U.S. consumer spending appeared to regain momentum in January as households ramped up purchases of a variety of goods, in a hopeful sign that economic growth was picking up after slowing to a crawl at the end of 2015.
The Commerce Department said on Friday retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.6 percent last month after an unrevised 0.3 percent decline in December.
These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales increasing 0.3 percent last month.
Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, moderated in the fourth quarter. That, together with weak export growth because of a strong dollar, efforts by businesses to sell inventory and cuts in capital goods spending by energy firms, restrained GDP growth to a 0.7 percent annual pace.
Consumer spending is being supported by a strengthening labor market, which is starting to lift wages.
Still, households remain cautious about boosting spending, against the backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook and a sustained decline in oil prices, which have sparked a broad stock market sell-off.
Overall retail sales rose 0.2 percent in January as cheaper gasoline undercut receipts at service stations and harsh winter weather weighed on spending at restaurants and bars. Retail sales increased by an upwardly revised 0.2 percent in December, up from the previously reported 0.1 percent gain.
Sales at service stations fell 3.1 percent after decreasing 0.5 percent in December. Auto sales advanced 0.6 percent after rising 0.5 percent in December.
Receipts at clothing stores gained 0.2 percent. Sales at online retailers jumped 1.6 percent, but receipts at sporting goods and hobby stores fell 2.1 percent. Sales at electronics and appliance outlets edged up 0.1 percent.
A snowstorm that blanketed much of the northeastern United States last month boosted sales at building materials and garden equipment stores, which rose 0.6 percent. But receipts at restaurants and bars fell 0.5 percent, the largest drop since January 2014.
NNPC to Focus on Domestic Gas Growth, Says Kyari
FG, NNPC to Focus on Growing Domestic Gas Utilisation
Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has said the corporation is presenting focusing on growing domestic gas utilisation.
The Managing Director disclosed this on Tuesday during a virtual BusinessDay Energy Series Summit with the theme, “Nigeria at 60: Harnessing Nigeria’s Energy for the Future.”
The NNPC boss also said the corporation is committed to delivering key gas infrastructures such as Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System II, Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben Gas Pipeline, Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline, and Central Gas Processing Facilities.
He stated that NNPC was working on developing five gigawatts of power generation by 2022.
He said, “At the NNPC we are aggressively pursuing other gas development initiatives with the aim of improving Nigeria’s economy using the appropriate fuels.
“In terms of gas and power, we are developing and integrating gas and power infrastructure networks (increase interconnectivity) as well as stimulating gas demand (power generation, feedstock and transport, etc).”
Kennie Obateru, the NNPC spokesperson, quoted the NNPC boss in a statement issued in Abuja. He said the corporation was working on domestic gas utilisation to five billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.
He added that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Train 7 would be completed and delivered by 2024.
Senator Rejects Aisha Umar From North-East as PenCom DG Replacement for South-East
Law Markers Rejects President Buhari’s PenCOM Director-General Nominee
The Senate has rejected President Buhari nominated Director-General of the National Pension Commission, Aisha Umar.
Some of the Senators, who vehemently protested the nomination immediately the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read Buhari’s letter said Aisha Umar from the North-East should not be replacing the former DG, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who is from the South-East.
The aggrieved senators said the action of the president is flagrant breach of the Act that established the PenCom.
According to Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, states, “In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”
Meaning President Buhari had acted against the Act establishing the PenCom.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved Senators, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, said “I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated. Therefore, the new letter from the president that has now moved the chairman of the commission to another zone may not be correct.
“It is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission and the Federal Character Commission.
“Before you (Lawan) send it to the appropriate committee tomorrow, (Wednesday), I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”
The Senate President, however, rejected the minority leader’s point of order and observation, saying “That is for me to interpret because I interpret the laws here. If there is any petition to that effect it should be sent to the committee.”
Electricity Regulatory Commission Suspends Tariff Increase for 14 Days
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Suspends Tariff Increase for 14 Days
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has suspended the increase in electricity tariff in accordance with the resolution reached between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress and Civil Rights groups.
The commission suspended the new tariff implemented on September 1, 2020 for 14 days.
The NERC, in its Order No. NERC/209/2020 issued around 10.30 pm on Tuesday, describing the regulatory instrument as “NERC Order on suspension of the Multi Year Tariff Order 2020 for the electricity distribution licensees.”
The commission said, “This order shall take effect from 28th September 2020 and shall cease to have effect on the 11th October 2020.”
This is coming a day after the labour union agreed to halt a nationwide industrial action to allow the government fashioned out a way to address the recent increase in prices from pump price to electricity bill.
Labour had described Federal Government action as anti-people policy, especially given current economic realities.
The government on the other hand had said the hikes were touch necessary decision to advance the nation’s economy and further improve power supply and revenue generation necessary to deepen economic growth.
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