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Mercedes-Benz in Record August Performance, Selling 155,918 Vehicles

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File photo of an employee of German car manufacturer Mercedes Benz working on the interior of a GLA model at their production line at the factory in Rastatt
  • Mercedes-Benz in Record August Performance, Selling 155,918 Vehicles

Mercedes-Benz said it delivered 1,512,268 vehicles to customers worldwide in the first eight months of this year, thus setting a new record of 1.1 per cent.

Nigeria, where Mercedes-Benz has been one of the top premium brands, expectedly contributed significantly to the global performance, although details were not given in the new report.

The luxury automaker specifically said it sold 155,918 vehicles worldwide in August, making it the 30th consecutive month it would record global sales of more than 150,000 units. It attributed the performance to the ongoing strong demand for cars with the three-pointed star.

“Never before in the company’s history were sales of 1.5 million vehicles achieved earlier in the year,” the automaker said in a statement released on Monday.

Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz cars marketing and sales, was quoted as saying, “I’m delighted that Mercedes-Benz reached the mark of 1.5 million cars delivered earlier than ever in the year. As a strong team, we will continue to work on meeting the ongoing high demand for our vehicles, also again in terms of delivery.

“And with the EQC, we have presented the first fully-electric Sport Utility Vehicle of our EQ product and technology brand to the world public in Stockholm. We will set additional markers and impulses in the market with the EQC.”

According to the premium brand manufacturer, a new record was set by its SUVs in the first eight months of this year, delivering a total of 541,120 SUVs which it noted as recording an increase of 5.4 per cent.

“An important driver of this growth was the global popularity of the GLC and GLC Coupés. The sales success of the midsize SUVs from Mercedes-Benz will be continued with the EQC, which had its world premiere in Stockholm as the first fully electric SUV from the EQ product and technology brand,” it stated.

It said in Europe, Mercedes-Benz sold 54,989 vehicles in August, adding that in the first eight months of the year, its sales totalled 597,347 units.

“In Germany, the domestic market, Mercedes-Benz delivered 21,442 vehicles with the three-pointed star in August and a total of 195,163 cars were handed over to customers in Germany in the first eight months of this year,” it stated.

It also said more Mercedes-Benz cars were sold in the first eight months than ever before in that period in France, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

It added that in the Asia-Pacific region, demand for Mercedes-Benz models in the first eight months of the year led to a new record of 639,184 units sold. It recalled that the brand delivered 72,342 vehicles in that region last month, said to be slightly below the prior-year level

It said in China, considered the biggest market, a new high for an August was achieved with sales of 53,295 cars, adding, “So far this year, 446,075 vehicles have been handed over to customers – more than ever before in the first eight months of a year.

“Mercedes-Benz achieved additional sales records for the first eight months also in Japan, India, Thailand and Malaysia.”

A total of 24,538 vehicles were delivered to customers in a section of the North America called NAFTA last month, the report said; just as it showed a total of 240,671 Mercedes-Benz cars were sold in the period of January to August in the region.

Mercedes-Benz delivered 199,215 vehicles in the USA in that period and 20,339 in August. The brand with the star defended its market leadership in the US premium segment in the first eight months. Thanks to strong growth in Mexico, Mercedes-Benz once again achieved record unit sales in that market for an August and for the first eight months,” it stated.

Two models, the E-Class Saloon and Estate, were said to have set a new record with sales of 25,367 units last month.

It said, “Since the market launch of the current models, more than 700,000 customers worldwide have been delighted to receive their new E-Class Saloon or Estate.

“Mercedes-Benz increased its sales of the S-Class Saloon in August by 30.3 per cent to 5,254 units. From January to August, more than 53,000 units of the S-Class Saloon were sold. Thanks to a double-digit growth rate worldwide, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class Saloon achieved its highest unit sales so far in the first eight months of a year.”

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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Energy

Egypt Increases Fuel Prices by 15% Amid IMF Deal

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Petrol - Investors King

Egypt has raised fuel prices by up to 15% as the country looks to cut state subsidies as part of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The oil ministry announced increases across a variety of fuel products, including gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.

However, fuel oil used for electricity and food-related industries will remain unaffected to protect essential services.

This decision comes after a pricing committee’s quarterly review, reflecting Egypt’s commitment to align with its financial obligations under the IMF pact.

Egypt is in the midst of recalibrating its economy following a massive $57 billion bailout, orchestrated with the IMF and the United Arab Emirates.

The IMF, which has expanded its support to $8 billion, emphasizes the need for Egypt to replace untargeted fuel subsidies with more focused social spending.

This is seen as a crucial component of a sustainable fiscal strategy aimed at stabilizing the nation’s finances.

Effective immediately, the cost of diesel will increase to 11.5 Egyptian pounds per liter from 10.

Gasoline prices have also risen, with 95, 92, and 80-octane types now costing 15, 13.75, and 12.25 pounds per liter, respectively.

