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Kaduna Airport Ready as Abuja Runway Shuts Down Next Wednesday

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NAMA
  • Kaduna Airport Ready as Abuja Runway Shuts Down Next Wednesday

After much hues and cries, all appears set for traffic diversion to Kaduna airport beginning from Wednesday, when the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, closes for the much-awaited reconstruction.

The Guardian learnt that government agencies have fully deployed and installed relevant equipments to receive Abuja-bound domestic and international carriers. Similarly, logistic services for ground handling services and 240km road travel to Abuja and its environs have been organised to cater for the passengers.

The readiness, including security arrangement, is to douses tension among air travellers and other stakeholders that are worried about the inconvenience that will be attendant of the diversion.

Recall that the 4000metres-long Abuja runway has been in bad shape in the last couple of months and was in December 2016 penciled for repair by the Federal Government.

While the repair work would last for at least six weeks, air traffic will be diverted to Kaduna airport, from where buses will take passengers back to Abuja in two-hour road journey.

Except Ethiopian Airways that has pledged to divert Abuja-bound flights to Kaduna Airport, other international airlines have declined the Kaduna option. While some of the airlines have informed customers of the plan to suspend operations from March 8 to April 19, others have opted for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, expressing concern over security issues in Kaduna.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), saddled with the management of the airport among others across the country, said all was set for smooth operations in the northern state.

Kaduna airport manager, Amina Ozi-Salami, during an on-site inspection, said the airport was ready to handle the expected traffic upsurge as soon as NAIA is closed.

Ozi-Salami said the runway was in perfect condition while the capacity of the airport had been enhanced to accommodate any type of aircraft. She added that the lighting of the runway had been completed during the week as well as enhanced manpower to meet the operational needs during the six weeks period.

In its bid to ensure accuracy, reliability and efficiency of facilities at the Kaduna airport, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has also rounded off the routine calibration of the Very High Omnidirectional Radio Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) and the flight commissioning of the Instrument Landing System/Distance Measuring Equipment (ILS/DME).

The component parts of the facilities, which include Two VOR transmitters, two DMEs co-located with the VORs, two localizer transmitters, two glideslope transmitters and two DMEs co-located with the glideslope all passed the flight calibration test.

The flight calibration was handled by Omni-Blue Aviation Ltd along with their technical partners (FCSL of United Kingdom) in collaboration with NAMA engineers who carried out the installation, alignment and parameter adjustment during the exercise.

According to the Calibration Manager, Engr. Akeem Ogunmola, the flight exercise which started from Kaduna will extend to Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Bauchi.

In Bauchi, Ogunmola, said the calibration team would be commissioning three systems which include ILS/DME, VOR/DME and Non-directional beacon. Also to be calibrated are facilities in the Port Harcourt and Lagos international airports.

Director of Safety Electronics and Engineering Services, Engr. Farouk Umar, who led the NAMA team of engineers in the installation of the facilities in Kaduna, described the calibration exercise as very successful, saying “Kaduna airport is on full components of navigational aids, functioning at optimal levels.

“We can gladly report that Kaduna airport can now safely land aircraft even in critical weather conditions as far as Navaids are concerned,” he said.

In a related development, Conoil has announced its readiness to beef-up its Kaduna aviation office to reinforce its operations during the Abuju runway repairs.

The oil marketer, in a statement, said the relocation would involve the movement of its high-tech bowsers, dispensers and human capital from Abuja to reinforce its Kaduna operations. This, the company believes, will ensure that the operations of airlines continue to run smoothly while travellers go about their journeys in a seamless manner.

“The decision by the Federal Government to repair the runway is commendable. Safety in the aviation industry cannot be compromised. The move is in tandem with Conoil’s commitment to strict safety standards in all areas of its operations”, the statement read in part.

The marketer, therefore, called on airline operators and travelers for their understanding and co-operation, adding that though it may be a bit inconvenient, it will serve the general good in the long run.

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.

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Markets Today – Cautiously Higher, China, Oil, Gold, Bitcoin

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By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

European stock markets moved cautiously higher on Monday as investors were tempted back in after a turbulent start to the year.

