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Control Risks Insists Forex Remains Challenge for Economy

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Control Risks
  • Control Risks Insists Forex Remains Challenge for Economy

Control Risks, an independent, global risk consulting company, has insisted that the foreign exchange (forex) crisis, which has complicated the actual value of the naira in dollar terms, remains a major setback for investments inflow into the country.

The development, according to the company, is keeping investors on the sidelines, as there are elevated fears that devaluation might catch up with investments. The company’s official also raised doubts over the source of the rising profile of the nation’s forex reserves, saying it does not inspire confidence, as its sustainability cannot be ascertained.

Africa analyst at the company, Gillian Parker, said the challenge of repatriating profits by companies is a concern and explained that holding down the devaluation option will only inflict more pains.

Senior Analyst, Daniel Magnowski, pointed out that beside the non-clarity in the source of rising reserves, there is need for predictability of actions, as it is the central focus of clients.

According to him, potential investors are interested in finding clear lines from authorities, not necessarily the frequency of interventions and its outcome on the exchange rate.

The Associate Director, Gbenga Abosede, said notwithstanding the optimism, interventions and resurging reserves, there is an obvious vulnerability to external shocks. Citing the country’s dependence on oil as a major source of forex earning, he pointed out that any investor would tend to dwell on the sustainability of policy options.

“An investor recently told me that he does not actually know the value of his investment at the moment and the concern was how the government is managing the currency and the economy as a whole. This is where investors are looking for right message, signal and commitment and recommendations.

“Investors need to predict the extent of the currency risk and uncertainties would rather discourage them,” he said, adding that it remains contradictory among the officials whether free floating or devaluation would bring more benefits to the economy.

Also, Associate Director, Timothy Cox, said Nigeria’s challenge is creating a diversion from the oil economy and harped on the need to get started with the diversification plan.

As much as the diversification plans are good, he said the situation looks hard in the immediate, given that it is a long-term programme, with infrastructure challenges like power, while there are urgent needs.

He admitted that the country’s tax system is undiversified and offers potential, but reiterated the need for policy choice that would ease the forex issues. Senior Partner, West Africa, Tom Griffin, said beside the forex exchange concerns, investors with interest in agriculture still has security issues to contend with.

He explained that the emergence of Boko Haram, herdsmen and Niger Delta militancy occupying the agricultural zones, it would now take a new risk calculation for investor to venture into the areas.

Senior Partner, Chris Torrens, admitted that investment potential and growth opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa is enormous, but raised concern on the global risks, particularly the uncharted United States policy direction for the region.

The uncertainty in U.S. foreign policy raises a lot of concern on its commitment to the region in terms of trade and aids and that would certainly have a significant impact in sub-Saharan Africa.

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 Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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