- Nigeria to Export More Goods to US, China
Goods produced by the Small and Medium Enterprise operators in Nigeria have received special attention in a new move to export such products to Asian and American markets.
The Nigerian Export Promotions Council and other stakeholders said it was time for the nation to take advantage of the 10-years extension of the African Growth Opportunity Act, an American policy allowing African countries to export about 7,000 products duty-free to the United States.
According to the council, the concentration is on the SME sector because it lacks access to international market, despite being a large part of the nation’s commercial community.
The Regional Director, South-West, NEPC, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, said the council was already in talks with an American cargo company, American AirSea Cargo, to move products from Nigeria’s SMEs to America and China.
“We want to take advantage of the AGOA extension to boost our exports to the US,” he said.
Part of the preparation for a seamless export and to minimise incidence of rejected goods is 10-week training for new exporters held in collaboration with Fidelity Bank.
This, the council said, was aimed at equipping exporters with knowledge of criteria and procedures of international trade.
Faleke urged state governments to join the effort by supporting the SMEs in their domains with incentives, to scale up production and value addition to goods in which they had comparative advantage.
“Governors can map out zones in their states as export zones. In addition to this, they should make their environment conducive and give incentives for small business owners. If all these are done, there will be a lot of multiplier effects.”
Stakeholders also met during a recent Fidelity Bank and Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting to discuss how to drive growth in the non-oil sector.
In his address at the meeting, the United States Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Brent Omdahl, urged Nigerian small business owners to channel their efforts into making better products.
He said that one of the economic development programmes initiated by President Barrack Obama was the United States Agency for International Development’s Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport programme, which was designed to help Nigerian businesses export their goods to the US.
He said, “Our relationship is now characterised by trade; not aid. It is one in which the US wants to work together with Nigeria. Some of the important initiatives launched to encourage trade between the US and Africa include ‘Trade Africa’, which is focused on inter-regional trade, ‘Power Africa’, which is focused on enhancing the power sector to bring more power to homes.”
An export facilitator and Chief Executive Officer of Poise Global, Miss Comfort Sakoma, identified goods made by some SMEs as having potential to be displayed in stores in America.
She however regretted the fact that under AGOA, Nigeria, with over 17 million SMEs had only been able to export $3m worth of non-oil products to the United States; while South Africa with 650,000 SMEs has exported $1.4bn worth of products in the same period.
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.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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