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Nigeria Drops to Seventh Position as Cocoa Producer

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Cocoa farm

Nigeria has dropped to the seventh position from fourth as a top cocoa producer in the world, according to data made available by the International Cocoa Organisation.

The President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sayina Riman, said the review of the rankings was made by the ICO based on the country’s 2015/2016 production projection of 190,000 metric tonnes.

“Nigeria has fallen from four to seven. It is shocking to us. The ranking was announced to us at a meeting that our 2015/2016 production figure leaves us at 190,000 metric tonnes,” he said.

According to the ICCO statistics, Nigeria occupied the fourth position in the 2013/2014 season based on its estimated production output of 230,000 metric tonnes after Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.

Riman, who said that the 2015/2016 season yielded about 275,000 metric tonnes for the country, expressed optimism that the new planting season would yield between 280,000 metric tonnes and 300,000 metric tonnes provided that the production factors were favourable.

The output of 275,000 metric tonnes fetched the country about $792m in that period based on the ICCO daily price of $2,878.55 per tonne of cocoa beans on September 15, 2016.

This shows that cocoa production rose by 17 per cent from 235,000 metric tonnes in the 2014/2015 planting season to 275,000 metric tonnes in the 2015/2016 season.

The production of individual countries, according to the ICCO, is based on cocoa beans purchased or reaching the ports of the countries concerned and consequently, may differ from the harvested crop.

Riman, however, explained that many exporters were avoiding the ports and were smuggling cocoa beans out of the country, because they were discouraged by the earnings from the commodity, which had been restricted to N305 to $1 adopted as the interbank rate.

According to him, it is not profitable for exporters because the export business is done with loans at 29 per interest rate.

He explained, “Last year, the drought adversely affected our cocoa output and secondly, the monetary policy affected us. We have the limitations of not having free access to our proceeds as they come and some cocoa beans are now being smuggled to other countries so that exporters can have their proceeds there.

“What the CBN is doing, which is not acceptable to the export commodity sector, is that they still want us to change the export proceeds at the interbank rate. The parallel market rate is N420 to the dollar, while the interbank rate is N320.

“Who takes the N100 difference? We understand the system perfectly well that some people may be round-tripping the money. We are borrowing money at 29 per cent interest rate and you are still asking people, without providing any form of incentive, to bring their money and sell at the interbank rate. This is affecting the commodity sector.”

The CAN president stressed, “It is a boost to the economy if they allow us unfettered access to our proceeds. During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, we found out that our export proceeds through the agricultural sector were about $770m but that was shared because of the monetary policy of the CBN then. We went to the President and they gave us unfettered access. And when that was done, incentives were also added. The proceeds rose from $770m to $12bn.”

Nigeria’s cocoa performance in the global market in the past years had been hampered by dry weather, scanty rainfall as well as old and worn trees.

The Federal Government, during the last administration, targeted a yearly increase that would raise production to around 700,000 metric tonnes in 2016 and one million metric tonnes by 2020.

As such, farmers were provided with early-maturing, high-yielding and disease-resistant beans that mature in about 18 months to replace seedlings with four to five years’ maturity rate.

“We have distributed more than 140 million seedlings of high-yielding cocoa varieties to recapitalise the cocoa plantations, because they are old. That will give us a yield of almost five times. By 2020, Nigeria should be certainly in the one million metric tonnes cocoa production club,” the immediate past Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, had said in 2014.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, last year said that a drop in cocoa production would adversely affect the target to increase yield.

“We need to scale up production; the idea is to surpass Ivory Coast and Ghana. Ghana is already at 700,000 metric tonnes, and we are still hovering around 240,000 metric tonnes, but the idea was to get to 500,000 metric tonnes in the next few years,” he said.

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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Crude Oil

Nigeria’s Crude Oil Production Falls for Second Consecutive Month, OPEC Reports

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Crude Oil

Nigeria’s crude oil production declined for the second consecutive month in March, according to the latest report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Data obtained from OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2024 reveals that Nigeria’s crude oil production depreciated from 1.322 million barrels per day (mbpd) in February to 1.231 mbpd in March.

This decline underscores the challenges faced by Africa’s largest oil-producing nation in maintaining consistent output levels.

Despite efforts to stabilize production, Nigeria has struggled to curb the impact of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, which continue to plague the industry.

The theft and sabotage of oil infrastructure have resulted in significant disruptions, contributing to the decline in crude oil production observed in recent months.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recently disclosed alarming statistics regarding oil theft incidents in the country.

