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Recession: Analysts Canvass Collaboration Between Regulators, Banks

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Recession

Financial analysts in the country have called for a strong collaboration between financial sector regulators and the banking industry to chart an ideal course, given the receding state of the economy.

They identified huge communication gaps among the parties, saying the gaps must be closed if the country must move forward economically.

According to them, the country is going through hard times, which require a more holistic and thorough approach to check the level of economic decadence.

The analysts made this submission at a panel discussion organised for industries’ leaders held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The Director of Investment Banking, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr. Ayo Fashina, noted that there was no need to borrow money when the country had assets to sell.

According to him, the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria has over N3tn assets with the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that the government, the banks and the regulators have to collaborate and help the country out of the current recession.

He said that banks already had liquidity challenges and the CBN needed to unlock liquidity in their balance sheet.

Other stakeholders at the meeting also urged the Federal Government to shelve the idea of borrowing from the international market considering the devaluation of the naira.

The Federal Government had said it would borrow $1bn from the international capital market to fund its expansionary budget and stimulate economic growth as inflation, slow growth and other challenges continued to hit the economy.

Fashina added, “If a foreign investor came in now, the same micro fundamental that happened in 2009 is happening now. Until the CBN issued special analysis of the banks because I am not sure that the assets level is right; for some banks, instead of qualifying their loans, they are putting them into watch list. How long will they continue to keep them in the watch list?”

Fashina attributed the drop in foreign portfolio investment in the country to volatility in foreign exchange, noting that unless the country fixed the exchange rate issues, foreign investors would not come to invest.

“The Nigerian economy is driven by the capital market and hence the NSE is currently constituted by 50 per cent foreign investors and 50 per cent local investors. The market is now coping with only the 50 per cent local investors while the 50 per cent foreign investors have taken flight for safety because of uncertainty of rate of foreign exchange,” he added.

Also, an economist and policy analyst, Dr. Ogho Okiti, said the country had not exited the problem of 2009 when AMCON was created, saying the non-performing loans had continued to increase.

He said, “I don’t know the facts from the banks. The stability and profitability of the banks are very weak. I hope we don’t repeat the same mistake of 2009.

“We have seen the symptoms and we don’t know how deep it will be. I am not saying the CBN is not going to bail out banks, but banks NPLs continue to increase.”

Nigeria officially slid into recession for the first time in more than 20 years as the National Bureau of Statistics recently announced a further contraction in the second quarter of the year.

The NBS said on Wednesday last week that the Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06 per cent after shrinking 0.36 in the first quarter.

It said the non-oil sector declined due to a weaker currency, while lower prices dragged the oil sector down.

A slump in crude prices, Nigeria’s mainstay, has hammered public finances and the naira, causing chronic dollar shortages. Crude sales account for around 70 per cent of government revenues.

Compounding the impact of low oil prices, attacks by militants on oil and gas facilities in the southern Niger Delta hub since the start of the year have cut crude production by about 700,000 barrels per day to 1.56 million bpd. The government’s 2016 budget assumed 2.2 million bpd.

The NBS said annual inflation reached 17.1 per cent in July from 16.5 per cent in June – a more than 10-year high – and food inflation rose to 15.8 per cent from 15.3.

Nigeria’s sovereign dollar bonds fell across the curve to their lowest value in more than two weeks after the NBS released its data, according to Reuters.

The NBS figures showed Nigeria attracted just $647.1m of capital in the second quarter, a 76 per cent fall year-on-year and nine per cent down from the first quarter.

Nigeria’s economy was last in recession, for less than a year, in 1991, the NBS data shows. It also experienced a prolonged recession from 1982 to 1984.

President Muhammadu Buhari was in power for some of that period as a military ruler after seizing power in a December 1983 coup and remained head of state until another military coup pushed him out in August 1985.

The office of the vice president, who oversees economic policy, said in a statement it expected a “better economic outlook” for the second half of 2016 “because many of the challenges faced in the first half either no longer exist or have eased”.

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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Crude Oil

South Sudan Launches First-Ever Oil and Gas Licensing Round

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Brent crude oil - Investors King

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum (MoP) officially launched the country’s first-ever oil and gas licensing round in Juba on Wednesday; Hosted by the MoP and attended by industry executives and international stakeholders, the event signifies an historic moment in the country’s budding oil and gas sector; The launch precedes the country’s highly anticipated national energy conference, South Sudan Oil & Power 2021, organized by Energy, Capital & Power and taking place at the Crown Hotel in Juba on the 29th-30th June.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum (MoP) officially launched the country’s first-ever oil and gas licensing round in an inaugural event on Wednesday in Juba. Focused on accelerating exploration and production at new and existing blocks, and promoting the country as a competitive investment destination, the event signified an historic moment in the country’s competitive oil and gas sector.

