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Japan April Trade Surplus 823.5 Billion Yen

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Japan Trade Surplus

Japan’s exports fell for a seventh consecutive month in April as the yen strengthened, underscoring the mounting challenges to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive economic growth.

Overseas shipments declined 10.1 percent in April from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 9.9 percent drop. Imports fell 23.3 percent, leaving a trade surplus of 823.5 billion yen ($7.5 billion).

Even after coming off an 18-month high earlier this month, the Japanese currency has gained 9 percent against the dollar this year, eroding the competitiveness of the nation’s products overseas and hurting the earnings of exporters. Concern about the impact of the yen was on show over the weekend as Finance Minister Taro Aso and his U.S. counterpart disagreed over the seriousness of recent moves in the foreign exchange market.

“The yen’s appreciation is taking a toll on Japanese exports,” Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo, said before the report was released. “Exports are looking weak in the April-June period, posing a downside risk to Japan’s economy.”

Maruyama also said supply chain constraints following the earthquakes in the Kumamoto area last month may affect shipments of some products, such as auto parts and electronic components, slowing Japanese exports to China and other Asian nations.

The earthquakes hit the southern island of Kyushu in April, bringing a halt to production at factories of companies including Sony Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.

Monday’s report also shows that:

  • Exports to the U.S. fell 11.8 percent in April from a year earlier, while shipments to EU rose 9.9 percent.
  • Exports to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, dropped 7.6 percent.

Gross domestic product expanded by an annualized 1.7 percent in the three months ended March 31, after a 1.7 percent contraction in the previous quarter. The leap year provided an extra day of production and spending to bolster the data.

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.

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President Buhari Commissions 5,000bpd Modular Refinery Built in Imo State

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President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery built by Waltersmith Group in Imo State.

President Buhari, who commissioned the new modular refinery virtually, said the refinery will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.

The 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery is the first phase of 50,000 barrels per day combined capacity plant planned for Imo State, according to the Group.

Buhari commended Waltersmith Group, an indigenous oil firm, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the actualisation of the modular refinery.

President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith all the necessary support in terms of access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.

Buhari said, “We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018, to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.

“The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50,000bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing.

“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets,” he said.

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Elon Musk Net Worth Jumps by $100 Billion this Year to Topple Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Others 

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Tesla earnings

Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Tesla, is now the world’s second-richest person following another surge in the price of Tesla share.

Musk total net worth jumped by $7.6 billion to $110 billion between November 16 and 17 to dethrone Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, from the third position.

Since then, Tesla stock has been on a bullish run and in the last 24 hours added $7.24 billion to Elon Musk’s total net worth, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Bringing the billionaire’s total net worth to $128 billion.

Elon Musk’s net worth rose from just $28 billion in January 2020 to $128 billion on November 24, 2020, representing an increase of $100 billion, the highest by any billionaire.

Musk has finally toppled Bill Gates as the second richest person and for the first time, Bill Gates is the third richest man in the world. This is the first time in almost 40 years that Gates will be in the third position.

Billionaires listed on Bloomberg Index have collectively gained $1.3 trillion this year.

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An Average of 48% Global Consumers to Significantly Cut 2020 Holiday Spending

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Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that an average of 48% of global consumers plans to significantly reduce their 2020 compared to 2019. The research sampled consumer feedback from 13 countries.

Pandemic triggers reduced spending 

The data also highlights that an average of 13.46% of global consumers plans to spend more on 2020 holidays than last year. Consumers from Indonesia at 71% plan to shrink their budget in 2020 while 16% will spend more.

About 69% of Mexican consumers will spend less, while 12% plan for more spending. In Brazil, about 65% of consumers will cut their budget while 11% plan to spend more than last year. At 63%, South African consumers will cut back on holiday spending while 12% plan to increase their budgets from last year.

In Spain, 55% of consumers will reduce their spending while 7% plan an increase from a year ago. Italian consumers spending less will be at 54%, with 6% planning to increase their budget.

In India, about 47% of people will cut back on the holiday budget, while 36% plan to increase spending. French consumers at 44% have intentions of reducing holiday spending while 6% will raise the spending from a year ago. 43% of UK consumers will spend less, while 9% have plans to spend more.

In the United States, 42% of consumers will spend less, while 17% will increase the budget. For Germany, about 29% of consumers will spend less than 7% planing to pay more. It is only in China where more people plan to spend more at 29% than 25% planning to spend less at 25%.

Elsewhere, 21% of Japanese consumers plan to spend less, while 7% will pay more. The research highlighted some of the reasons behind the massive slash in this year’s holiday spending. According to the research report:

“The less spending comes as most consumers lost their jobs and faced pay cuts as employers struggled to remain afloat in the course of the health crisis. Some consumers have been saving more to pay debts, while those on stimulus paychecks cannot sustain daily needs and holiday spending.”

The research also notes that most Americans at 30% look forward to the Christmas holiday while 23% anticipate Amazon Prime Day. Only 7% of Americans look forward to Fathers Day.

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