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UPDATED: Nigeria’s inflation rate rises to 12.34% as COVID effects bite harder

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveal that Nigeria’s inflation rate increased by 12.34% (year-on-year) in April 2020. This is 0.08% higher than the rate of 12.26% recorded in March 2020 and the highest rise since April 2018.

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FG to release 30,000 tons of maize to poultry farmers after import ban, President submits 2021-2023 MTEF to National Assembly, public holiday, inflation, President Buhari reappoints Ben Akabueze as DG Budget office,

As the country battles with the economic downturn that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s inflation rate hits it’s highest in 24 months.
According to the latest CPI report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation rate increased by 12.34% (year-on-year) in April 2020 from 12.26% recorded in March 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the index increased by 1.02% in April 2020, a 0.18% rate higher than 0.84% recorded in the previous month.

Food inflation

The composite food index increased by 15.03% in April 2020 0.03 points higher, compared to 14.98% recorded in March 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the closely watched component of the inflation index increased by 1.18% in April 2020, up by 0.24% points compared to 0.94% recorded in March 2020.

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According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Potatoes, yam and other tubers, Fish, Oils and fats, Meat, Fruits, Bread and cereals, and Vegetables.

READ ALSO: Power sector records N2.2 billion loss, here is why

Core inflation

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Core inflation (All items less farm produce) which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 9.98% in April 2020, a 0.25% increase when compared to 9.73% recorded in March 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 0.93% in April 2020, up by 0.13% when compared with 0.8% recorded in the previous month.

The highest increases according to the report, were recorded in prices of Bicycle, passenger transport by road, passenger transport by sea and inland waterways, paramedical services, Hospital services, pharmaceutical products, Medical services, Motorcycles, and Major household appliances whether electronic or not.

Worst hit states

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Bauchi state recorded the highest year-on-year inflation rate of 14.44% followed by Rivers state with 14.16% and Sokoto state, which recorded a 13.99% inflation rate. Meanwhile the states with the lowest rise in inflation rate were Kwara (8.98%), Abuja (10.8%), and Edo state with 10.87%.

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Sokoto state also recorded the highest year-on-year food inflation rate, followed by Abuja with 17.65% and Akwa Ibom, which recorded 17.55%. On the other hand, Enugu state recorded the slowest rise in food inflation, having recorded a 12.89% increase, followed by Edo state with 12.9% and Ebonyi state with 13.04%.

READ MORE: CBN to “reduce” savings rate to 1% declare OMO bills as “Poison”

The latest inflation report implies a fast rise in the prices of overall goods and services in the economy, caused by the lockdown procedure in response to COVID-19 pandemic and the continual global oil crisis.

It should be noted that the latest increase in the inflation rate means that the purchasing power of consumers to buy goods and services deteriorated.

That is, the ability of consumers to buy the same quantity of goods with a fixed income level has worsened within the period, despite investment yields being low and economic activity practically kept on hold.

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Economy & Politics

WTO DG: US, EU divided over Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo

The US and EU are divided over the choice between Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo for the WTO DG.

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The United States and Europe are heading for a dispute over which of the candidates to support for the top position in World Trade Organization (WTO), as the selection of the first woman to head the global trade organization enters a pivotal phase.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the EU is inclined to support Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and may sign off on that position Wednesday, whereas the Trump administration is leaning towards South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee. However, China’s preference and those of other major economies like Brazil and India remain unclear.

The new DG, WTO is expected to be announced in November to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down from the job at the end of August – a year before his term ended. He was the sixth consecutive man to lead the 25-year-old organization.

Rufus Yerxa, former deputy DG of the WTO from 2002 to 2013 and now heads the National Foreign Trade Council, a Washington-based business group representing US companies said, “We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that this could end in a deadlock and that an outcome will have to wait for the U.S. election and what the next administration decides to do.’

While few countries are publicly saying which of the two women they support, the process requires a consensus of the WTO’s 164 members; meaning a single nation could block either Yoo or Okonjo-Iweala. Muddling the picture even further are trading alliances from Africa to Asia strained by three years of tariff wars and protectionist sentiment, only heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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For instance, South Korea’s Yoo has struggled to secure support from Japan, a trading partner and rival of South Korea. Deteriorating trade relations between the two export powerhouses has negatively impacted on Yoo’s campaign initially and remain an important consideration in the last phase of the race.

In an interview on Friday, Yoo acknowledged that she might have an uphill battle. She said, “Everybody loves an underdog story. I believe I have earned members’ trust through my hard work, sweat and perseverance, and sincerity. I will continue to do that.”

The EU played a critical role in the selection process for the previous round when the 27-nation bloc selected both Yoo and Okonjo-Iweala to be its preferred candidates for the final stage. That effectively sank the candidacy of Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, who had been viewed as an early front-runner in the race.

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Since the shortlist was trimmed to two earlier this month, both Yoo and Okonjo-Iweala have been working behind the scenes to shore up support. Among the bargaining chip they can offer to nations that endorse them is a job for their citizens as one of the four WTO deputy DG.

Backstory

Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjp-Iweala had secured the support of the 55-member African Union to lead the global trade organization. This is in addition to the endorsement from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Caribbean and the Pacific States, bringing the total to about 79 countries that are currently supporting her candidacy.

Nigeria’s former finance minister has positioned herself as an outsider – one who has never worked at the WTO or led a trade deal negotiation. Last week she called for a return to a multilateral system. In a virtual panel discussion on Thursday, she said, “Let’s strengthen that – that is what will serve the world, and let’s do less of the bilateral spats that we see.”

