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Economy

Prices of Crude Oil Mixed Despite Chinese Demand Optimism

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

The prices of crude oil moved in varying directions on Monday despite optimism about a possible recovery in demand from top oil importer, China, as the economy recovers this year from pandemic lockdowns.

Brent crude settled 56 cents higher at $88.19 a barrel, while the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled 2 cents lower at $81.62 a barrel.

The Chinese reopening is set to drive oil demand growth and push oil higher if most of the developed economies manage to avoid recessions, analysts say.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in their respective monthly reports this week that the prospects of global oil demand were improving thanks to the Chinese exit from the ‘zero Covid’ policy.

China’s reopening is set to drive global oil demand to a record high of 101.7 million barrels per day this year, up by 1.9 million barrels per day from 2022, the IEA said in its report, raising its demand growth estimate for 2023 by 200,000 barrels per day from 1.7 million barrels per day growth expected in December.

OPEC also expressed more optimism about Chinese oil demand and the global economy this year in its Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR).

China’s reopening is set to push demand higher, and “In addition, China’s plans to expand fiscal spending to aid the economic recovery is likely to support oil demand in manufacturing, construction and mobility,” OPEC said.

Regardless, analysts said the market wants to preserve long positions in case Chinese growth resumes.

The European Union and Group of Seven (G7) coalition will cap prices of refined Russian products from February 5, in addition to the price cap on Russian crude in place since December and an EU embargo on imports of Russian crude by sea.

The G7 has agreed to delay a review of the level of the price cap on Russian oil to March, a month later than originally planned, to provide time to assess the impact of the oil product’s price cap.

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 Flat at Official Market as CBN Succumbs to Reps

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Godwin Emefiele Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira recorded no movement against the American Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Tuesday, remaining at N461.50/$1.

This came as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, bowed to pressure from the House of Representatives to waive the deadline for the return of old currency notes to banks for the new ones.

The apex bank had said old N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes not returned to the bank on or before February 10, 2023, would lose their values, but the lawmakers argued otherwise, citing a part of the CBN Act, which says though such banknotes can lose their legal tender status, holders could still return them to the banks for a swap.

Yesterday, after dodging the lawmakers for a while, Mr Emefiele appeared before them and said Nigerians could still return their old notes after the deadline. This excited the lawmakers.

This development eased the tension in the system and brought stability to the local currency, coupled with a pullback in demand for forex in the official market.

During the session, FX trades valued at $85.04 million were recorded, 36.4 per cent or $65.45 million lower than the $150.49 million recorded in the previous session.

It was a similar situation at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) forex window as the Naira showed no movement against the United States Dollar, trading at N759/$1.

But in the parallel market, the Nigerian currency appreciated against the American Dollar by N2 to settle at N750/$1 compared with Monday’s value of N752/$1.

Sadly, in the interbank window, the domestic currency fell against the Pound Sterling by 88 Kobo to trade at N570.93/£1 versus the preceding day’s N570.05/£1 and against the Euro, it lost N1.09 to settle at N502.51/€1, in contrast to the previous day’s N501.42/€1.

At the cryptocurrency market, there was a major green swing as investors await the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday decision on a potential interest rate increase.

Cardano (ADA) appreciated by 4.4 per cent to trade at $0.3871, Ripple (XRP) gained 3.7 per cent to sell at $0.4056, Litecoin (LTC) rose by 2.5 per cent to $97.14, Bitcoin (BTC) improved by 1.2 per cent to $23,158.47, Dogecoin (DOGE) jumped by 0.9 per cent to $0.0925, and Ethereum (ETH) expanded by 0.8 per cent to $1,584.00.

However, Binance Coin (BNB) pointed downwards by 0.8 per cent to sell at $310.03, Solana (SOL) slumped by 0.6 per cent to $23.94, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) remained unchanged at $1.00 apiece.

