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Coronavirus – Africa: IMF Staff Completes Staff Visit to Senegal

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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva

IMF Visits Senegal to Assess COVID-19 Impacts

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board.

The Senegalese economy is expected to contract this year as a result of disruptions in economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recovery is underway, but uncertainty regarding its speed and extent remains significant; execution of the revised 2020 budget is proceeding largely in line with expectations, with a robust implementation of the Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES) to address the COVID-19 pandemic; the authorities and the IMF team made considerable progress on key parameters for the draft 2021 budget, ahead of the second PCI review mission planned for late October 2020.

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Ms. Corinne Deléchat, conducted a virtual mission from September 9-18, 2020, to update macroeconomic projections, discuss 2020 budget execution and plans for the 2021 budget. At the conclusion of this mission, Ms. Deléchat issued the following statement:

“The Senegalese economy has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with real GDP growth now expected to contract by 0.7 percent this year, reflecting the larger-than-anticipated disruptions in economic activity stemming from the pandemic and strict containment measures. A gradual recovery started in May with the lifting of most COVID-19-related restrictions, followed by the reopening of borders in July. Senegal’s strong health response is showing encouraging signs with a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past four weeks. In 2021, output is projected to rebound back to above 5 percent, boosted in part by favorable prospects for agriculture. This projection is however subject to significant downside risks, reflecting uncertainties around the speed of the global recovery and the evolution of the pandemic, which could continue to affect important sectors of the economy such as tourism, transport and hospitality.

“Budget execution through end-August 2020 was broadly satisfactory, and the objectives for the remainder of the year set in the revised 2020 budget remain within reach. Uncertainties related to the mobilization of programmed resources however remain. Therefore, the mission encourages the authorities to continue with their prudent approach in order to maintain the deficit at around 6 percent of GDP as envisaged in the 2020 revised budget. The mission commends the authorities for the strong and transparent implementation of their Economic and Social Resilience Program (PRES). Most of the planned COVID-19 measures have already been executed, as detailed in the June 2020 quarterly budget implementation report. The mission welcomes the recent repeal of the decree on derogatory procurement procedures for COVID-19 related spending, which will from now on follow the normal procurement procedure. The authorities have also finalized a new recovery plan which aims to support a return to strong and inclusive private sector-led growth, focusing on accelerating the structural transformation process and enhancing the economy’s resilience through diversification of the productive base.

“The mission and the authorities made significant inroads in discussing the contours of the draft 2021 budget. Given high uncertainty and lingering effects of the pandemic on some sectors of the economy, the draft 2021 budget should aim to strike a balance between supporting the recovery, including through a robust investment plan on the one hand, and fiscal and debt sustainability also consistent with the WAEMU’s external stability on the other. To that effect, the 2021 fiscal stance should continue to signal a strong commitment to return gradually to a budget deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2022, in line with the WAEMU convergence criterion, as the situation normalizes. Discussion on the draft budget will continue in the coming weeks.

“The second PCI review mission will take place in late October 2020, with a Board meeting tentatively planned for December 2020.

“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for the frank, open and constructive dialogue.”

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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Crude Oil

Nigeria Pumps 236.2 Million Barrels in First Half of 2024

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markets energies crude oil

Nigeria pumped 236.2 million barrels of crude oil in the first half of 2024, according to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

This figure represents an increase from the 219.5 million barrels produced during the same period in 2023.

In January, Nigeria produced 44.2 million barrels of crude oil while February saw a slight dip to 38.3 million barrels, with March following closely at 38.1 million barrels.

April and May production stood at 38.4 million barrels and 38.8 million barrels, respectively. June’s output remained consistent at 38.3 million barrels, demonstrating a stable production trend.

Despite the overall increase compared to 2023, the 2024 production figures still fall short of the 302.42 million barrels produced in the same period in 2020.

This ongoing fluctuation underscores the challenges facing Nigeria’s oil sector, which has experienced varying production levels over recent years.

On a daily basis, Nigeria’s crude oil production showed some variability. In January, the average daily production peaked at 1.43 million barrels per day (mbpd), the highest within the six-month period.

