- Chinese Steel Manufacturer Restates Commitment to Nigeria
The management of HongXing Steel Company, a Chinese steel manufacturing company based in Lagos, has expressed confidence in the ability of the Nigerian economy to overcome its present challenges.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the company’s 2016 end of year get-together, the Managing Director of HongXing Steel Company, Mr. Fengzheng Ke, also assured that his firm would continue to priorities issues of staff welfare.
He called for more support for the federal government in the bid to diversify the economy.
“Nigeria is facing some economic challenges and we are confident that the economy would overcome these challenges, that is why we are standing with Nigeria. We have been here for long and so we are attached to this country. We believe this country has enormous potential and we believe that it would overcome its challenges.
“We believe that the Nigerian government is encouraging local manufacturers to grow. Yes, manufacturing sector will play a major role in transforming Nigeria. We want to appreciate the government and every other agencies that have supported us over the years. But we are looking towards government for incentives and improved infrastructure, especially in the area of power,” he said.
Ke, stressed that the aim of HongXing Steel Company is to be one of the biggest steel manufacturing companies in Africa.
Commenting on the end of year party, he said: “Since the establishment of the company, we always endeavour to carry members of our staff along. Every year, we make effort to improve the welfare of our workers.
“So, holding this end of year get-together, is to showcase the unity in the organisation. We work hard throughout the year and at the end of every year, we take out some days to unwind. We have made sure that we improve the working environment to make our staff more comfortable.”
Earlier, the General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Shabi Adebola, who was at the event, said HongXing Steel has improved in the level of emission from the company in the past six years. He said his agency would continue to support HongXing Steel in the use of new technology, to further reduce emission.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday
Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.
While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.
On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”
“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.
Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
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