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Traders Seek ECOWAS Intervention as Ghana Shuts 400 Nigerian Businesses

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  • Traders Seek ECOWAS Intervention as Ghana Shuts 400 Nigerian Businesses

The National Association of Nigerian Traders on Monday stormed the Economic Community of West African States’ secretariat located in Abuja to protest the alleged closure of shops belonging to Nigerians in Ghana.

The protest, which began at about 9:30am, partially paralysed activities at the ECOWAS Secretariat.

The protesters marched through the streets of Yakubu Gowon Way in Asokoro, a development that led to traffic gridlock in the area.

The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘We need ECOWAS intervention’, ‘Ghana, re-open Nigeria’s shops now’, ‘ECOWAS, the situation in Ghana is totally unacceptable’, and ‘Ghana wants AfCTA secretariat but clamps down on African traders’, among others.

Speaking during the protest, the President, NANT, Ken Ukaoha, said that the association was protesting the alleged victimisation of Nigerian businessmen in Ghana.

He stated that the development had got so bad that a law was recently passed by the Ghanaian parliament seeking to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors.

Ukaoha said since Ghana was a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and services, there was a need for the commission to caution the government of Ghana.

He added that the association was giving the commission a one-week ultimatum to intervene in the matter, adding that if nothing was done, it would deploy all its members to occupy the premises of the ECOWAS Secretariat.

Ukaoha stated that already, the association had written petitions to the President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Brou, and President Muhammadu Buhari on the development.

A copy of the petition to ECOWAS dated September 24 was made available to our correspondent.

It read in part, “This is a save our soul call and the urgency of this protest is to inform you of the state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity that Nigerian traders are currently subjected to in the hands of the government and people of Ghana in different cities under the coordination of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“You are very much aware that we wrote you, raised the alarm and reported to the commission several times of the discriminatory and unfair treatment meted to Nigerian traders and Nigerian-owned small businesses in Ghana when the Ghana Ministry of Trade and Industry issued a public notice and gave an ultimatum that all non-Ghanaians should move out of markets on the 27th of July, 2018.

“In August 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the GIPC and the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations in a joint operations established a task force with specific mandate to clamp down on Nigerian traders and which had eventually resulted in the ongoing closure of over 400 Nigerian traders’ shops and lawfully established businesses in Kumasi, Ashanti region of Ghana.

“Our members are shut out of their business premises in pursuance of the eviction order dated July 27, 2018 demanding that we must have $1m as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.”

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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