- S. African Central Bank Sees High Risk of More Credit Downgrades
South Africa faces a high risk and probability of further downgrades to its credit ratings, which may weaken the currency and lead to higher borrowing costs, the country’s central bank said.
Having been cut to junk by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. this year, the country may suffer more of the same as a result of weak economic growth, political developments, liabilities linked to struggling state-owned companies and slow progress in structural reforms, the South African Reserve Bank said in its Financial Stability Review published in Pretoria on Tuesday.
S&P and Fitch reduced their assessments on the nation’s foreign-currency debt to below investment grade after President Jacob Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at the end of March in a late-night cabinet reshuffle. While the country’s lenders remain well capitalized and carry more cash than regulators require, further downgrades would have a high impact on the country’s financial stability, the central bank said.
Representatives from Moody’s Investors Service, which has South Africa at the second-lowest investment grade level, plan to visit the country in coming weeks to review its ratings. A further deterioration in the nation’s ratings may lead to capital outflows, cause funding costs to increase and reduce credit available for businesses, the central bank said. The severity will depend on the extent to which further downgrades are already priced in, it said.
“Further downgrades on the local currency rating could trigger high levels of selling off of bonds by foreign investors, which could also result in marked currency depreciation,” the Reserve Bank said. South Africa was excluded from one global bond index last month and will be removed from three more this month, the central bank said.
The thought of being excluded from more indexes is “disconcerting given the country’s dependency on portfolio inflows to finance its current account deficit, among other things,” the central bank said.
Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd
The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.
The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.
The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.
The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.
Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.
The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.
Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.
This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.
Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.
On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.
“Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”
The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.
“There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.
“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”
Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020
Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020
The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.
EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.
“If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.
The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.
It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.
It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.
“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”
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