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Economy

US Jobless Claims Fall by 5,000 to 267,000

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A man walks past job seekers as they fill out job applications for recruiters during a job fair in New York

Filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. decreased to a four-week low, indicating a still-solid labor market approaching the new year.

Jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 267,000 in the week ended Dec. 19, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 270,000. Applications are hovering close to the 255,000 level reached in July, the lowest since the 1970s.

A tighter labor market this year has put a premium on skilled and experienced workers, encouraging employers to forgo reductions in staff. Limited dismissals and steady hiring helped persuade Federal Reserve policy makers last week to raise their benchmark interest rate for the first time in almost 10 years.

“There is no evidence that the pace of layoffs has budged, and more broadly, labor market conditions remain robust,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a research note.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey for jobless claims ranged from 265,000 to 285,000. The number of applications in the previous week was revised to 272,000 from an initially reported 271,000.

No states were estimated last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department.

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 272,500 from 270,750 in the prior week.

Continuing Claims

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 47,000 in the week ended Dec. 12, the most since mid-September, to 2.2 million. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 1.6 percent from 1.7 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

Since the beginning of March, claims have held below the 300,000 level that economists say is consistent with strength in the labor market.

While economies overseas are struggling to improve, domestic demand has been resilient and encouraged more companies to put out help-wanted signs. Payroll gains are showing solid momentum after the 260,000 average last year that was the best since 1999.

Through November, this year’s monthly gains averaged 210,000, with December data due Jan. 8.

The labor-market progress was among factors convincing Fed officials to announce on Dec. 16 the first increase in the benchmark interest rate since 2006. The central bankers unanimously voted for a quarter-point rise, with their forecasts signaling rate increases will amount to 1 percentage point in 2016.

Bloomberg

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

No Plan to Increase Fuel Price; Says FG

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NNPC - Investors King

The Federal Government has stated that it has no plan to increase fuel price during the yuletide period.

This assurance is coming amid the nationwide fuel scarcity which has pushed the price of petrol above N250 in many retail stations.

Investors King learnt that fuel is being held for N250 per litre in Abuja and several other cities across the country while black marketers are charging between N400 and N450 per litre.

The scarcity and the high price of fuel are however becoming unbearable for many Nigerians, especially those who have reasons to embark on business travel for the December festivals.

According to the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chief Ukadike Chinedu, most of the association members, who owned the bulk of the filling stations across the country, were now subjected to purchasing PMS at about N220/litre, which was why many outlets currently dispensed at about N250/litre and above.

He noted that the cost of the commodity has been on the rise due to its unavailability and other concerns in the sector. 

He added that the price of fuel could be sold from N350/litre to N400/litre before the end of the year. 

Meanwhile, a number of senior officials at the NNPC had stated that the subsidy was becoming too burdensome on the national oil company, as this was another reason for the scarcity of PMS.

According to a source who is familiar with the development as reported by Punch News, “How can we continue to import 60 million litres of petrol daily and keep subsidising it, while millions of litres are either diverted or cannot be accounted for? The burden is too much, as you rightly captured in that story”. 

Investors King understands that NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum into the country and it pays billions of naira every month to subsidise the product to N147 per litre. 

Reuters News reported that in August 2022, NNPC paid more than $1 billion as fuel subsidy while the federal government earmarked N3.6 trillion as fuel subsidy in the 2023 budget proposal. 

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Economy

Fuel Scarcity: NNPC Declares 2billion Liters in Stock, Blames Scarcity on Road Construction

NNPC Claimed it as 2 billion litres of fuel despite scarcity

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Petrol - Investors King

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has blamed the recent fuel scarcity on road construction around Apapa, noting that the corporation has about 2 billion litres of fuel in stock. 

According to a statement issued by NNPC Executive Vice President, Downstream, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company has about 2 billion litres of fuel which can last the country conveniently for more than 30 days. 

The Executive Vice President further blamed the queues on the road construction around Apapa axis which has slowed down the movement of oil trucks to several parts of the country. 

“The recent queues in Lagos are largely due to ongoing road infrastructure projects around Apapa and access road challenges in Lagos” he said. 

He however noted that more filling stations should have Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol with the ease in gridlock along the apapa axis. 

“The gridlock is easing out and NNPC Ltd has programmed vessels and trucks to unconstrained depots and massive load outs from depots to states are closely monitored,” he said.

Investors King gathered that several states including Abuja have been impacted by the supply chain difficulty caused by the construction around Apapa. 

The scarcity of fuel has therefore led to the hike in price. In most places across the country, fuel is sold as high as N250 per litre. Several fuel stations are already taking advantage of the situation coupled with the increase in the movement of people and goods owing to the December festivals.

Speaking further, Adeyemi noted that the situation will soon be back to normalcy as NNPC is taking measures to address the situation. 

“We want to reassure Nigerians that NNPC has sufficient products and we significantly increased product loading in selected depots and extended hours at strategic stations to ensure sufficiency nationwide.

“We are also working with industry stakeholders to ensure normalcy is returned as soon as possible,” he concluded. 

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Economy

Global Growth to Drop Below 2% in 2023, Says Citi

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GDP Growth- Investors King

Citigroup on Wednesday forecast global growth to slow to below 2% next year, echoing similar projections by major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan.

Strategists at the brokerage cited continued challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war — which skyrocketed inflation to decades-high levels and triggered aggressive policy tightening — as reasons behind the outlook.

“We see global performance as likely (being) plagued by ‘rolling’ country-level recessions through the year ahead,” said Citi strategists, led by Nathan Sheets.

While the Wall-Street investment bank expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.9% this year, it is seen more than halving to 0.7% in 2023.

It expects year-on-year U.S. inflation at 4.8% next year, with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s terminal rate seen between 5.25% and 5.5%.

Among other geographies, Citi sees the UK and euro area falling into recession by the end of this year, as both economies face the heat of energy constraints on supply and demand front, along with tighter monetary and fiscal policies.

For 2023, Citi projects UK and euro area to contract 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

In China, the brokerage expects the government to soften its zero-COVID policy, which is seen driving a 5.6% growth in gross domestic product next year.

Emerging markets, meanwhile, are seen growing 3.7%, with India’s 5.7% growth — slower than this year’s 6.7% prediction — seen leading among major economies.

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