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Economy

UK inflation rises in July

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 Britain’s inflation rate unexpectedly overshot the Bank of England’s two per cent target on Wednesday, raising the cost of living even before sterling’s slide has had much chance to feed into consumer prices.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said annual consumer price inflation rose to a three-month high of 2.1 per cent in July from 2.0 per cent in June, bucking the average expectation in a Reuters’ poll of economists for a fall to 1.9 per cent.

The older measure of retail price inflation – which this month will determine increases in many rail fares for 2020 – edged down to 2.8 per cent from 2.9 per cent, in line with forecasts.

The ONS figures also pointed to inflation pressures in the pipeline from rising costs for manufacturers.

Among manufacturers, the cost of raw materials – many of them imported – was 1.3 per cent higher than in July 2018, beating all economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll and up from a rate of 0.3 per cent in June.

Two thirds of these materials are imported, and increase in cost when sterling weakens, though the ONS said it could not identify a specific effect from a single month’s data.

Manufacturers increased the prices they charged by 1.8 per cent last month compared with 1.6% in June, again stronger than forecast.

Wednesday’s data also showed that house prices rose by an annual 0.9% across the United Kingdom in June, unchanged from May and the joint-weakest increase since November 2012.

The year-on-year decline in house prices in London – which has been hardest hit by concerns about a disorderly Brexit-levelled off slightly to show a fall of 2.7 per cent after a 3.1 per cent drop in June which was the largest since September 2009.

Earlier this month, the BoE predicted consumer price inflation would fall to a three-year low below 1.6 per cent in the final quarter of this year, reflecting lower oil prices and government caps on household energy bills.

This is despite a sharp fall in the value of sterling, which has gathered pace since Boris Johnson became prime minister last month with the promise to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, even if that means leaving without a divorce deal.

Sterling weakened by 2.4 per cent against a basket of major currencies in July, and this month the pound sank to its lowest since October 2016.

Businesses fear a no-deal Brexit will create major disruption at ports, further pushing up the cost of imports.

There was little immediate market reaction to the data, with analysts more focused on the government’s Brexit policy.

“Inflation remains near target, but continued depreciation of the pound could push it higher,” Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, said.

Inflation surged after sterling fell more than 10 per cent in the wake of June 2016’s referendum decision to leave the European Union, peaking at a five-year high of 3.1 per cent in November 2017.

The Statistics office said it was too soon to be able to identify weaker sterling as the main factor behind July’s rise in prices.

“Instead, higher costs for hotel rooms, video games and consoles, as well as less discounting of clothes in summer sales, increased the annual rate of inflation,” it said.

The BoE says underlying inflation pressures mean it is still likely to need to raise interest rates over the medium term, assuming Britain avoids major disruption on Oct. 31 and the global economy recovers. (Reuters/NAN)

 

 

Economy

Ondo govt. pledges support to market women

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Support

By Alaba-Olusola Oke

Akure, Aug.23,2019 The Ondo  State Government Friday reiterated its commitment to creating an enabling environment for market women across the state to boost their trading activities.

Mr Olatunji Ifabiyi, the Special Adviser to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Commerce, Industry and Cooperative Services, stated this at a meeting with  market women who paid  him a courtesy visit in his office in Akure.

Ifabiyi commended the market women on the “civilised manner” in which  they conducted themselves inspite of the challenges being faced in their various markets.

Ifabiyi, who noted that  the market as a sector was indispensable, described it as complementary to the growth and development of the economy.

The Special Adviser said he had taken into cognisance all their complaints and challenges on  security, maintenance, electricity and good road network.

He promised to look into all the issues with a view to proffering lasting solutions to them.

Olatunji, therefore, enjoined the market women to continue to support the present government in order to reap more dividends of democracy.

In his remarks,Mr Sunday Lebi,  the Permanent Secretary in the  ministry, lauded the visitors for showing maturity in handling their grievances within the market place.

Lebi said that market women had come of age in terms of decision making and conduct in the market place.

He assured them that all their complaints and requests would be addressed as soon as possible.

Speaking earlier, Chief Iwalola Adefemiwa,  the Iyaloja General of Ondo State, commended the Special Adviser for giving them audience in spite of a short notice.

Adefemiwa, who led other sectional market leaders to the meeting, said the meeting was  imperative in order to intimate the state government with some challenges being faced in various markets in the state, particularly in Ondo Kingdom.

The Iyaloja listed some  markets that needed government urgent intervention to include Surulere, Agbogbo-Oke, Lipakala and Moferere, all in Ondo town.

She thanked the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration for its  support borne out of love for the entire market women in the state.

