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Economy

U.S to Cut Rates Amid Escalating Trade War

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  • U.S to Cut Rates Amid Escalating Trade War

The ongoing trade war between the two world’s largest economies is hurting global growth and projected by experts to plunge the U.S economy into recession by 2020 if the Federal Reserve failed to adjust rates to boost growth.

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said the central bank will do what it is necessary to sustain the near-record expansion despite the uncertainty surrounding the trade talks.

Powell, who spoke in Chicago on Tuesday said: “We do not know how or when these issues will be resolved,” he said in prepared remarks. “We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective.”

While Powell did not address other specific issues relating to the economy, market experts are already pricing in 50 basis points cut this year alone and are projecting the Federal Reserve will move aggressively to avert possible economic contraction or even recession in 2020.

The growing conviction that the Federal Reserve would eventually cut rates this year bolstered U.S stock market on Tuesday and even FTSE 100 responded positively on Wednesday after Reserve Bank of Australia cut rates by 25 basis points for the first time in three years.

The European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are expected to follow in a similar step, especially with weak inflation rate and stubbornly slow wage growth.

Last year, President Trump blamed the Federal Reserve for stock performance, saying high-interest rates are hurting profitability and counterproductive to fiscal measures.

He, then called for lower rates to stimulate growth across the economy. While Federal Reserve is apolitical, experts and markets demand seems to be dictating its path in recent months given global economic position and trade war.

However, experts at Goldman Sachs are saying investors may be misreading Jerome Powell comments.

According to John Waldron, president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, “The market is pricing in a fairly substantial set of moves by the Fed,” said Waldron, who was also attending the meeting. “I worry a little bit that the market is too optimistic about how much and how soon the Fed will move.”

Weber also said because the U.S still has some room to maneuver it would be unwise to assume Federal Reserve will not first explore it before cutting rates.

“The fact that the U.S. has some room to maneuver, I think it would be unwise to assume that they will not use that room to maneuver if the economy substantially weakens. However, I think the current pricing in markets is overdone.”

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.

Economy

NNPC Supplies 1.44 Billion Litres of Petrol in January 2021

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) supplied a total of 1.44 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol in January 2021.

The corporation disclosed in its latest Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) for the month of January.

NNPC said the 1.44 billion litres translate to 46.30 million litres per day.

Also, a total of 223.55Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) of natural gas was produced in the month of January 2021, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 Million Standard Cubic Feet per Day (mmscfd).

The 223.55BCF gas production figure also represents a 4.79% increase over output in December 2020.

Also, the daily average natural gas supply to gas power plants increased by 2.38 percent to 836mmscfd, equivalent to power generation of 3,415MW.

For the period of January 2020 to January 2021, a total of 2,973.01BCF of gas was produced representing an average daily production of 7,585.78 mmscfd during the period.

Period-to-date Production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) contributed about 65.20%, 19.97 percent and 14.83 percent respectively to the total national gas production.

Out of the total gas output in January 2021, a total of 149.24BCF of gas was commercialized consisting of 44.29BCF and 104.95BCF for the domestic and export markets respectively.

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Economy

NNPC Says Pipeline Vandalism Decrease by 37.21 Percent in January 2021

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Gas-Pipeline

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said vandalisation of pipelines across the country reduced by 37.21 percent in the month of January 2021.

This was disclosed in the January 2021 edition of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).

The report noted that 27 pipeline points were vandalised in January 2021, down from 43 points posted in December 2020.

It also stated that the Mosimi Area accounted for 74 percent of the total vandalised points in Janauray while Kaduna Area and Port Harcourt accounted for the remaining 22 percent and 4 percent respectively.

NNPC said it will continue to engage local communities and other stakeholders to reduce and eventually eliminate the pipeline vandalism menace.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Food Inflation Hits 22.95 Percent in March 2021

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Food inflation in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose by 22.95 percent in March 2021, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.

Food Index increased at a faster pace when compared to 21.70 percent filed in February 2021.

Increases were recorded in Bread and cereals, Potatoes, yam and other tubers, Meat, Vegetable, Fish, Oils and fats and fruits.

On a monthly basis, the food sub-index grew by 1.90 percent in March 2021. An increase of 0.01 percent points from 1.89 percent recorded in February 2021.

Analysing a more stable inflation trend, the twelve-month ended March 2021, showed the food index averaged 17.93 percent in the last twelve months, representing an increase of 0.68 percent when compared to 17.25 percent recorded in February 2021.

Insecurities amid wide foreign exchange rates and several other bottlenecks that impeded free inflow of imported goods were responsible for the surged in prices of goods and services in March, according to the report.

The Central Bank of Nigeria-led monetary policy committee had attributed the increase in prices to scarcity created by the intermittent clash between herdsmen and farmers across the nation.

However, other factors like unclear economic policies, increased in electricity tariffs, duties, subsidy removal and weak fiscal buffer to moderate the negative effect of COVID-19 on the economy continue to weigh and drag on new investment and expansion of local production despite the Federal Government aggressive call for improvement in domestic production.

Nigeria’s headline inflation rose by 18.17 percent year-on-year in the month under review.

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