The event was officially launched by Hon. Puot Kang Chol, Minister of Petroleum, where presentations were given by Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang, Undersecretary, MoP and Hon. Athian Ding Athian, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, with closing remarks by H.E. James Wani Igga, Vice-President and VP of the Economic Cluster, TGNU. With emphasis placed on political improvements, the improved legal framework, and the ongoing acquisition of new data, the launch has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to advancing the sector.

“Oil licensing is a proof of stability and progress in South Sudan. These blocks are part of a vision for lasting peace in the country and we want to open up the energy sector for investment. The Ministry of Petroleum has identified new exploration blocks with potential hydrocarbons for investors, operators, and other parties. We are inviting genuine investors and as mentioned in our Petroleum Act, we will try our best to be transparent,” stated Hon. Puot Kuang Chol.

“It is high time for us to help maximize the natural resources we have, and I applaud the MoP for what they are doing. The oil industry has had its ups and downs, but it is about time that these resources benefit the community, and everyone gets their rightful entitlement of the development that is taking place in South Sudan,” stated Hon.. Athian Ding Athian.

The newly launched licensing round aims to attract international investors and partners to help expand South Sudan’s exploration initiatives. Built against a backdrop of peace and stability, the new licensing round aims to attract investors, while ensuring sustainable developments and community benefits.

“Certainly, one can say with confidence that South Sudan is doing well in maintaining peace and implementing peace agreements. For the first time we can really promote investment. The country needs to rigorously enforce transparency and good governance. We need accountability to improve. I am glad that with this new licensing round, the whole country will benefit,” stated H.E. James Wani Igga.

Additionally, the launch meticulously outlined the licensing process and schedule, providing insight into new and available blocks, technical capabilities and data. By detailing crucial analytical data and information to assist operators and investors, the launch emphasized that South Sudan is officially open for business, and accordingly, is welcoming investors to its competitive sector.

“Most of the areas being licensed had previously not been explored properly in terms of seismic data due to complications from the war. In 2019, we contracted PETROTECH to help with the data. The absence of data previously made it difficult to conduct licensing rounds, however, this licensing round today allows South Sudan to conduct a transparent tendering process with trustworthy data that is available,” stated Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang.

According to the MoP, the Ministry will use stringent criteria in its facilitation of the bid evaluation and investor selection process. With the offered blocks falling between longitudes 25 and 36 and between latitudes 4 and 11, and the size of blocks ranging between 4,000 and 25,000km², the licensing round is expected to be highly competitive. Additionally, the MoP is emphasizing the role of Nilepet in facilitating growth across the industry.

“If you look at the producing blocks today, the percentage of Nilepet has gone to 10% equity. We want investors but we also want to promote the capacity of Nilepet as the national oil company,” continued Hon. Puot Kang Chol.

The newly launched licensing round will be expanded on at the South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) 2021 conference, organized by Energy Capital & Power and endorsed by the Ministry of Petroleum. The Ministry will unpack the exploration of new blocks, existing blocks and will explain how it will further explore already producing areas.

Taking place at the Crown Hotel in Juba on the 29th-30th June, SSOP 2021 is expected to drive investment, promote engagement, and accelerate growth within South Sudan’s oil and gas sector.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Crosses $75 Per Barrel as Global Demand Recovers

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Crude oil - Investors King

Crude oil prices sustained bullish runs amid rising demand for global oil and likely delay in Iranian crude supply to global oil market.

Brent crude oil, global benchmark for Nigerian oil, rose above $75 a barrel for the first time since 2019 on Tuesday as global investors remained bullish across the board.

Brent crude rose 26 cents or 0.4 percent to $75.16 a barrel as of 7 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.

The rebound has pushed up spot premiums for crude in Asia and Europe to multi-month highs.

“The market sentiment stays strong with improved outlook for global demand,” said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, adding that a rally in Asian stock markets is also helping boost risk appetite among investors.

Global shares extended their recovery on Tuesday, with Asian markets bouncing from four-weeks lows as investor focus on economic growth partly offset worries about the U.S. Federal Reserve raising rates sooner than expected.

BofA Global Research raised its Brent crude price forecasts for this year and next, saying that tighter oil supply and recovering demand could push oil briefly to $100 per barrel in 2022.

Investors are looking to weekly U.S. inventory data as crude oil stockpiles have fallen for four weeks, said Toshitaka Tazawa, analyst at commodities broker Fujitomi Co.