It’s been a relatively quiet start to the week, with the US bank holiday naturally weighing on activity. With that in mind, I don’t think we can read too much into today’s advances, especially as they’re occurring alongside rising yields which doesn’t seem particularly sustainable at a time of such anxiety in the markets.

It will be interesting to see if investors are tempted back in now that earnings season is underway. The emergence of omicron may mean that many companies don’t enjoy the kind of performance that was expected before but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of positives to take away.

Of course, there are areas that will naturally chip away at that enthusiasm. Whether that’s margins being squeezed, prices increased or staffing costs, for example, there’ll be plenty for investors to get their heads around as they contend with sky-high valuations and a tricky economy this year.

PBOC cuts rates despite strong growth in 2021

A mixed bag of data overnight from China, where GDP growth exceeded expectations but retail sales fell short and the unemployment rate ticked higher. While the economy is still performing well after far exceeding its growth targets for 2021, many challenges remain, not least the crackdown on the property market that has led to firms defaulting on coupon payments and being forced into negotiations with bondholders.

This explains the PBOC decision overnight to cut interest rates and further easing is expected to follow as the central bank looks to support the economy through a turbulent period.

Oil rally continues as output continues to fall short

Oil prices are edging higher again at the start of the week as it continues its remarkable run since bottoming in early December. It’s up more than 30% over that time and there still appears to be momentum in the move. Kazakhstan has seen its output return to pre-unrest levels but that’s done little to slow the rally in recent sessions.

Ultimately it comes down to the ability of OPEC+ to deliver the 400,000 barrel per day increase that it’s vowed to do each month. The evidence suggests it’s not that straightforward and the group is missing the targets by a large margin after a period of underinvestment and outages. That should continue to be supportive for oil and increase talk of triple-figure prices.

Can gold break key resistance?

Gold is marginally higher on the day after pulling back again late last week. The yellow metal has repeatedly struggled at $1,833 and it would appear it’s having the same struggles this time around as well. It did finally break through here in November but it didn’t last and it seems the psychological barrier is as firm as ever.

That said, it’s impossible to ignore gold at the moment as it continues to rally despite more and more rate hikes being priced in around the world and yields rising in tandem. There could be an argument that we’re seeing safe haven or inflation hedge moves due to the current environment which could become more clear over the coming weeks.

Another run at $40,000?

Bitcoin is down a little over 2% at the start of the week and continues to look vulnerable having failed to bounce back strongly off the recent lows. It appeared to be gathering some upside momentum at times last week but it quickly ran into resistance just shy of $45,000 where it had previously seen support. All eyes are now on $40,000 and whether we’re going to see another run at that major support level.

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Oil Extends Gain Above $86 Per Barrel Amid Tight Supply

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Oil

Brent crude oil extended gains above $86.16 per barrel on Monday as global oil investors are projecting that supply will remain tight despite the surge in Libya crude oil production. The increase, they bet would be offset by restraint from top crude oil producers.

Frantic oil buying, driven by supply outages and signs the Omicron coronavirus variant will not be as disruptive to fuel demand as previously feared, has pushed some crude grades to multi-year highs, suggesting the rally in Brent futures could be sustained for a while longer, traders said.

“The bullish sentiment is continuing as (producer group) OPEC+ is not providing enough supply to meet strong global demand,” said Fujitomi Securities analyst Toshitaka Tazawa.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, are gradually relaxing output cuts implemented when demand collapsed in 2020.

But many smaller producers cannot raise supply and others have been wary of pumping too much oil in case of renewed COVID-19 setbacks.

Meanwhile, Libya’s total oil output is back to 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), according to National Oil Corp. Libyan output was about 900,000 bpd last week owing to a blockade of western oilfields.

“Libya’s oil production had dropped to a good 700,000 bpd at the start of the year, which had played its part in the price rise,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Concerns over supply constraints outweighed the news of China’s possible oil release from reserves, said Fujitomi’s Tazawa.

