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Customs Seizes Smuggled N1.3b Exotic Cars

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Nigeria Customs Service
  • Customs Seizes Smuggled N1.3b Exotic Cars

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded 37 brand new exotic vehicles estimated at N1.3 billion after bursting a smuggling ring.

Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) spoke on the seizures yesterday while addressing reporters at the Customs Training School in Lagos.

He said the seizures were made by officers and men of the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ Ikeja and the CGC Compliance Team in Lagos.

The vehicles, according to Ali, include eight Lexus sports utility vehicles (SUVs) – LX570, 2017 model; 12 Land Cruiser SUVs – GXR, 2017 model and 17 Toyota Hilux of 2016, 2013, 2012, 2012, 2011 and 209 models.

Ali added that his men also seized 12,081 bags of smuggled parboiled rice with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N149million.

It was gathered that some of the smugglers used the number plates on some of the new vehicles as a decoy to beat Customs’ checks. But unknown to them, Customs officials had been monitoring their movement for days before swooping on them.

Sources closed to the service said when some of the smugglers saw the Customs team on the unapproved routes, they abandoned the vehicles and jumped into the bush to evade arrest.

The FOU Comptroller, it was gathered, employed credible information and community relation, including collaboration other security agencies, in bursting the smugglers.

Ali said the service had not received any order from the Federal Government unbanning the importation of vehicles and rice through the land borders.

According to the Customs boss, his men also confiscated huge parcels and sacks of Indian hemp with duty paid value of N12.7 million. The duty paid value of all seized items was over N1.6 billion.

Seventeen suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures.

Eleven of the suspects, it was learnt, were released on bail. Six are still in detention.

“The 37 vehicles have a duty paid value of N1,374,122,679.00. Similarly, the 12,081 bags of smuggled parboiled rice have a duty paid value of N149,007,658.

“Apart from the seizure of vehicles and rice, the reinvigorated anti-smuggling operations yielded another 156 assorted seizures including bales of used clothing, Indian hemp and used tyres that are inimical to the health of our people and our country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government policies banning the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders are still in force. The Nigeria Customs Service remains resolute to work towards crippling smugglers and getting them out of the illegitimate business.

“In the face of security and economic challenges, no responsible government will fold its hand while unpatriotic elements continue to engage in illegal activities that will further compress national economic and security well-being of her people.”

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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