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Asia Stocks Rise, Dollar Rebounds as Irma Weakens

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  • Asia Stocks Rise, Dollar Rebounds as Irma Weakens

Asian stocks rose and the dollar rebounded from its lowest in more than two years as hurricane Irma’s force waned and the United Nations prepared to vote on tougher North Korean sanctions.

Japan’s Topix index was headed for its biggest gain in more than three months as a weaker yen gave a boost to exporters. Equities also advanced in Seoul and Hong Kong, and Treasuries fell after North Korea refrained from an expected missile test at the weekend.

The dollar rose against major peers as Irma, while devastating, didn’t reach the feared Category 5 storm that some had anticipated and looks to have spared Miami. The offshore yuan declined after China’s central bank was said to have removed a reserve requirement on the trading of foreign-exchange forwards.

Risk appetite also returned to the markets as the chances of Federal Reserve interest rate increases this year receded after the U.S. was struck by the first back-to-back major storms since 1964. New York Fed President William Dudley said in an interview with CNBC that hurricanes could affect the timing of rate hikes.

Still, the shadow of North Korea remains. Pyongyang warned of retaliation if the United Nations Security Council approves harsher sanctions in response to the North’s nuclear test. The UN will vote Monday on fresh sanctions, saying that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II. Pyongyang “is closely following the moves of the U.S. with vigilance,” its state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Monday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With Fed speakers now in a blackout period before next week’s policy meeting, the focus this week be on assessing the impact of natural disasters on U.S. growth. Investors will also parse data due on retail spending in the American economy and the U.S. consumer price index as inflation remains stubbornly low. U.S. CPI is projected to have risen in August at a faster pace.

Stocks

  • The Topix index advanced 1.4 percent as of 10:55 a.m. Tokyo time, on course for its steepest advance since early June. South Korea’s Kospi index was up 1 percent and the S&P/ASX 200 Index in Sydney rose 0.7 percent.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 1 percent, while gauges in China were also higher.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.5 percent. The underlying gauge fell 0.2 percent on Friday.
  • The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index jumped 0.6 percent to hit the highest since December 2007.

Currencies

  • The yen fell 0.5 percent to 108.42 per dollar.
  • The euro lost 0.2 percent to $1.2010.
  • The Aussie was at 80.40 U.S. cents, down 0.2 percent.
  • The Korean won was little changed at 1,128.95 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose more than 0.2 percent. It lost 1.5 percent last week, its worst week since May.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes climbed almost four basis points to 2.09 percent.
  • Australian 10-year bond yields rose about four basis points to 2.61 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.8 percent to $47.84 a barrel in early trading after losing 3.3 percent on Friday.
  • Gold declined 0.7 percent to $1,336.89.

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.

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Crude Oil

NNPCL CEO Optimistic as Nigeria’s Oil Production Edges Closer to 1.7mbpd

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Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has expressed optimism as the nation’s oil production approaches 1.7 million barrels per day (mbpd).

Kyari’s positive outlook comes amidst ongoing efforts to address security challenges and enhance infrastructure crucial for oil production and distribution.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement between the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and NNPCL in Lagos, Kyari highlighted the significance of combating insecurity in the oil and gas sector to facilitate increased production.

Kyari said there is a need for substantial improvements in infrastructure to support oil production.

He noted that Nigeria’s crude oil production has been hampered by pipeline vandalism, prompting alternative transportation methods like barging and trucking of petroleum products, which incur additional costs and logistical challenges.

Despite these challenges, Kyari revealed that Nigeria’s oil production is steadily rising, presently approaching 1.7mbpd.

He attributed this progress to ongoing efforts to combat pipeline vandalism and enhance infrastructure resilience.

Kyari stressed the importance of taking control of critical infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted oil production and distribution.

One of the key projects highlighted by Kyari is the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline, which plays a crucial role in enhancing gas supply infrastructure.

He noted that completing the final phase of the AKK pipeline, particularly the 2.7 km river crossing, would facilitate the flow of gas from the eastern to the western regions of Nigeria, supporting industrial growth and energy security.

