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Yellen Sees No Serious Short-Term Obstacles for U.S. Economy

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Janet Yellen
  • Yellen Sees No Serious Short-Term Obstacles for U.S. Economy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy faces no serious short-term obstacles, though it must deal with important long-term challenges of low productivity and growing inequality.

“Unemployment has now reached a low level, the labor market is generally strong and wage growth is beginning to pick up,” Yellen said Thursday in a meeting with educators. “Inflation has moved up from a very low level, and it’s a little bit under our 2 percent objective, but it’s pretty close.”

The Fed increased interest rates last month for the first time in a year, to a range of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent, after judging that near-term risks to the outlook “appear roughly balanced.” Policy makers also indicated they expect to hike three times in 2017, according to the median estimate of their quarterly forecast.

Unemployment was 4.7 percent in December, a slight uptick from November when it reached 4.6 percent, its lowest level since 2007. The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation, minus food and energy components, was 1.6 percent in the 12 months through November.

Yellen said productivity, a “key determinant” of living standards over the long term, remained at historically low levels and economists were struggling to understand why. Related to low productivity, she said a greater share of income gains were going to workers with higher education, causing inequality to rise in the U.S.

Education and workforce development have been frequent topics of discussion for Fed officials in recent years as technology continues to drive changes in the workplace. Yellen told graduating college students in Baltimore last month that career success will increasingly be linked to education.

Yellen on Thursday was speaking to teachers gathered in the board room at the Fed’s headquarters in Washington and, via web cast, to others through the country. She also touted reforms to banking regulation that followed the financial crisis aimed at making the financial sector safer and more resilient.

“These are very important changes,” Yellen said. “I certainly wouldn’t want to see them rolled back.”

Members of the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump have said they will seek to dismantle the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the principle legislative response to the crisis.

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.

Crude Oil

Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus

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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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Crude Oil

OPEC Says Uncertainties Remain High in 2021

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OPEC Says Uncertainties Remain High in 2021

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Thursday said global uncertainties remained high going forward in 2021 but kept its oil demand forecast unchanged.

In the cartel’s latest oil outlook for 2021, oil demand is expected to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to 95.9 million barrels per day. The prediction was unchanged from December’s assessment.

However, OPEC and allies, 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.

Crude oil rose to $57 per barrel this week after incoming US President Joe Biden announced it would inject $1.9 trillion stimulus into the world’s largest economy.

But the recent rally in the commodity and stimulus announcement is expected to boost US crude oil output and disrupt OPEC+ production cuts strategy for the year.

The 2021 supply outlook is now slightly more optimistic for U.S. shale with oil prices increasing, and output is expected to recover more in the second half of 2021,” OPEC said.

Still, OPEC, in its forecast “assumes a healthy recovery in economic activities including industrial production, an improving labour market and higher vehicle sales than in 2020.”

“Accordingly, oil demand is anticipated to rise steadily this year supported primarily by transportation and industrial fuels,” the group said.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Rose to $56.25 Per Barrel

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Brent Crude Oil Rose to $56.25 Per Barrel

Oil price surged following the declaration of Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States of America last week after Trump’s mob invaded Capitol to disrupt a joint Senate session.

Also, the large drop in US crude inventories helped support crude oil price to over 11 months despite the second wave of COVID-19 crushing the world from Asia to Europe to America.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian Crude oil is priced, rose to $56.25 per barrel on Friday before pulling back to $55.422 per barrel on Monday during the London trading session.

Experts attributed the pullback to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Asia with about 11 million people already locked down in Hebei province in China.

Covid hot spots flaring again in Asia, with 11 million people (in) lockdowns in China Hebei province… along with a touch of FED policy uncertainty has triggered some profit taking out of the gates this morning,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said in a note on Monday.

China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, has joined the United Kingdom and others declaring full or partial lockdown to curb the second wave of COVID-19.

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