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We Don’t Have Forex to Import Aviation Fuel — Marketers

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  • We Don’t Have Forex to Import Aviation Fuel

The scarcity of aviation fuel in Nigeria may be far from being over as oil marketers have said they do not have enough foreign exchange to import the product.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, said, “As long as we don’t have forex, it becomes difficult for us to import. Give us forex and we will be able to bring more.”

He said the government could not bridge the supply gap for aviation or Jet A1 as done for petrol because of the shortage of forex.

“Government doesn’t have enough. If they give forex to petrol and to aviation fuel, it will affect other sectors. Now, it is even affecting the aviation sector. So, we are saying the government should try and manage it well so that we will have some forex to bring in aviation fuel.”

The MOMAN executive secretary said the arrangement with international oil companies for the provision of forex was for the importation of petrol.

This month, the CBN has asked banks to submit bids for a “special currency auction,” targeting fuel importers to meet demand for matured letters of credit.

The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said the central bank was making effort to provide marketers with forex.

He, however, said the rate at which marketers were getting the funds was quite exorbitant and that was why the price of aviation fuel was high.

“If there is adequate provision of foreign exchange at a reasonable rate that can bring down the price of fuel, then the landing cost will also drop,” he said.

The marketers are also asking the Federal Government to pay them the foreign exchange differentials for the petrol imports they have made.

Olawore said said, “We will be glad if all our outstanding foreign exchange differentials and interests are all paid immediately.

“That will also help us to go to the market to look for forex.”

On May 11, the government announced a new petrol price band of N135 to N145 per litre, which signalled the end of fuel subsidy.

Prior to the increase from N87 per litre, the nation had suffered a prolonged and severe petrol scarcity as marketers complained that they could not access forex to import.

The new price band was based on an exchange rate of N285 against the dollar, reflecting the depreciation of the naira on the black market, where the currency was trading around 320 to the dollar.

The Central Bank of Nigeria on June 20 floated the naira as it abandoned its 16-month-old peg at 197 to the dollar, effectively devaluing the local currency.

In spite of the liberalisation of petroleum products and government intervention to ease marketers’ access to forex, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation remains the major importer of fuel, especially the Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol.

Olawore said when the naira moved from 197 to 285 to a dollar, there was a differential, adding, “When it moved from 285 to 305, there was a differential. Now we are forced to go to the black market, there is a differential.”

He said the price band of N135-145 for petrol covered up to N285/dollar.

“But who gets it at N285? Even the government could not sell to you at 285,” he said.

Fuel shortages often occur in the country during festive periods such as Christmas and Muslim holidays. But there has been no scarcity of petrol this Yuletide.

Commenting on this, Olawore said, “First, the NNPC has imported much. The second reason is that demand has fallen drastically. Demand has fallen nationwide; people that were filling their tanks are no longer doing so.

“So, every marketer is suffering from low demand and because of that the quantity in the market is enough for now.”

He attributed the decline in demand to the recent price hike, saying, “Not many people can afford it.”

On the forex differentials, Adewole said, “We concluded transactions on the PPPRA imports at the rate of N197/dollar. Naira was devalued and it became what it is today. We have Letters of Credit that have matured and that we have not liquidated.

“And because government paid us at the rate of N197/dollar, we are saying that whether the naira is devalued or not, that is the rate at which we must get dollars to liquidate those LCs because that was the basis of their calculation and payment to us.”

He said the payments for the transactions from December 30, 2014 to September 2015 were delayed.

“The government was supposed to pay within 45 days, but this was not done. The naira was devalued and the government has to bear the difference because we submitted our papers but it did not pay. If it had paid as and when due, we might have liquidated all the LCs because the naira component of the products, which we sold is with us in our banks.

“We only need that of the government to add to it and pay the suppliers. So, that foreign exposure to foreign banks through our local banks is still there and we are asking government to give us dollar at N197.

He said the delay in the payment of the outstanding forex differentials was hampering importation “because a lot of marketers’ funds are tied down.”

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

Oil Prices Decline on Rising India COVID-19 Cases, U.S Inflation Concerns

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Global oil prices extended a decline on Friday following a 3 percent drop on Thursday as coronavirus cases rose in India, one of the world’s largest oil consumers.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 35 cents or 0.5 percent to $66.70 a barrel at 5 am Nigerian time on Tuesday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell by 28 cents or 0.4 percent to $63.54 per barrel.

The commodity super cycle rally just hit a hard stop and the energy market doesn’t know what to make of Wall Street’s fixation over inflation and the slow flattening of the curve in India,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The crude demand story is still upbeat for the second half of the year and that should prevent any significant dips in oil prices,” he added.

Prices dropped over a series of key economic data that stoke inflation concerns and forced experts to start thinking the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates to curb the surge in inflation.

