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Ghana Leaves Key Rate Steady as Policy Makers Seek Stable Cedi

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  • Ghana Leaves Key Rate Steady as Policy Makers Seek Stable Cedi

Ghana’s central bank unexpectedly kept its benchmark rate unchanged as it balanced the risks to inflation and economic growth.

The Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Committee left the rate at 25.5 percent, Governor Abdul Nashiru Issahaku told reporters Monday in the capital, Accra. Only two of six economists in a Bloomberg survey said the central bank would keep borrowing costs unchanged, while the remaining four predicted a rate cut of 50 to 150 basis points.

“Perhaps concerns over currency stability kept the MPC relatively cautious,” Razia Khan, head of Africa macro research at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said in an e-mailed note. “We saw room for a cautious 50 basis points easing.”

Policy makers reduced the rate in November for the first time since July 2011. While inflation has been outside the central bank’s target band of 6 percent to 10 percent since at least January 2013, growth in consumer prices eased to 15.4 percent in December, slowing for a third straight month.

The cedi weakened 0.5 percent to 4.36 against the dollar by 1:23 p.m. in Accra on Monday, extending losses for the year to 3 percent after sliding 11 percent in 2016.

Inflation Target

The bank’s forecast for inflation to fall within the target band was shifted out to 2018 from this year, Issahaku said. “There are concerns regarding the inflation outlook, which could be impacted by the pass-through effects of the recent exchange-rate volatility, persistent increases in food inflation and the fiscal” outcome, he said.

The central bank urged the government to narrow the budget deficit after provisional data for the fiscal period from January through November showed a shortfall of 7 percent of gross domestic product, exceeding the target of 4.7 percent because of weak revenue collection.

The central bank will maintain its tight policy course to stabilize the cedi, while continuing with foreign-exchange auctions and currency swaps, Issahaku said.

The economy probably expanded 4.1 percent in 2016, according to forecasts from the government, which is now led by President Nana Akufo-Addo after he won an election last month. GDP expansion will be supported by improved oil and gas production from new fields, the gradual rebound in growth in private-sector credit and improved sentiments and expectations, Issahaku 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.

Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

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Gold

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.

According to Michael McCarthy, the Chief Market Strategies, CMC Markets, the surged in gold price is a result of the projected drop in dollar value or uncertainty.

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.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday

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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.

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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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