- Inflation Decline’ll Boost Investments, Economic Diversification – RMB
The Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited, Michael Larbie, has said the steady decline in inflation rate will boost investments and the diversification of the nation’s economy.
“We are positive about investments in the country. The steady decline in inflation should ultimately lead to a reduction in interest rates and, consequently, increase the potential for investments in a variety of sectors, thereby aiding the diversification of the economy,” Larbie said in a telephone interview.
The nation’s inflation rate declined to 12.48 per cent in April from 13.34 per cent in March.
Statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria show a consistent decline in inflation rate over the past 15 months.
Larbie stated that a steady and consistent decline in inflation could lead to a stronger economic growth and a more stable currency, adding that healthy competition should be embraced by banks to facilitate economic growth.
Larbie said it was his belief that there was room for multiple players to fulfil the needs of the broader market and economy.
“We need to embrace competition. To promote economic growth and development, Nigeria requires significant amounts of capital, which a few banks alone cannot provide. Each bank has a limit as to the amount of funding it can supply both to a country and to different sectors; it is, therefore, wise to diversify exposure,” he added.
He said the RMB preferred to partner other financial services players to the benefit of their clients.
According to him, RMB is an innovative and solutions-driven bank that believes in building long-term sustainable relationships with its clients by providing them with innovative ideas and solutions to suit their unique circumstance.
He said competition should exist among commercial, merchant and retail banks, as well as capital market operators.
Oil Prices Stable Amid OPEC+ Anticipation and Global Economic Concerns
Oil prices remained relatively unchanged on Thursday as investors awaited the outcome of an eagerly anticipated OPEC+ meeting, which could potentially result in deeper supply cuts in 2024.
Brent crude oil increased by 70 cents to $83.80 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude inched up by 55 cents to settle at $78.41 a barrel.
The OPEC+ group, comprising the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies like Russia, is scheduled to conduct virtual meetings on Thursday to discuss additional production cuts, potentially ranging from 1 million to 2 million barrels per day in early 2024.
Implementing these additional cuts may lead to an immediate surge in prices, but their long-term impact is viewed skeptically by industry experts.
Tamas Varga, an oil broker at PVM, expressed doubt about compliance and suggested that the global oil balance might be less tight than OPEC estimates.
Factors such as the latest U.S. commercial inventory data, revealing an unexpected increase of 1.6 million barrels, and persistently high interest rates in major economies could dampen oil demand.
Despite the surprise build in U.S. crude oil stocks reported by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, oil prices remained resilient, with investors focused on the OPEC+ meeting.
Adding to concerns about the demand side, China’s economic challenges persist, highlighted by recent factory data indicating contraction for the second consecutive month in November.
This economic backdrop adds a layer of uncertainty to the oil market, as China is a significant player in global oil consumption.
Investors are closely monitoring the OPEC+ decisions, and the outcome is expected to influence short-term oil prices, although underlying economic challenges continue to cast shadows on the broader outlook for the industry.
Oil Prices Hold Steady Ahead of Crucial OPEC+ Meeting Amidst Fed Rate Hike Signals
Oil prices maintained their significant gains as traders anticipate the outcome of a crucial OPEC+ meeting on supply while considering signals from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rate policies.
Global benchmark Brent hovered below $82 a barrel, having surged over 2% on Tuesday, while West Texas Intermediate traded under $77.
The OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for Thursday to set policies for 2024, is currently grappling with a dispute over output quotas for some African members.
The recent rise in crude prices is underpinned by a weakening dollar, with a Bloomberg gauge of the US currency reaching its lowest level since August.
Federal Reserve policymakers, including Governor Christopher Waller, have hinted at an impending pause in the series of rate hikes, contributing to the bullish sentiment in oil markets.
A softer dollar enhances the appeal of commodities for international buyers.
Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist for IG Asia Pte in Singapore, commented on the interplay of factors, stating, “The US dollar was dragged lower on a build-up in dovish expectations, which was very much cheered on by oil prices.”
However, concerns persist about OPEC+’s ability to address the challenges in the oil market effectively.
Despite the recent gains, oil is on track for a consecutive monthly decline due to increased supply from non-OPEC countries, intensifying pressure on the cartel and its allies to consider more significant output cuts.
The International Energy Agency’s earlier assessment indicated a potential return to a global crude surplus in the coming year.
In the US, the American Petroleum Institute reported a 817,000-barrel decline in nationwide inventories last week, potentially marking the first drop in six weeks, pending confirmation from government data.
This development may add support to oil prices and impact the ongoing dynamics in the energy market.
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