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U.K. Manufacturing, Construction Point to Loss of Momentum

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  • U.K. Manufacturing, Construction Point to Loss of Momentum

U.K. manufacturing and construction unexpectedly shrank in February, adding to signs that the economy lost momentum in the first quarter.

Factory output fell 0.1 percent from January, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday. Total industrial production declined 0.7 percent as unseasonably warm weather reduced demand for energy. Construction dropped 1.7 percent, the most in almost a year.

While industrial output and construction are still likely to contribute modestly to growth in the first quarter, the economy will get no help from trade, which drove the expansion in the final period of 2016.

The deficit in goods and services grew to 3.66 billion pounds ($4.55 billion) in February, meaning the shortfall will widen in the first quarter unless March posts a near-unprecedented surplus.

Exports fell 0.1 percent in February and imports rose 1.2 percent, although the latter was boosted by shipments of non-monetary gold and aircraft. Excluding erratic items, imports fell 1.7 percent, and the deficit narrowed slightly.

The fall in manufacturing was the second in succession, casting doubt on the benefits firms are getting from the weaker pound. Only seven of 13 sub-sectors posted increases in February. Pharmaceuticals, which tend to fluctuate from month to month, dropped 4.4 percent.

The decline in construction followed a flat January, with a sharp drop in new work being only partially offset by repair and maintenance. Together, building output and industrial production account for a fifth of the U.K. economy.

The figures come against a deteriorating backdrop as accelerating inflation erodes the purchasing power of consumers and looming Brexit talks cloud the outlook for investment. Bank of England policy maker Gertjan Vlieghe indicated this week he is in no hurry to demand an end to record-low interest rates.

Key to the first quarter will be the performance of the dominant services sector, which is continuing to expand at a healthy pace if recent surveys are an accurate guide.

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.

Markets

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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