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Global Stocks Hold Near One-Year High as Crude Rallies; Yen Strengthens

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Global stocks held near a one-year high as rising oil prices bolstered investor sentiment following disappointing data in the world’s three largest economies.

U.S. equity index futures advanced, after retreating from a record in the last session as a report showed American retail sales stopped expanding in July. The Topix index fell and the yen strengthened after Japan announced slower economic growth than analysts forecast. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped by the most since May as takeover speculation outweighed Chinese figures showing a slump in new lending. The yuan fell for the first time in a week and U.S. crude climbed for a third day.

Global equities are trading near a one-year high as evidence of uneven growth in the world’s biggest economies both unnerves traders and fuels optimism that central banks will come to the rescue by way of stimulus. The probability that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this year eased to 42 percent in the futures market on Friday following the release of the U.S. retail sales figures, from 49 percent a day earlier.

“The U.S. economy may have lost a bit of momentum on its way up,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. “Still, weak numbers mean concern over tightening recedes.”

Stocks

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up 0.1 percent as of 8:24 a.m. London time. William Hill Plc declined 1.3 percent after the U.K.’s biggest bookmaker rejected an increased offer from 888 Holdings Plc and Rank Group Plc. The bidders were down 2.2 percent and up 2.8 percent, respectively.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent, after rallying 3.1 percent last week. Markets in South Korea and India were shut Monday for holidays.

The Topix index lost 0.5 percent as Japan posted an annualized expansion for the second quarter of 0.2 percent, below the 0.7 percent projected by economists.

Officials in Asia’s second-largest economy are struggling to ignite price growth, with the central bank running negative interest rates and an unprecedented asset-purchase program, and the government also bolstering fiscal stimulus.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8 percent to a nine-month high after government data showed the economy expanded in the second quarter at the fastest pace since 2001. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.4 percent to its highest since January after stake purchases by China Evergrande Group spurred takeover bets among property developers. The Shenzhen Composite Index climbed by the most since June after the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that a proposed exchange link with Hong Kong will be announced as soon as this week and start in December.

“The road ahead may be bumpy but Asian equities ex-Japan are relatively undervalued, under-owned and under-appreciated,” said Vasu Menon, vice president for wealth management research at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “It could do better than other regions over the next few years once we see greater stability in China and greater clarity with Fed policy.”

Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.2 percent, after the U.S. benchmark slipped 0.1 percent in the last session.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, a gauge of the greenback’s strength, retreated 0.2 percent to levels last seen in June. The yen advanced 0.2 percent, reversing an earlier loss. Russia’s ruble climbed 1.1 percent, leading gains among the currencies of oil-exporting nations.

The yuan weakened 0.14 percent to 6.6425 per dollar in Shanghai, after gaining 0.4 percent over the last four trading days. China’s broadest measure of new credit increased in July by the least in two years, a report showed late Friday. Data earlier that day showed factory output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all slowed in Asia’s biggest economy.

Thailand’s baht reversed earlier losses to trade 0.5 percent stronger after the government reported better-than-expected economic growth. Gross domestic product expanded 3.5 percent in the three months through June from a year earlier, more than the 3.3 percent increase forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 1.2 percent to $45.02 a barrel. It jumped 6.4 percent last week, its best performance since April, as Saudi Arabia signaled that it’s prepared to discuss stabilizing markets at informal discussions being held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in September. Venezuela’s oil and foreign ministers will visit producer countries to lobby for price increases ahead of the talks, President Nicolas Maduro said.

Gold rose for the first time in three days, gaining 0.4 percent. The reduced likelihood of a Fed rate hike is a positive for precious metals as they don’t pay interest.

Bonds

The yield on U.S. Treasuries due in a decade fell one basis point to 1.50 percent, after dropping by five basis points on Friday. The rate on similar-maturity Chinese debt dropped was steady at 2.66 percent, the lowest in China Bond data going back to 2006.

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.

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Energy

Fuel Scarcity: Petrol Sells N220 Per Litre in Nsukka

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Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, now sells for between N200 and N220 per liter at the independent marketers’ service stations in Nsukka, Enugu State.

The News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the hike in the price against the official pump price of N162 per liter.

It said it started about a fortnight ago due to the scarcity of the commodity in the town and its environs.

Some residents of the town expressed deep worry over the development in separate interviews with NAN on Wednesday.

A civil servant, Stephen Ozioko, said the situation had further compounded the economic difficulties in the area.

Ozioko said many private car owners had been compelled to park their vehicles at home and move around in public transport.

He said: “Since the scarcity started, I decided to park my car and take public transport to the office and back home. N220 per liter is exorbitant and I cannot afford it considering my salary as a civil servant. I shall continue to use public transport until the situation returns to normal.”

A building material dealer, Timothy Ngwu, said the development had also led to an increase in transport fare in the area.

