By Adedapo Adesanya
The European Union (EU) reached an agreement late Monday to ban 90 per cent of Russian oil by the end of the year.
The agreement also resolves a deadlock after Hungary initially held up talks about the proposed ban which is the sixth of its kind since Russia invaded its neighbour, Ukraine, on February 24.
Hungary is a major user of Russian oil and its leader, Mr Viktor Orban, has been on friendly terms with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Mr Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said the move would immediately hit 75 per cent of Russian oil imports.
“The European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into the Member States, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline,” according to a statement from the European Council on Tuesday.
The European Council added that in case of “sudden interruptions” of supply, “emergency measures” will be introduced to ensure the security of supply.
Adding her input, European Commission President Ms Ursula von der Leyen said that the temporary exception covers the remaining Russian oil not yet banned.
“We have agreed that the Council will revert to the topic as soon as possible in one way or the other. So this is a topic where we will come back to and where we will still have to work on, but this is a big step forward, what we did today,” she said, referring to the temporary exemption.
Ms Von der Leyen explained that the temporary exemption was granted so that Hungary, along with Slovakia and the Czech Republic — all connected to the southern leg of the pipeline — have access that they cannot easily replace.
With this, the market will further tighten as roughly 36 per cent of the EU’s oil imports come from Russia.
Meanwhile, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, OPEC+ is expected to stick to its original plan of a modest increase of 432,000 barrels a day for July.
Nigeria Needs 10 Years to Meet Yearly Sugar Production Target—Adedeji
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria needs another 10 years to meet its yearly sugar production target of 1.7 million metric tonnes, capable of stemming the rising tide of sugar importation while creating jobs, generating electricity and producing ethanol for industrial purposes.
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Zacch Adedeji, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the state of sugar production in Nigeria.
Mr Adedeji revealed that a total of 250,000 hectares would also be required for cane cultivation while 28 factories are expected to be established even as over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created within the 10 years time frame as encapsulated in the Nigeria Sugar Master plan (NSMP) phase 2.
Nigeria is the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) projects that the average growth rate for the country’s economy will increase by 3.2 per cent this year, but many factors have impacted the possibility of this leading to dwindling revenue.
The country has thus been exploring many options to raise revenue, especially through non-oil exports, which include sugar.
However, the shortage of foreign exchange, technology for production, required land mass, and skilled labour poses serious challenges to the success of the sugar sector.
Mr Adedeji noted, “With phase 1 of the master plan, which began in 2013 reaching its crescendo in the first quarter of 2023, the federal government, in a rare show of commitment to its economic diversification policy through the promotion of industrialization, has approved Phase 2 of the policy with actual implementation to begin in 2023 through 2033,” he said.
He noted, “I am pleased to also announce to you today that we have two new investors who are set to come on board in a week or two from now, and we are going to sign a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Nasarawa State government and one of the investors, as well as another between the Oyo State government and the second investor.
“All the necessary policies and technology guidelines have been concluded. These new investors would focus on the field and agricultural aspect of the NSMP, which is the engine room of the master plan.”
He then explained that the good news is that, presently, four companies have signed on to the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) of the NSMP. These companies are Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Sugar Refinery, Golden Sugar Refinery, and Kia Africa Group.
Naira Appreciates on Dollar at P2P, Black Market, Drops at I&E
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the black market and the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) arms of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Wednesday but recorded a marginal loss at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.
In the parallel market, the domestic currency gained N3 against the greenback to sell at N727/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N730/$1.
Also, in the P2P window, the local currency appreciated against the American Dollar by N9 to trade at N751/$1 compared with the previous day’s rate of N760/$1.
Business Post reports that the Naira eased off the scare that arose from the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to limit cash withdrawals from next year.
However, in the I&E segment, the Naira depreciated by 3 Kobo or 0.01 per cent against the US currency to trade at N445.83/$1, in contrast to Tuesday’s price of N445.80/$1, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange.
This happened amid a 29.1 per cent or $52.51 million decline in the value of FX transactions at the stock exchange to $127.78 million from the preceding session’s $180.29 million.
In the interbank window, the local currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling yesterday by N2.47 to sell for N544.68/£1 versus Tuesday’s N547.15/£1 and against the Euro, the Naira gained N2.10 to close at N468.68/€1 compared with N470.78/€1.
Meanwhile, in the digital currency market, most of the tokens pointed south, with Litecoin (LTC) declining by 6.2 per cent to $75.07 and Solana (SOL) recording a 4.7 per cent slump to trade at $13.34.
Dogecoin (DOGE) went southwards by 4.5 per cent to sell at $0.0959, Cardano (ADA) lost 2.6 per cent to close at $0.3089, Ethereum (ETH) fell by 2.5 per cent to trade at $1,228.05, Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 1.8 per cent to $283.32, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 1.1 per cent to $16,812.26, and Ripple (XRP) dipped by 0.1 per cent to $0.3874.
But the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 each.
NASD OTC Market Closes Flat in Midweek Session
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange remained unchanged at the close of business on Wednesday, December 7, with the performance indicators closing flat.
Business Post reports that there was neither a price gainer nor a price loser at the midweek trading session, and this left the market capitalisation of the alternative bourse unchanged at N935.79 billion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) also closed flat at 712.16 points.
However, the activity chart witnessed a downward movement during the session as the volume of transactions declined by 94.5 per cent due to the 56,370 units of securities traded by investors, in contrast to the 1.03 million units of securities transacted a day earlier.
Similarly, the value of shares exchanged by the market participants went down by 95.8 per cent yesterday as a result of the N1.3 million worth of stocks traded compared with the N31.0 million worth of stocks traded on Tuesday.
However, the number of deals carried out by traders increased by 30 per cent due to the 13 deals completed by investors as against the 10 deals executed in the preceding market day.
When trading activities ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc stood in second place with the sale of 687.9 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financial Services Plc was in third place with a turnover of 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.
Also, CSCS Plc retained its spot as the busiest stock by value on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 687.9 million units worth N14.3 billion, followed by VFD Group Plc with the sale of 29.1 million units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc with a turnover of 17.6 million units worth N1.9 billion.
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