Xi vs Biden, oil prices in Lebanon and Nigerian bank workers | News from banks

Another week passed and Friday arrived. And no one can say this week of news has been slow.

As millions of people enjoy post-pandemic life in restaurants, bars and workout classes, the deadly Delta variant of the coronavirus which is now spreading in parts of the world threatens to bring back the restrictions, as the Concerns are mounting over skyrocketing infections from South Africa and Russia to France and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, people in countries with the highest vaccination rates are hitting the road. Gasoline prices in the United States are at their highest for seven years while in Lebanon people line up for hours to refuel. To make matters worse, the country’s energy minister lifted subsidies on gasoline, pushing prices up 35% this week.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies are debating whether to add more barrels of oil to the market to dampen rising prices – currently $ 75 a barrel.

And speaking of highs, major Wall Street indices hit record highs this week as the first half of the year drew to a close.

As China celebrated the 100-year reign of the Communist Party on Thursday, we looked at the serious economic challenges it faces in avoiding the dreaded “middle income trap.”

A giant screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping at an event marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, China [File: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

We also have the latest employment figures for the United States, the world’s largest economy – and news on the plight of contract workers at banks in Nigeria, where unemployment stands at 33 percent.

Here are some of the numbers that counted this week.


The Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 100th anniversary this week. But that’s not entirely normal, as the country’s rulers face growing economic challenges, from falling birth rates and income inequality to the gap in opportunity between rural and urban areas.

Chinese leaders avoid the phrase “middle-income trap” – a condition in which a country does not achieve a higher and more developed status – but this is where the country could end up if the leaders fail to fill those cracks. Michael Standaert of Al Jazeera has that story here.

35 percent

The Lebanese Energy Ministry dealt a serious blow to the already beleaguered portfolios of the country’s struggling consumers on Tuesday by raising fuel prices by more than 35%.

Lebanon is in the throes of an economic collapse, which has plunged half the population into poverty and has seen the country’s currency, the Lebanese pound, lose 90% of its value since October 2019. And the World Bank has put in guard that the nation is facing one of the world’s worst financial crises of the past 150 years. Frustration with the crisis has spread to the streets, anti-government protests and fighting erupted among people queuing for gasoline. We dig deeper into this story here.


That’s the number of advanced economies in Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region that the Pew Research Center polled for its latest read on how people view China and the United States. .

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit memorial set up for victims of building collapse in Surfside, Florida, United States [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The survey found that positive views on the United States rebounded under President Joe Biden. In Germany, for example, only a quarter of people viewed the United States positively last summer when then President Donald Trump was in power. Today, around 56% of Germans view the United States positively. On the other hand, negative views on China and its President Xi Jinping continue to hover at or near historic highs. Learn more about rankings here.


This is the monthly salary in Nigerian naira ($ 165) of Basit, a 28-year-old man who has worked at Fidelity Bank since 2015. Classified as an entrepreneur rather than a full-time employee, Basit has no ascending career path. within the bank, or benefits such as insurance, pension or severance pay if he is made redundant.

A man organizes the sale of books on a pedestrian walkway where advertising posters are pasted, in Lagos, Nigeria [File: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters]

And he is far from alone. More than 42 percent of bank workers in Nigeria were contract workers in the third quarter of last year, according to national data. Currently, job opportunities in Africa’s largest economy are scarce. Nigeria’s unemployment rate climbed to 33.3% in the last three months of 2020, among the highest in the world. Al Jazeera’s Ope Adetayo has the story here.


That’s the number of jobs created by the U.S. economy in June as wages continued to climb – and employers scrambled to fill a historic number of vacancies.

A Wendy’s restaurant displays a “now hiring” sign in Tampa, Florida, USA [File: Octavio Jones/Reuters]

The employment figures for June follow disappointing job creation earlier in the spring. Some believe the federal top-up of $ 300 per week to state unemployment benefits has deterred the unemployed from returning to work. As a result, dozens of states have withdrawn or will withdraw soon from federal pandemic unemployment programs that include the top-up. But economists say other factors are also preventing the unemployed from hammering the curb in search of work. We have this story for you fresh off the press here.

$ 4.2 billion

This is what anti-LGBTQ laws are estimated to cost the Caribbean every year. A new report from Open for Business has calculated that Caribbean countries lose $ 4.2 billion a year in tourism, productivity and competitiveness because of legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The coalition of leading global companies dedicated to LGBT + inclusion has found that systemic discrimination and stigma leads to what researchers call LGBTQ ‘occupational segregation’ – a condition in which a demographic is over-represented or under-represented in the workplace. certain jobs or fields, to the detriment of the economy as a whole. Al Jazeera’s Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath has that story here.

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