Australia’s economy grew more than expected in the first quarter, even as diminishing inflation pressures the central bank to cut interest rates in May.
The economy expanded at 1.1 percent from three months earlier, when it gained 0.7 percent and surpassed economists forecast of 0.6 percent.This is its fastest pace in four years.
Year-on-year the economy rose 3.1 percent, compared with economists prediction of 2.8 percent gain. The expansion was mainly driven by a 4.4 percent jump in exports, which added 1 percentage to growth, and also a 0.7 percent increase in household spending.
The Australian central bank last month ended a one-year policy pause and lowered its benchmark to a record-low 1.75 percent as the disinflation that’s engulfed much of the developed world arrived Down Under. The economy’s recent strength suggests a follow-up cut is less likely.
“These numbers will validate a bit of caution on the part of the RBA not to ease too aggressively,” said Richard Yetsenga, acting chief economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Sydney. While the RBA will cut interest rates further, it won’t happen until August, he said.
Further buttressing the case for a stronger economy came Tuesday when central bank data showed business lending rose at the fastest pace in seven years, suggesting policy makers’ efforts to orchestrate a handover to non-mining sources of growth is taking hold. Indeed, demand for corporate loans has steadily gathered pace since mid-2015, reflecting improved business conditions.
The local dollar advanced after the report, buying 72.96 U.S. cents at 12:14 p.m. in Sydney, from 72.44 cents before the data.
NNPC Supplies 1.44 Billion Litres of Petrol in January 2021
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) supplied a total of 1.44 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol in January 2021.
The corporation disclosed in its latest Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) for the month of January.
NNPC said the 1.44 billion litres translate to 46.30 million litres per day.
Also, a total of 223.55Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) of natural gas was produced in the month of January 2021, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 Million Standard Cubic Feet per Day (mmscfd).
The 223.55BCF gas production figure also represents a 4.79% increase over output in December 2020.
Also, the daily average natural gas supply to gas power plants increased by 2.38 percent to 836mmscfd, equivalent to power generation of 3,415MW.
For the period of January 2020 to January 2021, a total of 2,973.01BCF of gas was produced representing an average daily production of 7,585.78 mmscfd during the period.
Period-to-date Production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) contributed about 65.20%, 19.97 percent and 14.83 percent respectively to the total national gas production.
Out of the total gas output in January 2021, a total of 149.24BCF of gas was commercialized consisting of 44.29BCF and 104.95BCF for the domestic and export markets respectively.
NNPC Says Pipeline Vandalism Decrease by 37.21 Percent in January 2021
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said vandalisation of pipelines across the country reduced by 37.21 percent in the month of January 2021.
This was disclosed in the January 2021 edition of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).
The report noted that 27 pipeline points were vandalised in January 2021, down from 43 points posted in December 2020.
It also stated that the Mosimi Area accounted for 74 percent of the total vandalised points in Janauray while Kaduna Area and Port Harcourt accounted for the remaining 22 percent and 4 percent respectively.
NNPC said it will continue to engage local communities and other stakeholders to reduce and eventually eliminate the pipeline vandalism menace.
Nigeria’s Food Inflation Hits 22.95 Percent in March 2021
Food inflation in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose by 22.95 percent in March 2021, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.
Food Index increased at a faster pace when compared to 21.70 percent filed in February 2021.
Increases were recorded in Bread and cereals, Potatoes, yam and other tubers, Meat, Vegetable, Fish, Oils and fats and fruits.
On a monthly basis, the food sub-index grew by 1.90 percent in March 2021. An increase of 0.01 percent points from 1.89 percent recorded in February 2021.
Analysing a more stable inflation trend, the twelve-month ended March 2021, showed the food index averaged 17.93 percent in the last twelve months, representing an increase of 0.68 percent when compared to 17.25 percent recorded in February 2021.
Insecurities amid wide foreign exchange rates and several other bottlenecks that impeded free inflow of imported goods were responsible for the surged in prices of goods and services in March, according to the report.
The Central Bank of Nigeria-led monetary policy committee had attributed the increase in prices to scarcity created by the intermittent clash between herdsmen and farmers across the nation.
However, other factors like unclear economic policies, increased in electricity tariffs, duties, subsidy removal and weak fiscal buffer to moderate the negative effect of COVID-19 on the economy continue to weigh and drag on new investment and expansion of local production despite the Federal Government aggressive call for improvement in domestic production.
Nigeria’s headline inflation rose by 18.17 percent year-on-year in the month under review.
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