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Brexit Hits U.K. Housing as Sales Decline Most Since 2008

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Brexit is undermining the near-term outlook for the U.K. housing market, with both demand and sales dropping in July, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The London-based group said new buyer inquiries fell for a fourth month, while its index of sales is pointing to the fastest decline in transactions since the global financial crisis in 2008. Prices continued to rise, but at the slowest pace in three years. Just 5 percent more surveyors recorded an increase than a fall, compared with 15 percent in June.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has undermined confidence among U.K. consumers and increased worries about their finances and property values. That’s curbing demand for housing, though a worsening supply picture is proving some support to prices, according to RICS. New sales listings are falling at a record pace, it said.

Separately, Acadata and LSL Property Services said house prices rose just 0.2 percent in July, slowing the annual growth rate to 5.5 percent from as high as 8.9 percent in February. They also reported that transaction volumes are down by 20 percent compared with the second quarter of 2015.

The recent drop in demand in the RICS index is also related to a government tax change in April, which saw landlords rush to the market in the first quarter to avoid a higher levy on purchases of investment properties. In London, house prices are falling outright, RICS said.

Shares Slump

The downturn has punished the shares of companies serving the property market. The FTSE 350 Real Estate Investment and Services Index has lost 15 percent since the June 23 Brexit referendum, making it the worst-performing sector. The FTSE 350 Index overall has gained almost 7 percent.

Prospective buyers received a boost last week when the Bank of England cut borrowing costs, and RICS said the outlook for the housing market appears brighter, with 12-month price expectations rising to 23 in July from zero in June. “Confidence remains more resilient than might have been anticipated,” said RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn.

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

The Drop in US Crude Oil Inventories Boosted Oil Prices on Wednesday

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The Drop in US Crude Oil Inventories Boosted Oil Prices on Wednesday

Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday following a decline in US crude inventories last week.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) had reported that United States crude oil inventories declined by 5.3 million barrels in the week ended January 22, 2021, more than a reduction of 430,000 barrels predicted by a Reuters poll.

The unexpected decline, coupled with slowing new COVID-19 cases in China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, boosted oil prices on Wednesday.

Brent crude, against which Nigerian crude oil is measured, rose by 41 cents or 0.7 percent to $56.32 per barrel.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil also gained 56 cents or 1 percent to $53.17 a barrel.

WTI is slightly firmer on the back of a larger-than-expected draw in US crude inventories reported by the API, which is offset by builds in gasoline and distillates,” said Vandana Hari, oil market analyst at Vanda Insights.

The data, however, showed petrol inventories grew by 3.1 million barrels in the week, more than experts projected.

Similarly, API data revealed that distillate fuel inventories that include diesel and heating oil, jumped by 1.4 million barrels, far higher than the 361,000 barrels decline predicted. However, refinery runs declined by 76,000 barrels per day.

Market participants are now in ‘wait and see’ mode, wanting to see how lockdowns evolve in the coming weeks and months, and how successful countries are in rolling out Covid-19 vaccines,” ING economics said in a note.

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Crude Oil

COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

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COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.

In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.

The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.

Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.

She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.

She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.

Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.

“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.

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Commodities

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

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Crude oil

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.

Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.

The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.

Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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