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LSETF, VISA Commit N3.5m to Drive CBN’s Cashless Initiative

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Visa Inc
  • LSETF, VISA Commit N3.5m to Drive CBN’s Cashless Initiative

The cashless economy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which seeks to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, received boost in Lagos, when the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and Visa provided support worth over N3.5 million to winners of the second edition of its Cashless Lagos Hackathon.

The teams, which include Team Blended, Team Maverick, and Team LagosPay were presented with a check of N2 million, N1.5 million and N500, 000 respectively for taking the top three positions.

LSETF officials said the hackathon is in line with the Lagos State’s commitment to encourage and support the tech ecosystem in the state. The trust fund has so far issued N80 million workspace vouchers to 50 startups. It plans to issue 25 more before the end of the year.

The Cashless Lagos Hackthon was launched by Visa in partnership with Lagos Innovates – an initiative of LSETF, and Passion Incubator with the objective of creating technology based financial solutions to help Lagos MSMEs carry out daily cashless transactions.

There were seven teams that competed for the grand prize of N2 million. The teams – Akuk, Blended, Eko Wallet, Tradekiosk, Lagos Pay, Mavericks, and Cashbox – had an opportunity to meet and interview five loan beneficiaries from LSETF. During the interview they were able to learn some of the payment challenges faced by the small business owners. With the knowledge, each of them went to build a solution around it.

Addressing journalists after the cheque presentation, the Executive Secretary of LSETF, Akin Oyebode, said: “The Hackthon is designed to solve problems around cash management for small businesses. What we have done here is that we brought our beneficiaries – five women who are beneficiaries of our loan program – we brought them to see how we can use technology to improve their business. Over the course of this weekend the seven teams have listened to them, interviewed them and have gone to create solutions to help solve some problems they have identified, especially relating to receiving payments and going cashless.”

Although the selected ideas from the start-ups were still prototype solutions, the organisers, however, expect that the winning teams will go ahead with the guidance of mentors to translate them into real products that have market value. Oyebode noted the presence of bank executives at the hackathon who were also interested in seeing how they can support the roll out of the solutions to their own customers, would further encourage banks to support SMEs in developing solutions that will further drive the cashless economy initiative of the CBN.

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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