According to reports, the NNPCL recorded 155 oil theft incidents within a single week, these incidents included illegal pipeline connections, refinery operations, vessel infractions, and oil spills, among others.

The persistent menace of oil theft poses a considerable threat to Nigeria’s economy and its position as a key player in the global oil market.

The illicit activities not only lead to revenue losses for the government but also disrupt the operations of oil companies and undermine investor confidence in the sector.

In response to the escalating problem, the Nigerian government has intensified efforts to combat oil theft and vandalism.

However, addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach, including enhanced security measures, regulatory reforms, and community engagement initiatives.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Edge Higher Amidst Fear of Middle East Conflict

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Crude Oil

Amidst growing apprehensions of a potential conflict in the Middle East, oil prices have inched higher as investors anticipate a strike from Iran.

The specter of a showdown between Iran or its proxies and Israel has sent tremors across the oil market as traders brace for possible supply disruptions in the region.

Brent crude oil climbed above the $90 price level following a 1.1% gain on Wednesday while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) hovered near $86.

The anticipation of a strike, believed to be imminent by the United States and its allies, has cast a shadow over market sentiment. Such an escalation would follow Iran’s recent threat to retaliate against Israel for an attack on a diplomatic compound in Syria.

The trajectory of oil prices this year has been heavily influenced by geopolitical tensions and supply dynamics. Geopolitical unrest, coupled with ongoing OPEC+ supply cuts, has propelled oil prices nearly 18% higher since the beginning of the year.

However, this upward momentum is tempered by concerns such as swelling US crude stockpiles, now at their highest since July, and the impact of a hot US inflation print on Federal Reserve rate-cut expectations.

Despite the bullish sentiment prevailing among many of the world’s top traders and Wall Street banks, with some envisioning a return to $100 for the global benchmark, caution lingers.

Macquarie Group has cautioned that Brent could enter a bear market in the second half of the year if geopolitical events fail to materialize into actual supply disruptions.

“The current geopolitical environment continues to provide support to oil prices,” remarked Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy for ING Groep NV in Singapore. However, he added, “further upside is limited without a fresh catalyst or further escalation in the Middle East.”

The rhetoric from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reaffirming a vow to retaliate against Israel, has only heightened tensions in the region.

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Commodities

Geopolitical Uncertainty Drives Gold Prices Higher Despite Fed Rate Cut Concerns

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gold bars - Investors King

As tensions simmer in the Middle East and concerns loom over Federal Reserve policy, gold continues its upward trajectory, defying expectations and reinforcing its status as the ultimate safe-haven asset.

The latest surge in gold prices comes amidst escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Reports suggest that the United States and its allies are bracing for potential missile or drone strikes by Iran or its proxies on military and government targets in Israel. Such a significant escalation in the six-month-old conflict has sent shockwaves through financial markets, prompting investors to seek refuge in gold.

Despite initial setbacks earlier in the week, gold resumed its blistering rally, buoyed by the specter of geopolitical uncertainty.

On Wednesday, the precious metal witnessed its most significant decline in almost a month following a hotter-than-expected US inflation readout.

This unexpected data led traders to recalibrate their expectations for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year, causing the yield on 10-year Treasuries to surge above 4.5%.

However, gold’s resilience in the face of shifting market dynamics remains remarkable. Even as concerns mount over the Fed’s rate-cutting trajectory, the allure of gold as a safe-haven asset persists.

Prices hover just shy of a record high reached earlier in the week, propelled by robust buying from central banks.

Market analysts interviewed by Bloomberg anticipate further gains in gold prices, citing continued geopolitical tensions and strong momentum in the market.

The precious metal’s near-20% rally since mid-February underscores its enduring appeal as a hedge against uncertainty and inflationary pressures.

At 9:54 a.m. in Singapore, spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,341.58 an ounce, signaling continued investor confidence in the metal’s resilience.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, meanwhile, remained relatively unchanged near its highest level since November.

Silver, often considered a bellwether for precious metals, held steady after reaching a three-year high, while platinum and palladium also registered gains.

As the world navigates through a complex web of geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainties, gold remains a beacon of stability in an increasingly volatile landscape.

Its ability to weather market fluctuations and maintain its allure as a safe-haven asset reaffirms its timeless appeal to investors seeking refuge amidst uncertainty.

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