- U.K. Industrial Output Rises More Than Forecast
U.K. industrial production rose more than economists forecast in November, led by a surge in oil and gas as a major North Sea field resumed operations.
The 2.1 percent increase from October, the biggest in seven months, was more than double the 1 percent predicted by economists. Manufacturing also rose more than expected, by 1.3 percent.
The advance in industrial output followed a 1.1 percent drop in October and means it will have to rise 0.3 percent in December to avoid a second quarterly decline. Production fell 0.4 percent in the three months through September, detracting from overall economic growth.
While the U.K. economy has defied expectations of a downturn since the June vote to leave the European Union, that’s been largely due to services and consumer spending. The strength of the latter may come under some pressure this year as the pound’s decline since the Brexit referendum fuels a sharp pickup in inflation.
Publishing the industrial data on Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics said performance in sectors other than services has been “erratic and far more subdued.” Some of that has been due to maintenance of the Buzzard oil field that curbed output in previous months.
A separate report from the ONS showed the goods-trade deficit widened in November to 12.2 billion pounds in November from 9.9 billion pounds in October. The widening was largely due to a surge in imports of transport equipment such as ships and aircraft, which rose 1.4 billion pounds. Total imports surged 8.4 percent, far outpacing a 2.8 percent increase in exports.
There were signs of continued weakness in construction, with total building falling 0.2 percent in November, though it was up 1.5 percent year on year. The ONS estimates that a 1.5 percent increase is needed in December to avoid a decline in construction over the fourth quarter as a whole.
“Overall, construction and production output has been broadly flat over the last few months,” said ONS statistician Kate Davies.
IHS Markit said this month that manufacturing growth accelerated in December, with a gauge of expansion rising to the highest since June 2014. While the weaker pound is making exports cheaper, it’s also set to drive up costs for British consumers, the main driver of the economy’s resilience.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday
Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.
While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.
On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”
“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.
Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
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