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Economy

Payrolls Rose Less Than Projected in September

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Payrolls rose less than projected in September, wages stagnated and the jobless rate was unchanged as people left the workforce, signaling the global slowdown and financial-market turmoil are rippling through the world’s largest economy.

The addition of 142,000 jobs followed a revised 136,000 gain the prior month that was lower than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 96 economists called for a 201,000 advance. The jobless rate held at 5.1 percent, and wage growth was unchanged.

The weak report vindicates the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay an interest-rate increase last month. Cooling overseas markets, a stronger dollar and lower oil prices that are hampering exports and manufacturing raise the risk that employers will hesitate before taking on more staff.

 A weaker-than-expected report “would chip away at confidence about the strength of the expansion,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “It may be a signal that there was a knee-jerk reaction by businesses to the market volatility.”

Employers added workers in industries including retailing, education, and leisure and hospitality.

Payroll estimates of 96 economists in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 149,000 to 256,000 after a previously reported 173,000 advance for August.

The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate Labor Department survey of households, was projected to hold at 5.1 percent, the lowest since 2008, according to the survey median.

 Revisions to prior reports cut a total of 59,000 jobs from payrolls in the previous two months.

Private employment, which excludes government agencies, rose by 118,000 after a 100,000 gain the prior month.

Government Hiring

Government payrolls rose by 24,000. Employment at state and local agencies is often influenced at this time of the year by swings in the education sector related to the timing of the school year.

There may be some payback after the surge in local government education payrolls in recent months, Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note before the report.

Factory payrolls fell by 9,000. Manufacturing and mining have been hurt by cutbacks in drilling and exploration following the plunge in oil and commodities prices. Exports also are weakening amid a China-led slowdown in global growth.

Retailers increased payrolls by 23,700. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose 35,000.

The participation rate, which indicates the share of the working-age people in the labor force, decreased to 62.4 percent from 62.6 percent. That was the lowest since October 1977.

The average work week for all workers fell to 34.5 hours from 34.6 hours.

Average hourly earnings were unchanged from the month before, the report showed. They increased 2.2 percent over the 12 months ended in September, the same year-over-year change as in August. They’ve posted a 2 percent gain on average since the current expansion began in mid-2009.

Among the few positive signs in the report was a figure showing more full-time job opportunities. Americans working part time who would prefer a full-time position decreased to 6.04 million, the fewest since August 2008, from 6.48 million.

Underemployment

The underemployment rate — which includes part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want to work but have given up looking — dropped to 10 percent, the lowest since May 2008, from 10.3 percent.

The gap between the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate is one reason Fed Chair Janet Yellen and other policy makers have said they’ll increase interest rates only gradually.

In a speech last week Yellen said there are still people seeking full-time work who could be pulled back into the labor force if the jobless level fell further. She noted that “may involve a temporary decline in the unemployment rate somewhat below the level that is estimated to be consistent, in the longer run, with inflation stabilizing at 2 percent.”

In their meeting last month, policy makers projected this long-term rate was 4.9 percent, according to officials’ median forecast.

Central bankers delayed raising their benchmark interest rate in September. It’s been near zero since December 2008. Officials next meet on Oct. 27-28, and Yellen has been among those saying an increase this year remains on track.

 

Source: Bloomberg

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 Paying N1.1 Billion Per Day as Subsidy

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petrol Oil

FG Paying N1.1 Billion Per Day as Subsidy

The recent jumped in crude oil prices means landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as Petrol, has increased but the Federal Government has maintained the old pump price of N161 – N165 per litre.

In a series of reports, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) open market price, the price fuel marketers are expected to sell, is N183 per litre as of yesterday. A break down showed N160 is the landing cost per litre while the additional N23 is the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) pricing template.

Therefore, with the payment of additional N23 as stipulated in the PPPRA pricing template and the national petrol per day consumption figure at 50 million litres, the Buhari led administration is offsetting about N1.1 billion on petrol consumption daily.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been deducting the amount before remitting balance of oil sales to the Federation Account, according to a Businessday report.

An anonymous person in the oil marketing industry said: “We are back to the era of subsidy and Nigeria is bleeding badly because of this.

With deregulation, the current price of petrol should not be less than N181, so who is funding subsidy of the product for Nigeria to buy at the current fixed price?“.

Another oil marketers said, “the government does not have the boldness to allow full deregulation of petrol because of the spiral effects on Nigerians, and bearing in mind that Nigerians are in very hard times.

