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Osinbajo: Nigeria to Make FX More Flexible, Conclude Eurobond End of Q1

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  • Nigeria to Make FX More Flexible, Conclude Eurobond End of Q1

Nigeria hopes to conclude the sale of a $1 billion Eurobond by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and will seek to make its foreign exchange market more flexible, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday.

Nigeria is in its deepest recession in 25 years and needs to raise money to make up for shortfall in its budget. Its revenues from oil have plunged due to low international prices and militant attacks in its crude-producing heartland, the Niger Delta, have cut its output.

The government began the process of appointing banks for the sale of the Eurobond in September and had said it wanted to issue the bond by the end of the year. It has yet to announce a lender to lead the sale, however.

“At the very latest, between the end of the year and the first quarter of next year we will begin to see all that process concluded,” Osinbajo told Reuters in an interview.

The vice-president said the severe loss of petro-dollars had caused “serious” foreign exchange shortages and had been worsened by attacks on its oil pipelines and export terminals.

The government had wanted to issue the Eurobond to help plug a gap in its record N6.06 trillion ($19.9 billion) budget this year, in addition to tapping concessionary loans from the World Bank and China as its oil revenues fell.

So far only the African Development Bank (AfDB) has come to its aid, approving a $600 million loan, the first tranche of a total $1 billion package.

Osinbajo also said his office was working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make the foreign exchange market more flexible and more reflective of actual demand and supply.

The regulator had in June officially ended its policy of pegging, or fixing, the naira’s exchange rate at N197 per dollar to let the currency float freely.

But despite the devaluation of the naira, the central bank has continued to manipulate the exchange rate, which has discouraged investors and created a crippling shortage of dollars for businesses that need to import, while on the black market the naira is changing hands at N475 per dollar.

To keep down the street price of dollars, the central bank sanctioned the arrest of FX dealers in Lagos, Abuja and Kano, but the crackdown turned out to be futile.

Nigeria’s crude production, which was 2.1 million bpd at the start of 2016, fell by around a third in the summer following a series of attacks by Delta militants who want a greater share of the country’s energy wealth to go to the impoverished southern oil-producing region.

“At one point we were losing almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) which translated to 60 percent of oil revenues … and that affects the availability of dollars,” Osinbajo said.

The militants, after saying in August they would halt hostilities to pursue talks with the government, said this month they had resumed attacks because of the continued presence of the army in the region.

Osinbajo said that the government was prepared to talk with the militants but that maintaining security was essential for law enforcement.

Ratings agency Moody’s forecast that Nigeria’s economy could expand by 2.5 percent next year if it could produce 2.2 million barrels of oil per day – the level at which the government made its budget calculations.

To help cover its budget shortfalls, the government is keen to ensure it is collecting taxes efficiently, Osinbajo said.

“We will continue to consider the issue of raising taxes and raising VAT. But at the moment we are more concerned with ensuring that we really improve our coverage,” he said, referring to tax collection.

On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, the vice-president said the release of 21 of the girls in October was as a result of government engagement with Boko Haram.

He did not provide any update on the remaining missing girls, but said the government was continuing to engage with Boko Haram.

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.

Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday

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Crude oil

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.

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Crude Oil

Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

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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.”

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Gold

Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin

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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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