Despite the hikes, Egypt’s fuel prices remain among the lowest globally, trailing only behind nations like Iran and Libya.

The latest increase follows recent adjustments to the price of subsidized bread, another key staple for Egyptians, underscoring the government’s resolve to navigate its economic crisis through tough reforms.

While the rise in fuel costs is expected to impact millions, analysts suggest the inflationary effects might be moderate.

EFG Hermes noted that the gradual removal of subsidies and a potential hike in power tariffs could have a relatively limited impact on overall consumer prices.

They predict that the deceleration in inflation will persist throughout the year.

Egypt’s efforts to manage inflation have shown progress, with headline inflation slowing for the fourth consecutive month in June.

This trend offers a glimmer of hope for the government as it strives to balance economic stability with social welfare.

The IMF and Egyptian officials are scheduled to meet on July 29 for a third review of the loan program. Approval from the IMF board could unlock an additional $820 million tranche, further supporting Egypt’s economic restructuring.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise on U.S. Inventory Draws Despite Global Demand Worries

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Oil

Oil prices gained on Wednesday following the reduction in U.S. crude and fuel inventories.

However, the market remains cautious due to ongoing concerns about weak global demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, increased by 66 cents, or 0.81% to $81.67 a barrel. Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 78 cents, or 1.01%, to $77.74 per barrel.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a substantial decline in crude inventories by 3.7 million barrels last week, surpassing analysts’ expectations of a 1.6-million-barrel draw.

Gasoline stocks also fell by 5.6 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 2.8 million barrels, contradicting predictions of a 250,000-barrel increase.

Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group, described the EIA report as “very bullish,” indicating a potential for future crude draws as demand appears to outpace supply.

Despite these positive inventory trends, the market is still wary of global demand weaknesses. Concerns stem from a lackluster summer driving season in the U.S., which is expected to result in lower second-quarter earnings for refiners.

Also, economic challenges in China, the world’s largest crude importer, and declining oil deliveries to India, the third-largest importer, contribute to the apprehension about global demand.

Wildfires in Canada have further complicated the supply landscape, forcing some producers to cut back on production.

Imperial Oil, for instance, has reduced non-essential staff at its Kearl oil sands site as a precautionary measure.

While prices snapped a three-session losing streak due to the inventory draws and supply risks, the market remains under pressure.

Factors such as ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, and China’s economic slowdown, continue to weigh heavily on traders’ minds.

In recent sessions, WTI had fallen 7%, with Brent down nearly 5%, reflecting the volatility and uncertainty gripping the market.

As the industry navigates these complex dynamics, analysts and investors alike are closely monitoring developments that could further impact oil prices.

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Commodities

Economic Strain Halts Nigeria’s Cocoa Industry: From 15 Factories to 5

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cocoa-tree

Once a bustling sector, Nigeria’s cocoa processing industry has hit a distressing low with operational factories dwindling from 15 to just five.

The cocoa industry, once a vibrant part of Nigeria’s economy, is now struggling to maintain even a fraction of its previous capacity.

The five remaining factories, operating at a combined utilization of merely 20,000 metric tons annually, now run at only 8% of their installed capacity.

This stark reduction from a robust 250,000 metric tons reflects the sector’s profound troubles.

Felix Oladunjoye, chairman of the Cocoa Processors Association of Nigeria (COPAN), voiced his concerns in a recent briefing, calling for an emergency declaration in the sector.

“The challenges are monumental. We need at least five times the working capital we had last year just to secure essential inputs,” Oladunjoye said.

Rising costs, especially in energy, alongside a cumbersome regulatory environment, have compounded the sector’s woes.

Farmers, who previously sold their cocoa beans to processors, now prefer to sell to merchants who offer higher prices.

This shift has further strained the remaining processors, who struggle to compete and maintain operations under the harsh economic conditions.

Also, multiple layers of taxation and high energy costs have rendered processing increasingly unviable.

Adding to the industry’s plight are new export regulations proposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Oladunjoye criticized these regulations as duplicative and detrimental, predicting they would lead to higher costs and penalties for exporters.

“These regulations will only worsen our situation, leading to more shutdowns and job losses,” he warned.

The cocoa processing sector is not only suffering from internal economic challenges but also from a tough external environment.

Nigerian processors are finding it difficult to compete with their counterparts in Ghana and Ivory Coast, who benefit from lower production costs and more favorable export conditions.

Despite Nigeria’s potential as a top cocoa producer, with a global ranking of the fourth-largest supplier in the 2021/2022 season, the industry is struggling to capitalize on its opportunities.

The decline in processing capacity and the industry’s current state of distress highlight the urgent need for policy interventions and financial support.

The government’s export drive initiatives, aimed at boosting the sector, seem to be falling short. With the industry facing over N500 billion in tied-up investments and debts, the call for a focused rescue plan has never been more urgent.

The cocoa sector remains a significant part of Nigeria’s economy, but without substantial support and reforms, it risks falling further into disrepair.

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