An increase in interest rates typically boosts the U.S. dollar, which in turn pressures oil prices because it makes crude oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

This coupled with the fact that India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths for a second straight day on Thursday, dragged on the oil outlook in the near term.

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Brent Crude Rises to $69 on IEA Report

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Oil prices rose after the release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA)  closely-watched Oil Market Report, with WTI Crude trading at above $66 a barrel and Brent Crude surpassing the $69 per barrel mark.

Prices jumped even though the agency revised down its full-year 2021 oil demand growth forecast by 270,000 barrels per day (bpd) from last month’s assessment, expecting now demand to rise by 5.4 million bpd. The downward revision was due to weaker consumption in Europe and North America in the first quarter and expectations of 630,000 bpd lower demand in the second quarter due to India’s COVID crisis.

The excess oil inventories of the past year have been all but depleted, and a strong demand rebound in the second half this year could lead to even steeper stock draws, the IEA said yesterday, keeping an upbeat forecast of global oil demand despite the weaker-than-expected first half of 2021.

However, the upbeat outlook for the second half of the year remains unchanged, as vaccination campaigns expand and the pandemic largely comes under control, the IEA said.

Moreover, the global oil glut that was hanging over the market for more than a year is now gone, the agency said.

“After nearly a year of robust supply restraint from OPEC+, bloated world oil inventories that built up during last year’s COVID-19 demand shock have returned to more normal levels,” the IEA said in its report.

In March, industry stocks in the developed economies fell by 25 million barrels to 2.951 billion barrels, reducing the overhang versus the five-year average to only 1.7 million barrels, and stocks continued to fall in April.

“Draws had been almost inevitable as easing mobility restrictions in the United States and Europe, robust industrial activity and coronavirus vaccinations set the stage for a steady rebound in fuel demand while OPEC+ pumped far below the call on its crude,” the IEA said.

The market looks oversupplied in May, but stock draws are set to resume as early as June and accelerate later this year. Under the current OPEC+ policy, oil supply will not catch up fast enough, with a jump in demand expected in the second half, according to the IEA. As vaccination rates rise and mobility restrictions ease, global oil demand is set to soar from 93.1 million bpd in the first quarter of 2021 to 99.6 million bpd by the end of the year.

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Crude Oil

OPEC Expects Increase In Global Oil Demand Raises Members’ Forecast on Crude Supply

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The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) yesterday lifted its forecast on its members’ crude this year by over 200,000 bpd and now expects demand for its own crude to average 27.65mn bpd in 2021.

This is almost 5.2mn bpd higher than last year and around 2.7mn b/d higher than an earlier estimate of the group’s April production.

According to the highlights of the organisation’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), OPEC crude is projected to rise from 26.48 million bpd in the second quarter to 28.7 million bpd in the third and 29.54 million bpd in the fourth quarter of the year.

The report also indicated a fall in Nigeria’s crude production from 1.477 bpd in February to 1.473, a difference of just about 4,000 bpd before rising again in April to 1.548 million bpd, to add 75,000 bpd last month.

OPEC stated that its upward revision of members’ crude was underpinned by a downgrade in the group’s forecast for non-OPEC supply, which it now expects to grow by 700,000 bpd to 63.6mn b/d against last month’s report’s projection of a 930,000 bpd rise to 63.83mn bpd.

The oil cartel projected that US crude output would drop by 280,000 bpd this year, compared with its previous forecast for a 70,000 bpd decline.

On the demand side, OPEC kept its overall forecast unchanged from last month’s MOMR, stressing that it expects global oil demand to grow by 5.95 million bpd to 96.46 million bpd this year, partly reversing last year’s 9.48mn bpd drop.

Spot crude prices fell in April for the first time in six months, with North Sea Dated and WTI easing month-on-month by 1.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

On the global economic projections, the cartel said stimulus measures in the US and accelerating recovery in Asian economies might continue supporting the global economic growth forecast for 2021, now revised up by 0.1 percent to reach 5.5 percent year-on-year.

This comes after a 3.5 percent year-on-year contraction estimated for the global economy in 2020.

However, global economic growth for 2021 remains clouded by uncertainties including, but not limited to the spread of COVID-19 variants and the speed of the global vaccine rollout, OPEC stated.

“World oil demand is assumed to have dropped by 9.5 mb/d in 2020, unchanged from last month’s assessment, now estimated to have reached 90.5 mb/d for the year. For 2021, world oil demand is expected to increase by 6.0 mb/d, unchanged from last month’s estimate, to average 96.5 mb/d,” it said.

The report listed the main drivers for supply growth in 2021 to be Canada, Brazil, China, and Norway, while US liquid supply is expected to decline by 0.1 mb/d year-on-year.

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