- U.K. GDP Would Suffer 10.7% Hit in Worst Case No-Deal Brexit
The U.K. will suffer a major economic hit over 15 years if Parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal and the country crashes out of the European Union with no new trade arrangements in place, according to official analysis.
A government report on Wednesday said GDP will be as much as 10.7 percent lower by 2034 if there’s no orderly exit and the supply of workers from the bloc dries up.
The new analysis paints a dire picture of the worst-case scenario but does not provide a clear picture of the economic impact of the deal May finalized with the EU last week. Instead it provides an analysis based loosely on a plan that’s already been rejected by the bloc.
The omission of May’s agreement is likely to be politically awkward for the government, because the numbers are intended to help inform politicians before they vote on whether to accept or reject the deal May has negotiated. The Bank of England will publish its own analysis later Wednesday.
If Parliament rejects May’s deal, the U.K. will be on course to crash out of the EU on March 29 into a legal limbo, with no special rules in place to regulate trade with the bloc. Backers of May’s deal hope the findings in the analysis will bring wavering politicians — especial Conservative rebels — into line.
The analysis is almost certain to provoke a backlash from Tory Brexiteers, who say predictions of economic damage are part of “Project Fear” and insist a no-deal Brexit would leave Britain better off.
May appears to be heading for defeat in the Parliamentary vote on whether or not to back her deal, which will be held on Dec. 11, amid massive opposition from pro-Brexit rebels in her own Conservative Party.
They point to Treasury analysis published before the 2016 referendum that warned of a possible recession within two years and a significant rise in unemployment. As it turned out, unemployment is at a four-decade low and the economy has recorded continued growth, though there is little dispute that investment and consumer spending have been adversely affected by Brexit.
The Treasury has been at pains to make clear that the analysis is a cross-government effort after arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson privately accused Chancellor Philip Hammond’s department of being “the heart of Remain” and trying to ruin Brexit. May’s office on Tuesday said that the work is an analysis rather than an official forecast.
A risk is that the study provides ammunition to all sides in the Brexit debate, including the campaign for a second referendum to reverse Brexit and those pressing for a Norway-style option.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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