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Yellen Says Rate-Hike Case ‘Has Strengthened in Recent Months’

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the case to raise interest rates is getting stronger as the U.S. economy approaches the central bank’s goals.

“In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months,” she said in the text of a speech Friday to central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

She also said the economy is “nearing” the Fed’s goals of full employment and stable prices. The Fed chair didn’t discuss the specific timing of a rate move in her first public comments since June.

The Federal Open Market Committee raised its target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent in December, after keeping the benchmark near zero for seven years.

Despite their repeated intentions to raise the rate again, officials have skipped a hike at all five meetings this year, and futures markets have priced in about a 30 percent chance of another hike at the Sept. 20-21 policy meeting, the second-to-last gathering before presidential elections in November.

“While economic growth has not been rapid, it has been sufficient to generate further improvement in the labor market,” Yellen said at the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference, the title of which is “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.”

‘Moderate Growth’

“Looking ahead, the FOMC expects moderate growth in real gross domestic product, additional strengthening in the labor market, and inflation rising to 2 percent over the next few years,” Yellen said in her prepared remarks.“Based on this economic outlook, the FOMC continues to anticipate that gradual increases in the federal funds rate will be appropriate over time to achieve and sustain employment and inflation near our statutory objectives.”

A Commerce Department report released earlier Friday showed the U.S. economy grew less than previously reported last quarter on lower government outlays and a bigger depletion of inventories, capping a sluggish first-half performance propped up mainly by consumer spending. Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 1.1 percent annualized rate, down from an initial estimate of 1.2 percent, the report showed.

The Fed chair’s speech comes amid a reassessment among central banks globally about future strategies for monetary policies, a topic she addressed in the second half of her remarks. Ageing populations, declining productivity and below-target inflation rates are likely to result in lower peaks in their policy interest rates. That means central banks are likely to reach the zero boundary on their policy rates faster in the next recession.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams, Yellen’s former research director when she was head of that bank, urged central banks in an essay earlier this month to “carefully reexamine” their strategies, and mentioned the possibility of raising inflation targets, among other options. By contrast, David Reifschneider, a special adviser to Fed governors, argued in a paper that “even in the event of a fairly severe recession, asset purchases and forward guidance should be able to compensate” for the Fed’s limited scope to reduce short-term rates.

Fed’s Tools

Her review of the Fed’s “toolkit” began with a spirited defense of techniques used during the financial crisis, including bond purchases and pledges to hold rates low for an extended period. She made clear the Fed should retain those new tools. Those may be needed again, she said, as the next recession may arrive before interest rates rise to levels normally seen during an economic recovery.

“We expect to have less scope for interest rate cuts than we have had historically,” she said.

Without embracing their views, Yellen acknowledged that economists, including some prominent Fed officials, have suggested the Fed consider broadening its asset purchases if that strategy is required again, and raising its inflation target. “The FOMC is not actively considering these additional tools and policy frameworks, although they are important subjects for research,” she said.

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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Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd

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The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.

The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.

The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.

The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.

Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.

The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.

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Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

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Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.

This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.

Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.

On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.

Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”

The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.

There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.

“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”

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Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020

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Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.

EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.

If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.

The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.

It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.

It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.

“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”

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