- Inflation is Out of CBN’s Control
Olusegun Omisakin, the Head of Research, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), says rising inflation rate in the country has gone beyond the control of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Omisakin made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
NAN reports that data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Jan.13 showed that December 2016 inflation rate stood at 18.55 per cent from 18.48 per cent in November.
Inflation targeting is a major economic policy objective of CBN and this has been the focus of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
The apex bank, on July 26, 2016, increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 200 basis points from 12 per cent to 14 per cent to check inflation.
The CBN retained all key indicators at its September and November MPC meetings to keep MPR at 14 per cent, Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.50 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent, all aimed at controlling inflation.
Omisakin said that the rising inflation had defied CBN’s monetary policy measures, adding that policy tools adopted by the apex bank were only effective in taming inflation arising from demand-supply imbalances.
“In this case, inflation is cost-push. Production cost is high because producers who want to import intermediate goods for production do not have access to foreign exchange.
“Most of them go to the black market and definitely the product from this would be expensive, thereby increasing inflation.
“The CBN cannot do anything through the monetary policy rate to arrest this inflation even if CBN increases the MPR to 20 per cent. Inflation would not come down.
“The inflation we are experiencing now is out of the control of CBN. CBN can only address issues that have to do with availability and circulation of money and credit control.
“CBN cannot address cost-push inflation because it cannot provide energy, roads, transport. There are fiscal issues,” Omisakin said.
The economist urged the CBN to formulate policies that would boost industrial production and economic growth in view of the current economic recession.
Omisakin called for coordination of fiscal and monetary policies to check the rising inflationary trend in the country.
“The rising cost of food, transport and energy will reduce if the Federal Government creates concrete fiscal policies with effective implementation to address the situation through increased investment in infrastructure and agriculture,” he said.
The expert said that speedy passage and effective implementation of the 2017 budget would stimulate economic activities
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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