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Bank official warns of early interest rate rise as Kraft Heinz puts up prices

Kraft Heinz

Bank official warns of early interest rate rise as Kraft Heinz puts up prices

A Bank of England policymaker has warned households to get ready for “significantly earlier” interest rate rises as inflation pressures mount, and Kraft Heinz became the latest company to say that food prices will rise.

Michael Saunders, one of the Bank’s nine rate-setters, said investors were right to bet on faster increases in borrowing costs with consumer price inflation on course to rise above 4%, adding to signs Threadneedle Street might become the first major central bank to raise rates since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

“I’m not in favour of using code words or stating our intentions in advance of the meeting too precisely. The decisions get taken at the proper time,” Saunders said in an interview. “But markets have priced in over the last few months an earlier rise in Bank rate than previously and I think that’s appropriate.”

His comments come as households face mounting energy bills and the prospect of higher food prices. The boss of Kraft Heinz said on Sunday the company, the maker of Heinz tomato ketchup and baked beans, was putting up prices in several countries.

“We are raising prices, where necessary, around the world,” Miguel Patricio told the BBC, adding there were a number of reasons behind the rises.

“Specifically in the UK, with the lack of truck drivers. In [the] US, logistic costs also increased substantially, and there’s a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy,” he said.

Iceland, the UK frozen food chain, has recently warned that “price rises are inevitable”, while Tesco and the Co-op are among the food retailers to have given similar warnings.

Last month the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee voted unanimously to keep rates at 0.1%, an all-time low, despite annual inflation running at 3.2%, the highest level in more than nine years and above the Bank’s 2% target.

However, Saunders and Dave Ramsden, a deputy governor, voted to cut short the limit on the central bank’s £895bn quantitative easing programme by £35bn.

Saunders said markets had fully priced in a February rate rise by the UK central bank and had half priced in a December increase in borrowing costs.

“I’m not trying to give a commentary on exactly which one, but I think it is appropriate that the markets have moved to pricing a significantly earlier path of tightening than they did previously,” he said.

The comments by Saunders came shortly after the Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, said inflation running above the central bank’s 2% target was concerning and had to be managed to prevent it from becoming permanently embedded.

“We are going to have a very delicate and challenging job on our hands, so we have got to, in a sense, prevent the thing becoming permanently embedded because that would obviously be very damaging,” Bailey told the Yorkshire Post newspaper.

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Business

Adopting CNG can reduce Nigeria’s inflation – FG

The Nigerian government has said that successfully adopting Compressed Natural Gas can reduce inflation, which soared to 33.69 per cent in April 2024.

The Programme Director of the Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Pi-CNG, Michael Oluwagbemi, disclosed this during a one-day South-South and South-East stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He noted that Nigerians can realize between 40 to 50 per cent savings from petrol upon adopting CNG.

“It can reduce inflation. It is cheaper. You can realize between 40% and 50% savings from patrol. This is good for Nigeria, and it is safer.

“It is 18 times safer than petrol and diesel. It is cleaner and safer for the environment,” he said.

He added that Nigeria would save about $2.5 billion by converting every one million vehicles to CNG.

Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu asked all federal government ministries, departments and agencies to procure CNG buses.

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Business

Nigeria won’t need to import fuel by June — Dangote

Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Dangote Group, announced that by next month, Nigeria will no longer need to import gasoline due to the operational plans of the Dangote Refinery.

Speaking as a panellist at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote highlighted that the refinery, which has already commenced supplying diesel and aviation fuel in Nigeria, has the capacity to fulfil the diesel and petrol needs of West Africa and the aviation fuel requirements for the entire African continent.

Dangote emphasised, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline, and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.”

Highlighting how far the oil company has come, Dangote expressed how they are focused on ensuring that the continent will depend less on imports in the near future.

“We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, and diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico,” he said.

“Today, our polypropylene and our polyethene will meet the entire demand of Africa, and we are doing base oil, which is like engine oil; we are doing linear benzyl, which is a raw material to produce detergent. We have 1.4 billion people in the population; nobody is producing that in Africa.

“So, all the raw materials for our detergents are imported. We are producing that raw material to make Africa self-sufficient.

“As I said, give us three or a maximum of four years, and Africa will not, I repeat, not import any more fertiliser from anywhere.

“We will make Africa self-sufficient in potash, phosphate, and urea; we are at three million metric tonnes, and in the next twenty months, we will be at six million metric tonnes of urea, which is the entire capacity of Egypt. We are getting there.”

Dangote recalled how his dream for further investment in Africa as well as ending fuel importation in Africa has culminated in what is now one of the biggest refineries in the world.

“For some of us, despite the boom of the capital market in the US—you know, Google, Microsoft, and the rest—we didn’t participate; we took all our money and invested in Africa.

“We had this dream just about five years ago, and we said we wanted to move from five billion dollars in revenue to thirty billion dollars in revenue, and we made it happen. It is possible and now we have made it happen and now we have finished our refinery.

“Our refinery is quite big; it is something that we believe that Africa needs. If you look at the whole continent, there are only two countries that don’t import petroleum products, which is a tragedy.

“They are only Algeria and Libya. The rest are all importers. So, we need to change and make sure that we don’t just go and produce raw materials; we should also produce finished products and create jobs.

Speaking further, the African richest man said, “One of the things we also need to know as Africans is that we produce raw materials and export them when you export raw materials and somebody now keeps importing things into your continent and dumping goods. what you are importing is poverty and exporting jobs. So, we have to change that narrative.”

“We just commissioned in February, and now we are producing jet fuel, diesel, and by next month, gasoline.

“What that would do is that we would be taking most of the African crude that is being produced and also be able to supply not only Nigeria because our capacity is too big for Nigeria, but it would also supply West Africa, Central Africa, and also South Africa.

“We have 650,000 barrels per day, 1 million metric tonnes of polypropylene, and 590,000 metric tonnes of carbon black; those are the raw materials—ink, dyes and co.

“We are expanding more. This is the first phase and we are going out to the next phase, which will start early next year.”(tribune)

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Business

Customs FX rate for import duties rises to N1,530/$

The foreign exchange (FX) rate for import duties has been adjusted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to N1,530 per dollar.

This was adopted on Friday, May 17, representing a 6.13 percent increase compared to the N1,441.58 adopted on May 6.

The NCS always adopts FX rates recommended by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for import duties based on trading activities in the official FX market

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