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Oil Prices Rise After US Strikes on Syria

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Oil prices rallied on Friday after the United States launched a missile strike against Syria, sparking fears that an escalation of the conflict in the crude-rich Middle East could disrupt supplies.

Both main contracts jumped more than two percent to their highest levels in a month after US President Donald Trump ordered an assault in retaliation for a chemical attack in Syria that Washington blamed on Damascus.

After benchmark contract Brent struck $56.08 per barrel and WTI $52.94, gains were pared through the day.

By 1100 GMT, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June was up 35 cents at $55.29 per barrel compared with Thursday’s close.

The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May won 48 cents at $52.18.

“The situation remains fluid in Syria at the moment as the implications of the massive cruise missile strike from the United States get digested,” said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

“Among the most pressing questions will be: is this a one-off attack and are other nations going to join in? What will be the response of Iran and Russia — two of the world’s largest oil producers and staunch allies of the Assad regime?”

Sukrit Vijayakar of Trifecta Consultants said the crude oil market is likely to hold on to gains over the next few months.

“For now, early this morning they have been given a fillip as news of the US firing missiles at Syria has propelled prices higher by over one dollar a barrel,” he said.

The military strike ordered by US president Donald Trump targeted radars, aircraft, air defence systems and other logistical components at a military base south of Homs in central Syria.

The attack comes two days after a suspected sarin attack ordered by President Bashar al-Assad, which Trump has described as “very barbaric”.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it borders Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest crude producer.

Oil prices have struggled to hold above $51 a barrel owing to concerns about an OPEC-led output cut put in place in January as part of a drive to address a global supply glut and overproduction.

There are worries also that prices above $50 will encourage US shale producers to ramp up production as it becomes more cost-effective.

“With the oversupply concerns still a dominant theme in the oil markets, extreme upside gains may be limited,” said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.

A world supply glut of crude hammered prices from highs of more than $100 per barrel in June 2014 to near 13-year lows below $30 in February 2016.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Economy

Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices

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cooking gas cylinder

In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.

This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.

According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.

The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.

In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.

However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.

Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.

The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.

Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.

The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.

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Economy

Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023

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German manufacturing

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.

This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.

The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.

This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.

Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.

Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.

By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.

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Economy

Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.

The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.

The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.

This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.

Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.

The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.

However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.

Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth

During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.

This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.

Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.

Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector

Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.

This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.

Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.

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