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MONITISE WINS INTERNATIONAL HONOURS

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Recognition includes The Banker’s Technology Project of the Year for BKM Express Mobile

Monitise (LSE: MONI), a global leader in Mobile Money – banking, paying and buying with a mobile device – has been presented with six international awards for its products and business success. These include overall winner of The Banker’s Technology Project of the Year, three awards at the Best in Biz International Awards and the Future Mobile Award for Mobile Payments.

MONITISE WINS INTERNATIONAL HONOURS   6BKM Express Mobile, developed by Monitise for BKM (Turkey’s National Switch) was named overall winner of The Banker’s Technology Project of the Year Awards, in addition to winning Retail Payments Project of the Year. The awards recognise the service – a secure and convenient way of making online and mobile payments as well as peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions – as an innovative new mobile wallet. Launched in July 2013, the service currently has 300,000 users and is supported by 15 banks and over 650 merchants.

BKM Express Mobile was also named winner of the Mobile Payments category at the Future Mobile Awards, a programme run and judged by analyst house Juniper Research. It has also previously won ‘Best Payment Channel 2013’ and ‘Emerging Payment Award 2014’ at the MPE Awards.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) ‘Pay Your Contacts’ service, developed in partnership with Visa Europe and Monitise, was named Gold winner for ‘Best New Service of the Year’ at the Best in Biz International Awards. The programme, which recognises businesses and services from more than 30 countries, was judged by an international panel of journalists and analysts. The ‘Pay Your Contacts’ service allows more than three million RBS mobile banking customers to easily send money to their friends and family, without need for an account number and sort code. The number of P2P payments made via the app as a whole is currently around 280,000 per month and continues to grow. The service has also previously won ‘Best Innovation’ at the Best Business Awards.

Also at the Best in Biz International Awards, Monitise was named Silver winner in the ‘Fastest-Growing Company of the Year (Large – 1,000 or more employees)’ category and Bronze winner in the ‘Company of the Year (Large – 1,000 or more employees)’ category. This success reflects the company’s achievements in the last year, including achieving 30 million registered customers, making strategic acquisitions in London and Turkey, and announcing an acceleration towards a subscription-based business model.

MONITISE WINS INTERNATIONAL HONOURS   7Commenting on the award wins, Monitise President EMEA & AP Peter Radcliffe said: “We’re immensely proud of what we achieve with our partners, and to have our work for BKM and Royal Bank of Scotland Group recognised by three major international programmes is a great reflection of the growing importance of Mobile Money and Monitise’s place at the heart of this ecosystem. To also win awards for our own achievements as a company, in competition with businesses across the world, is a credit to the work of our talented staff and speaks to our growth and development in the last year – and what we plan to achieve over the years to come.”

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues – Reuters poll

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues - Reuters poll 8

By Sumita Layek and Bharat Gautam

(Reuters) – Oil prices will stage a steady recovery this year as vaccines reach more people and speed an economic revival, with further impetus coming from stimulus and output discipline by top crude producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The survey of 55 participants forecast Brent crude would average $59.07 per barrel in 2021, up from last month’s $54.47 forecast.

Brent has averaged around $58.80 so far this year.

“Travel and leisure activity look set to catch up to buoyant manufacturing activity due to the mix of stimulus, confidence, vaccines, and more targeted pandemic measures,” said Norbert Ruecker of Julius Baer.

“Against these demand dynamics, the supply side is unlikely to catch up on time, leaving the oil market in tightening mode for months to come.”

Of the 41 respondents who participated in both the February and January polls, 32 raised their forecasts.

Most analysts said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) may ease current output curbs when they meet on March 4, but would still agree to maintain supply discipline.

“With OPEC+ endeavouring to keep global oil production below demand, inventories should continue falling this year and allow prices to rise further,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Oil demand was seen growing by 5-7 million barrels per day in 2021, as per the poll.

However, experts said any deterioration in the COVID-19 situation and the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran could hold back oil’s recovery.

The poll forecast U.S. crude to average $55.93 per barrel in 2021 versus January’s $51.42 consensus.

Analysts expect U.S. production to rise moderately this year, although new measures from U.S. President Joe Biden to tame the oil sector could curb output in the long run.

“A structural shift away from fossil fuels” may prevent oil from returning to the highs of previous decades, said Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Cailin Birch.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese, Noah Browning and Barbara Lewis)

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll

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Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 9

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 10

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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