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Iran’s Oil Deal and the Struggle Ahead

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The Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, US, UK, Russia, China, and France plus Germany defuses long standing tension between Iran and the West, potentially changing the political landscape of the Middle East. But what about Iran’s oil and the impact on the economic landscape?

For years Iran’s economy has been crippled by US sanctions, and this includes its oil production. Iran has the 4th largest oil reserves in the world, coming in at an estimated 158 billion barrels, but lack of investment has led to a serious decline in production capacity. In 2008 Iran’s oil fields produced 4 million barrels of oil a day, in 2015 it’s down to 2.8 million barrels. Today its markets have diminished with exports going mostly to China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey.

The question now is how much, if any, will Iran’s resurgence impact oil prices? There are two issues – how much they currently have in storage and what they can ramp up in terms of production. Iran does indeed have oil sitting there – stored mostly in tankers off the coast.  However Citigroup’s head of commodities research Edward Morse described the amount of oil in tankers as a bit misleading. “Of that 40 million barrels or so roughly two thirds is either condensate or condensate blended crude oil. The condensate can be exported under the sanctions regime, so the question is why has it not been exported, and the answer is almost certainly that it is so high in sulphur content that no refinery anywhere in the world wants to take it on, except at a very steep discount. So I’d say two thirds of that 40 million barrels is not really overhanging the market, only one third is.”

So we are talking 13 million barrels, which is hardly going to have a dramatic initial impact. It will also be 6 months before sanctions are realistically lifted. Iran will be unlikely to want to unload it all at once and crash prices. It’s possible other countries may also increase their production to hold market share which will lead to the price being driven down.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Iran could potentially increase its product to 3.5 million barrels per day “within months of sanctions being lifted.” Others such as Richard Nephew (who served as lead sanctions expert for the US team negotiating with Iran) are less sure. He describes Iran’s oil producing infrastructure as plagued by “fatigued fields and antiquated equipment.” Some estimate the cost of getting Iran’s production back to pre-sanction levels as between $50 billion and $100 billion – which will need to come from foreign investment. This could take years, as high in investors’ minds will be the risk of the nuclear deal falling over and sanctions being reimposed.

Iran wants to recover its position as the number 2 oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia, and this could conceivably be good too for the West – with oil prices being pushed down, but the bottom line is any dramatic changes are many years, some might argue decades off. In the short term the impact of the nuclear deal is simply this: prices are unlikely to increase. According to Thomas Pugh, commodities economist at consultants Capital Economics, “the return of Iranian oil exports over the next year is one factor likely to keep oil prices low.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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Economy

Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom

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Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.

The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.

Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.

Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.

“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.

“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.

“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.

“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.

“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?

“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.

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