February’s production dropped to 1.32 mbpd, with a further decrease to 1.23 mbpd in March. April saw a modest increase to 1.28 mbpd, which then fell again to 1.25 mbpd in May. June ended on a positive note with a slight rise to 1.28 mbpd.

The fluctuations in daily production rates have prompted government and industry leaders to address underlying issues.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), has highlighted the detrimental effects of oil theft and vandalism on Nigeria’s production capabilities.

Kyari emphasized that addressing these security challenges is critical to boosting production and attracting investment.

Kyari also noted recent efforts to combat illegal activities, including the removal of over 5,800 illegal connections from pipelines and dismantling more than 6,000 illegal refineries.

He expressed confidence that these measures, combined with ongoing policy reforms, would support Nigeria’s goal of increasing daily production to two million barrels.

The Nigerian government remains focused on stabilizing and enhancing oil production. With recent efforts showing promising results, there is cautious optimism that Nigeria will achieve its production targets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Steady Amid Mixed Signals on Crude Demand

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Crude oil

Oil prices remained stable on Thursday as investors navigated conflicting signals regarding crude demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, settled at $85.11 a barrel, edging up by 3 cents, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dipped by 3 cents to $82.82 a barrel.

The stability comes as the U.S. economy shows signs of slowing, with unemployment benefit applications rising more than expected.

Initial claims increased by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ending July 1, prompting speculation that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates sooner than anticipated. Lower rates could boost spending on oil, creating a bullish outlook for demand.

Fed officials suggested that improved inflation and a balanced labor market might lead to rate cuts, possibly by September.

“Healthy expectations of a Fed rate cut in the not-so-distant future will limit downside,” noted Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

However, rising jobless claims signal potential economic easing, which could dampen crude demand.

John Kilduff of Again Capital highlighted the impact of a slowing economy on oil consumption despite a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Global factors also weighed on the market. China’s economic policies remain steady, though details are sparse, affecting investor sentiment in the world’s largest crude importer.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank maintained interest rates, citing persistent inflation.

An upcoming OPEC+ meeting in August is expected to assess market conditions without altering output policy, according to sources. This meeting will serve as a “pulse check” for market health.

Overall, oil prices are caught between economic concerns and hopes of a rate cut, maintaining a delicate balance.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide on China Demand Concerns, Brent Falls to $83.73

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices declined on Tuesday for the third consecutive day on growing concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and its impact on global oil demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dipped by $1.12, or 1.3% at $83.73 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped $1.15, or 1.4%, to close at $80.76.

The dip in oil prices is largely attributed to disappointing economic data from China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Official figures revealed a 4.7% growth in China’s GDP for the April-June period, the slowest since the first quarter of 2023, and below the forecasted 5.1% growth expected in a Reuters poll.

This slowdown was compounded by a protracted property downturn and widespread job insecurity, which have dampened fuel demand and led many Chinese refineries to cut back on production.

“Weaker economic data continues to flow from China as continued government support programs have been disappointing,” said Dennis Kissler, Senior Vice President of Trading at BOK Financial. “Many of China’s refineries are cutting back on weaker fuel demand.”

Despite the bearish sentiment from China, there is a growing consensus among market participants that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin cutting its key interest rates as soon as September.

This speculation has helped stem the decline in oil prices, as lower interest rates reduce the cost of borrowing, potentially boosting economic activity and oil demand.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted on Monday that the three U.S. inflation readings over the second quarter “add somewhat to confidence” that the pace of price increases is returning to the central bank’s target in a sustainable fashion.

This has led market participants to believe that a turn to interest rate cuts may be imminent.

Also, U.S. crude oil inventories provided a silver lining for the oil market. According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures, U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels last week.

This was a much steeper drop than the 33,000 barrels decline that was anticipated, indicating strong domestic demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also weighed in, suggesting that while the global economy is set for modest growth over the next two years, risks remain.

The IMF noted cooling activity in the U.S., a bottoming-out in Europe, and stronger consumption and exports for China as key factors in the global economic landscape.

In summary, while oil prices are currently pressured by concerns over China’s economic slowdown, the potential for U.S. interest rate cuts and stronger domestic demand for crude are providing some support.

Market watchers will continue to monitor economic indicators and inventory levels closely as they gauge the future direction of oil prices.

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