But Okonjo-Iweala is viewed by people familiar with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s thinking, as being too close to pro-trade internationalists in Washington like Robert Zoellick, the former USTR and World BankPresident. Okonjo-Iweala, who served as a Senior Executive under Zoellick at the World Bank from 2007 to 2011, was a candidate to replace him when he stepped down in 2012.

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Lighthizer is a longtime WTO skeptic, and people close to him say he would prefer to see a more technocratic candidate like Yoo, South Korea’s Trade Minister and a 25-year veteran who has helped expand her country’s commercial network through bilateral accords with China, the EU, the U.K., and the U.S. He knows the Korean from having worked with her on the renegotiation of a trade agreement early in the Trump administration.

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What this means

It appears that there might be a stalemate in the selection of the new head of the WTO as the 2 parties are very critical and important stakeholders in the global trade organization. The US has always played a key role in deciding who leads the WTO; although, in collaboration with most of its European allies.

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Economy & Politics

FRC to implement new IFRS 17

The FRC is set to implement International Financial Reporting Standard 17 (IFRS) on or before January 2023.

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The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria is expected to implement International Financial Reporting
Standard 17 (IFRS) on or before January 2023. This follows the amendment of the standard on June 25, 2020.

This was disclosed by the Head, Directorate of Accounting Standards Public Sector, FRC, Dr. Iheanyi Anyahara, during a Stakeholders interactive forum with FRC and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) webinar recently.

Nigeria adopted the IFRS as part of measures to improve transparency, reporting practices and full disclosures.

Having adopted the IFRS by the Council, Anyahara explained that all amendments to existing standards alongside the new standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) must be implemented by all reporting entities in Nigeria.

According to him, the Council is aware that implementing IFRS 17 commands a radical departure from current accounting standards and produces complex operational challenges.

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He said, “That is why we are organizing this programme and many more in collaboration with IASB to guide the users of the standards both in application and implementation.

“The Council will be organizing more events in financial reporting, auditing and corporate governance in order to sensitize the general public and lessen the knowledge gap in IFRS standards in Nigeria in collaboration with relevant agencies and organisations.”

Back story:

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Last July, Nairametrics reported when FRC released guidelines for reporting in compliance with the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance. (NCCG 2018).

In a statement posted on its website, the Council explained that it had been engaging with all regulators of sectors for the purpose of developing sectoral guidelines of corporate governance on specific requirements relevant to each sector, which are not covered under NCCG 2018.

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Coronavirus

China’s economy bounces back from COVID-19 slump, with a growth of 4.9% in Q3 2020

The Chinese economy has seen a growth of 4.9% between July and September, rising from the slump of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hudson Mining Limited, China's economy bounces back from COVID-19 slump, with a growth of 4.9% in Q3 2020

The Chinese economy has continued to show stronger recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as its economy saw growth of 4.9% between July and September – Q3 2020, compared to the same quarter last year. However, the figure is lower than the 5.2% projected by most international economists.

China is now leading the charge for a global recovery based on its latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data. The near 5% growth is a far cry from the slump the Chinese economy suffered at the start of 2020 when the pandemic first emerged.

READ: COVID-19: How CBN policies helped prevent the collapse of the Nigerian economy – Oscar Onyema

READ: TiKTok to take legal actions against President Trump’s ban

China’s trade figures for September also pointed to a stronger recovery, with exports growing by 9.9% and imports growing by 13.2% compared to September last year.

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It appears to be a broadening recovery with the important services sector rebounding. Domestic tourists and travelers have probably helped the recovery continue by spending their money at home because global restrictions mean they can’t yet go abroad. With international travel severely restricted, millions of Chinese have been traveling and spending domestically.

READ: OECD reduces global economic decline to 4.5% from earlier forecast of 6% 

What you should know

  • While the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the year’s growth targets, China remains in a trade war with the US and it has relatively hurt its economy.
  • For the first three months of the year, China’s economy shrank by 6.8% when it saw nationwide shutdowns of factories and manufacturing plants. It was the first time China’s economy contracted since it started recording quarterly figures in 1992.
  • Over the previous two decades, China had seen an average economic growth rate of about 9%; although, the pace has gradually been slowing.
  • There were 637m trips in China over the eight-day holiday which generated revenue of 466.6bn RMB ($69.6bn, £53.8bn), according to data from its Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
  • Duty-free sales in the tropical island province of Hainan more than doubled from last year, soaring by nearly 150% according to the local customs data.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

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What they are saying

According to Iris Pang, Chief China Economist for ING in Hong Kong, “I don’t think the headline number is bad. Job creation in China is quite stable which creates more consumption.”

According to Robin Brant, BBC China correspondent, “China’s economy continues to grow at rates unimaginable in other Covid-hit countries. Draconian lockdown measures to control the virus combined with some government stimulus appeared to have worked well. While the growth of 4.9% is slightly below some forecasts, industrial output – a good barometer of state-controlled activity, came in above expectations”

READ: Many Billionaires became richer by 27% during the COVID-19 pandemic – Swiss Bank UBS

READ: Access Bank gets regulatory approval to become a Holding Company

According to Yoshikiyo Shimamine, Chief Economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo, “China’s economy remains on the recovery path, driven by a rebound in exports, but we cannot say it has completely shaken off the drag caused by the coronavirus.”

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