Asia’s growth trimmed; UK inflation eases off slightly: Economic wrap

Asia’s growth trimmed; UK inflation eases off slightly: Economic wrap
Supply chain disruptions are one of the factors affecting growth in Asia
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Updated 20 October 2021

Asia’s growth trimmed; UK inflation eases off slightly: Economic wrap

Asia’s growth trimmed; UK inflation eases off slightly: Economic wrap

In its new regional outlook, the International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for Asia in 2021 to 6.5 percent, compared to the 7.6 percent it speculated in April. 

The international organization cited supply chain disruptions, inflation fears and a rise in Covid-19 infections as factors that could hamper growth in the region.

However, the 2022 growth forecast has been upwardly tweaked to 5.7 percent — up from the 5.3 percent April forecast.

Meanwhile, China is expected to grow by 8 percent this year and 5.6 percent in 2022.

UK inflation eases

The UK’s annual inflation rate tapered off to 3.1 percent in September 2021 down from its nine-year high of 3.2 percent in August, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed. 

Transport prices rose by 8.4 percent, helping fuel some of the country’s inflationary pressures. Conversely, rises in restaurants and hotels costs eased to 5.1 percent in September compared to 8.6 percent in August.

Month-on-month inflation also decreased to 0.3 percent in September — down from 0.7 percent in August.

In addition, the yearly core inflation rate, which excludes price changes in volatile items like food and energy, reached 2.9 percent in September, falling from 3.1 percent in the previous month.

German producer prices

Germany’s annual rise in producer prices climbed to 14.2 percent in September, according to official data.

Surging energy prices, last year’s low base effects and the current supply chain problems all meant that the country experienced its highest increase since October 1974.

Energy costs leapt by 32.6 percent while prices of intermediate goods rose by 17.4 percent.

This was accompanied by a month-on-month 2.3 percent increase in producer prices in September.

Japan’s trade deficit

The Japanese trade balance recorded a deficit of JPY622.8 billion ($5.44 billion) in September, compared to a JPY667.4 billion ($5.83 billion) surplus in the same month of last year, official data showed. This is the second consecutive month in which a deficit was posted for the country. 

Japanese imports leapt to a 34-month high of JPY7,463 billion ($65.19 billion) in September as it increased by an annual rate of 38.6 percent. Energy imports soared by 90 percent while purchases of electrical machinery jumped by 33.2 percent. Australian imports experienced the highest increase, climbing by 99.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the country’s exports jumped by 13 percent year-on-year to JPY6,841 billion ($59.76 billion) in September 2021. This was fuelled by a 23.7 percent increase in machinery exports. Exports of chemicals also rose considerably, growing by a 27.4 percent yearly rate.

Fed to hold on rates

A majority of economists expect the Federal Reserve to wait until 2023 before raising its rates, a survey conducted by Reuters showed.

Surveyed economists think that the biggest risk facing the US economy in the coming period is rising inflation.

China’s FDI 

Based on China's commerce ministry data, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the country surged by 19.6 percent in the first nine months of 2021, when compared to the same period of the last year, to reach $134.7 billion.


NEOM to build Cognitive City security system to defend against cyber attacks

NEOM to build Cognitive City security system to defend against cyber attacks
Updated 10 sec ago

NEOM to build Cognitive City security system to defend against cyber attacks

NEOM to build Cognitive City security system to defend against cyber attacks

RIYADH: NEOM signed an initial agreement on Thursday to build and trial the ‘Cognitive City’ quantum security system, a statement revealed.

NEOM has teamed up with Arqit Quantum, known as Arqit, to develop new software capable of defending cognitive cities against cyber attacks.

The new quantum system will be built and tested at NEOM during the first half of 2022, and it can also be exported to other cognitive cities around the world, the statement said.

“NEOM is without doubt leading the world in the development of cognitive communities, and therefore the perfect launch partner for this technology,” Executive Director of Emerging Technologies for NEOM Mansoor Hanif said.


Tighter state control eases China's producer inflation in November from 26-year high

Tighter state control eases China's producer inflation in November from 26-year high
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 47 min 41 sec ago

Tighter state control eases China's producer inflation in November from 26-year high

Tighter state control eases China's producer inflation in November from 26-year high
  • The jump in consumer prices was mainly driven by increasing food prices

Tighter government control triggered a slowdown in Chinese producer prices as they went up by an annual rate of 12.9 percent in November, easing from the previous month’s 26-year high of 13.5 percent, official data showed.

