Connect with us

Economy

Libya starts using new exchange rate as economy struggles – Al Jazeera English

Published

 on


Central Bank devalues the country’s currency in a bid to save the faltering economy damaged by years of conflict.

The Central Bank of Libya on Sunday introduced a new unified exchange rate agreed last month after years of division between rival branches based on opposing sides of the front line.

As part of the change, the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli suspended a fee on foreign currency transactions that it introduced two years ago to bring the official rate closer to the black market rate.

The Central Bank of Libya board agreed to the new rate of 4.8 dinars to the United States dollar last month in its first full meeting for five years after splitting when the country divided between western and eastern factions.

In Tripoli, the black market rate on Sunday was 5 dinars to the dollar after dropping last week towards the new official rate.

“We’ll have to wait three or four months to see how things go at commercial banks,” said Amer, a currency dealer.

Black market exchange shops in the east were mostly closed on Sunday waiting for the market to settle.

Malik al-Fakhri, an electronics dealer in Benghazi, said he had stopped using banks after 2013 because he lost too much money importing at the official rate and turned instead to the black market.

“The most important thing for the trader is stability,” he said.

The new rate is an effective devaluation, meaning the cost of imported goods is likely to rise.

“This decision is a mistake that will harm citizens more than benefitting them and is only to satisfy traders,” said Hathem al-Barghathi, also in Benghazi.

The moves are part of a wider effort to resolve economic obstacles to peacemaking, encourage implementation of previously agreed reforms and hamper opportunities for corruption.

However, while fighting between the GNA and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) mostly stopped in June after the collapse of his assault on Tripoli, diplomatic progress towards a political solution has slowed.

A ceasefire agreed to in October in Geneva has been only partially implemented, with troops still occupying front-line positions, a main coastal road still closed and foreign mercenaries remaining in place.

Meanwhile, while the group of Libyans picked by the United Nations to plot a path towards democracy has set elections for the end of this year, they could not agree on a new unified government to oversee the transition period.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Notley reaffirms NDP's vision for Alberta's economy at Calgary Chamber of Commerce – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley reaffirmed her party’s vision for the province’s economic recovery in a Zoom presentation at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

She said she would work with Calgarians to reinvigorate the city’s downtown core and finally get the Green Line LRT built.

The Official Opposition has an initiative called Alberta’s Future that encourages Albertans to submit suggestions and ideas on its website for rebuilding the economy.

The site is also where the party’s proposals for rebuilding the economy are published, and include strategies for affordable child care and renewable energy.

Speaking in Calgary, Notley reiterated the NDP’s proposals for economic recovery and development, and stressed the importance of planning for when the pandemic is over.

“We need to start planning for what comes next, we need a vision for after the vaccine,” Notley said.

“When the pandemic is over, we will need a longer-term strategy to grow small businesses — they are the backbone of our economy, after all — and we also need to look at new supports to assist their workers.”

Downtown core, Green Line priorities, Notley says

Notley said the NDP hopes to work with Calgarians in order to “breathe new life” into the city’s downtown core, which struggled with a vacancy rate near 30 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to Notley, the NDP wants to consult with business owners, executives, tech startups, post-secondary leaders, community groups and “every single Calgarian that wants a say” in the future of the city’s unused office space.

She also pledged that the NDP would work to get the long-embattled Green Line built, citing its importance to the 20,000 Calgarians its construction would employ and the 60,000 who would use it.

The project is the largest in Calgary’s history, with a potential price tag of $5.5 billion and plenty of ongoing controversy.

Since October, the city has been working with the province in order to deal with concerns raised in a consultant’s report the province still hasn’t shared with the city. 

“This project should not be a political football,” Notley said. “It should be a governance field goal.”

Child care and renewables

Notley also stressed the importance of the NDP’s proposal for implementing provincewide, universal $25-a-day early learning and child care.

“Child care is the next medicare, and it will make a fundamental difference in both the lives of parents and our ability to recover the economy faster, and more equitably,” Notley said. 

“It boosts household income and reduces poverty, it improves educational outcomes for children and their earning potential later in life … there is no economic recovery without affordable child care. Period.”

Proposals for the exploration of hydrogen and geothermal resources to diversify the energy industry have also been drafted by the NDP, and were underscored by Notley at the presentation.

“This is where the world is going,” Notley said. “According to Goldman Sachs, global investment in the suite of renewable energy as a whole is set to surpass oil and gas for the first time ever this year.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Notley reaffirms NDP's vision for Alberta's economy at Calgary Chamber of Commerce – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley reaffirmed her party’s vision for the province’s economic recovery in a Zoom presentation at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

She said she would work with Calgarians to reinvigorate the city’s downtown core and finally get the Green Line LRT built.

