By Adedapo Adesanya
Crude oil prices came under pressure on Tuesday as the lockdown in China continues to weigh on the market despite the latest signal that the European Union (EU) is preparing to impose an embargo on Russian oil imports.
China’s stringent measures to curb COVID-19 threatened a further hit to economic activity and fuel demand, causing the Brent crude to drop 1.6 per cent or $1.72 to sell at $105.90 per barrel just as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude declined by a 1.71 per cent or $1.80 to $103.40 a barrel.
The country’s growth concerns are a key driver, coming on top of general risk-averse sentiment and signs that high fuel prices are already causing demand destruction.
The capital city of Beijing closed gyms and cinemas over the holiday that lasts through Wednesday, and Shanghai will keep virus measures in place.
Meanwhile, the EU is set to propose a ban on Russian imports by the end of the year, with restrictions on shipments introduced gradually until then. The bloc is considering a sixth round of sanctions against Russia that could include the nation’s energy complex.
While Germany said it could end its dependence on Russia by summer, Hungary signalled it would veto any sanctions on Russian energy.
Germany’s Economy Minister, Mr Robert Habeck said that his country was ready to support an immediate oil embargo as well as a more gradual phase-out of Russian oil imports.
“Germany is not against an oil ban on Russia. Of course, it is a heavy load to bear but we would be ready to do that,” Mr Habeck said.
The official also admitted the EU will suffer consequences from its sanction action.
“It’s inconceivable that sanctions won’t have consequences for our own economy and for prices in our countries.
“We as Europeans are prepared to bear [the economic strain] in order to help Ukraine. But there’s no way this won’t come at a cost to us,” Mr Habeck added.
In further bullish news, the US is expected to report another decline in crude oil inventories, with the median forecast for a 1.2 million barrels draw.
This would add to already substantial declines in crude oil and fuel inventories. In crude, inventories have shed a cumulative 421 million barrels since July last year.
While this is happening, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recorded almost no increase in production last month, with analysts expecting the cartel to report a modest 40,000 barrels per day monthly increase from March compared with the 250,000 barrels per day in monthly increases agreed by the OPEC+ members two years ago.
Dollar Shortages Strike Again…Nigeria Indexes in Crosshairs
By Lukman Otunuga
Despite oil prices surging to multi-year highs, Nigeria has failed to cash in.
The destructive combination of sub-optimal oil production, poor infrastructure, and fuel subsidies have drained oil revenues that account for roughly 90% of foreign exchange earnings.
Lower oil revenues and falling foreign exchange reserves are forcing Nigeria to ration dollars. The negative impacts continue to be reflected across the economy and local currency. But now the dollar shortages have attracted the attention of MSCI Inc. which is considering downgrading the MSCI Nigeria indexes to the status of a standalone market from frontier markets.
It is worth keeping in mind that a developed market is the highest ranking, followed by emerging markets, frontier markets, and then finally standalone markets at the bottom.
Given the difficulty in repatriating funds from Nigeria, this has placed the MSCI Nigeria Indexes in the crosshairs. Such a negative development may hit sentiment toward the county’s assets at a crucial period where economic growth remains fragile.
To add insult to injury, the NGX All Share Index has gained roughly 20% this year in local currency terms. A blockbuster performance when compared to the MSCI Emerging market Index which is down roughly -19%.
In other news, the Naira was trading around N419 versus the dollar on the official spot rate and has weakened only 1.3% year-to-date. However, on the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX, the Naira ended Thursday at N620 versus the dollar and N602 on the black market. Nigeria still faces the issue of multiple exchanges but this will be a discussion for another time.
Lukman Otunuga is a Senior Research Analyst at FXTM
Binance, Cristiano Ronaldo to Release Exclusive NFTs
By Adedapo Adesanya
Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, has announced the signing of an exclusive and multi-year NFT partnership with football icon, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Through this partnership, Binance will launch a global campaign aiming to give Ronaldo’s fans an introduction to Web3 with a compelling entry point into the world of NFTs.
The company disclosed that over the course of the agreement, Cristiano Ronaldo and Binance will create a series of collections for sale exclusively on the Binance NFT platform.
The first collection of the exclusive NFTs will be released later this year and will feature designs created in collaboration with Ronaldo.
Speaking on the deal, Binance founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said, “Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s best footballers, and has transcended sport to become an icon in multiple industries.
“He has amassed one of the world’s most dedicated fan bases through his authenticity, talent, and charity work.”
“We are thrilled to provide his fans with exclusive engagement opportunities to connect with Ronaldo and own a piece of iconic sports history,” he added.
“My relationship with the fans is very important to me, so the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Ronaldo.
“I know the fans are going to enjoy the collection as much as I do.”
The Cristiano Ronaldo NFT collections will be available exclusively on Binance NFT at www.Binance.com/en/nft/home.
Binance is the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider with a financial product suite that includes the largest digital asset exchange by volume.
The Binance platform is dedicated to increasing the freedom of money for users, and features an unmatched portfolio of crypto products and offerings, including trading and finance, education, data and research, social good, investment and incubation, decentralization and infrastructure solutions, and more.
Cellulant Wins Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year
By Adedapo Adesanya
Cellulant, Africa’s leading payments company, has been awarded the Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year in Nigeria at the 13th Beacon of ICT Awards 2022.
This award is a recognition of Cellulant’s work in providing a payments platform that focuses on driving merchant business and digital payments for local, regional and global merchants in the continent.
It was also lauded for digitising both online and offline payments.
The award was presented to Cellulant Nigeria by Communication Week Media Limited, the publishers of Nigeria Communications Week.
The annual event, which recognises leading players in the ICT sector in Nigeria whose outstanding achievements contribute to the industry’s growth, was themed Impact of Blockchain Technology in a Digitalized Nigeria.
Renowned businesses such as Emirates, GIG logistics, Coldstone, Bolt, Dominos and Ethiopian Airlines to name a few, have partnered with Cellulant to use their Tingg digital payments solution as a single collection gateway in Nigeria.
Cellulant simplified their product, unifying their offering into Tingg — a digital payments platform that addresses the complex needs of managing different payment channels for a business.
This has made it easy for businesses to conveniently and affordably accept payments from a single integration.
Customers can make payments for goods and services using locally relevant payment options.
Founded in 2003, Cellulant has more than 18 years of experience providing locally-relevant payment solutions for businesses and their consumers. Its evolution over the years, from a digital content business to mobile banking and now to payments, has allowed the company to build an expansive network, strong relationships and partnerships.
Cellulant provides a unified, single-contract, and single API payments platform – named Tingg- that makes it easy for businesses to receive and make payments; while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank.
Today, Cellulant has an office presence in 18 countries, including Nigeria, with a payments platform connecting thousands of businesses with 257 payment options across 35 countries. The platform powers payments for 200 million consumers on a single inclusive network for interoperability across Africa.
Speaking on the recognition, Mr Opeyemi Fowler, Cellulant’s Head of Enterprise Sales stated “the digital payments landscape in Nigeria and Africa is evolving rapidly with differing payment channels such as card, mobile money, bank transfer and cash – with volatile currency fluctuations and no single settlement framework.
“This is creating a highly fragmented landscape for businesses whose customers increasingly request to pay for their purchases using digital payment options. Every day, our job at Cellulant is to work with our customers and partners to solve this fragmentation in payments.”
“This award is a testament to our work in providing a payments platform that is transforming the way people do business in Nigeria and beyond; and a reflection of the hard work done by our people.”
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