The loss of steam reflects the efficacy of the government’s policies of controlling commodity prices and supply shortfalls in the previous period. 

The world's second-largest economy has tried to adopt policies of supply and price stabilization to curb the rise in prices.

This would improve policymakers’ ability to boost the economy, Bloomberg reported.

On a monthly basis, producer prices didn’t experience any change in November compared to a 2.5 percent increase a month earlier.

Meanwhile, consumer prices went up by a yearly rate of 2.3 percent, up by 0.8 percent from a month earlier, to hit its highest level since August 2020. 

The inflationary pressures were attributable to last year’s low base effects.

The jump in consumer prices was mainly driven by increasing food prices, which went up by 1.6 percent, accelerating from the previous month’s drop. 

In particular, fresh vegetables prices surged by 30.6 percent while that of pork slumped by 32.7 percent.

In addition, annual core inflation rate, which excludes changes in volatile items such as food and energy, hit 1.2 percent in November dropping by 0.1 percent from October’s level.


Dubai-based organic nappy maker PureBorn raises $2m seed money 

Dubai-based organic nappy maker PureBorn raises $2m seed money 
Updated 57 min 34 sec ago

Dubai-based organic nappy maker PureBorn raises $2m seed money 

Dubai-based organic nappy maker PureBorn raises $2m seed money 
  • The female-led company will use the funds to expand internationally and further its product development

DUBAI: Dubai-based startup PureBorn, which produces eco-friendly baby products, has raised $2 million in its latest seed funding round. 

The female-led company will use the funds to expand internationally and further its product development, it said in a statement. 

“As a consumer goods, e-commerce business, and a female-owned and run SME (small and medium enterprise), we are thrilled to be paving the way in this exciting category,” PureBorn founder Hannah Curran said.


Celebrity shoutout platform Minly acquires Dubai’s Oulo to consolidate reach 

Celebrity shoutout platform Minly acquires Dubai’s Oulo to consolidate reach 
Updated 09 December 2021

Celebrity shoutout platform Minly acquires Dubai’s Oulo to consolidate reach 

Celebrity shoutout platform Minly acquires Dubai’s Oulo to consolidate reach 

DUBAI: Egyptian startup Minly is acquiring Dubai-based celebrity shoutout platform Oulo to combine services and reach for an undisclosed value. 

The platforms allow fans to connect with athletes, musicians, and other celebrities, and the merged business will combine the pair’s roster of celebrities across the Arab region. 

“Historically, the majority of pan-Arab celebrities were either Egyptian or Lebanese. Therefore, combining forces unlocks immense synergies as, together, we dominate the two most important sources of cultural content,” Kamal Nazha, Oula’s founder, said.

The acquisition follows Minly’s recent seed round where it raised $3.6 million off the back of a year of growth for the platform. It acquired 130,000 users and 1,000 celebrities in just over a year.

“Our mission is to become the number one creator economy platform in the region, and speed to market is critical to achieving this,” Minly chief Mohamed El-Shinnawy told Tech Crunch in an interview. 


Gazprom Neft expects record hydrocarbon output this year, topping 100m tonnes

Gazprom Neft expects record hydrocarbon output this year, topping 100m tonnes
Close-up of Gazprom Neft truck. Translation of a sign in Russian means Gazprom Oil. Shutterstock
Updated 09 December 2021

Gazprom Neft expects record hydrocarbon output this year, topping 100m tonnes

Gazprom Neft expects record hydrocarbon output this year, topping 100m tonnes
  • The company has been actively developing northern regions of Russia, mainly the Yamal region

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, expects its hydrocarbon production to exceed 100 million tons of oil equivalent this year, reaching a record high, it said on Thursday.


Gazprom Neft had aimed to reach the 100 million tons target by 2020 but had to delay that due to production restrictions agreed by the OPEC+ group of leading oil producing countries.


The company has been actively developing northern regions of Russia, mainly the Yamal region, as its key oilfields in Western Siberia are beсoming increasingly depleted.


Gazprom Neft said on Thursday that higher production volumes in 2021 have been supported by the commissioning of the Tazovskoye field in the Yamal-Nenets region, as well as the launch of a new integrated gas treatment plant at the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field.


The company also said it would increase investment next year.


“In 2022, Gazprom Neft’s total investment is expected to increase by more than 10 percent, with funding for the investment program expected to exceed 500 billion roubles ($6.8 billion),” it said.