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Oil Falls as Iranian Minister Calls Freeze Proposal `Ridiculous’

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Oil tumbled after the Iranian Oil Minister said that an agreement by Saudi Arabia and Russia last week for oil producers to freeze output was “ridiculous.”

Crude fell 4.6 percent in New York. The proposal to cap output at January levels puts “unrealistic demands” on Iran, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Tuesday, according to the ministry’s news agency Shana. Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two biggest crude producers, agreed to the freeze on condition other major producers, notably Iran and Iraq, follow suit. Saudi Arabia isn’t cutting output, the kingdom’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said at the IHS CERAWeek oil conference in Houston.

“Zanganeh and Naimi have managed to deflate traders’ expectations that there would be an agreement to cut production anytime soon,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “There’s a lot of hard bargaining and additional economic pain that’s going to have to occur before an agreement is reached.”

Oil is down about 14 percent this year on speculation a global glut will persist amid the outlook for increased exports from Iran and brimming U.S. stockpiles. Iran will add more output capacity than any other member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries over the next six years as it seeks to regain lost market share after the removal of sanctions, according to the International Energy Agency.

West Texas Intermediate for April delivery slipped $1.52 to close at $31.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest decline Feb. 9. The March contract rose $1.84 to expire at $31.48 Monday, the highest for front-month prices since Feb. 4.

Futures extended losses after the settlement when the American Petroleum Institute was said to report U.S. crude supplies rose 7.1 million barrels last week. WTI traded at $31.24 at 4:38 p.m.

Brent for April settlement dropped $1.42, or 4.1 percent, to $33.27 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude closed at a $1.40 premium to WTI.

The six worst performers on the S&P 500 Tuesday were energy companies. The S&P 500 Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Index fell 4.4 percent.

“Not many countries are going to deliver” even if they promise supply curbs, al-Naimi said. An accord last week to freeze the oil production of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela at January levels is “not like cutting production, that’s not going to happen.”

Instead, high-cost producers will have to “lower costs, borrow or liquidate” to cope with the slump in oil prices, al-Naimi said, adding that he doesn’t know when the current rout will end. This is a “more efficient” way for the market to rebalance than cuts by low-cost producers like Saudi Arabia, which would only delay the “inevitable reckoning” needed for supply and demand to realign, he said.

Questionable Agreement

“It’s hard enough getting two people to agree, much less a large number of competing countries,” said Michael Corcelli, chief investment officer of hedge fund Alexander Alternative Capital LLC in Miami. “Any deal that can be agreed to would be questionable because of the lack of trust.”

Oil has slumped more than 50 percent since Saudi Arabia led OPEC’s decision in November 2014 to maintain output and defend market share against higher-cost U.S. shale producers. The resilience of the shale sector and increase in Russian production to post-Soviet highs helped expand the global glut.

“U.S. shale output is going to decline,” said Sarah Emerson, managing director of ESAI Energy Inc., a consulting company in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “Everyone seems to think it will happen tomorrow, but it takes time. It has already started and later this year production will be considerably lower.”

Ample Inventories

Global oil stockpiles will keep accumulating into 2017 as supply continues to exceed demand, capping any price recovery, the IEA said in its medium-term report on Monday.

U.S. inventories probably expanded 3.25 million barrels from the highest level in more than eight decades, according to a Bloomberg survey before government data on Wednesday. Supplies of gasoline and distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, fell, the analysts said.

March gasoline futures fell 3.4 percent to close at 96.63 cents a gallon. Diesel dropped 3.1 percent to $1.0221, the lowest settlement since Feb. 11.

Bloomberg

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Agricultural Sector’s Contribution to GDP Decreases in Q1 2024

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Nigeria’s agricultural sector declined in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The sector, which encompasses crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing, experienced a decrease in its nominal growth rate compared to the same period in 2023.

The data reveals that the agricultural sector grew by 0.77% year-on-year in nominal terms in Q1 2024, a decrease of 4.47% points from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

This decline is significant, especially when compared to the growth rate of 14.94% recorded in the preceding quarter, showcasing a downturn of 14.17% points.

Crop production emerged as the primary driver of the sector, constituting 87.98% of the overall nominal value of the sector in Q1 2024.

However, despite its dominance, the sector’s contribution to nominal GDP stood at 17.22%, reflecting a decrease from the rates recorded in both the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2023, which were 19.63% and 24.65%, respectively.

In real terms, the agricultural sector experienced a modest growth rate of 0.18% year-on-year in Q1 2024, indicating an increase of 1.08% points from the same period in 2023.

