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CPI Reaction: Inflation Heats up to a 39-year High, Stocks Rally as Rate Hike Expectations Get Pushed Back

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Dow

By Edward Moya

US stocks rallied after the latest inflation report did not come in as hot as many were expecting. Wall Street did not see inflation with a 7-handle and that allowed risky assets to rise, while the dollar turned negative as traders anticipate the Fed won’t be forced to deliver a rate hike well before summer.

The stock market rally did not stick as economists still mostly agree that this is not the peak for inflation and that pricing trends will continue to track higher. The preliminary University of Michigan sentiment report showed modest rebounds across sentiment, current conditions, and expectations. Inflation expectations over both the next year remained anchored at 4.9% and the 5-10 year at 3.0%.  Despite today’s rebound, consumer sentiment still looks vulnerable and will likely struggle if these widespread price increases continue.

CPI

November’s headline month-over-month CPI reading increased 0.8% was higher than the 0.7% estimate but lower than the prior month’s reading of 0.9%.  Some of the inflation is moderating but the year over year reading came in at 6.8%, the hottest since 1982.

Broad based price increases had groceries (meat, poultry, fish, and eggs) skyrocket 12.8%, airline prices were up 4.7%, energy costs were 3.5% higher (gasoline delivered another 6.1% increase), new vehicles rose 1.1%, while used cars increased 2.5% and apparel climbed 1.3%.

Appetite for equities remains undeterred as traders appear to be confident that eventually at some point in the middle of next year a lot of these pricing pressures will fade.

Peloton (**Spoilers below for HBO’s Sex and the City premier)

2021 has been a rough ride for Peloton shares as they appear to be headed back to pre-pandemic levels. The latest slide could be attributed to another downgrade, this time from Credit Suisse, but some traders are in shock over how Peloton played a major role in the Sex and the City premier. The fitness equipment maker was dealt another potential PR crisis (earlier in the year, they had a tragic treadmill accident).

Death by Peloton was all over social media after Carrie Bradshaw, the protagonist in HBO franchise Sex and the City lost her husband to a heart attack shortly after he had an intense workout on his Peloton bike.

Peloton was aware HBO was planning on using the bike but was unaware of the larger context surrounding the scene. Peloton Spokesperson Kelly emailed a statement from a member of their health and wellness advisory council that blamed Mr. Big’s heart attack on his “extravagant lifestyle” and history of heart disease.

Peloton shares have gone from a pandemic favorite trade to a stock no one wants to touch.

Oil

WTI crude seems to be following US stocks more so than stockpile data. This is ending up being a rather good week for crude prices as the crude demand outlook hit from Omicron might be limited.  OPEC+ continues to have a firm handle on the direction of prices and can disrupt any selloffs with a quick reverse of their output increase.

Once Europe gets beyond this wave of restrictive movements and the north stops seeing milder weather, the rally in oil prices could easily make a run towards the highs seen last month.

Gold

Gold is slowly getting its mojo back after a hot inflation report mostly matched estimates.  A lot of the inflation is stickier than anyone wants and that should keep gold’s medium- and- long-term outlooks bullish. Gold just needs to survive a firm consensus on how many rate hikes the Fed will start off with next year.  An accelerated rate hiking cycle is a big risk and could trigger panic selling that could prove troublesome for gold in the short-term, but that still seems unlikely to happen.

Gold’s recent trading range of $1760 and $1800 might continue to hold up leading into next week’s FOMC decision.

Bitcoin

Before the US inflation report, many traders were noticing that Ethereum dominance is settling in. This has been a tough week for cryptos and Ethereum mostly outperformed. The global crypto market cap is around $2.2 trillion and while Bitcoin is still king with 39% dominance, Ethereum has now earned 20%. There is still a lot of motivation for more crypto products to be created and the growth outlook next year should limit whatever selling pressure enters.

Bitcoin prices initially after US inflation hit a 39-year high, but the rally stalled after reaching the $50,000 level. Given what happened last weekend, some leveraged traders are thinking twice about holding positions into this weekend. Some traders are anticipating a sideways market until the FOMC policy decision on Wednesday, so hesitancy to hold over the weekend might grow. Hodlers will likely remain unfazed and feel mostly confident as need for inflation hedges will grow given the widespread rising pricing trends.

