TT is facing a clear threat from the coronavirus (Covid-19), not only from a health perspective, but also in terms of TT’s economic stability, the Prime Minister said on Thursday at the post-cabinet press conference.
Speaking to reporters at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Dr Rowley said the virus will affect and already has affected the country’s trade relationships. The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF), the country’s sovereign wealth “rainy day” savings, is already adversely affected by the spread of the virus, he said.
“There are some bigger issues here for us,” Rowley said. “As we look at the (effect) the virus is having on the international trading community, we in TT have some serious exposure. The performance of our Heritage Fund is directly connected to the performance of (international stock markets). That is where the investment largely lies. So if the exchange is doing well, then the fund is doing well. If it is doing badly, for whatever reason, then we have concerns there.”
According to the HSF quarterly investment report, the fund is nearly 83 per cent invested in the US markets, with up to 21 per cent in US core domestic equities and 17 per cent in non-US core international equities.
International news media have reported that US stock markets were in their sixth day of decline.