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Economy

UK Inflation Falls to 0.3% on Cheaper Airfares

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UK Consumers

The UK’s inflation rate plunged for the first time in April since September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

The inflation fell to 0.3 percent from 0.5 percent recorded in March, much of which is caused by a fall in the prices of airfares, clothing, social housing rents and vehicles.

The ONS said the main causes were falls in the prices of air fares, vehicles, clothing and social housing rents.

The Bank of England said last week that it expected inflation to increase in the second half of the year.

By far the largest downward effect in April came from air transport, with prices falling by 14.2%, compared with a rise of 4.5% between the same two months last year.

This was influenced by the timing of the Easter holidays in March. Fare prices increased dramatically between February and March this year and then fell sharply in April.

The price of clothing and footwear also fell as retailers dropped prices to try to revive sales hit by last month’s cold weather.

An alternative inflation measure, the Retail Prices Index, which is still used to index some rents and pensions, also fell from an annual rate of 1.6% in March to 1.3% in April.

Meanwhile core inflation, which strips out energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, fell to 1.2%, compared with economists’ expectations for 1.4%.

Interest rates

Last week, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, had to write his sixth letter to the Chancellor George Osborne explaining why CPI inflation was still below the Bank’s 2% target.

In it he said: “The underlying causes of the below-target inflation of the past year and a half have been: sharp falls in commodity prices, the past appreciation of sterling, and to a lesser degree the subdued pace of domestic cost growth.”

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted last week to keep interest rates unchanged at the record low of 0.5%. The Bank is not expected to raise rates until at least next year.

Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said: “We are likely to see inflation remain close to current rates until the latter part of the year, when the base effects associated with last winter’s collapse in the oil price will begin to kick in and finally drag the CPI measure above 1%.

Such a benign outlook is likely to stay the MPC’s hand until well into next year.”

In a separate report, the ONS said that there had been a surge in house prices as landlords rushed to buy before higher stamp duty was imposed.

UK average house prices increased by 9.0% over the year to March 2016, up from 7.6% in the year to February 2016.

The pound lost about half a cent against the dollar immediately after the figures were released, but then recovered to stand at $1.4483, a gain on the day of more than 0.5%.

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

Nigeria’s Exports Under US Duty-free Policy Declines to $300.48m

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Sweden's economy

Nigeria’s Exports to the United States Under Duty-free Policy Declined by 88 Percent to $300.48 million

Nigeria’s total exports under the US duty-free declined by 88 percent from $2,502.86 million to $300.48 million in the first eight months of 2020.

In the latest African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) policy report established in 2000, crude oil export accounted for 99.8 percent of Nigeria’s AGOA exports to the United States in 2019.

In 2019, oil and gas products worth $3.12 billion were exported to the US under the duty-free policy.

However, the plunged in global demand for Nigerian crude oil due to the COVID-19 lockdown weighed on the nation’s oil exports and revenue generation.

The United States imported 5.53 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria in the first quarter of 2020, down from 15.07 million barrels imported in the final quarter of 2019.

Speaking on the need to improve non-oil export to take advantage of the duty-free like other African nations Mr Olusegun Awolowo, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, who spoke at a virtual event recently said despite efforts to sensitise Nigerian exporters on the need to take advantage of the duty-free trade opportunity, only a few Nigerian exporters are benefiting from it.

He said the record crash in global oil prices is an indication that a mono-product economy like Nigeria is not sustainable and that there is an urgent need to develop non-oil export.

We cannot rely on crude oil export as both our major source of government revenue and foreign exchange generation. We must diversify our export base,” Awolowo said.

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Economy

Road Projects: Nigeria Owes Contractors More Than N390 Billion, Says Fashola

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lekki

FG Owes Road Contractors N392 Billion for Road Projects

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said the Federal Government owes companies handling the 711 road projects across the country a total sum of N392 billion.

This, he said was higher than the N276 billion allocated for road projects in the proposed 2021 budget.

The minister disclosed this on Wednesday while defending the 2021 budget of his ministry before the Senate Committee on works.

Fashola said, “With the situation on ground, a stop has come for new projects and the country needs to prioritise the existing ones in order to complete some of them.

According to him, a total of N6.62 trillion was needed to fund the 711 road projects but because of the limited available resources, there is a need to prioritise the important ones.

He said, “We do not have the resources that we need to fix our road infrastructure at once; the very reason we need to prioritise what want to do.

“The situation on ground requires us to cut our coat according to our cloth and not according to our size because no good will come out of more new road projects now.

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Economy

Waltersmith’s 5,000bpd Modular Refinery in Imo State to Commence Operations

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Dangote refinery

5,000bpd Modular Refinery Built in Imo State to Start Operations

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said the 5,000 barrels per day Modular Refinery project built in Imo State is ready for operations.

Sarki Auwalu, the Director, DPR, disclosed this during a pre-commissioning visit to the project site in Ibigwe, Imo State.

In a statement released by Waltersmith, Auwalu was quoted as saying the purpose of his visit was to ensure that the refinery was ready to commence operations.

He said “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations.

“To us, the plant is alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.

“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this – the space, the way it is arranged and the way it will work.”

The 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery is scheduled for inauguration this month. The refinery has crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and it is expected to deliver more than 271 million litres per year of refined petroleum products.

Auwalu said, “The role we play is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a licence, it enables you to invest and as a result of that opportunity we create, that business is enabled.

“Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”

Speaking on the project, Abdulrasaq Isah, the Chairman, Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, said the project is the first phase of a series of refinery projects that will lead to the delivery of up to 50,000 barrels per day in refining products.

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