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Naira Crashes to 300 Against Dollar

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Naira

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.

Punch

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.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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