Alao Abiodun, the Head of Energy Research, New Nigeria Foundation, explained that “Because of the loans from the IMF and World Bank that they got with the condition that petrol should be deregulated, I believe the government is trying to manage the problem.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Big Oil-Refining Revamp Gets Off To A Slow Start

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refineries

Nigeria’s Big Oil-Refining Revamp Gets Off To A Slow Start

A year after shutting down all of its dilapidated refineries to figure out how to fix them, Nigeria still can’t say how much it will cost to do the work or where the money will come from.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. said it has finished the appraisal of its largest facility, but hasn’t completed the process at two others. Refining experts said the extended halt means the plants are at risk of rotting away and unlikely to restart on time.

“Things haven’t been looking good lately,” with Nigeria’s plants probably “completely out of action for some 18 months,” said Elitsa Georgieva, Executive Director at Citac, a consultant that specializes in African refining.

The dysfunction of its domestic refineries has long put Africa’s biggest oil producer in an ironic situation. It exports large volumes of crude to plants overseas, then pays a premium to import the fuels its customers produce.

Failed Attempts

Pledges to fix the facilities have been made and broken again and again over the years. For at least a decade, NNPC’s 445,000 barrels a day of refining capacity barely processed 20% of that amount.

The latest effort to fix the refineries was supposed to be different to the failed attempts that came before. The company had totally shut all three plants down by January 2020 to do a comprehensive appraisal, and set the ambitious target of having them all back up and running at 90% of capacity by 2023.

“The refineries have been deliberately shut down to allow for a thorough diagnosis,” said Kennie Obateru, an Abuja-based NNPC spokesman. “They can be fixed based on what the diagnosis reveals.”

The appraisal of the 210,000-barrel-a day Port Harcourt refinery has been completed and NNPC has called for bids for the necessary repairs, Obateru said. The company hasn’t determined how much the work will cost.

“It is when we close the bids, everything is analyzed and presented that we will know how much we need,” he said.

The diagnosis is underway at the 125,000-barrel-a-day Warri facility and should be complete before the end of the year, he said. After that, the study of the 110,000-barrel-a-day Kaduna plant will commence.

Major Challenge

One year into the process, refining analysts are skeptical that all this work can be done by 2023.

“I don’t think anyone has a good understanding technically of what’s wrong with those refineries,” said Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals and oil markets at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “They’re probably corroding, which makes it a very difficult proposition.”

NNPC reaffirmed its deadline and said there’s no reason the refineries, which are at least 40 years old, can’t be restored to full operation.

“There are refineries that are over a hundred years old still running, so age is not necessarily an impediment,” Obateru said.

There are parallel efforts backed by private companies to add to Nigeria’s capacity. Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, is building a state-of-the-art 650,000 barrel-a-day refinery, which Citac estimates will start production in 2023.

Bringing NNPC’s Port Harcourt refinery to the same clean-fuel standards as Dangote’s modern plant would cost about $1.3 billion for the equipment, on top of whatever other repairs are required to get the facility running, Georgieva said.

NNPC is talking to oil-trading firms about $1 billion of prepayment deals that could finance the repairs at Port Harcourt, Reuters reported last week. Obateru declined to comment on the report, but said “I don’t envisage that we will have a problem getting people to invest.”

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Economy

Food Inflation Hits Record High of 19.56 Percent in December 2020

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Inflation

Food Inflation Hits Record High of 19.56 Percent in December 2020

Food Index, which measures prices of food items, grew by 19.56 percent in the month of December 2020 amid herdsmen attacks and flooding.

In the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), increases were recorded on Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other
tubers, Meat, Fruits, Vegetable, Fish and Oils and fats.

On month on monthly basis, the food sub-index rose by 2.05 percent in December 2020, 0.01 percent from 2.04 percent recorded in November 2020.

The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending December 2020 over the previous twelve-month average was 16.17 percent, 0.42 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in November 2020 (15.75) percent” the report stated.

Headline inflation number increased by 15.75 percent in the month of December 2020, up from 14.89 percent.

The report noted that increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index.

On a month-on-month basis, “the urban index rose by 1.65 percent in December 2020, same as the rate recorded in November 2020, while the rural index also rose by 1.58 percent in December 2020, up by 0.02 percent above the rate that was recorded in November 2020 (1.56 percent).

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