Monday’s stoppage of foreign exchange sales to Bureau De Change operators by the Central Bank of Nigeria failed to lift the naira on Tuesday as the currency exchanged for 300 against the United States dollar in Kano, 290 in Lagos and 292 in Abuja.
Financial experts said the naira would decline further, while private sector operators described the move as a welcome development.
The ban was announced on Monday, when naira trading at 285 against the dollar at the parallel market from 278 on Friday.
The Acting President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, told one of correspondents in a telephone interview that the currency traded against the greenback at 300, 290 and 292 in Kano, Lagos and Abuja a day after the CBN announcement.
“There is cut of (dollar) supply to the market. The BDC sub-sector has been murdered. We are not coping. The naira is going to head northwards. There is no solution in sight,” Gwadabe lamented.
The Head of Investment Research, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, said the stoppage of forex sale to the BDCs meant that the CBN wanted everybody to apply to the banks for dollars.
He stated, “But we feel the pressure now will move from the BDCs to the parallel market. We will see significant spike in the value of the naira at the parallel market because the little supply to the BDCs have also helped to cushion the demand at the parallel market.
“It will further compound or increase the spread between the parallel market and the interbank market. So, it will also increase round-tripping and unethical practices within the financial system.”
On the lifting of the ban on cash deposits into domiciliary accounts, Ebo said, “I am still sceptical about how this will work except they are also assuring us that if you deposit it, you can consummate business with it.”
A professor of financial economics at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Leo Ukpong, said, “I don’t think the stoppage of dollar sale to the BDCs will solve the problem. The currency will depreciate some more.
“This move will make the naira to weaken more as demand for dollar will skyrocket because of the short supply.”
Members of the organised private sector, however, applauded the CBN for the stopping the sale of dollars to the BDCs and lifting the ban on cash deposits into domiciliary accounts.
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said industrialists had earlier kicked against the funding of the BDCs by the central bank, adding that with the development, the forex could be channelled towards funding the real sector in terms of importation of raw materials.
On the removal of the restriction of cash deposits into domiciliary accounts, Jacobs said manufacturers were still waiting for more clarification as to how the money deposited could be utilised by the customers.
The Director-General, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Cobham, said the forex sale ban was a welcome development.
According to him, although the BDCs are necessary in the economy, they are licensed entities and should, therefore, source for their own funds.
Also speaking on the matter, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, lauded the forex policy review, noting that it had addressed the concerns of economic operators.
According to him, it is a source of worry that the CBN continues to maintain its official exchange rate at N199 to the dollar at a time of dwindling forex inflow.
“The pressure on the official window will persist. The risk of round-tripping and distortions in the foreign exchange market will consequently remain high,” he said.
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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