Ngwu said: “Some people now trek from Nsukka Old Park to Odenigbo Roundabout because of the 100 percent hike in fares from N50 to N100 by tricycle.

“Before now, transport fare from Nsukka to Enugu was N500, but transporters now charge between N800 and N1000.”

Also, a commuter bus driver, Victor Ogbonna, described the scarcity and hike in the price of petrol as “unfortunate and an ugly development”.

Ogbonna added: “Today, only a few filling stations are selling the commodity in Nsukka town, while others are shut.”

He alleged that some filling stations, which claimed to be out-of-stock, were selling to black marketers at night.

He said: “This is why black marketers have sprung up everywhere in the town, selling the commodity for about N300 per liter.”

NAN reports that virtually all the major marketers in the area have stopped the sale of petrol, claiming to be out-of-stock.

The people called on the government to urgently intervene in order to bring the situation under control and also put an end to its harsh economic effects on the messes.

NAN.

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Energy

DPR Targets N3.2T Revenue by Year-End

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Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will hit the N3.2 trillion revenue target by December 2021, according to its Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu.

Auwalu made the disclosure when he led a delegation of the DPR management team to the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr Bello Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that 70 percent of the revenue projection had already been met. “Last year, we exceed our revenue budget. We were given N1.5 trillion but we were able to generate N2.7trillion.

“This year, our revenue budget was N3.2 trillion. By the end of August 2021, we have generated up to 70 per cent.

“So, we with September, October, November and December, it is only the 30 per cent that we will work over,’’ he said

He noted that the government took advantage of fiscal terms within the old and new legislation, thereby creating a level of increased signature bonuses.

“We reorganise the work programme that is normally being done in the DPR to key into the new operational structure as we see it in the bill, now an act.

“That programme is being handled by the planning and strategic business unit as against what we use to have because the entire work programme is supposed to show not only technical but also commercial and viability of oil fields and to guarantee the return on investment for investors.

“We have also created an economic value and benchmarking unit to key into the new fiscal provisions of the PIA,’’ he said.

Commenting on capacity, Auwalu said the country stands at the advantage of exporting skills to emerging oil and gas countries across Africa with proper implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act.

This, he said, the DPR was ready to partner with the Fund to continue to build capacity in the oil and gas sector

He noted that the Federal Government was determined to create leeway that would encourage investors and drastically improve the nation’s petroleum industry.

He further noted that no fewer than 300 legal battles in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which had been stalled for the past 20 years in courts, had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution.

According to Auwalu, the DPR is strategising well to ensure effective implementation of the PIA.

Responding, Gusau commended the DPR for enabling the industry and enhancing business activities in the oil and gas sector.

He said that DPR remained the head of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria adding that the Fund was grateful to benefit from the wealth of ideas from DPR.

“The last time we visited, we had a good discussion and issues raised are being implemented like tracking the inflow of funds in signature bonus accounts.

“We extended the meeting and involved ministry of Finance, Accountant General office and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Sitting at field development plans and attending significant meetings, helped us to know where and what the industry is trying to do and it also helps to inform our decisions in training and capacity plans,’’ he said

He urged the DPR to continue on its effort to ensure an efficient and productive petroleum industry in Nigeria

He assured collaboration with all as the head of the implementation committee of the Petroleum Industry Act. (NAN)

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Energy

Lagos Signs MoU With Energy Firms On Power Supply

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Lagos State Government, through its Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, on Tuesday signed a Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with Ikeja Electric and Sahara Power Group to increase power supply and provide uninterrupted power to residents of the State.

The agreement between Lagos State Government and the energy firms signed will also include the distribution of free prepaid meters to low-income areas, with the pilot phase of 20,000 meters to be distributed in the Alimosho Local Government Area of the State.

Speaking during the signing of the agreement at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote, said the aim of the agreement is to increase power supply to at least 22 hours daily, from about eight to 12 hours daily.

The Commissioner said the implementation would start immediately, adding that Lagos State Government has identified a number of feeders that can provide power in 20,000 low-income areas with plans to replicate the initiative across the state.

He said: “This Memoranda of Agreement is to ensure the provision of uninterrupted power to residents, especially the low-income areas. It is also part of efforts to solve the problem of metering and infrastructure deficit to ensure these areas get power supply which is also measurable.

“The 20,000 meters have been procured by the state government and would be distributed free to low-income areas in Alimosho Local Government Area as the pilot phase. Our intention is to replicate this gesture in other areas of the state once the pilot phase is successfully executed.

“We have identified a number of feeders that can provide power in these communities and implementation would start immediately.”

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Folake Soetan expressed the firm’s readiness to support Lagos State Government in ensuring uninterrupted power supply to residents of the State.

In his address, the Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Anthony Youdeowei, said his company will be transparent in its dealings with the Lagos State Government and Ikeja Electric to provide power supply for Lagosians.

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