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Economy

US Consumer Price Index Unchanged in October

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Consumer

The U.S. cost of living held steady in November, underscoring scant inflation that is well below the Federal Reserve’s goal.

The consumer price index was unchanged after a 0.2 percent gain in October, Labor Department figures showed Tuesday. Excluding volatile food and fuel, the so-called core measure rose 0.2 percent for a third straight month.

The cheapest crude oil since the global financial crisis in 2009 may keep inflation below the Fed’s 2 percent goal even as it boosts Americans’ purchasing power. Policy makers, projected to raise interest rates on Wednesday for the first time in almost a decade, have said low energy costs and a stronger dollar are transitory influences on inflation.

“Lower energy prices and strong-dollar pressure will continue to be disinflationary forces,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy head of U.S. research and strategy at TD Securities LLC in New York. “Inflation will take some time to get back to the Fed’s desired level but it’s moving in the right direction.”

The CPI matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from a decline of 0.1 percent to a gain of 0.2 percent.

The gauge increased 0.5 percent in the 12 months ended in November, the most this year, after a 0.2 percent year-over-year advance the prior month. The figure is expected to pick up in coming months, reflecting easier comparisons with late last year and early in 2015, when oil prices were plunging.

The core CPI measure increased 2 percent from November last year, the most since May 2014, after rising 1.9 percent in the prior 12-month period.

Energy costs decreased 1.3 percent from a month earlier, the report showed.
Food prices fell 0.1 percent, driven by cheaper meat, chicken, eggs and fish. Apparel and used vehicles also declined last month.

Expenses for shelter climbed 0.2 percent from a month earlier. Owners-equivalent rent, one of the categories designed to track rental prices, also rose 0.2 percent.
Costs of medical care climbed 0.4 percent after a 0.8 percent advance.

Higher prices for shelter, including rents and hotel rates, are helping to prop up inflation even as oil has taken another plunge in recent weeks and the strong dollar is holding down commodity prices. Prices of all goods decreased 2.8 percent in November from a year earlier, while the costs of services advanced 2.5 percent.

Fed officials have said they expect inflation to approach their target as the drag from lower oil costs and the rising dollar diminishes. That may take longer as energy prices continue to fall and the dollar keeps rising.

The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation, which is the Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures measure, hasn’t matched the central bank’s goal since April 2012.

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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

FG Launches New N25bn Youth Fund to Address Some of the Concerns Raised by #EndSARS Protesters

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Zainab Ahmed

FG Introduces N25 Billion Youth Fund

The Federal Government has introduced a new N25 billion youth fund to address some of the issues raised by the Nigerian youths who took to the street to demand good governance, among others.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting held with the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, in Kaduna.

Ahmed said the fund would be increased from N25 billion to N75 billion within three years to ensure new job creation for the youths.

The meeting was constituted as part of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministers and governors to dialogue with stakeholders on some of the concerns raised by #EndSARS protesters.

The finance minister said the aim was to support the Nigerian youths to actualise their innovative and entrepreneurial minds in business and general development of the nation.

On her part, Balarabe said the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on how to tackle security challenges faced during the #EndSARS protests.

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, who was also at the meeting, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to people-friendly policies and reforms.

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Economy

Kwara to Support Looted Businesses With N500 Million

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Kwara State to Fund Looted Businesses With N500 Million

Kwara State has joined the list of states supporting businesses that were looted and vandalised by hoodlums masquerading as #EndSARS protesters.

Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Governor of Kwara State, during a visit to the Kwara Mall and Agro Mall on Saturday said the state will support affected businesses with N500 million, adding that the funding is to reduce the negative impact of the looting on the state economy.

On Sunday, in a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Governor said the vandalism and looting may bring several businesses to their knees and lead to massive job loss with an increase in poverty rate.

He said, in order to avoid this, “We are setting up a N500 million fund for those that were affected to access.”

“The application form is live and active on the state government’s website and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back as soon as possible,” he assured.

The governor, who described the situation as a mindless looting of people’s businesses, said there can be no justification for such criminal behavour in our society and commiserated with affected owners.

Speaking on accusation of hoarding of palliatives, the Governor said the palliatives were donated by Private sector led CACOVID to specific vulnerable households and were being distributed gradually across the state.

What happened was bareface stealing and some people are playing politics with it. This is not the time to play politics. It is a time for all hands to be on deck. It is not just Kwara they wanted to burn down. They wanted to burn the whole country down. I urge all of us to stand up and resist that,” he said.

“We engaged the #EndSARS youth in Kwara and it worked out for us. They were not violent. They had a five-point agenda which the federal government has agreed to and has started implementing. In Kwara State, we have also set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the allegation of Police abuse. I also visited Police barracks to see how we can improve the welfare of the Police in the state.

“While the hoodlums were looting (on Friday), I was holding a meeting with executives and members of the National Association of Kwara State Students and National Association of Nigeria Students, Kwara axis. It shows students and youths were not part of the looting. Those involved were just hoodlums and thieves,” he said.

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Economy

IMF to Review Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Amid Destruction of Businesses, Properties

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IMF 1

IMF Says it May Review Nigeria’s Growth  Amid Recent Development in the Country

Following the destruction of businesses and properties that trailed the #EndSARS protest, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it may review the nation’s growth forecast in view of the new development in the country.

Abebe Selassie, the Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund, made the statement while responding to questions during a virtual IMF press conference on the economic outlook of Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday.

According to him, the protest is difficult given that Lagos is a very important economic hub and contributes to the overall Nigeria activities.

Selassie said, “On the growth projections in Nigeria, I mean, these protests happened of course, after we had closed, after the period where the data we looked at in making the growth projections for this economic outlook.

“And much will depend really on how these protests evolve.

“Lagos of course, is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities.

“So, if these persist and are showing significant effects on economic data, we will internalise them in due course.”

He further explained that the nation’s economy had been a difficult one in the last four years ever since oil prices plunged in 2015-16.

He said, “I think this is exactly why we have been on the record in Nigeria about how really critical it is to get all of the policy induced barriers out of the way to facilitate stronger economic growth.

“For the government to do more to raise revenues through the area of non-oil resources to be able to invest in health education which would, you know, allow people to be more successful at getting jobs but also improve the economy’s potential.

“So, I think that development agenda that Nigeria has, I think, has to be tackled with gusto and vigor so that the millions of jobs that the country needs can be created.”

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