- Alibaba’s Ma Wants to avoid U.S.-China Trade War at All Costs
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma said that a trade war between the U.S. and China would spell disaster for the world, and that he’d do anything in his power to prevent it from happening.
“I think that China and the U.S. should never have a trade war, will never have a trade war, and I think we should give President-elect Donald Trump some time — he’s open-minded, he’s listening,” Ma said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The consequences of a trade war between the world’s largest and second-largest economies would be so grave that Ma said he’d even sacrifice his own company if that would prevent such a conflict.
Trump has promised to impose stiff tariffs on nations like China and Mexico that he deems have an unfair advantage over the U.S. He has pressured U.S. companies to keep and create jobs in the country and has criticized American businesses that have operations abroad, threatening punitive import tariffs, which could lead other countries to retaliate with their own tariffs, sparking a global trade war.
Alibaba has a large part of its business tied to the U.S., giving it a strong incentive to avoid a situation in which Trump puts his campaign rhetoric into practice. Higher tariffs would depress Alibaba’s sales to U.S. consumers and ensuing trade disputes could hurt sales on Alibaba’s Tmall platform, through which U.S. and international brands sell to Chinese consumers.
Ma said he and Trump didn’t specifically discuss trade earlier this month when the two met in New York, or Trump’s labeling of China as a currency manipulator, or the U.S. losing jobs to countries like China.
“In America there is freedom of speech so he can say whatever he wants,” the Chinese billionaire said. “I respect and understand, but of course I have my views.”
Ma also defended Alibaba’s efforts to counter piracy on its sites after being recently put back on the list of “Notorious Markets” compiled by the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative. Alibaba argued at the time that it’s doing all it can to combat fakes and suggested that the designation could have been influenced by politics.
“Fighting against fake products is a war against human greediness,” Ma said at Davos. “It’s not easy and you can’t finish it,” he said. “Whether people criticize me, criticize us, the most important is that we are happy about the progress we’ve made.”
Oil Prices Slide as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge, Heightening Demand Concerns
Oil prices declined on Thursday as concerns over demand intensified due to a larger-than-anticipated build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 0.5% to $83.25 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 0.3% to $78.28 a barrel.
The Energy Information Administration’s report revealed a substantial increase in U.S. crude oil stockpiles by 4.2 million barrels to 447.2 million barrels for the week ending February 23rd.
This surge surpassed analysts’ expectations and marked the fifth consecutive week of rising inventories.
While gasoline and distillate inventories witnessed a decline, concerns regarding a sluggish economy and reduced oil demand in the U.S. were amplified.
Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, highlighted that the significant stockpiles have heightened investor worries.
Moreover, the anticipation of delayed U.S. interest rate cuts further weighed on market sentiment, potentially undermining oil demand.
Traders have adjusted their expectations for rate cuts, with an easing cycle predicted to commence in June rather than March as previously anticipated.
Market participants await the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index for insights into inflation trends, while the possibility of an extension of voluntary oil output cuts from OPEC+ looms over price dynamics, amid lingering uncertainty in the demand outlook and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
Crude Oil Shortage Threatens Dangote, Government Refineries, Minister Raises Alarm
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has sounded a clarion call over a looming crude oil shortage that threatens the operations of the newly inaugurated Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and government-owned refineries in Nigeria.
Addressing stakeholders at the seventh edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, Minister Lokpobiri expressed concerns that unless deliberate efforts are made to increase investments and crude oil production, these refineries may struggle to obtain enough feedstock for petroleum product manufacturing.
The Dangote refinery, a colossal project spearheaded by Dangote Industries Limited, has a daily requirement of up to 650,000 barrels of crude oil, while government-owned refineries could need approximately 400,000 barrels.
However, the current pace of crude oil production and investment in Nigeria falls short of meeting these demands.
Minister Lokpobiri highlighted the need to ramp up production and attract investments in the upstream sector to ensure adequate feedstock supply for the refineries.
He emphasized the importance of efficiently utilizing Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves to enhance domestic energy security and economic prosperity.
Furthermore, the minister underscored the significance of investing in energy infrastructure and transitioning towards more environmentally friendly practices to address Nigeria’s energy needs effectively.
The alarm raised by Minister Lokpobiri underscores the urgency for strategic interventions and collaborative efforts to mitigate the impending crude oil shortage and secure the future of Nigeria’s refining industry amidst evolving global energy dynamics.
NNPCL Pledges End to Nigeria’s Energy Scarcity Within a Decade
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has announced a bold initiative aimed at ending Nigeria’s persistent energy scarcity within the next decade.
Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, revealed this ambitious plan during the opening ceremony of the seventh Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja.
Kyari’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope for millions of Nigerians grappling with chronic power shortages and energy deficiencies.
In his statement, Kyari expressed confidence that all issues related to energy scarcity in the country would be resolved within the next 10 years.
Assuring stakeholders of NNPCL’s unwavering commitment, Kyari emphasized the company’s dedication to collaborating with partners to bridge the energy deficit gap and foster prosperity for all Nigerians.
He highlighted NNPCL’s pivotal role as a key partner to oil-producing companies in Nigeria, facilitating the divestment of international oil companies from onshore and shallow water assets in the country.
Furthermore, Kyari underscored NNPCL’s statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, emphasizing the importance of sustainable production from divested assets to ensure energy security for Nigerians.
In addition to addressing domestic energy challenges, NNPCL is also exploring avenues for sustainable energy investment across Africa.
Kyari revealed the company’s intention to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank, aiming to secure funding for energy projects on the continent and guarantee regional energy security.
The event, attended by prominent stakeholders including government officials and representatives from international organizations, marks a significant step towards reshaping Nigeria’s energy landscape and fostering economic development through improved energy access.
As NNPCL charts its course towards energy abundance, Nigerians remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a brighter energy future.
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