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Economy

Crude Oil Prices Improve Amid Rising Stockpiles

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude oil prices returned to the bullish territory on Tuesday as a surprise build in stockpiles held back traders who rushed to buy the commodity at lower prices.

The Brent crude rose by 20 cents or 0.43 per cent to close at $69.05, while the West Texas Intermediate recorded a growth of 29 cents or 0.43 per cent to sell at $66.91.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a build in crude oil inventories of 806,000 barrels for the week ending July 16, bringing the total 2021 crude draw so far to a hair under 50 million barrels, using API data.

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Analysts had expected a loss of 4.333 million barrels for the week.

In the previous week, the API reported a draw in oil inventories of 4.079 million barrels, largely in line with analyst predictions for a draw of 4.333 million barrels.

The price of both benchmarks had risen more than 50 per cent so far this year, but slipped more than 7 per cent on Monday as the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) agreed to ramp up production by 400,000 barrels per day.

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Monday’s selloff, spurred by demand destruction fears amid rising COVID-19 cases, pushed oil about 7 per cent lower and hit other riskier assets.

Crude oil futures then rebounded on Tuesday as market participants vied to take advantage of oil’s two-month low touched in the previous session.

But the fear of higher inventories and fears that a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus threatens oil demand prospects still persist.

If confirmed by government figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday, a crude stockpile draw would end an eight-week streak of inventory declines.

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The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a surge of deaths around the world.

The US has warned citizens to not travel to the United Kingdom and Indonesia amid an increase in infections, and Singapore will tighten restrictions on dining-in and social gatherings.

Goldman Sachs Group said the variant may curb global oil demand by one million barrels a day for a couple of months, though that’s offset by a slow production ramp-up from OPEC+.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

NewGold ETF Attracts N4.41bn from Offshore Investors

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Newgold Issuer Limited ETF

By Dipo Olowookere

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) space in Nigeria has continued to attract more offshore investors as it has remained as an avenue for them to diversify their investment portfolios.

Business Post reports that the demand for the form of investment asset has remained high despite foreign exchange (FX) restrictions in the country.

Recall that a month ago, this newspaper reported that foreign portfolio investors use this means to convert their Naira assets into Dollar as the nation grapples with forex liquidity.

Recently, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited released its quarterly report on the ETFs market for Q2 and it was revealed that foreign transactions increased by 99.64 per cent even as 10 stockbrokers drove 99.9 per cent of total transaction value and 97.3 per cent of total volumes of ETFs.

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It was observed that the NewGold ETF was the most active with its value rising by 99.58 per cent to N4.41 billion, taking the lead in both value and volume traded.

The report showed that offshore investors traded 524.241 units of NewGold valued at N4.41 billion, while Vetiva Griffin 30 followed with 501,48 units worth N8.12 million.

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In addition, Vetiva Industrial Goods transacted 248,469 units valued at N4.52 million, Meristem Value ETF sold 115,58 units valued at N1.87 million, while Stanbic IBTC ETF traded 19,774 units valued at N1.48 million.

Analysis of the report showed that Rencap led in terms of brokers’ performance as regards value, retaining its top position in this category, having traded about 69.7 per cent.

RMB followed, accounting for 12.72 per cent while ABSA Securities accounted for 9.04 per cent of transactions.

On the other hand, Vetiva led in terms of volume, accounting for 31.55 per cent in the period under review. Rencap followed with 24.9 per cent while IONE accounted for 14.66 per cent volume of transactions.

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However, market capitalisation declined by a record 39.7 per cent between both quarters as the commodity-backed ETP suffered net outflows of 54 per cent, from N12.0 billion in Q1 2021 to N5.5 billion in Q2 2021, due to FX restrictions in the regulatory climate.

Furthermore, trade volumes fell by approximately 69 per cent from about 5.3 million units in Q2 2020 to 1.6 million units in Q2 2021.

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Economy

CBN Gives Nearly 4 million Farmers N756.5bn

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Ghana peasant farmers

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it has disbursed N756.5 billion to nearly 4 million (approximately 3,734,938) smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land to improve food security in the country.

The development was revealed by CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emiefele, while presenting the communiqué of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

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According to the CBN boss, a total number of 627,051 farmers were granted N120.2 billion for the 2021 wet season under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to cultivate 847,484 hectares of land.

“Under the bank’s development finance initiatives, the bank granted N756.5 billion to 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.2 billion was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the ABP,” Mr Emefiele said.

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Furthermore, the apex bank said a total of N121.6 billion has been shared among 32,617 beneficiaries under the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).

Mr Emiefele also disclosed that the bank has released N318.2 billion to 679,422 beneficiaries for the targeted credit facility.

These beneficiaries, as said by the CBN chief, includes 572,189 individuals and 107,233 small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

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Meanwhile, the committee reviewed the domestic economic developments and noted that the non-oil sector, agriculture and industry sub-sectors were the major drivers of improvement as it recorded growth rates of 2.28 and 0.94 per cent, accordingly.

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Economy

Lafarge Africa Grows Net Sales to N145bn in Six Months

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Lafarge Africa

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the major cement manufacturers in Nigeria, Lafarge Africa Plc, has continued to show resilience in the face of various challenges caused by COVID-19.

On Thursday, the firm released its half-year earnings for 2021 and the results showed that the net sales grew by 20.3 per cent to N145.0 billion from N120.5 billion in the same period of 2020.

Business Post reports that the sale of cement accounting for N141.4 billion of the total revenue for the period versus N118.6 billion in H1 2020, while the sale of aggregates and concrete contributing N3.6 billion compared with N2.0 billion in the same period of last year.

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The financial statements revealed that the cost of sales gulped N97.0 billion as against N78.8 billion in the first six months of 2020, leaving the organisation with a gross profit of N48.0 billion compared with N41.7 billion in 2020, while the operating profit improved to N38.2 billion from N32.8 billion.

In the results, Lafarge Africa said it had selling and marketing costs of N1.5 billion, lower than N1.6 billion in the same time of last year and this was mainly due to a reduction in advertising expenses to N113.0 million from N182.5 million.

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However, the administrative costs rose to N9.2 billion from N7.8 billion as a result of the rise in salaries and other staff-related costs, office and general expenses, as well as technical service fees.

In the period, the cement firm recorded a decline in finance income, which stood at N362.9 million compared with N377.1 million, while the finance costs went down to N2.7 billion from N4.4 billion.

On the bottom line of the results, Lafarge Africa said it had a profit before tax of N36.8 billion in H1 2021 versus N28.8 billion in H1 2020, while the profit after tax jumped to N28.3 billion from N23.3 billion.

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The CEO of Lafarge Africa, Mr Khaled El Dokani, while commenting on the results, stated that, “Our performance remained resilient in Q2 2021, with net sales of 29.4 per cent, recurring EBIT of 11.1 per cent and net income of 25.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

“We are equally pleased with the progress we are making on sustainability; our use of affordable clean energy and our agroecology footprint is in accordance with the acceleration of our net-zero pledge”.

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