Addressing industry stakeholders, including NAPE representatives, Kyari reiterated the importance of collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

He emphasized the need for technical training, data availability, and policy incentives to drive innovation and growth in the industry.

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Commodities

Nigeria to Achieve Fuel Independence Next Month, Says Dangote Refinery

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Dangote Refinery

Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the Dangote Group and Africa’s wealthiest individual has announced that Nigeria is poised to attain fuel independence by next month.

Dangote made this assertion during his participation as a panelist at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit held in Kigali.

The announcement comes as a result of the Dangote Refinery’s ambitious plan, which aims to eliminate the need for Nigeria to import premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, within the next four to five weeks.

According to Dangote, the refinery already operational in supplying diesel and aviation fuel within Nigeria, possesses the capacity to fulfill the diesel and petrol requirements of West Africa and cater to the aviation fuel demands of the entire African continent.

Dangote expressed unwavering confidence in the refinery’s capabilities, stating, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.”

He said the refinery is committed to ensuring self-sufficiency in the continent’s energy needs, highlighting its capacity to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for fuel imports.

The Dangote Refinery’s accomplishment marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s quest for energy independence. With the refinery’s robust infrastructure and advanced technology, Nigeria is poised to become a net exporter of refined petroleum products, bolstering its economic stability and reducing its reliance on foreign imports.

Dangote’s remarks underscored the transformative potential of the refinery, not only for Nigeria but for the entire African continent.

He emphasized the refinery’s role in fostering regional energy security, asserting, “We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico.”

Dangote further outlined the refinery’s broader vision for Africa’s economic advancement and detailed plans to expand its production capacity and diversify its product range.

He highlighted initiatives aimed at promoting self-sufficiency across various sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing, with the ultimate goal of reducing Africa’s dependence on imports and creating sustainable economic growth.

Dangote’s vision for a self-reliant Africa resonates with his long-standing commitment to investing in the continent’s development.

He concluded his remarks by reiterating the refinery’s mission to transform Africa’s energy landscape and drive socio-economic progress across the region.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Surge Amidst Political Turmoil: Brent Tops $84

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Oil prices - Investors King

The global oil market witnessed a significant surge in prices as political upheaval rocked two of the world’s largest crude producers, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose above $84 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil climbed over the $80 threshold.

The sudden spike in oil prices followed a tragic incident in Iran, where President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash.

Simultaneously, apprehensions over the health of Saudi Arabia’s king added to the geopolitical tensions gripping the oil market.

Saudi Arabia stands as the leading producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), while Iran ranks as the third-largest.

Despite these significant developments, there are no immediate indications of disruptions to oil supply from either nation.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reassured that the country’s affairs would continue without interruption in the aftermath of the tragic event.

However, the geopolitical landscape remains fraught with additional concerns, amplifying market volatility.

In Ukraine, drone attacks persist on Russian refining facilities, exacerbating tensions between the two nations.

Moreover, a China-bound oil tanker fell victim to a Houthi missile strike in the Red Sea, further fueling anxiety over supply disruptions.

Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy for ING Groep NV in Singapore, remarked on the market’s reaction to geopolitical events, noting a certain desensitization due to ample spare production capacity within OPEC.

He emphasized the need for clarity from OPEC+ regarding output policies to potentially break the current price range.

While global benchmark Brent has experienced a 9% increase year-to-date, largely driven by OPEC+ supply cuts, prices had cooled off since mid-April amidst easing geopolitical tensions.

Attention now turns to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting scheduled for June 1, with market observers anticipating a continuation of existing production curbs.

Despite the surge in oil prices, there’s a growing sense of bearishness among hedge funds, evidenced by the reduction of net long positions on Brent for a second consecutive week.

This sentiment extends to bets on rising gasoline prices ahead of the US summer driving season, indicating a cautious outlook among investors.

As the oil market grapples with geopolitical uncertainties and supply dynamics, stakeholders await further developments and policy decisions from key players to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

The coming weeks are poised to be critical in determining the trajectory of oil prices amidst a backdrop of geopolitical turmoil and market volatility.

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