 

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Economy

Manufacturing Activities, Macroeconomy Witness Gradual Growth in Q4 2021: MAN

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said that Nigeria’s macroeconomy and manufacturing operating environment were buttressed by the marginal recovery of some key manufacturing indicators allowed a gradual improvement in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

In its Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI) Q4 report, the President of the association, Mr. Mansur Ahmed clarified that although changes in almost all manufacturing indicators as measured in the report are still not as desired, the fourth quarter performance is better than what was obtained in the 2021 Q3.

The MCCI is an index set up by MAN to measure changes in the quarterly pulsation of manufacturing activities in relation to movement in the macroeconomy and government policies. The Index is considered as MAN’s barometer used to aggregate the views of CEOs of manufacturing companies on changes in the economy.

In the report, Ahmed stated that manufacturers’ resilience, seasonal transactions, and passive policy support sustained manufacturing in the quarter despite the prevalence of familiar and emerging excessive tax-related challenges faced by manufacturers.

The manufacturing sector in Q4 of the year under review, overall recorded a mixed grilled performance occasioned by meagre improvement in the operating environment indices and macroeconomic ambiance evidenced by the high points. This he said, cumulatively triggered the increase in the aggregate MCCI score for the quarter to 55.4 points from 54.0 points recording the preceding quarter.

“Manufacturing performance is still below the mark,” Ahmed explained, saying, “notwithstanding the marginal improvement in the operating environment during the quarter under review, as the sector is still plagued by numerous familiar constraints. Some of these challenges enumerated by manufacturers are clearly presented in this report.”

The president further advised the government to implement mechanisms such as providing incentives to encourage investments in raw materials, pharmaceutical and petrochemical materials, iron and steel, etc. He also beckoned on the government to specifically provide security to lives and investments in industrial areas.

“In order to improve the performance of the sector, the government needs to intentionally put in place a mechanism that will address these challenges permanently by considering and implementing the following recommendation:

“Further incentivize investment in the development of raw materials locally through the Backward Integration and Resource-based industrialization initiates. Government should call for more investors to key into these initiatives with appropriate and definite incentives.

“For instance, there is need for urgent investment and production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in the country; investment and production of machines; iron and steel; petrochemical materials, etc to support manufacturing activities.

“Give specific attention to the security of life and investment in industrial areas; properly delineate and upscale security infrastructure in the various industrial areas in the country, particularly in the northern part of the country for priority attention. Government should also quickly invest in modern security such as drones, cameras, etc. for robust monitoring of the areas,” Ahmed stated.

The MAN president in the MCCI report stressed the need to ensure effective allocation of available foreign exchange to productive sectors, especially to the manufacturing sector for the importation of raw materials and vital machines and equipment that are not available locally.

He also buttressed the need for the government to expressly direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consult with the Ministries of Industry Trade & Investment and effectively engage MAN on measures to improve forex supply to manufacturing concerns.

He said that the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation should be directed to inaugurate the Secretariat that will implement the strategies for the Executive Order and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON). The Secretariat will designate local manufacturers of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Gas Cylinders as priority provider of the 10 million Cooking Gas Cylinders to be procured by the government for 12 States in the federation.

Ahmed added, “Return milk and other dairy products to the National list in the fiscal policy guidelines to maintain consistency with the Backward Integration Programme, which has spurred heavy investments in the dairy production.

“Unify academic curriculum with industrial skill needs and requirements to guarantee the sustainable development of skilled manpower for the industries. Government should as a matter of urgency synchronize the curricular of tertiary institutions, particularly the Polytechnics with the skills requirements of industries. The various government vocational and training centers should also be re-engineered to offer those skills that are needed by the industries.

“Revisit the resuscitation of the existing national refineries to produce fuels locally, embark on the rehabilitation of major highway corridors, improve trade facilitation infrastructure and deepen the ongoing development of rails system to change the narrative on the operating environment from being a high cost to low production cost environment.”

On electricity, Ahmed said there is a need to sustain the eligible customer initiative to ensure that more power is supplied to the manufacturing sector.

The Manufacturing Association of Nigeria in its Index Report, further adviced the government to, “Strengthen the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to adequately provide liberal finance for the manufacturing sector;

“Monitor the implementation of Executive Order 003 to ensure compliance by MDAs so as to boost activities in the manufacturing sector, Publish the list of approved harmonized taxes and levies for the manufacturing sector by the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to address the issues of multiples taxes and levies.