Nevertheless, this growth rate represents a decline of 1.92% points from the preceding quarter, which recorded a growth rate of 2.10%. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the sector’s growth rate stood at -32.25% in the first quarter of 2024.

Despite these challenges, the agricultural sector remains a vital component of Nigeria’s economy, contributing significantly to employment, food security, and overall economic development.

As the nation navigates through economic fluctuations, policymakers and stakeholders may need to explore strategies to revitalize and strengthen the agricultural sector to ensure its sustained growth and resilience in the face of future uncertainties.

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Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 2.98% in Q1 2024, Driven by Services Sector

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.98% in the first quarter of 2024 as the services sector sustained growth, the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report has shown.

This growth was higher when compared to the 2.31% recorded in the corresponding period of 2023, but lower than the 3.46% growth observed in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The report indicates that the services sector spearheaded this expansion as it grew by 4.32% in the period under review and contributed 58.04% of the aggregate GDP

Contrary to previous quarters, where the agriculture sector faced challenges, it rebounded modestly to post a 0.18% growth rate.

This positive performance marks a notable turnaround from the decline of -0.90% recorded in the first quarter of 2023.

Also, the industry sector recorded a growth rate of 2.19%, compared to the marginal 0.31% growth in the same period last year.

The aggregate GDP in nominal terms stood at N58,855,142.27 million for the first quarter of 2024.

Oil Sector First Quarter 2024

Delving into sectoral specifics, the oil sector posted a real growth rate of 5.70% year-on-year in Q1 2024.

Although this growth rate represents a decline from the previous quarter where it stood at 12.11%, the oil sector still contributed 6.38% of the total real GDP.

This performance revealed the sector’s continued importance despite ongoing global economic shifts and fluctuations in oil prices.

Non-oil Sector First Quarter

On the other hand, the non-oil sector expanded by 2.80% in real terms during the reference quarter.

This growth was predominantly driven by key sectors such as Financial and Insurance, Information and Communication, Agriculture, Trade, and Manufacturing.

In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 93.62% to the nation’s GDP in the first quarter of 2024, lower than the share recorded in the first quarter of 2023 which was 93.79% and lower than the fourth quarter of 2023 recorded as 95.30%.

Despite the challenges posed by the global economic landscape and domestic factors, Nigeria’s GDP growth in the first quarter of 2024 shows resilience and potential for further expansion.

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Federal Government Disburses N260bn to Revitalize Primary Health Centres Nationwide

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The federal government has disbursed N260 billion to the 36 states to revitalise primary health centres (PHCs).

This initiative, announced by Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, will improve healthcare accessibility and quality for all citizens.

During a ministerial sectoral update organized by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation on Friday, Pate emphasized the urgency and importance of this investment.

“N260 billion is sitting right now at the state level for the revitalization of their primary healthcare centres,” he stated, highlighting the immediate availability of funds for this crucial sector.

The fund, part of which is sourced from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, is intended to upgrade and equip up to 17,000 primary healthcare centres nationwide.

This ambitious target aims to significantly improve the quality of healthcare services available to Nigerians, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

Pate noted the government’s strategic focus on primary healthcare as the foundation of a robust health system.

“Our goal is to ensure that every Nigerian, regardless of their location, has access to quality healthcare services. By revitalizing these primary health centres, we can provide essential health services closer to the people, thereby reducing the burden on tertiary healthcare facilities.”

The minister also pointed out that this financial injection would address several challenges faced by the PHCs, including inadequate infrastructure, lack of essential medical supplies, and insufficient staffing.

“This funding will enable states to renovate existing facilities, procure necessary medical equipment, and employ additional healthcare workers to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services,” Pate explained.

The disbursement of these funds is part of a broader strategy to strengthen Nigeria’s health system, which has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revitalization of PHCs is seen as a critical step in achieving universal health coverage and improving health outcomes for all Nigerians.

Stakeholders in the healthcare sector have welcomed the government’s initiative, calling it a timely intervention that could transform the country’s healthcare landscape.

“This is a significant milestone for Nigeria’s healthcare system. The revitalization of primary health centres is essential for achieving sustainable health improvements and ensuring that every Nigerian has access to basic healthcare services,” said Dr. Adeyemi Adeniran, a public health expert.

The successful implementation of this initiative will require close collaboration between the federal and state governments, as well as active participation from local communities.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has pledged to monitor the utilization of the funds to ensure transparency and accountability.

As the government embarks on this ambitious project, the hope is that it will not only enhance healthcare delivery but also build a resilient health system capable of addressing current and future health challenges.

With the N260 billion disbursement, the federal government has taken a significant step towards achieving this goal, reaffirming its commitment to the health and well-being of all Nigerians.

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