Australia’s central bank maintained its forecast of accelerating growth in response to easy policy, even as risks around key trading partner China cast a shadow over the regional economic outlook.
The Reserve Bank of Australia trimmed its inflation forecast for the year through June 2016 and its 2017 growth projections in a quarterly monetary policy statement Friday but it kept most of its estimates unchanged.
“A further increase in growth in household incomes and demand is anticipated, supported by rising employment, low interest rates and lower” gasoline prices, it said “The outlook for China’s growth is a significant uncertainty for the outlook for the Australian economy.”
Australia is benefiting from a depreciating local dollar that helps insulate the economy from shocks abroad and increases the competitiveness of local industries, whereas jurisdictions like Europe and Japan are struggling with their currencies. Local policy makers kept rates unchanged Tuesday for a ninth month as they gauge the impact of recent financial market turbulence on global and domestic growth.
The Australian dollar fell and was quoted at 71.87 U.S. cents at 11:32 a.m in Sydney after December retail sales were lower than anticipated.
The market upheaval in part reflects “concerns about the evolving balance of risks in China and the ability of the Chinese authorities to manage a challenging economic transition,” the central bank said today. “Any sharp slowing in economic activity or increase in financial stresses in China could spill over to other economies in the region.”
China devalued its currency in August and then undertook an eight-day stretch of weaker yuan fixings through Jan. 7, roiling global financial markets and fueling concern it was favoring depreciation to revive the slowest growth in a quarter century.
China’s central bank has at the same time been burning through its currency reserves to support the yuan amid record capital outflows.
At the same time, Australia recorded its biggest quarter of employment growth on record at the end of last year and unemployment fell to 5.8 percent, even as the economy was on course to expand at a below-trend pace.
“It is possible that the strength in the labor market data contains information about the economy not apparent in the national accounts data,” the RBA said. “In part, employment growth appears to have reflected the relatively strong growth of output in the more labor-intensive sectors of the economy, such as household services.”
The RBA is trying to orchestrate a transition away from mining investment to other industries in the economy, using low rates and a weaker dollar as a tailwind for industries. In some areas this is working: rising house prices have fueled a residential construction boom and conditions for business are above average. Yet there is still no sign of an uptick in investment outside the mining industry it is seeking.
Resource firms are about half way through the unwinding of investment programs, and reflecting lower global commodity prices, the central bank today lowered its forecast for the terms of trade, or the ratio of export prices to import prices, by about 4 percent compared with its November estimate.
Given inflation is low and the central bank expects little upturn, it reiterated that there may be “scope for easier policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand.”
While global central banks are struggling with disinflation or outright deflation that an open economy like Australia’s will be exposed to, one of the curiosities to date is the lack of pass through of higher import prices from a falling currency.
The RBA said today that based on history, the direct effect of the depreciation since early 2013 should add about half a percentage point to underlying inflation over each year of the forecast period. It indicated this time may be a bit different.
“Heightened competitive pressures, including from new entrants into the Australian retail market, and greater efforts by retailers to reduce their costs and improve efficiency, are continued to limit the extent to which higher import prices are evident in final retail prices for some time,” the RBA said.
That’s a boon for consumers. The central bank also said its forecast for better household consumption and income growth — reflecting higher employment and the plunge in gasoline prices – – indicate the nation’s savings ratio is likely to decline less than previously expected.
The RBA said its liaison with retailers “suggests that trading conditions improved in the Christmas and post-Christmas sales period.”
Despite COVID-19, FG Realised N1.53 Trillion from Value Added Tax in 2020
The Federal Government of Nigeria has started seeing the positive effect of series of policy adjustments made to up the nation’s revenue and gradually move away from unstable oil revenue.
Nigeria generated N1.53 trillion from Value Added Tax (VAT) in 2020, an increase of 29.3 percent when compared to the N1.18 trillion posted in 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated in its latest report.
According to NBS, VAT rose by 38.2 percent when compared to N1.11 trillion filed in 2018.
Breaking down the report, professional services contributed N162.32 billion during the period under review, This was followed by the manufacturing sectors with N154.15 billion.
Accordingly, non-import VAT realised expanded by 30.5 percent to N763.01 billion in 2020, against N584.6 billion in 2019.
Non-import foreign VAT grew by 17 percent from N359.5 billion in 2019 to N420.4 billion in 2020.
As expected, import VAT jumped by 44,6 percent from N240.5 billion filed in 2019 to N347.7 billion in 2020.
Despite lockdown and weak economic activities, the Federal Government through a 50 percent increment in VAT from 5 percent to 7.5 percent was able to up VAT revenue by 29.3 percent.
Julius Berger Plc Pre-tax Profit Decline by 30.7 Percent in Q4, 2020
Julius Berger Plc posted a 30.65 percent decline in pre-tax profit to N5.12 billion for the final quarter of 2020.
In the financial statements released on Tuesday, the leading construction company, reported N74.04 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, an increase of 2.43 percent when compared to N72.29 billion posted in the same period of 2019.
Julius Berger Key Financial Highlights Q4, 2020
- Nigeria’s revenue expanded by 4.21 percent year-on-year to N72.30 billion.
- While Europe & Asia revenue dipped by 40.07 percent year-on-year to N1.74 billion.
- Similarly, revenue from building works depreciated by 56.37 percent to N10.72 billion.
- However, revenue from civil works rose by 35.38 percent from the corresponding period to N55.8 billion.
- Services added N7.54 billion revenue, representing an increase of 15.84 percent year-on-year.
- Cost of sales grew by 13.19 percent year on year to N60.1 billion.
- Julius Berger recorded other gains/losses of N83.89 million.
- The construction company grew investment income to N142.79 million.
- Finance costs jumped by a whopping 388.99 percent year-on-year to N1.79 billion.
- Earnings Per Share rose by 19.76 percent year on year to N3.94.
Board of UBA Approves Financial Statements, Dividend Payment for 2020
The Board of United Bank for Africa Plc has approved the Group Audited Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements and final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2020.
The bank stated in a statement signed by Bili A. Odum, Group Company Secretary.
It said “Please refer to the announcement dated January 12, 2021 which notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public of the Board Meeting of United Bank for Africa Plc.
“Please be informed that the Board of United Bank for Africa Plc at its meeting which held on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 considered and approved the Group Audited Consolidated & Separate Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 and payment of a final dividend, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Further to the above, kindly be advised that the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public would be immediately notified upon approval of the Group Audited Consolidated & Separate Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
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