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NSE Seeks Infrastructure Development in Rural Areas

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Nigerian stock market
  • NSE Seeks Infrastructure Development in Rural Areas

There is an urgent need for accelerated infrastructure development in rural areas in order to curb poverty and its related challenges across the country, the Nigerian Society of Engineers has said.

Participants, who spoke at the recent pre-investiture colloquium organised by the NSE for its 31st President, Adekunle Mokuolu, in Abuja, observed that the widespread poverty in rural communities was inimical to the country’s development.

The colloquium had ‘Strategies for Achieving Accelerated Rural Development in Nigeria’ as its theme.

The Africa Regional Manager, International Road Federation, Dr. Amoah Bekoe, who was the lead speaker at the event, called for the establishment of a rural development authority to initiate, plan, coordinate and monitor rural development projects and programmes with the sole aim of bringing the needed focus required for the development of rural areas.

He said, “Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has about 51 per cent of its population living in rural areas who face the challenges of poverty, income inequalities, high rural-urban migration, high unemployment, poor health care, high maternal and infant mortality, among others.

“In line with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Federal Government has prioritised poverty alleviation as part of its developmental agenda. However, to stem the tide of rural poverty and its related challenges, there is the need for accelerated rural development.”

To fast-track rural development, another speaker at the colloquium, Prof. Babatunde Adewumi, said the country needed to rapidly step up agricultural mechanisation, embrace competitiveness and cluster system, revive farm settlement projects and arrest mass migration of people from rural to urban areas.

He stated, “The agricultural policy of Nigeria minimally captures mechanisation. A full-blown agricultural mechanisation policy submitted to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture by the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers should be considered by the government.

“The policy captured the need for rural areas to be scaled up to discourage rural-urban migration, thereby diversifying the Nigerian economy through mechanised agriculture.”

Similarly in his speech, Dr. Christopher Chukwurah of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, said rural development in Nigeria should involve the synergy of all stakeholders in driving the planned development processes in communities that were less than 5,000 persons and providing them with the desired social, infrastructural and industrial facilities.

“Lack of this synergy has occasioned large scale rural-urban migration, abject rural poverty and wide disconnect between stated national development objectives and miserable rural reality in Nigeria,” he added.

Earlier in his address, Mokuolu, the NSE president, explained that the colloquium was organised to see how engineers could contribute meaningfully to the development of rural communities scattered across the country.

“Farmers and other inhabitants of rural areas support the existence of those of us living in cities in many ways. But the irony is that these rural dwellers live in poverty despite the hard work, which many of them are engaged in. So we need to come together to deliberate on how we can help in the development of rural areas in Nigeria,” Mokuolu stated.

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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