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Economy

Oil Rises as US Slams Fresh Sanctions on Iran

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US-Iran tensions

By Adedapo Adesanya

The announcement of fresh sanctions on Iran by the United States on Thursday jerked the price of the Brent crude futures higher by $1.30 or 1.1 per cent to $119.81 per barrel with the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures leaping by $2.27 or 2 per cent to $117.58 a barrel.

With no nuclear deal with Iran in sight, the United States Treasury slapped additional sanctions on companies based in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for enabling the export of Iran’s petrochemicals.

On Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implemented new sanctions on what it called “a network of Iranian petrochemical producers” and “front companies” in China and the UAE that support Iranian petrochemical exports abroad.

“This network helps effectuate international transactions and evade sanctions, supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemical products to customers in the PRC and the rest of East Asia,” according to a statement from the Treasury Department.

The sanctions come as talks to return to the nuclear deal, which former US President Donald Trump revoked in 2018, have stalled.

The US also noted that it will continue to expose the networks Iran uses to conceal sanctions evasion activities.

Prices of the black gold had slipped more than 2 per cent after the US Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.75 per cent, the biggest hike since 1994.

It looked worsening as top economies like Britain and Switzerland also hiked rates, feeding worries about global economic growth.

The Swiss National Bank increased its policy rate to -0.25 per cent from the -0.75 per cent level it has deployed since 2015. The hike was the first increase by the country’s central bank since September 2007 while the Bank of England increased rates from 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent, the fifth consecutive rise, pushing them to the highest level in 13 years.

However, with the sanctions, the market trajectory changed.

Also, The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it expects demand to rise further in 2023, growing by more than 2 per cent to a record 101.6 million barrels per day.

There was also positivity that China’s oil demand will rebound as it eases COVID-19 restrictions.

In addition, Libya’s oil output has collapsed to 100,000-150,000 barrels per day, a fraction of the 1.2 million barrels per day seen last year. There are expectations that it could continue in the face of continued unrest.

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.

Economy

Naira Falls at Official Market, Gains at Unofficial FX Windows

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Official FX Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira continued its roller coaster ride at the foreign exchange (FX) segments in Nigeria on Thursday, depreciating at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window and appreciating at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and parallel market windows.

In the official market, the Naira lost 53 Kobo or 0.12 per cent against the United States Dollar to settle at N445.83/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N445.83/$1.

The local currency reported the fall despite the value of FX transactions going down during the session. Data showed that the turnover for the day stood at $99.50 million, 43.9 per cent or $77.94 million lower than the $177.44 million published on Wednesday.

In the interbank segment of the forex market, the domestic currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro yesterday at N534.67/£1 and N461.79/€1, respectively.

However, in the P2P window, the Nigerian currency appreciated against its American counterpart by N4 to close at N762/$1, in contrast to the N766/$1 it was traded on Wednesday.

In the black market, which is an unofficial FX segment just like the P2P, the Nigerian Naira appreciated against the US Dollar yesterday by N5 to trade at N745/$1.

As for the digital currency market, there was a negative movement across the 10 tokens tracked by Business Post, with Dogecoin (DOGE) recording the heaviest fall, 4.1 per cent, to sell at $0.0990.

Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.9 per cent slump to trade at $13.56, Ripple (XRP) dipped by 2.6 per cent to quote at $0.3892, and Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 2.5 per cent to settle at $288.59.

Further, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 0.9 per cent to close at $16,941.89, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 0.7 per cent to finish at $0.3135, Ethereum (ETH) saw a 0.6 per cent depreciation to trade at $1,273.75, and Litecoin (LTC) went down by 0.4 per cent to close at $76.50.

However, the value of the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and the Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged during the session at $1.00 each.

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Economy

Oil Trades Mixed on Weaker Dollar, China COVID-19 Curbs

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Worsening Oil Demand

By Adedapo Adesanya

The crude oil market traded mixed on Thursday, retreating from an early rally built on weakness in the US Dollar and hopes for improved fuel demand in China after COVID-19 curbs were eased in two major Chinese cities.

