China stepped up monetary easing with its sixth interest-rate cut in a year to combat deflationary pressures and a slowing economy, moving ahead of anticipated fresh stimulus by central banks from Europe to Japan and possible tightening in the U.S.
The one-year lending rate will be cut to 4.35 percent from 4.6 percent effective Saturday the People’s Bank of China said on its website on Friday, while the one-year deposit rate will fall to 1.5 percent from 1.75 percent. Reserve requirements for all banks were lowered by 50 basis points, with an extra 50 basis point reduction for some institutions.
Authorities are seeking to cushion an economy forecast to grow at the slowest annual rate in a quarter century as old growth drivers such as manufacturing and construction falter and new drivers like consumption struggle to compensate. China’s reduction to record-low rates and anticipated stimulus in Europe and Japan add to monetary policy divergence with the U.S., where the Federal Reserve is considering its first rate increase in nine years.
Stock-index futures jumped in Hong Kong and European stocks extended gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was 1.1 percent higher at 10 a.m. in New York.
Overall prices at a relatively low level give room for reduced interest rates, the PBOC said in a Q&A statement after the announcement. The domestic and foreign situation remain complicated, and continued downward pressure on economic growth requires the fine tuning of monetary policy, it said.
The PBOC also scrapped a deposit-rate ceiling that limited the rate banks could pay savers, saying the move was made possible by a decline in market-based interest rates. Removing such controls boosts the role of markets in the economy, part of efforts by Premier Li Keqiang to find new engines of growth and to bolster competition in banking.
Meantime, consumer inflation at about half the government’s target and a protracted slump in producer prices added room for additional easing.
“Clearly the People’s Bank of China is on a mission to ease policy and has been for a year,” said George Magnus, a senior independent economic adviser to UBS Group AG in London. “With the economy losing momentum, deflation embedded in the corporate sector and rebalancing making limited headway, the central bank is being directed to ease monetary policy further. And of course, this isn’t the end of the road yet.”
China’s leaders are gathering next week to formulate policies for the nation’s next five-year plan, President Xi Jinping’s first such blueprint. They are expected to announce a dismantling of currency controls, lower barriers for foreign non-bank financial firms, emphasize home-grown technologies and prioritize population growth.
The Fed meets next week to mull when to raise its benchmark rate from near zero after holding it there since December 2008. Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled this week that fresh stimulus is on the way, and economists anticipation of further support in Japan next week are higher than for any meeting since the central bank unexpectedly added to its easing policy in October 2014.
China’s rate cut has “mixed implications for U.S. monetary policy,” said Bill Adams, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group.
“To the extent that interest rate cuts reduce downside risks for Chinese and global growth, they should increase the Fed’s confidence that the U.S. economy will be able to absorb higher interest rates,” Adams said. However, “if today’s rate cut spurs a new round of depreciation of the Chinese currency, it will make it more difficult for the Fed to raise interest rates before year-end 2015.”
The PBOC’s surprise currency depreciation in August roiled global markets and spurred an exit of cash from China. Capital outflows climbed to $194.3 billion in September, exceeding the previous high of $141.7 billion in August, according to a Bloomberg estimate that also takes into account decisions by exporters and direct investment recipients to hold funds in dollars.
Offsetting such a leakage, analysts at Everbright Securities Co. said the RRR reduction would release at least 800 billion yuan ($126 billion) of liquidity.
The PBOC uses the reserve ratio to control the amount of available cash in the economy. In the years of capital inflows, it increased the amount of deposits banks had to lock away to ensure excessive liquidity didn’t spur inflation. This year, with growth slowing and capital flowing out of the nation, the central bank has reversed course to lower the requirement so banks can boost lending and help cushion the slowdown.
“Chinese officials are stepping on the gas,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asia Economics Research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “The joint move on interest rates and the reserve-requirement ratio shows that Beijing is determined to get the car out of the mud and get things moving again.”
Inflation Rate Increases to 16.82% in April in Nigeria
Prices of goods and services in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose high in the month of April, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, grew at 16.82% rate in the month under review from 15.92% in March 2022. The inflation rate has been on a steady rise since Novermber 2021 when it drops to 15.40%.
On a month basis, inflation increased to 1.76 percent in April 2022, representing an increase of 0.02% from 1.74% recorded in March. The persistent increase in prices reflect the changes in Nigeria’s economic fundamentals. One of the key challenges impacting prices is foreign exchange scarcity.
Naira to Dollar exchange rate jumped to N600/US$1 at the parallel market popularly known as the black market despite the Central Bank of Nigeria discouraging patronage at that section of forex. However, inability to access forex at central bank designated deposit money banks forced most Nigerians to the unregulated black market.