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Economy

Stock Exchange Rises 0.15% as Market Cap Nears N29trn

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Local Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

Sustained bargain-hunting activity stretched the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited further by 0.15 per cent on Tuesday, following strong corporate earnings.

The 2022 fourth-quarter results of companies on the stock exchange gave investors an overview of what the full-year earnings would look like, resulting in buying stocks expected to pay good cash rewards in the coming months.

From an analysis of the market data, the insurance counter appreciated by 2.98 per cent, the industrial goods sector rose by 0.03 per cent, while the consumer goods and banking indices closed lower by 0.17 per cent and 0.03 per cent, respectively, with the energy space closing flat.

At the close of business, the All-Share Index (ASI) grew by 80.84 points to 53,238.67 points from 53,157.83 points, while the market capitalisation nudged closer to N29 trillion with a N44 billion increase to N28.998 trillion from N28.954 trillion.

The activity chart revealed that traders transacted 250.2 million shares worth N5.9 billion yesterday in 4,328 deals as against the 201.4 million shares worth N5.7 billion traded in 4,332 deals on Monday, indicating a decline in the number of deals by 0.09 per cent and an improvement in the trading volume and value by 24.23 per cent and 3.51 per cent, respectively.

Universal Insurance was the busiest stock on Tuesday as it transacted 48.6 million units, with GTCO trading 14.2 million units at the close of transactions. Zenith Bank sold 12.5 million shares, Access Holdings exchanged 11.6 million stocks, and Unity Bank traded 10.9 million equities.

The trio of Veritas Kapital, Living Trust Insurance and Geregu Power gained 10.00 per cent each during the session to settle at 22 Kobo, N1.98, and N193.60 apiece, as John Holt rose by 9.92 per cent to N1.33, while SCOA Nigeria increased by 9.78 per cent to N1.01.

On the flip side, the duo of Chams and NCR Nigeria lost 10.00 per cent each to close at 27 Kobo and N3.24, respectively. Unity Bank shed 9.09 per cent to sell at 50 Kobo, Royal Exchange depreciated by 8.97 per cent to 71 Kobo, and Japaul dropped 8.33 per cent to quote at 33 Kobo.

Analysis of the price movement chart indicated that the market breadth ended positive, with 29 price gainers and 18 price losers, representing a very strong investor sentiment.

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Economy

Oil Prices Mixed Amid Weakening US Dollar

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Crude Oil Prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday despite drawing support from a weakening US Dollar, with Brent futures contract down by 37 cents to $84.53 per barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude up by 92 cents or 1.2 per cent to $78.82 a barrel.

The US Dollar index turned negative after data showed labour costs increased at their slowest pace in a year in the fourth quarter. This occurred as wage growth slowed, bolstering expectations of the US Federal Reserve slowing its interest rate increases.

Investors expect the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, with increases of half a percentage point by the Bank of England and European Central Bank the following day.

The rate increase expected at the Federal Open Market Committee’s January 31- February 1 meeting would bring the policy rate to the 4.5 per cent – 4.75 per cent range; that’s two quarter-point rate hikes short of the level most Fed policymakers in December thought would be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation under control.

Economists at UBS expect the US Dollar to travel along a weaker path, with limited and short-lived bouts of strength.

“The Fed is getting closer to the end of its rate-hiking cycle. With markets growing comfortable with a terminal fed funds rate close to or at 5 per cent, and US inflation likely to quickly roll over in the first half of this year, downward pressure on the USD should continue to mount,” they said in a note.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) panel will likely recommend keeping the group’s output policy unchanged when it meets at 2 pm (Nigerian time) on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a Reuters survey showed 49 economists and analysts expect Brent crude to average more than $90 a barrel this year, the first upward revision since October, with gains likely driven by demand from the world’s second top consumer, China.

China has been easing stringent COVID-19 restrictions this month, with the country reopening borders for the first time in three years.

Analysts noted that China’s reopening is supporting demand prospects for oil.

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