- Africa Accounts for $4.1b Non-oil Export Under AGOA
The United States Government has stated that Nigeria and other African countries accounted for $4.1 billion worth of non-oil trade under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
According to the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Florizelle Liser, the scheme has resulted in a four-fold increase, from $1.4 billion in 2001 to $4.1 billion in 2015, in the continent’s non-oil trade with the country.
Worried by the infrastructural deficit impeding trade growth, the U.S. recommended that African countries should focus on infrastructure development, in particular, electricity and transportation, and should build new roads, bridges and railways to link major trade hubs that would improve economies of scale.
Liser added that African governments should also support the ability of commercial banks to modernize and finance small and medium-sized businesses and should strategically identify sectors that could benefit from AGOA and develop them, she said.
In a presentation at the headquarters of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) during the maiden edition of the Afreximbank Trade and Development Seminar Series, Ms. Liser said that sectors that had benefitted most from AGOA included automobiles, apparel, footwear, prepared fruits and vegetable, nuts and cut flowers.
“AGOA has had success in helping many African countries diversify their export portfolios,” continued Ms. Liser, who added that hundreds of thousands of jobs had been created as a result of the Act.
Noting that Africa currently accounts for only two per cent of U.S. trade, she said that supply-side constraints, including unreliable electricity and transportation, poor ports, lack of transnational highways, and poor access to the internet were among the impediments to trade development on the continent.
Other factors included low intra-Africa trade, which result in low economies of scale, and the difficulties faced by African producers in meeting U.S. agricultural and other standards, she added.
Ms. Liser identified other Africa-focused trade development initiatives by the U.S. to include the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which had set aside $7.9 billion, or 68 per cent of the total compact portfolio, for Africa.
According to her, the Corporation, which, at $3 billion, is the lead contributor to the U.S. Government’s trade capacity building assistance to AGOA-eligible countries, has dedicated 20 of its 33 compacts to African countries.
Other initiatives included Power Africa, the trade-related capacity programme administered under USAID and unveiled by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013; Trade Africa, the USAID’s initiative to increase internal and regional trade and expand trade and economic ties; and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the government’s development finance institution which mobilizes private capital to address critical development challenges and which provides investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere.
Earlier, Afreximbank President Dr. Benedict Oramah said that the fact that despite the size of the U.S. market and the preferential access granted to African countries for 15 years under AGOA, the continent had remained a marginal player in that market, raised questions about why Africa had been unable to better penetrate the market and about what could be done for it to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by AGOA.
The President noted that a deficit of product diversification had been singled out as a key hindrance to Africa’s access the U.S. market, and announced that Afreximbank, had identified the development of industrial parks and special economic zones as a strategic path to accelerating the industrialization of African economies and diversifying their exports.
Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday
Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.
Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.
While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.
According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.
“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”
Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.
“The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.
“I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
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