U.S. crude stocks were expected to drop for the fifth consecutive week, while distillate and gasoline were seen rising last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

“The oil prices are expected to hold a firm tone amid expectations that fuel demand will pick up quickly along with economic recovery in Europe and the United States,” Tazawa said.

The price gap between the world’s two most actively traded oil contracts narrowed to its lowest in more than seven months, demonstrating that U.S. oil output is still in the COVID-19 doldrums with the market likely to remain undersupplied.

Negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal took a pause on Sunday after hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi won the country’s presidential election.

Raisi on Monday backed talks between Iran and six world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal but flatly rejected meeting U.S. President Joe Biden, even if Washington removed all sanctions.

“The lower probability of Iranian crude oil returning to the market due to the new hardline president is also supporting the market,” Fujitomi’s Tazawa said.

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Majority of New Renewables Undercut Cheapest Fossil Fuel on Cost

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Solar energy - Investors King

The share of renewable energy that achieved lower costs than the most competitive fossil fuel option doubled in 2020, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows. 162 gigawatts (GW) or 62 per cent of total renewable power generation added last year had lower costs than the cheapest new fossil fuel option.

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020 shows that costs for renewable technologies continued to fall significantly year-on-year. Concentrating solar power (CSP) fell by 16 per cent, onshore wind by 13 per cent, offshore wind by 9 per cent and solar PV by 7 per cent. With costs at low levels, renewables increasingly undercut existing coal’s operational costs too. Low-cost renewables give developed and developing countries a strong business case to power past coal in pursuit of a net-zero economy. Just 2020’s new renewable project additions will save emerging economies up to USD 156 billion over their lifespan.

“Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Renewables present countries tied to coal with an economically attractive phase-out agenda that ensures they meet growing energy demand, while saving costs, adding jobs, boosting growth and meeting climate ambition. I am encouraged that more and more countries opt to power their economies with renewables and follow IRENA’s pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”

“We are far beyond the tipping point of coal,” La Camera continued. “Following the latest commitment by G7 to net-zero and stop global coal funding abroad, it is now for G20 and emerging economies to match these measures. We cannot allow having a dual-track for energy transition where some countries rapidly turn green and others remain trapped in the fossil-based system of the past. Global solidarity will be crucial, from technology diffusion to financial strategies and investment support. We must make sure everybody benefits from the energy transition.”

The renewable projects added last year will reduce costs in the electricity sector by at least USD 6 billion per year in emerging countries, relative to adding the same amount of fossil fuel-fired generation. Two-thirds of these savings will come from onshore wind, followed by hydropower and solar PV. Cost savings come in addition to economic benefits and reduced carbon emissions. The 534 GW of renewable capacity added in emerging countries since 2010 at lower costs than the cheapest coal option are reducing electricity costs by around USD 32 billion every year.    

2010-2020 saw a dramatic improvement in the competitiveness of solar and wind technologies with CSP, offshore wind and solar PV all joining onshore wind in the range of costs for new fossil fuels capacity, and increasingly outcompeting them. Within ten years, the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV fell by 85 per cent, that of CSP by 68 per cent, onshore wind by 56 per cent and 48 per cent for offshore wind. With record low auction prices of USD 1.1 to 3 cents per kWh today, solar PV and onshore wind continuously undercut even the cheapest new coal option without any financial support

IRENA’s report also shows that new renewables beat existing coal plants on operating costs too, stranding coal power as increasingly uneconomic. In the United States for example, 149 GW or 61 per cent of the total coal capacity costs more than new renewable capacity. Retiring and replacing these plants with renewables would cut expenses by USD 5.6 billion per year and save 332 million tonnes of CO2, reducing emissions from coal in the United States by one-third. In India, 141 GW of installed coal is more expensive than new renewable capacity. In Germany, no existing coal plant has lower operating costs than new solar PV or onshore wind capacity.

Globally, over 800 GW of existing coal power costs more than new solar PV or onshore wind projects commissioned in 2021. Retiring these plants would reduce power generation costs by up to USD 32.3 billion annually and avoid around 3 giga tonnes of CO2 per year, corresponding to 9 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020 or 20 per cent of the emissions reduction needed by 2030 for a 1.5°C climate pathway outlined in IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook.

The outlook till 2022 sees global renewable power costs falling further, with onshore wind becoming 20-27 per cent lower than the cheapest new coal-fired generation option. 74 per cent of all new solar PV projects commissioned over the next two years that have been competitively procured through auctions and tenders will have an award price lower than new coal power. The trend confirms that low-cost renewables are not only the backbone of the electricity system, but that they will also enable electrification in end-uses like transport, buildings and industry and unlock competitive indirect electrification with renewable hydrogen.

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