(Caribbean 360 News) NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) is facing an uphill battle to get out of the red as it continues to rack up millions of dollars in losses due to bad loans.

According to a report on the bank’s financial performance for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2017, the bank recorded net loan loss provisions of about $35.4 million during the final quarter of the fiscal year 2016 and $49.2 million since the start of 2017

“This was up by $20.1 million from the same quarter last year and up by $24.7 million year to date compared to the prior year. As a result of the increased credit loss expenses, the bank recognized a net loss of $32.8 million for the quarter and $43.8 million year to date,” the report stated.

BOB acknowledged that the situation was worrying, stressing that its ultimate return to profitability is largely dependent on the performance of its loan portfolio.

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(Caribbean News Service) ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Regional carrier LIAT says its passengers can now book tickets which include a LIAT flight along with flights from nine other carriers.

LIAT said the interline partners are JetBlue, Caribbean Airlines, British Airways, Corsair, Virgin Atlantic, Air France-KLM, Air Canada, Surinam Airways, and WinAir.

“LIAT is always looking at ways to improve the product we offer our customers and allowing them to access the destinations offered by our interline partners is another way we are doing this” Chief Executive Officer, Julie Reifer-Jones said.

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(V.I. Consortium) When Fitch, one of three respected ratings agencies in the U.S., announced in July that it was maintaining its negative watch guidance on the territory’s bonds, Governor Kenneth Mapp deemed the guidance as a good sign, noting that Fitch did not downgrade the bonds, and that the firm noted actions the government had taken to address the territory’s financial crisis.

But on Tuesday Fitch replaced its recent negative watch with a negative outlook, and downgraded the territory’s bonds further into junk status, dealing another crushing blow to a government already under immense financial pressure. According to Fitch, the negative outlook reflects its assessment that the USVI will remain challenged in stabilizing its financial operations and its debt and pension positions.

The government’s “USVI” and “Public Finance Authority” bonds were downgraded to the following:

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(Barbados Today) Hotel hoteliers anticipate a lucrative payday thanks to the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) which opens here on Friday.

The August 17 to 27 event is expected to attract an estimated 2,000 artistes, in addition to other visitors to Barbados.

Tourism officials believe it will provide a boost to the island’s tourism product, with a number of properties reporting increased bookings, including those under the Intimate Hotels of Barbados grouping.

“We don’t usually get a lot of group bookings at this time of the year, [but yes] a few hotels do have bookings from persons throughout the region that are coming in for CARIFESTA. I can’t say if they are the official contingents or if they are just performers or if they are just people who are coming to participate or spectate but we definitely have booking across the grouping.

“We haven’t compiled all of our Crop Over numbers as yet, since the season just ended, but for sure this is obviously a spike for occupancy for the month of August,” Chief Executive Officer Gayle Headley-Lowe told Barbados TODAY.

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(CNN): Britain wants to keep existing customs rules with Europe for about two years after Brexit as it tries to protect manufacturing exports and jobs.
With a third round of Brexit negotiations due later this month, the U.K. is under growing pressure to clarify its plans for trade and immigration once it leaves the European Union in March 2019.
The U.K. government said Tuesday in a position paper that it wanted to negotiate customs arrangements that "facilitate the freest and most frictionless possible trade in goods between the U.K. and the EU."

During a limited transitional period after Brexit, the U.K. would seek to retain as many of the existing arrangements as possible to avoid the chaos of an abrupt break with its biggest export market, and to allow time for a new trade deal to be negotiated.
"One possible approach would be a temporary customs union between the U.K. and the EU," the government said.

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