- AU Woos Nigeria Over Free Trade
The African Union (AU) has begun wooing Nigeria to rescind its decision to delay the signing of the controversial African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
The Chairman of AU, Mr Moussa Faki, is currently in Nigeria to visit and convince all the relevant authorities, including President Muhammadu Buhari, to see reasons.
The chairperson said one of the reasons for his visit was to discuss with Buhari, the issue of AfCTA, yet to be signed by Nigeria.
Nigeria refused to sign the agreement in July as it was believed that it would expose industries and small businesses to external pressures and competitions, which could lead to closures and job losses.
“One the reasons for the visit are to discuss with the president on the African free trade that is yet to be signed.
“We have to realise that Nigeria is one the important countries in Africa and Nigeria is committed to the development of the continent.
He said that Nigeria needed to be involved in pushing the AfCTA agenda for the benefit of the whole continent.
He also expressed excitement with the relentless battle against corruption in Nigeria and Africa in spite of all the odds.
After a closed door meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, Faki explained Faki that African head of states decided to appoint President Buhari as the champion in their struggle against corruption because of his administration’s commitment in the fight against corruption.
The AU Chairperson came for a two-day official visit to Nigeria from Oct. 25th to Oct. 26th.
“They know that he is very committed and dedicated not only in Nigeria but in the whole continent and his style of leadership I am happy to work with him,” he said.
Onyeama in his remarks said that the visit of the chairperson was significant because Africa is central in the Nigeria foreign policy adding that AU is extremely important to Nigeria.
He said that the chairperson had good ideas of achieving various goals of AU and Nigeria would support him to achieve the goals.
“There is a road map and he has a vision for Africa and its development.
“There is 2063 agenda which is a road map that we hope will lead to peace and security on the continent. The road map is to silence the gun, by 2020,” he said.
According to him, there is also the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and that of economic development on continent.
“It is now a question of implementing these goals to achieve them and the desire of Africa.
“There is a reform process that AU is involved to meet its challenges and that is a very important process for all the members to be engaged in.
“We are supporting him, he has very clear vision, and clear idea of how to achieve these goals and Nigeria is a very integral part of that process,” he said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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