59 Months After, Nikkei Swings Above 14,000

Japan’s Nikkei average soared 2.8 per cent in morning trading today, breaking above 14,000 for the first time since June 2008.

Investors were playing catch-up from an extended holiday, as last week’s strong U.S. jobs data eased concerns over the health of Japan’s biggest export market.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 364.22 points at 14,058.26 after closing for public holidays on Friday and Monday.

Japan’s top government spokesman said credit for the leap should go to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to kick start Japan’s economy, dubbed ‘Abenomics’.

A Stronger-than-expected US non-farm payrolls for April, with 165,000 jobs being added and the unemployment rate falling to 7.5 per cent, the lowest since December 2008, provided much needed relief to investors rattled by a series of soft data in recent weeks.

The United States is Japan’s biggest export market, followed closely by China.

Africa’s growth not enough to reduce poverty: World Bank

Africa may have enviable economic growth rates by global standards, but they are still not enough to pull its growing population out of poverty, the World Bank said on Thursday.

Addressing the media during a visit to Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos, Marcelo Giugale, World Bank Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programmes for Africa, was asked if the continent was growing fast enough to fight dire poverty.

“The short answer is ‘No’. It’s not enough to reduce poverty, not by enough,” he said, adding that the reasons were complex and varied.

The IMF this month revised down its growth forecasts for Africa in 2012 to 5.4 percent, lower than previous forecasts.

Africa’s growth has remained above 5 percent in the last eight years, underpinned by strong prices for its natural resources, better governance and growing disposable incomes, but poverty is not falling anywhere near as fast.

“We have specific targets that are in reach. Child mortality has fallen fast in many countries. But at the same time, poverty is going down very slowly,” Giugale said.

The World Bank estimated on its website in March that the percentage of poor Africans fell from 58 percent in 1999 to 47.5 percent in 2008, a decline of about one percentage point a year.

“You certainly need much more than the GDP numbers going up. The translation from growth to employment is complex: It depends on labour market, skills, infrastructure, the quality of the business environment. Growth can be very fast and you still don’t see poverty reduction,” Giugale said.

REUTERS