­er this year, offered a direct route between Hous­ton and San Juan, Puer­to Rico, on a fort­night­ly basis. The port rota­tion now is Hous­ton, Port Ever­glades, San Juan and back to Hous­ton. The addi­tion of the Port Ever­glades call does not impact south­bound tran­sit times between...

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Puerto Rico reveals record deficit from FY 2012

SAN JUAN, Puer­to Rico — Gov­ern­ment offi­cials have revealed that Puer­to Rico’s over­all deficit stood at a record $39 bil­lion in the past fis­cal year, adding to gloom over the econ­o­my.   The fig­ure was made pub­lic late Mon­day in an annu­al audit­ed report that Puer­to Rico is required to sub­mit to fed­er­al offi­cials who over­see the munic­i­pal secu­ri­ties mar­ket. It’s a $5.4 bil­lion increase from the 2011 fis­cal year and comes as the U.S. ter­ri­to­ry strug­gles to emerge from a sev­en-year reces­sion. “The num­bers are trans­par­ent and demon­strate the crit­i­cal state of the government’s finances,” Jaime Perel­lo, pres­i­dent...

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Is Puerto Rico the next Detroit?

by Julio Saenz • August 29, 2013 • 9:25 am This week’s issue of Barron’s finan­cial news­pa­per has Puer­to Rico as its cov­er sto­ry.  The in-depth sto­ry com­pares Puer­to Rico’s pre­car­i­ous finan­cial sit­u­a­tion to Detroit’s recent bank­rupt­cy and warns it could be 10 times worse if the island’s gov­ern­ment does the same. Some of the key num­bers report­ed in the arti­cle are that only Cal­i­for­nia and New York State have more total debt than Puer­to Rico.  Obvi­ous­ly those states are much larg­er so Puer­to Rico’s aver­age debt per res­i­dent  “of $14,000 is 10 times the aver­age of the 50 states.”  It adds up to $70 bil­lion in debt and that is not includ­ing $30 bil­lion in unfund­ed pen­sion lia­bil­i­ties. The prospects for get­ting out from under the debt are bleak, the island’s econ­o­my has been stuck in a reces­sion since 2006 and unem­ploy­ment is over 13%. The good news that there are  major dif­fer­ences between Puer­to Rico and Detroit. As the author Andrew Bary explains: “Puer­to Rico has tak­en painful and polit­i­cal­ly unpop­u­lar steps to cut bloat­ed gov­ern­ment pay­rolls, raise tax­es, and shore up its bad­ly under­fund­ed pen­sion sys­tem. A new gov­ern­ment elect­ed in 2012, led by the pop­ulist Gov­er­nor Ale­jan­dro Gar­cía Padil­la, is com­mit­ted to putting Puer­to Rico and its var­i­ous bond-issu­ing author­i­ties on a stronger finan­cial foot­ing. “ Those cuts, that have led to the strikes by gov­ern­ment...

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Puerto Rico’s new budget

By Cate Long April 29, 2013 Puer­to Rico Gov. Ale­jan­dro Gar­cía Padil­la unveiled a $9.83 bil­lion oper­at­ing bud­get Thurs­day night dur­ing a state of the com­mon­wealth address in which he pledged to reduce crime, cre­ate jobs, boost school atten­dance and expand the U.S. territory’s tourism sec­tor.   The pro­posed spend­ing pack­age is $783 mil­lion more than the cur­rent bud­get, which will be cov­ered by new rev­enue and $200 mil­lion in deficit financ­ing, he said.   Gar­cía Padil­la said that begin­ning in Decem­ber, the sales & use tax (IVU by its Span­ish ini­tials) will be low­ered to 6.5 per­cent from the cur­rent 7 per­cent lev­el, with­out impact­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in out­stand­ing bonds backed by the tax.   The pro­pos­al was being under­tak­en in tan­dem with mea­sures to widen the base of the IVU, elim­i­nat­ing some exemp­tions, which would end up rais­ing addi­tion­al rev­enue. The plan would con­tin­ue to exempt items includ­ing pre­scrip­tion med­i­cine, books and non-processed foods. Thom­son Reuters Munic­i­pal Mar­ket Data ana­lyst Dan Berg­er wrote this after the bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion: In 2012, the commonwealth’s econ­o­my expand­ed for the first time since 2005, but Puer­to Rico’s tepid eco­nom­ic recov­ery now shows sub­stan­tial signs of sput­ter­ing – a turn that wor­ries own­ers of $53 bln of Puer­to Rico munic­i­pal debt.   As Puer­to Rico’s under­ly­ing eco­nom­ic fun­da­men­tals erode, bond investors want to get paid more for the risk of own­ing...

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Fuera Ponce en Marcha del presupuesto

Dinero para todo menos Ponce en Marcha.Diez proyec­tos rela­ciona­dos al Plan Ponce en Mar­cha han sido deja­dos fuera del nuevos pre­supuesto opera­cional del Depar­ta­men­to de la Vivien­da (DV) y del Depar­ta­men­to de Recur­sos Nat­u­rales y Ambi­en­tales (DRNA) para el nue­vo año fis­cal 2010–2011. Esto, en menos­pre­cio à la sen­ten­cia del Tri­bunal Supre­mo en el caso Ponce en Mar­cha en que se ordenó a las agen­cias de gob­ier­no a hac­er los ajustes pre­supues­tar­ios nece­sar­ios para cumplir con la eje­cu­ción de los proyec­tos pen­di­entes. Las obras rep­re­sen­tan $56.1 mil­lones en inver­sión para la Ciu­dad Seño­r­i­al. “Yo no voy a dar un...

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