- Kwara Seeks Increased Support from BoI for Industrial Growth
The Kwara State Government has solicited for an increased technical and financial partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) to sustain entrepreneurship development in the state.
Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, explained that while a scheme designed to drive entrepreneurship development in the state had already been established, partnering BoI would help up-scale the initiative to achieve economic growth for the people of Kwara State.
Ahmed during a courtesy visit by the Managing Director, BoI, OlukayodePitan, stated that the state has also established an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) for processing most of its agricultural commodities, saying that the bank’s technical and financial support are key to driving the EPZ.
“No doubt, we are aware of the various supports you have given to entrepreneurship development in Kwara which had also triggered a lot of multiplier effects in other sectors in the state. We already have a scheme to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), but we will be delighted to see a kind of partnership where the Kwara State government and BoI would merge our own initiative with theirs to achieve a mutual benefit for all,” he said.
Reaffirming his administration’s commitment to BoI’s operations in the state, Ahmed said a lot of small businesses in the state would have closed shops if not for the prompt intervention programmes of the DFI.
“Our arms are wide open to receive you and we will take off from where we stopped, because we believe partnerships such as this, is critical to drive SMEs and industrial development,” he noted.
Earlier, the BoI boss the governor for his tireless efforts aimed at boosting SME development, pointing out that the bank had so far disbursed over N9 billion to support small businesses in the state.
“We are here to solicit your partnership in respect of the N2 billion matching fund, we believe this initiative should be expanded to support more businesses and youths to be gainfully employed. This is the only way we can address the high unemployment rates in this country,” he said.
In other developments, the managing director in a guided facility tour paid courtesy visits to three factories who are also beneficiaries of the bank’s intervention funds aimed at driving industrial development.
“Industrialising Nigeria is the surest way to go to achieve rapid economic growth and development. We will continue to support viable businesses to grow because of the multiplier effects they have on the economy at large,” he said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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