Brent crude futures settled 9 cents lower at $86.88 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled 67 cents higher at $81.22 a barrel.

The shift in China’s zero-COVID strategy raised optimism about a recovery in oil demand there. The cities of Guangzhou and Chongqing announced an easing of COVID curbs on Wednesday.

Demonstrations in the world’s largest oil importer, which spread over the weekend to Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere, have become a show of public defiance unprecedented since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

The southwestern city of Chongqing will allow close contact with people with COVID-19 who meet certain conditions to quarantine at home.

Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, also announced an easing of curbs, but with record numbers of cases nationwide, there seems little prospect of a major reversal in the zero-COVID policy.

Oil was however supported through most of Thursday’s session by a slump in the dollar index to its lowest since August after the US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said rate hikes could slow this month.

A weaker dollar makes oil cheaper for other currency holders.

The greenback dipped to 16-week lows against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after data showed that US consumer spending increased solidly in October while inflation moderated, adding to expectations that the Federal Reserve is closer to reaching a peak in interest rates.

Mr Powell said on Wednesday that it was time to slow rate hikes, noting that slowing down at this point is a good way to balance the risks.

The prospect of a lower price cap on Russian oil is also lending support, analysts said. European Union governments tentatively agreed on Thursday on a $60 cap on Russian sea-borne oil.

Meanwhile, the market will await what the meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, OPEC+, will bring come December 4, although a policy change is seen as unlikely.

“OPEC+ would rather sit on the bench at this time and assess the outcome of what happens on Monday,” an unnamed source told the news agency, Reuters, this week.

OPEC also made a meeting of its ministers planned for Saturday a virtual gathering, and OPEC+ cancelled a meeting of oil market experts, the Joint Technical Committee, that had been scheduled for Friday.

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Economy

Honeywell Flour, MTN, Others Pull Market Back by 0.01%

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Honeywell Flour

By Dipo Olowookere

The depreciation printed by the shares of Honeywell Flour, MTN Nigeria, Ecobank and 10 others pulled back the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited from the bulls’ territory into the danger zone by 0.01 per cent on Thursday.

It was the first trading session in December, and the stock market could not sustain the positive moment it recorded on the last day of the previous month due to the selling pressure on the equities mentioned above, though investor sentiment remained strong.

According to data from the bourse, the market breadth was positive yesterday as there were 15 price advancers and 13 price decliners led by Honeywell Flour, which dropped 7.89 per cent to trade at N2.10. RT Briscoe went down by 7.41 per cent to 25 Kobo, Wema Bank declined by 5.45 per cent to N3.12, FCMB contracted by 4.18 per cent to N3.21, and Cutix retreated by 2.84 per cent to N2.05.

On top of the gainers’ log was UPDC REIT, which improved its share value by 9.09 per cent to N3.00, McNichols rose by 8.93 per cent to 61 Kobo, Japaul jumped by 7.41 per cent to 29 Kobo, Nigerian Breweries 7.14 per cent to N45.00, and Royal Exchange grew by 4.76 per cent to 66 Kobo.

Yesterday, investors transacted 172.9 million shares valued at N2.8 billion in 3,073 deals compared with the 107.0 million shares valued at N1.3 billion traded in 3,227 deals in the midweek session, representing a decline in the number of deals by 4.77 per cent, an increase in the trading volume by 61.55 per cent, and a surge in the trading value by 115.63 per cent.

The increase in the market turnover was driven by the 49.8 million shares of FCMB traded by investors during the session. Courteville traded 16.9 million stocks, Access Holdings sold 12.0 million equities, UBA traded 10.8 million shares, and Zenith Bank exchanged 9.8 million shares.

Business Post reports that the insurance and energy counters went down by 0.12 per cent and 0.08 per cent, respectively, while the banking and consumer goods sectors went up by 2.16 per cent and 0.77 per cent apiece, with the industrial goods space closing flat.

At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) receded by 3.40 points to 47,656.64 points from 47,660.04 points, and the market capitalisation retreated by N2 billion to N25.957 trillion from N25.959 trillion.

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