Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2015 Contents A15
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T&T s crude oil production
improved by 2.2 per cent year-
on-year over the first half of 2015.
Data in the July 2015 edition of
the Central Bank s Economic Bul-
letin show that total production
averaged 81,499 barrels a day for
the first six months of the year, up
from 79,741 barrels a day in the
corresponding period in 2014.
Improvements in the local petro-
leum industry were attributed to
an increase in bpTT s output and
Repsol s rapid commercialisation
of a recent find in its Teak, Samaan
and Poui acreage.
The Central Bank also reported
that Petrotrin s Pointe-a-Pierre
refinery regained momentum. As
a result, refinery throughput reg-
istered a 25.1 per cent year-on-
year increase. Crude imports---
which generally account for a large
share of refinery throughput---
increased by 41.3 per cent and
exports of refined products
expanded by 21 per cent.
However, natural gas output
declined by 5.2 per cent due to
downtime at two of the sector s
"Although at lower levels than
the previous year, production levels
remained relatively healthy over
the first quarter of 2015 at an aver-
age of 4,047 million cubic feet per
day," the Central Bank said.
"In the second quarter, however,
output was noticeably hampered
as one of the major producers
undertook significant upgrade
works at its offshore facilities."
According to the report, main-
tenance activity and lower gas sup-
plies at major upstream producers
resulted in declines in LNG and
Atlantic suffered a 3.4 per cent
fall in operations between January
and May compared to the same
period in 2014 and NGL production
at Phoenix Park Gas Processors
Limited fell by 7.8 per cent over
the same period.
WASHINGTON---Is 2 per cent
inflation too high to reach?
The Federal Reserve and Euro-
pean Central Bank have been striv-
ing to generate a small dose of
inflation---around 2 per cent annu-
ally, just enough to spur more
spending and income but not so
much that prices surge out of con-
Both central banks are consis-
And so the question has arisen
of whether the Fed and the ECB
should recognise that 2 per cent
inflation in a global economy
awash in cheap oil, available work-
ers and money-saving technolo-
gies might be too ambitious and
should lower their targets.
ECB President Mario Draghi
faced that very question at a news
conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
Draghi was having none of it,
at least publicly.
He said that lowering the ECB s
2 percent inflation target would
represent an admission of failure
that could damage the central
bank s authority.
"It will test our credibility if we
were to change our target, when
it s taking more effort to achieve
that target," he said.
In the 19 European countries
that share the euro currency,
annual inflation is a scant 0.2 per
cent. In the United States, the
Fed s preferred inflation measure
is 0.3 per cent. US inflation hasn t
breached 2 per cent in more than
The major central banks his-
torically low interest rates and
mass bond purchases have failed
to offset the pressures of lower
energy prices and tepid consumer
When the Fed ends its next pol-
icy meeting on September 17, it
will announce whether it s raising
US interest rates after nearly seven
years of record lows. In calculating
that decision, the Fed must weigh
its confidence that inflation will
return eventually to 2 per cent---
one of its mandates.
The credibility of the Fed and
ECB hinges in part on their ability
to achieve that level of inflation.
And as that target remains distant,
central bankers must maintain the
extraordinary interventions they
began with the 2008 global finan-
Lowering an inflation target
would carry its own risks. For one
thing, it would put countries per-
ilously close to a deflationary trap.
In this scenario, consumers would
stop spending because goods and
services keep becoming cheap-
er---which then stifles economic
growth. That s why economists
and analysts say that central banks
need to continue supporting eco-
Mohamed El-Erian, chief eco-
nomic adviser at Allianz and a
former deputy director of the
International Monetary Fund, says
the dilemma stems from an over-
reliance on interest-rate policies
to support a floundering Europe.
Alternatively, El-Erian argues, gov-
ernments could have deployed
other, budgetary options.
"The fundamental issue is nei-
ther the target nor what the ECB
can do on its own to meet it," he
says. "It is about the lack of a
comprehensive policy response
that engages the full economic
tools available to Europe."
In the United States, the situ-
ation is somewhat different in the
United States, where the unem-
ployment rate is half the size of
Europe s. The US jobless rate has
dipped to 5.3 per cent, a nearly
normal level that would usually
lead the Fed to raise rates. Yet low
unemployment has failed to send
inflation to the 2 per cent target.
Some economists caution
against a September rate hike by
the Fed precisely because of the
inflation target: They argue that
a rate increase that takes effect
before clear evidence of rising
prices could choke off consumer
and business spending and poten-
tially income growth.
"When the world economy is
fragile, you end up restraining
demand," says Stephen Oliner, a
former Fed economist who is now
a resident scholar at the American
Enterprise Institute, a conservative
think tank. "That s why tightening
now would be a head-scratcher.
Central banks falling
short of inflation target
Mixed fortunes for
T&T's energy sector
Scotiabank has been recognised by Global
Finance Magazine as the Best Digital Bank
(formerly the Best Internet Bank Award) in
T&T for 2015. This is the fifth consecutive year
this prestigious title has been bestowed upon
the bank. In total, Scotiabank received
recognition in 21 countries across the
Caribbean and Central America in 2015.
"At Scotiabank one of our priorities is to
make it easier for our customers to do
business with us. Our multichannel, digital
platform, which allows customers to bank
when and where they want, is an important
part of how we are delivering on that," said
Anya M Schnoor, senior vice president and
Winning banks were selected based on the
following criteria: strength of strategy for
attracting and servicing digital customers,
success in getting clients to use digital
offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth
of product offerings, evidence of tangible
benefits gained from digital initiatives, and
web/mobile site design and functionality.
Scotia wins fifth Best Digital Bank Award
Employees of ANSA McAL Chemicals Limited place a seal on a container filled with Clean & White Bleach, destined
for Dominica. The subsidiary of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies has donated 955 cases of the bleach to assist
with ongoing clean-up efforts in Dominica, which was ravaged by Tropical Storm Erika.
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