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Economy

U.S Unemployment Claims Drop to 41 Year Low

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The number of new applicants filing for unemployment benefits in U.S drop to 255,000 beating the projected 279,000 by economists. The figure came out 281,000 for the previous week ended July 16 and surprisingly dropped 26,000 to 255,000 last week. This is the lowest since 1973, said Labour Department on Thursday.

The historic decline was attributed to the fact that employers are retaining workers to cater to a pickup in demand following a slump in early 2015. This combined with steady hiring across various states have improved household spending, an important part of the economy.

According to Russesll Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, companies are holding on to employees not merely because of current demand but also for growth, although unemployment claims is better calculated by using monthly average for more realistic values over long period and in order to limit excessive volatility that could damp result.

UK Retail Sales

The Uk retail sales fell by 0.2 percent in June, the report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that annual sales of growth is reduced by 4 percent last month from 4.7 percent in May. The report shows that was the slowest in annual sales since September 2014.

Office for National Statistics said the annual growth rate was still “strong”. The sales volumes in the April to June quarter were up by 0.7 percent from the previous quarter and also online sales in June increased by 1.4% compared with May, which accounted for 12.4 percent of total retail sales.

Investors/traders “this is one of the reasons BoE is skeptical about rate increase, the economy is not healthy enough to sustain itself at a higher rate”.

Canada Retail Sales

Canada retail sales up 1 percent in May after last week rate cut by Bank of Canada. Sales of new cars and Gasoline were the two factors that helped alleviate investors’ concerns regarding the direction of the Canadian economy after series of disappointing data in the second quarter.

Bank of Canada in its press release statement last week said it has cut overnight rate by one-quarter of one percentage point to 1/2 (half) percent. The Bank’s estimated Canada growth of 2015 has been reduced considerably from its April projection.

The downward projection was as a result of drop in business investment plans in the energy sector and also the result of weaker than expected exports of non-energy commodities and non-commodities have really impacts the economy, the GDP is now projected to reflect modest contraction in the first half of the year, according to the statement released by the bank.

New Zealand

The reserve bank of New Zealand has cut interest rates for the second time in two months and says more easing is likely. The central bank cut rate to 3 percent, stating slow economic outlook and low inflation rate as the reason. The farming dependent economy that relies on export for sales of its farm produce has been hits by drop in dairy prices since last year. Dairy exports make up substantial percentage of the economy, therefore making it vulnerable to any volatility.

Economy data shows that global dairy prices have fallen more than 60 percent since 2014, which has drastically reduce export demand and revenue, the effect of China economy also contributed to the embattled nation economic crisis. China is a big importer of New Zealand dairy products and since losing over $3 trillion dollars and slow economic growth rate the quantities import by the Chinese has reduce.

According to RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler in a statement “At this point, some further easing seems likely”, he added that the construction activity to rebuild Christchurch after 2011 earthquake “appears to have peaked”

 

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

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FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.

The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.

The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.

Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.

Potential Travelers can book via three ways:

1. Mobile app
2. Website
3. POS or Cash at the station

A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.

Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million

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Zainab Ahmed Finance Minister

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday said Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $72,411,197.80 as of January 20th, 2021.

The minister disclosed this at the first National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the year presided over by Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President and had in attendance State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor and other senior government officials.

Ahmed said “Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28,800,711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.”

The minister also said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 39 locations nationwide in an effort to increase COVID-19 treatment.

What is Excess Crude Account (ECA)

Excess Crude Account (ECA) is an account used to save the disparity in the market price of crude oil and budgeted price of crude oil as stipulated in the Federal Government Appropriation Bill.

Key Takeaways of Excess Crude Account (ECA)

  • Excess Crude Account (ECA) was established in 2004 by the Federal Government to stabilize Nigeria’s economy and smooth out the effect of crude oil fluctuation on Africa’s largest economy.
  • The ECA rose to its highest of $20 billion in November 2008 during the global oil boom when prices were above $100 per barrel.
  • Controversy, allegations of corruption, and uncertain performance have trailed the ECA since creation.
  • The balance plunged from $20 billion in 2008 to $72.4 million in January 2021.

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Economy

AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

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AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) requested for a proper and detailed role expected to be carried out in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The NCS said detailed explanations of roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the free trade agreement should be spelled out to avoid overlapping of duties and to achieve a seamless implementation of AfCFTA.

Mr. Joseph Attah the Public Relations Officer, on behalf of the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd.), issued a statement to address the call for a detailed role of the Customs.

“Our functions are highly automated and primarily systems-driven, hence the need to methodically harvest and integrate all data associated with AfCFTA into our system for easy deployment, access, and use by the trading public.

“We, therefore, await the National Action Committee (NAC) on the list of duties and charges waived for liberalised goods under AfCFTA. The list of the 90 percent liberalised national trade offers (NTOs); list of the 70 percent non-liberalised exclusive goods at the regional level; and list of the 3 percent non-liberalised sensitive goods.

“The appointment of a competent authority responsible for issuing and authenticating certificates of origin and registering enterprises and products within the region.” He said.

In the statement, NCS pledges commitment to the success of the trade pact and also identifies the transformational impact the free trade agreement would have on businesses in Nigeria and the Africa continent at large.

“Also, it is pertinent to inform the public about steps which must be taken to enable its smooth and full implementation,” He added

NCS recommended that the member-country of the free trade agreement should have a representative in the continental chamber, this is to ensure transparency and build the confidence of the members in the system.

“This, in our view, should be complementary to the activities of the various chambers of commerce of each country in the region. While awaiting clear directives concerning tariffs for all goods covered by this agreement, we want to assure the public of our preparedness to fully deploy our services at the shortest notice.

“Our desire is to imbue trust in the system while guaranteeing the economic safety and wellbeing of businesses within the country,”  NCS noted.

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