Adefemiwa pledged the women’s unalloyed support to the government at all times.

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Economy

Agency assures clean, portable water in Cross River

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Mr Asuquo Ada, the Managing Director, Cross River Water Board Limited has restated determination of the agency to provide clean and portable pipe borne water to people of the state.

Ada who said this while speaking with newsmen in Calabar on Friday, said the company would soon extend its operations to the production of bottle water to boost its marketing strategy

According to him, the bottle water will be of high quality and affordable to meet the needs of its consumers.

“I want to assure Cross Riverians of our commitment to produce and distribute clean pipe borne water across the state,’’ Ada said.

The managing director said the board was working toward achieving Gov Ben Ayade’s Blueprint for the water sector in the state.

He expressed appreciation to the governor for the support given to the board, adding that it had been instrumental to its success so far.

Ada urged consumers in Calabar and environs to complement government’s effort by paying their bills promptly.

 

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Economy

Help facilitate long-term loans for farmers, Kwara urges CIBN

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Loans

By Toba Ajayi

Ilorin, Aug. 23, 2019 ( NAN) The Kwara Government has called on the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to evolve ways of giving long term loans to farmers to boost food production.

Mr Kayode Alabi, the Deputy Governor of the state, made the call in Ilorin on Friday when a delegation from CIBN led by its Chairman, Mr Ababe Abdusalam, visited him.

The deputy governor urged banks to exhibit more creativity in policy formulation to encourage investment in farming.

“Long term loans will encourage farmers and other investors to embark on long term projects. The CIBN should take more risks for farming to thrive.

“I advise the institute to come up with affordable loan plan that will enable farmers and other small scale businesses to thrive in the state,” he said.

Alabi pledged the support and cooperation of the state government to the institute, saying, “we can replicate the rice farming system in Kebbi if banks will support us,”’

“As a state, we have the wherewithal to develop the agriculture sector with the help of other stakeholders such as financial institutions.

“We believe that farming is the way out of poverty, we need the support of relevant stakeholders,” he said.

He also urged the institute to evolve ways of tackling fraud and penalising bank officials who aid financial fraud.

In his remarks, Abdulsalam said the visit was to congratulate and identify with the new government in the state.

“We also wish to use the opportunity to pledge our willingness to work with the government toward boosting economic activities in the state.

“As manager of resources and custodian of economic development, the CIBN will continue to advise the government on workable policy initiatives that will bring positive results,” he said.

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Economy

Recruitment: Physically challenged applicants take demand to Customs

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The Association of Physically Challenged Applicants and Workers (APCAW) on Friday visited Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) demanding for slots in the ongoing recruitment by the service.

The President of the association, Mr Godstime Onyegbulam, told the Nigeria News Agency that they were at the customs headquarters to plead, to consider his members in the employment.

Onyegbulam explained that some of the members of the association applied for the job vacancies recently advertised by the service.

NAN reports that the NCS began recruitment process in April, this year, to fill 3,200 vacancies of professionals in the service.

The president said most of his members were graduates hence the need to be considered in the exercise in order to be part of the system to contribute their quota.

The Public Relations Officer of the customs, Mr Joseph Attah, who received the physically challenged applicants, pledged to look into their request.

Attah assured that their request would be taken to the appropriate authority with a view to addressing it.

He advised those that applied to come and submit their printed slips at the customs’ headquarters for screening.

MS/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Economy

Oil prices nudge higher, eyes on speech by Fed chair

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Oil

Singapore, Aug. 23, 2019 Oil prices clawed back the previous day’s losses on Friday, with Brent nudging above $60 a barrel.

This is as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand growth and investors await clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 29 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $60.21 a barrel by 0629 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 were at $55.53 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent.

Both contracts were on track for a second week of gains.

“Oil is set to trade quietly today as it’s all about the Jackson Hole (meeting) tonight,’’ said Jeffrey Halley, a Singapore-based senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA.

A speech by Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, later on Friday at a meeting of global central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is expected to provide clues on whether the U.S. central bank will cut interest rates for a second time this year to boost the world’s largest economy.

Traders’ expectations of further U.S. monetary easing were clouded by comments from two Fed officials on Wednesday who said they do not see a case for a rate cut now.

“If Powell talks about lower for longer and reverses some of the hawkish comments that we heard from Fed members earlier this week, we could see it supporting oil,’’ said Michael McCarthy, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

McCarthy also said Brent has good support at $60 a barrel on technical charts and may have some upside potential.

Brent prices fell in July and are down so far in August, dropping after the International Energy Agency and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut demand growth forecasts due to risks to global economy from the U.S.-China trade war.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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