Sources told Reuters that China plans to release oil reserves around the Lunar New Year holidays between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6 as part of a plan coordinated by the United States to reduce global prices.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday that it is the prerogative of the U.S. government whether to release supply from strategic petroleum reserves.

Festering geopolitical threats to supply are also supporting bullish sentiment, analysts said.

U.S. officials voiced fears on Friday that Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine if diplomacy failed. Russia, which has amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, released pictures of its forces on the move.

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Markets Today – Inflation, Jobless Claims, Boris Blunder, Oil, Gold, Bitcoin

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outlook

By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

It’s been a rollercoaster start to the year and as we head into earnings season, it’s hard to say exactly where investors stand.

Blocking out the January noise is one thing but it’s made far more complicated by omicron, inflation, and the rapid evolution of monetary policy. Yesterday’s reaction to the inflation data was a case in point. The data mostly exceeded expectations, albeit marginally, while headline inflation was a near 40-year high of 7%. And yet the response was broadly positive.

I get that traders were perhaps fearing the worst and, as I’ve referenced before, it does feel like markets are at peak fear on US monetary policy which could make relief rallies more likely. But there is also underlying anxiety in the markets that could make for some volatile price action for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps earnings season will bring some welcome normality to the markets after a period of fear, relief, and speculation. The fourth quarter is expected to have been another strong quarter, although the emergence of omicron will likely have had an impact during the critical holiday period for many companies. Of course, as we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, that will likely have been to the benefit of others.

And while earnings season will provide a distraction, it is happening against an uncertain backdrop for interest rates and inflation which will keep investors on their toes. It does seem that investors are on the edge of what they will tolerate and it won’t take much to push them over the edge. Which will be fine if we are near the peak of inflation, as many expect.

The data today looks a mixed bag on the face of it, with jobless claims coming in a little higher than expected, which may be down to seasonal adjustments. The overall trend remains positive and continues to point to a tight labor market. The PPI data on the other hand will be welcomed, with the headline number slipping to 0.2% month on month. Perhaps a sign of supply-side pressures finally starting to abate which will come as a relief after inflation hit a near-40 year high last month.

Sterling solid as pressure mounts on Boris

It seems impossible to ignore the political soap opera currently taking place in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson once again in the public firing line after finally admitting to attending an office party in May 2020.

In other circumstances, uncertainty around the top job in the country could bring pressure in the markets but the pound is performing very well. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the controversy that forever surrounds Boris, and we’re all therefore numb to it, or a sign of the environment we’re in that the PM being a resignation risk is further down the list when compared with inflation, interest rates, omicron, energy prices etc.

Oil remains bullish near highs

Oil prices are easing again today after moving back towards seven-year highs in recent weeks. It was given an additional bump yesterday following the release of the EIA data which showed a larger draw than expected. But with crude already trading near its peak, it maybe didn’t carry the same momentum it otherwise would.

The fundamentals continue to look bullish for gold. Temporary disruptions in Kazakhstan and Libya are close to being resolved, with the latter taking a little longer to get fully back online. But OPEC being unable to hit output targets at a time when demand remains strong is ultimately keeping prices elevated and will continue to do so.

A big test for gold

Gold is off a little today but the price remains elevated with key resistance in sight. The yellow metal has remained well supported in recent weeks even as yields around the world continue to rise in anticipation of aggressive tightening from central banks.

It could be argued that the bullish case for gold is its reputation as an inflation hedge, especially given central banks’ recent record for recognizing how severe the situation is. But with inflation likely nearing its peak, that may not last. That said, fear around Fed tightening may also be peaking which could support gold in the short-term and a break through $1,833 could signal further upside to come.

Can bitcoin break key resistance?

Bitcoin is enjoying some relief along with other risk assets and has recaptured $44,000, only a few days after briefly dipping below $40,000. That swift 10% rebound is nothing by bitcoin standards and if it can break $45,500, we could see another sharp move higher as belief starts to grow that the worst of the rout is behind it. It looks like a fragile rebound at the moment but a break of that resistance could change that.

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