The Official Opposition has an initiative called Alberta’s Future that encourages Albertans to submit suggestions and ideas on its website for rebuilding the economy.

The site is also where the party’s proposals for rebuilding the economy are published, and include strategies for affordable child care and renewable energy.

Speaking in Calgary, Notley reiterated the NDP’s proposals for economic recovery and development, and stressed the importance of planning for when the pandemic is over.

“We need to start planning for what comes next, we need a vision for after the vaccine,” Notley said.

“When the pandemic is over, we will need a longer-term strategy to grow small businesses — they are the backbone of our economy, after all — and we also need to look at new supports to assist their workers.”

Downtown core, Green Line priorities, Notley says

Notley said the NDP hopes to work with Calgarians in order to “breathe new life” into the city’s downtown core, which struggled with a vacancy rate near 30 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to Notley, the NDP wants to consult with business owners, executives, tech startups, post-secondary leaders, community groups and “every single Calgarian that wants a say” in the future of the city’s unused office space.

She also pledged that the NDP would work to get the long-embattled Green Line built, citing its importance to the 20,000 Calgarians its construction would employ and the 60,000 who would use it.

The project is the largest in Calgary’s history, with a potential price tag of $5.5 billion and plenty of ongoing controversy.

Since October, the city has been working with the province in order to deal with concerns raised in a consultant’s report the province still hasn’t shared with the city. 

“This project should not be a political football,” Notley said. “It should be a governance field goal.”

Child care and renewables

Notley also stressed the importance of the NDP’s proposal for implementing provincewide, universal $25-a-day early learning and child care.

“Child care is the next medicare, and it will make a fundamental difference in both the lives of parents and our ability to recover the economy faster, and more equitably,” Notley said. 

“It boosts household income and reduces poverty, it improves educational outcomes for children and their earning potential later in life … there is no economic recovery without affordable child care. Period.”

Proposals for the exploration of hydrogen and geothermal resources to diversify the energy industry have also been drafted by the NDP, and were underscored by Notley at the presentation.

“This is where the world is going,” Notley said. “According to Goldman Sachs, global investment in the suite of renewable energy as a whole is set to surpass oil and gas for the first time ever this year.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Most Major Economies Are Shrinking. Not China’s. – The New York Times

Published

 on


The Chinese economy grew 2.3 percent last year, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Monday in Beijing.

SHANGHAI — As most nations around the world struggle with new lockdowns and layoffs in the face of the surging pandemic, just one major economy has bounced back after bringing the coronavirus mostly under control: China.

The Chinese economy rose 2.3 percent last year, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Monday in Beijing. By contrast, the United States, Japan and many nations in Europe are expected to have suffered steep falls in economic output.

China’s strength seemed improbable a year ago, when the virus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. As travel and business ground to nearly a halt, the economy shrank 6.8 percent in the January-March period compared with 2019, the first contraction in nearly half a century.

Since then, the economy has improved steadily, finishing the year with growth of 6.5 percent in the last three months compared to the same period in 2019. While the recovery remains uneven, factories across China are running in overdrive to fill overseas orders and cranes are constantly busy at construction sites — a boom in exports and debt-fueled infrastructure investments that is expected to drive the economy in the coming year.

At stalls in the Wuhan Taiyuan Textile Market in Hubei Province, garment factory managers have been ordering large bolts of cloth to fill domestic and international apparel orders. At Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group in Jiangsu Province, the plants have been running day and night to keep up with demand for new earthmovers and pile drivers. And at Huahong Holding Group, a large exporter in Zhejiang Province of framed prints and oil paintings, profits have doubled.

“This is the only major economy that quickly recovered from the pandemic and could run business normally,” said Zhou Linlin, a Shanghai financier on Huahong’s board. “So all these orders from everywhere are coming to China.”

The stock market in Shanghai was up nearly 1 percent late on Monday. It had already climbed 16 percent over the past year as domestic and foreign investors placed large bets on a continued economic recovery.

People are going to restaurants again, particularly in affluent cities like Beijing.
Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The overall resilience of China’s economy, though, masks pockets of weakness.

Jobs abound for blue-collar workers, but have been scarce for recent college graduates with little experience. Service businesses like hotels and restaurants did well late last year in big coastal cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but never fully recovered in inland provinces. Makers of consumer electronics or personal protective equipment have benefited from the pandemic, but exporters to poor countries devastated by disease have not.

Zhang Shaobo, the owner of a Halloween mask factory in Yiwu, received word last March that one of his most consistent export customers in India was sick with the coronavirus. By May, the man was dead. New customers from Mr. Zhang’s main markets in India and South America also stopped coming to China to look at his latest products.