“Rationalize Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies, parastatal and Commissions to resolve the issues of over-regulation and duplication; Improve the time taken to clear machines and raw-materials at the national ports while making the link road accessible.”

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Economy

Adoption, Utilisation Of ICT Pivotal To Nigeria’s Socio-economic Development – Danbatta

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The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is no doubt, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the country’s GDP and is emerging as its most important long-term growth prospect.

The adoption and utilisation of digital revolutions by the government is creating multiplier effects across critical sectors, aiding job creation, better governance, youth empowerment and overall socio-economic development.

Investors King recalls that the sum of N160.59bn was budgeted for the ministry for the year 2022. This is more than the combined N129.59bn allocated to the ministry from 2016 to 2021.

Indeed, for over 10 years, ICT has consistently contributed more than 10 per cent of the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the telecom sector alone contributed 12.45 per cent to GDP as at the fourth quarter of 2020.

In the second quarter of 2021, the ICT sector contributed 17.92 per cent to the real GDP of the nation.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in all continents of the world, people, organisations and countries have continued to witness leaps and bounds in economic, social and political activities through the instrumentality of ICT, which has meshed computing, information and communication technology to catalyse development in ways and manners humans never envisaged decades ago.

Danbatta who delivered a paper titled  “Empowering the Nigerian Youth though Information and Communication Technology”at the 10th and 11th combined Convocation Lecture of the Fountain University at Osogbo, Osun State recalled the impact of ICT revolution in all parts of human endeavour across countries and continents, insisting that technology will continue to penetrate and foster qualitative and quantifiable changes in all aspects of life.

According to him, Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicle; Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate; Facebook, world’s most popular public-facing digitally-mediated social networking platform, creates little or no content; Alibaba, a leading global retailer, has little or no inventory, yet they have become signposts of prosperity riding wholly on ICT resources.

These foregoing contextual demonstrations of the possibilities of ICT explain the Federal Government’s policy decisions to strengthen ICT adoption in building a robust digital economy in Nigeria, eloquently expressed in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other series of policies, guidelines and regulations derivative of the NDEPS and NNBP.

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Economy

ICT, Agric, Others To Drive Economic Growth In Nigeria In 2022 – Bismarck Rewane

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Mr. Bismarck Rewane

Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives, Bismarck Rewane has listed ICT, Financial Services, Transport, Construction, Manufacturing, Trade and Agriculture as sectors that are expected to drive economic growth in 2022.

Disclosing this during the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce January Breakfast Meeting themed ‘2022 Economic Outlook’, Rewane noted that this projection is based on the success and high level of productivity in these key sectors.

He further noted that economic activity in 2022 will be similar to 2021, owing to global inflationary trends linked to COVID-19.

He however projected that the country’s inflation rate was expected to remain structurally high with a full-year average of 13.3 percent. According to him, the development would be driven by cost-push factors such as fuel subsidy removal, electricity tariff and taxation.

He further stressed that Nigerians will be richer in 2022 as the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate would be revised upwards to 2.8 percent from its current 2.1 percent based on improvements in the services and manufacturing sector.

“We can expect to see sustained cost-push factors, including a planned fuel subsidy removal, new electricity tariffs and additional taxes; alongside legacy issues, such as increased debt service burden and exchange rate conversion. Inflation will remain structurally high at an average of 13.3 percent, with an increase in Q1 and Q2”, he noted.

While also noting that there has been a 90 percent surge in electronic payment, e-commerce, digitalisation and technology, Rewane projected that competition between traditional banks and Fintechs will intensify, while banks with constant innovation and regional diversification will remain resilient.

Recall that Investors king had previously reported that Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc announced plans to seek regulatory approval for the establishment of a Fintech subsidiary. The new financial services unit which will be called Stanbic IBTC Financial Services Limited will operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) upon regulatory approvals, including licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This development from Stanbic IBTC came a few days after Standard Chartered Bank announced it was shutting down 50 percent of its Nigerian branches in a move to digitalise operations and reduce operating costs.

The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce is the foremost bilateral Chamber in Nigeria and was established in 1977 to promote Trade and Investment between Nigeria and Britain.

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