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Africa Needs to Develop Auto Sector Strategy – Nemeth

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Nemeth and Buhari

The Chairman of African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), Mr. Jeff Nemeth has said that Africa needs to have deliberate policies and systems to grow its auto sector.

AAAM was inaugurated on November 25, 2015 by founding members BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen, focusing on key markets of the African Continent.

Jeff Nemeth said, “The aim of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers is to unlock the economic potential of the African continent by promoting a policy environment that is conducive to the development of the automotive sector.”

He said, “As the African continent becomes increasingly important within the global economy, it is crucial that we develop an auto sector strategy backed up by incremental investments in infrastructure, skills development and in-market localisation programmes.”

Nemeth, who is the President and CEO of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region, stated this in his brief speech at the launch of the Ranger 2.2 Automatic drive in George, South Africa, recently.

According to him, “This (auto sector strategy) will make new vehicles more affordable, boost the industrialisation of the economy and lead to the growth of middle income households, which will be the main driver for new vehicle sales.”

He said, “Outside of South Africa, which has a well-developed world-class automotive industry, Nigeria is recognised as a strategic market over the long term due to its demographics.

Quoting available statistics, he said, “Although Nigeria is recognised as Africa’s largest economy, the automotive sector is relatively small, with an estimated 44 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, according to Deloitte Africa’s Automotive Insights, published in April 2016.

“This is far below the global average of 180 vehicles per 1 000 inhabitants, and lower than other developing regions such as Latin America (176) and Asia, Oceania and the Middle East (79),” the report indicates.

“One of the biggest challenges we face in Africa is the lack of reliable data on the number of new and second-hand vehicles sold on the continent, as very few countries have formal reporting or legislative structures to monitor the automotive sector,” Nemeth adds. “This is exacerbated by the large number of second-hand imports, with only a small proportion of new cars sold due to the high import duties and lack of affordable financing options.”

He said AAAM’s mandate, thus, is to engage with government, industry bodies and representatives from the motor sector to provide advice on opportunities to formalise, develop and grow all aspects of the local automotive industry.

This, he said includes promoting an investor-friendly regulatory framework that would support the development and implementation of policies to establish a viable automotive manufacturing industry on the continent that includes both assemblers and suppliers.

Nemeth said, “To unlock this market potential will require greater government and private sector partnerships to develop a formal legislative environment that is conducive to longer-term growth. It needs a more robust automotive strategy that promotes a sustainable and stable environment in support of local manufacturing operations.”

A delegation from AAAM, led by Jeff Nemeth, recently, visited Nigeria to engage with government and industry leaders.

The programme included high-level discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari, along with government ministers and representatives from Nigeria’s National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) and the National Automotive Manufacturers’ Association (NAMA).

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 Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.

Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.

Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.

In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.

However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.

In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.

The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.

“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.

The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.

“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.

“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”

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Commodities

Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to Commence Gold Trading

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gold bars

With the admission of Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments backed by gold as the underlying asset, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange is set to commence gold trading.

According to Dukia Gold, the instruments will be in form of exchange-traded notes, commercial papers and other gold-backed securities, adding that it will enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria, increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the Nigerian government to better diversify foreign reserves and create jobs across the metal production value chain.

Tunde Fagbemi, the Chairman, Dukia Gold, disclosed this while addressing journalists at Pre-Listing Media Interactive Session in Lagos on Thursday.

He said, “We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.

“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds. A gold-backed security is a hedge against inflation and convenient preservation of capital.”

“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located,” he added.

Mr Olusegun Akanji, the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Heritage Bank, said the lender had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.

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Crude Oil

Oil Nears $70 as Easing Western Lockdowns Boost Summer Demand Outlook

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Crude oil

Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as easing of lockdowns in the United States and parts of Europe heralded a boost in fuel demand in summer season and offset concerns about the rise of COVID-19 infections in India and Japan.

Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.4%, to $69.81 a barrel at 1008 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.54 a barrel.

Both contracts hit the highest level since mid-March in intra-day trade.

“A return to $70 oil is edging closer to becoming reality,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

“The jump in oil prices came amid expectations of strong demand as western economies reopen. Indeed, anticipation of a pick-up in fuel and energy usage in the United States and Europe over the summer months is running high,” he said.

Crude prices were also supported by a large fall in U.S. inventories.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group reported crude stockpiles fell by 7.7 million barrels in the week ended April 30, according to two market sources. That was more than triple the drawdown expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 5.3 million barrels.

Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday to see if official data shows such a large fall.

“If confirmed by the EIA, that would mark the largest weekly fall in the official data since late January,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.

The rise in oil prices to nearly two-month highs has been supported by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States and Europe.

Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth.

“The partial lifting of mobility restrictions, the expectation that tourism will return in the near future, and the lure of the psychologically important $70 mark are all likely to have contributed to the price rise,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

This has offset a drop in fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.

“However, if we were to eventually see a national lockdown imposed, this would likely hit sentiment,” ING Economics analysts said of the situation in India.

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