He laid off all but four of his 20 factory workers, and began making preparations to close his shop at Yiwu’s wholesale market. With business so weak, he said, “I am not going to keep renting it.”

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, acknowledged the economic challenges in a speech published on Friday by a Communist Party journal, Qiushi.

“There are profound adjustments underway to the international economy, technology, culture, security and politics, and the world has entered a period of turbulent change,” Mr. Xi said in the speech, which was delivered in August. “In the coming period, we face an external environment of increased headwinds and counter-currents, and we must prepare to respond to a series of new risks and challenges.”

Those challenges could worsen in the weeks ahead. After considerable success in taming the coronavirus, China has suffered a series of small outbreaks of late. The government has mobilized swiftly, by building hospitals, imposing mass testing and putting at least 28 million people under lockdown.

The authorities are starting to reimpose a wide variety of health checks that are discouraging consumers from spending money. Even before the recent outbreaks, not everyone was prospering. Consumer confidence never fully recovered last year. Chinese families have proved particularly wary of big-ticket expenditures, like home remodeling projects or new furniture.

Growth in retail sales faltered in December, slowing to 4.6 percent from 5 percent the month before. Ning Jizhe, the commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics, attributed this to the renewed spread of the virus, saying that, “this has brought some uncertainty to the economy.”

Lin Jinting, a manual laborer in Wuhan, can usually earn nearly $100 a day carrying heavy loads home for shoppers. Now, many are deferring major purchases, and work is scarce.

“I came here at 8 o’clock this morning and I haven’t had any orders today,” he said on a recent afternoon.

Keeping the virus at bay has been critical to China’s economic success over the past year. While the pandemic ravages other nations, Beijing’s aggressive top-down approach kept the virus from spreading rapidly across the country.

In China, there have been nearly 100,000 total reported cases and fewer than 5,000 deaths, mostly centered in Wuhan; about 150 cases a day have been reported in the current outbreaks. In the United States, there have been over 220,000 cases a day and 3,300 daily deaths.

Mary Wu, a 26-year-old saleswoman in Jiande in southeastern China, was only allowed to leave her apartment once every three days during a lockdown last spring. Local schools closed for her children, aged 4 and 9. But life quickly returned to normal, schools reopened and Ms. Wu and her family began eating out again.

Ms. Wu even sent her elder child to extra classes to make sure that he caught up on any ground he lost. She no longer worries much about the virus.

“We all wear masks,” she said.

Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

With the virus largely under control, Beijing has relied on its old playbook to rev up the economy.

When Wuhan was still under lockdown, the authorities moved to get manufacturing up and running again in other areas. They provided long-haul buses to get workers back from their home villages to factories after Chinese New Year. State-owned banks extended special loans to factories, while many government agencies gave partial refunds of business taxes that had been paid before the pandemic.

Already the world’s largest manufacturer, China widened its lead this year. Despite the trade war and tariffs, American and European companies turned to China parts and goods, when factories elsewhere struggled to meet demand. Factories within China turned to nearby suppliers to replace imports as transoceanic supply lines became less dependable.

The “Made in China” label has been especially popular as people stuck in their homes have redecorated and renovated. At the Xingxing Refrigeration factory in Taizhou, managers can’t hire workers fast enough to keep up with strong demand for freezer chests for people who want to store more food during pandemic lockdowns.

Keith Bradsher/The New York Times

The consumer electronics sector in China is especially strong right now, for white-collar and blue-collar workers alike. When American managers were no longer able to travel to China last spring to oversee tech projects, demand surged for electronics project managers who were already in China.

“Companies were scooping up anyone they could find,” said Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, the chief executive of Instrumental, a remote quality monitoring system used by global brands to track and manage electronics manufacturing.

Beijing also ramped up its infrastructure spending. Every major city in China was already connected with high-speed rail lines, enough to span the continental United States seven times, but new lines were rapidly added last year to smaller cities. New expressways crisscrossed remote western provinces. Construction companies turned on floodlights at many sites so that work could continue around the clock.

Exports and infrastructure fueled much of the growth over the past year. China’s exports grew 18.1 percent in December compared with the same month a year earlier, and were up 21.1 percent in November. Fixed-asset investment in everything from high-speed rail lines to new apartment buildings climbed 2.9 percent last year.

Both are expected to power the economy in 2021.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicted last week that the country’s economy would expand 7.8 percent this year. If it does, it would be China’s strongest performance in nine years.

Liu Yi, Coral Yang and Amber Wang contributed research.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending