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Ghana’s Central Bank Cuts Key Rate First Time Since 2011

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Ghana one cedi - Investors King
  • Ghana’s Central Bank Cuts Key Rate First Time Since 2011

Ghana’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than five years after inflation slowed to the lowest rate since 2014.

The Bank of Ghana cut the rate by 50 basis points to 25.5 percent, Governor Abdul Nashiru Issahaku told reporters Monday in the capital, Accra. Five of the six economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast the rate would be reduced and one said it would be kept unchanged at 26 percent.

“The fact that it is a very small move indicates that they are still on the path of keeping monetary policy really tight,” Celeste Fauconnier, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Rand Merchant Bank Ltd. who forecast a 100 basis points cut, said by phone. “We can now start to see this as the start of the cutting cycle.”

Inflation has been outside the central bank’s target band of 6 percent to 10 percent band for almost four years even as price growth slowed to 15.8 percent in October, the lowest rate since July 2014. The economy will probably expand 4.1 percent this year, according to government forecasts.

The risks to the economic outlook outweigh the threat of faster price growth, Issahaku said.

“Growth conditions remain weak and below trend,” he said. “This is underpinned by weak global demand, declining commodity prices and disruptions in the production of oil and gas.”

Weaker Cedi

The currency weakened after the announcement, falling 2.8 percent to 4.09 cedi per dollar at 12:27 p.m. in Accra.

President John Dramani Mahama is campaigning for another term in office, leading the National Democratic Congress to polls scheduled for Dec. 7 against a background of slow economic growth and inflation that’s still in double digits. The West African economy is in the second year of an almost $1 billion loan-program with the International Monetary Fund after it turned to the Washington-based lender in April 2015 when lower prices for its gold, cocoa and oil exports caused debt to balloon and the currency to decline against the dollar, while regular power cuts weighed on output.

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

Libyan Oil Field and Gas Link to Italy Reopen After Protesters Withdraw

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Following a brief interruption, operations at an oil field in western Libya and a natural gas link to Italy have resumed as protesters retreated from the facilities.

The demonstrators withdrew after receiving assurances from the government regarding their demands.

The Wafa oil field, which typically produces between 40,000 to 45,000 barrels per day, recommenced shipments after a temporary halt prompted by guards’ demands for improved compensation.

Similarly, the gas pipeline connection to Italy is once again operational, according to sources familiar with the situation who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Protests disrupting energy infrastructure and output are not uncommon in Libya.

In recent times, demonstrations have frequently disrupted operations, with the significant Sharara oil field experiencing prolonged suspension last month due to similar protests, invoking a force majeure clause in contracts.

The resumption of activities marks a relief for both the Libyan energy sector and Italy, which heavily relies on the natural gas link for its energy needs.

However, the incidents underscore the ongoing challenges faced by Libya in maintaining stability within its vital energy infrastructure amidst socio-political unrest.

Efforts to address the grievances of protesters and ensure sustained operations remain pivotal for the country’s economic well-being and regional energy dynamics.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Dip on Monday as Dollar Gains

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Crude Oil

Oil prices experienced a downturn, extending losses from the previous session as the U.S. dollar surged against global counterparts to impact market sentiment.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, slipped by 0.2% to $81.48 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) declined by 0.3% to $76.27 a barrel.

The upward trajectory of the dollar renders oil more costly for holders of other currencies, contributing to the decline in oil prices.

This downward trend follows a week of losses, with Brent declining approximately 2% and WTI falling over 3%.

Market participants attribute these fluctuations to concerns about inflation potentially delaying anticipated cuts to high U.S. interest rates. Such expectations have been suppressing global fuel demand growth.

Analysts observe a retreat in the risk-on sentiment, coinciding with heightened expectations of prolonged interest rates.

Tina Teng, an independent analyst based in Auckland, notes that the recent market rally led by Nvidia has stalled, as elevated rate expectations bolster the U.S. dollar, thereby pressuring commodity prices, including oil.

Despite geopolitical tensions such as the Israel-Hamas conflict and attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which could have traditionally boosted oil prices, the impact remains modest.

Moreover, investors are monitoring developments surrounding Russian oil supply following recent U.S. sanctions on Moscow’s leading tanker group.

Amidst these uncertainties, Qatar’s decision to increase liquefied natural gas production further adds to global energy supplies.

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Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns

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On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.

Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.

The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.

This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.

Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.

Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.

While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.

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