- UK Economy Falls to Bottom of EU Growth League
The United Kingdom economy was the worst performer in the European Union in the opening months of 2017 as the Brexit vote took its toll, according to official statistics that underscore the challenge facing the next British government.
With economic growth of just 0.2 per cent in the first three months of this year, the UK was well behind its European neighbours, The Guardian reported.
Official EU figures released as Britons went to the polls on Thursday showed the growth for the whole of the EU was 0.6 per cent in the first quarter.
The eurozone single currency bloc also grew 0.6 per cent in the opening quarter, buoyed by strong domestic demand.
The Eurostat figures showed every nation in the 28-member bloc reported first-quarter GDP figures growing faster than the UK. The strongest expansion was in Romania at 1.7 per cent, followed by Latvia at 1.6 per cent and Slovenia at 1.5 per cent. The closest countries to the UK’s weak pace of growth were France and Greece, with GDP growing 0.4 per cent in both.
However, in year-on-year terms the UK was closer to the EU performance and ahead of the 19-nation eurozone. After a strong second half to 2016, when the economy defied predictions of a post-referendum slump, UK GDP was still 2 per cent bigger in the first quarter of 2017 than a year earlier. The EU’s economy was 2.1 per cent bigger on the year while the eurozone was up 1.9 per cent.
Recent business surveys have suggested the UK economy has picked up some momentum in the second quarter after its slow start to 2017. But with higher inflation weighing on consumer spending, most forecasters expect growth to be lacklustre over 2017 as a whole and even weaker in 2018.
The main pressure is expected to come from higher inflation, stemming largely from the pound’s sharp fall since the Brexit vote last year. That has made the many imported goods to the UK more expensive and been passed on to consumers. Wages meanwhile have failed to keep pace with those price rises and so workers are worse off in real terms and have been cutting back.
Prospects for the 19-nation eurozone, by contrast, have brightened.
Political uncertainty has diminished now France’s presidential election is out the way, unemployment has fallen, business surveys point to solid demand and a continuing recovery in the global economy could boost exports, economists say.
The confirmation that the UK was the worst performer in the EU growth league in the first quarter follows news last week that it was also trailing behind the world’s advanced economies, with Canada registeringd stellar growth in the first three months of the year.
The outlook for the UK was tough but stronger global prospects should provide some cheer, economists said.
“Brexit has been partly to blame for slower UK growth, as higher prices due to lower sterling and uncertainty hit retail spending and the willingness of firms to invest,” said George Buckley, economist at the financial firm Nomura.
“But it’s not all bad news – this is as much a story about global strength as it is about downside risks to the UK, which should eventually support exports”
Nigeria to Become Leading Gold Producer in West Africa – Adegbite
Adegbite Says Nigeria to Become Gold Hub in West Africa
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said Nigeria is on its way to becoming a leading gold producer in West Africa.
Adegbite made the statement in Abuja while taking stock of his first year in office as minister.
He said, “Indeed, the international roadshows we have had in the past have produced fruits. Today, we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project.
“The exploration firm is projected to start producing (gold) in the first half of next year. The project is expected to create about 400 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs.”
According to Adegbite, the Federal Government has licensed two gold refineries that would refine in line with the London Bullion Market Association standard.
He added, “Numerous industries will spring up when our gold economy becomes full-fledged. Some of them will include equipment leasing and repairs, logistics and transport, as gold requires a specialised means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators, and so on.”
The minister noted that for the first time, the country had mined, processed and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative for use as part of Nigeria’s external reserves.
Adegbite also stated that the mines ministry had initiated a process that would lead to local capacity development in the production of barite.
“Presently, the barite that is used in the oil and gas industry is imported. But we are resolved to reverse this trend. As you may know, barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids due to its high specific gravity,” he said.
NUPENG, Lagos State Agree to Call Off Strike
NUPENG Agrees With Lagos State, Call Off Strike
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas (NUPENG) has ordered Lagos State Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTDs) to call off its ongoing strike.
This was disclosed in a joint communique signed by the Lagos Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, and the NUPENG Deputy National President, Solomon Kilanko.
It would be recalled that Investors King had reported that NUPENG directed all PTDs to withdraw their services from Lagos State effective from Monday 10 August 2020 because of the persistent extortions and harassments of PTDs by both uniform security agencies and touts.
However, on the 10th of August, the commencement day of the strike, Lagos State government met with the leadership of NUPENG to address the union concerns and eventually agreed on a way forward.
Part of the communique reads “The Lagos State Government met today with the representatives of NUPENG, which agreed to call off its strike immediately.
“Other decisions taken at the meeting are security – the state government will meet the heads of all security agencies and secure their commitment to ensure the free passage of petroleum products vehicles given their importance to the economy.”
“Area boys’ – the menace of ‘area boys’ will be handled by relevant government agencies and a dedicated phone number will be established, within the next week to ensure the petroleum products transporters have prompt access to security agencies.”
The communique also stated that the Lagos State government will set up a standing committee to communicate with the union on an ongoing basis, saying it will help address a similar issue going forward. See the complete communique below.
Crude Oil Expands Gain on US Stimulus talks, Better Than Expected Chinese Factory Data
Crude Oil Gains on US Stimulus, Better Than Expected Chinese Factory Data
Oil prices extended its gains on Tuesday following a better than expected factory data from China and a possible agreement between Democrats and Republicans on economic stimulus.
“The oil complex is heavily reliant on that aid. We need people to be able to boost economic activity to spur demand,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.
President Trump on Monday said House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, top Democrat in the chamber of Congress, wanted to meet him to discuss or make a deal on coronavirus-related economic stimulus.
The possibility of a stimulus deal, coupled with a reduction in China’s factory deflation in the month of July due to the surge in oil prices and improved industrial activity bolstered the outlook of the energy sector.
China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil. Therefore, improved factory activity generally boosts the oil market.
Also, the announcement from Iraq that it planned to cut an additional 400,000 barrels per day in August and September to compensate for its previous overproduction above OPEC+ quota aided the oil market this week.
“This would send out a strong signal to the oil market on various levels. That said, this would also require the international companies operating in Iraq to join in with the cuts,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, expanded from $41.30 per barrel it traded on Monday to $45.40 per barrel on Tuesday at 10:10 am Nigerian time.
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