Similarly, the drop in the nation’s external reserves due to the lower crude oil production from the year to date dragged on foreign revenue that eventually hurt central bank ability to service the economy with enough forex in an economy that imported over 90% of its consumption.
Again, rising insecurities in key food producing regions contributed to the jump in prices of food items as noted in the report. The composite food index grew at 18.37% rate in April 2022, slower than the 22.72% filed in April 2021.
According to NBS, the increase in the value of the index was due to rise in prices of Bread and cereals, Food
products n.e.c, Potatoes, yam, and other tubers, Wine, Fish, Meat, and Oils. On a monthly basis, food sub-index grew 0.01% to 2% in April from 1.99% in March.
However, the more accurate 12 month index reflect decline in food index from 19.21% filed in March 2022 to 18.88% in April 2022.
ICT Changing The Face of Nigeria’s Economy
While many thought the oil sector would save the Nigerian economy, the drift is gradually shifting away from the oil sector into the non-oil sector – the Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
A recent data revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics, sighted by Investors King, shows that the ICT has contributed 16 per cent to the growth of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On a year-on-year basis, compared to the previous year in the same quarter, ICT contributed 14.9 per cent to the GDP – a growth of 1.3 per cent.
According to the data released by NBS, “In nominal terms, in the first quarter of 2022 the sector growth was recorded at 20.54 per cent (year-on-year), 12.68 per cent points increase from the rate of 7.86 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021, and 14.84 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The Quarter-on- Quarter growth rate recorded in the first quarter of 2022 was -1.87 per cent.
“The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.55 per cent to the total Nominal GDP in the 2022 first quarter, higher than the rate of 9.91 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021 and higher than the 9.88 cent it contributed in the preceding quarter”.
The report added that the sector, in the first quarter of 2022, recorded a growth rate of 12.07 per cent in real terms, year-on-year.
From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2021, there was an increase of 5.60 per cent points. Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of -9.09 per cent in real terms.
“Therefore, of total real GDP, the sector contributed 16.20 per cent in 2022 first quarter, higher than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 14.91 per cent and higher than the preceding quarter in which it represented 15.21 per cent,” the data revealed.
The Information and Communications sector in Nigeria comprises of Telecommunications and Information Services, Publishing, Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting.
Nigeria’s Economy Moderates in Q1 2022 as Oil Sector Contracts by 23.89%
Nigeria’s GDP moderated to 3.11% year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022
Despite the surge in global oil prices due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the largest exporter of the commodity in Africa, Nigeria moderated to 3.11% year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated in its latest report.
Nigeria’s GDP was 2.60% higher than the 0.51% recorded in Q1 2021 when COVID-19 disrupted business activity and dragged on economic productivity. However, this was 0.88% lower than the 3.98% filed in the fourth quarter of 2021.
On quarterly basis, the nation’s real GDP grew at -14.66% in the quarter under review when compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
Aggregate GDP increased by 13.25% year-on-year from N40,014,482.74 million in nominal terms in the first quarter of 2021 to N45,317,823.33 million in Q1 2022. According to the NBS, “the nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25% growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021 and higher compared to the 13.11% growth recorded in the preceding quarter.”
Nigeria’s Oil Sector
In the first quarter, Nigeria’s crude oil production dropped to 1.49 million barrels per day (mbpd), down from 1.72mbp achieved in the same quarter of 2021. This was also lower than the 1.50mbpd recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021. Suggesting that despite the increase in global oil prices in the quarter, Nigeria’s inability to up crude oil production impeded investment in the sector and subsequently dragged on revenue generation.
As expected, the real growth of the oil sector contracted by 26.04% year-on-year in Q1 2022, representing a decline of 23.83% when compared to the same quarter of 2021. Also, growth decreased by 17.99% when compared to -8.06% filed for Q4 2021.
On a quarterly basis, the oil sector grew by 9.11% in the quarter under review. The sector contributed 6.63% to Nigeria’s total real GDP in Q1 2022, own from 9.25% contributed in the corresponding quarter of 2021 and slightly higher than the 5.19% achieved in Q4 2021.
Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector
As usual, the non-oil sector grew by 6.08% in real terms in the first quarter. This was better than the 5.28% recorded in the first quarter of 2021 and 1.34% higher than the fourth quarter of 2021.
The report attributed the growth in the non-oil sector to the increase in activities in the following sectors; Information and Communication (Telecommunication); Trade; Financial and Insurance (Financial Institutions); Agriculture (Crop Production); and Manufacturing (Food, Beverage & Tobacco).
Nigeria’s non-oil sector contributed the most to total economic growth. The sector contributed 93.37% to the nation’s GDP in the quarter under review.
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