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Economy

Brent Crude Oil Slides to 11-Years Low

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Oil

Brent crude slumped to the lowest price since mid-2004 amid speculation suppliers from the Middle East to the U.S. will exacerbate a record glut as they fight for market share.

Futures fell as much as 2.2 percent in London after a 2.8 percent drop last week. Producers are focusing on reducing costs amid the price decline, Qatar Energy Minister Mohammed Al Sada said Sunday at a gathering of Arab oil-exporting nations in Cairo. Drillers in the U.S. put the most rigs back to work since July, adding 17, data from Baker Hughes Inc. showed.

Oil has collapsed below levels last seen during the 2008 global financial crisis on signs the market’s oversupply will worsen. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries effectively abandoned output limits at a Dec. 4 meeting, while the U.S. on Friday passed legislation that lifted a 40-year ban on crude exports.

“There hasn’t been any significant signs of a pick-up in demand and we haven’t seen any meaningful cuts to production,” Ric Spooner, a chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by phone. “Nothing has really changed in the oil market over the past couple of months apart from the price.”

Brent for February settlement slid as much as 82 cents to $36.06 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, the lowest level in intraday trade since July 2, 2004. The contract was at $36.17 at 7:42 a.m. London time. Prices are down 37 percent this year, set for a third annual loss.

Drill Rigs

West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, which expires Monday, was 36 cents lower at $34.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 22 cents to $34.73 on Friday, the lowest close since February 2009. The more active February contract was down 44 cents at $35.62. Total volume was about six times the 100-day average.

There’s no need to be pessimistic about oil prices, Qatar’s Al Sada said at the meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, which includes seven OPEC members. Crude is set to climb from current “very low” levels that are hurting producers, Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said, without predicting when prices may rebound.

The number of rigs targeting oil increased to 541, Baker Hughes, an oilfield-services provider, reported on its website Friday. The Permian Basin in West Texas led the gains with five machines put back to work. U.S. crude stockpiles have expanded to 490.7 million barrels, more than 130 million above the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed last week.

U.S. Exports

The spread between Brent and New York futures has shrunk to the narrowest in 11 months amid speculation that the U.S. plan to allow domestic oil to be shipped overseas may ease the nation’s oversupply. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of 66 cents a barrel to the February WTI contract.

U.S. producers including Continental Resources Inc. and ConocoPhillips had been pressing for an end to restrictions on exports of most raw, unprocessed crude. While repealing the ban could allow unfettered access to supplies, driving the most important change in the country’s oil policy in more than a generation, buyers in the east may have a limited appetite for the quality of cargoes on offer.

Many Asian refiners are geared to process heavier, cheaper crude with higher sulfur content. The lighter and cleaner shale oil from the U.S. has also got about a third farther to come than alternative supplies from the Middle East, representing additional shipping costs.

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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lekki

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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poultry-farmers

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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