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Markets Today – Choppy Markets, Oil, Gold, Bitcoin



Traders Wall Street

By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

It’s been another choppy day in financial markets with Europe ending a mixed bag and US indices all in the red but to varying degrees.

The markets are very indicative of the uncertainty that we continue to see from Ukraine/Russia negotiations to sanctions, interest rates, recession warnings, lockdowns etc. There’s no end to the uncertainty, which makes the resilience we’re seeing in stock markets all the more impressive.

Europe and the US continue to tighten sanctions against Russia, albeit with the EU still held back by its over-reliance on oil and gas. Recent events suggest the Kremlin remains undeterred even if negotiations continue to take place. It’s hard to be particularly optimistic on that front but we live in hope.

And it seems investors do too because against the backdrop of high inflation, rapidly rising interest rate expectations, recession warnings and very high commodity prices, US indices are a mere 5% from all-time highs.

The PMIs look healthy on the face of it as countries rebounded from the omicron slowdown but given the risks that lie ahead, and the impact of higher inflation, it’s clear that the risks for the data in the coming months are firmly tilted to the downside.

Oil pares gains but remains in consolidation

Oil prices are slipping a little on Tuesday after rebounding at the start of the week. The threat of European sanctions on Russian oil remains an upside risk for crude prices despite the firm opposition in the short term from certain member states. The release of reserves has helped take some of the pressure off amid disruptions to Russian supply but this is still a tight market and greater risks continue to be to the upside. That said, the trend in recent weeks has broadly been one of consolidation, albeit following an extremely volatile period and what we’ve seen so far this week doesn’t suggest anything has changed.

Gold slips back

Gold continues to consolidate above $1,900, with the yellow metal making small losses on the day while lacking any real longer-term direction. That case could be made across various asset classes at the moment which is perhaps a sign of the limbo investors find themselves in; recession risks but a hot economy, peace talks without any sign of peace etc. It’s interesting that the rallies are failing a little earlier each time over recent weeks which could be a small sign of weakness but as it is, there remains plenty of appetite for a safe haven and inflation hedge.

Bitcoin breakout still a bullish signal

Bitcoin has failed to build on the breakout momentum over the last couple of weeks which may disappoint some but it probably shouldn’t. We’re seeing consolidation across financial markets right now and bitcoin is clearly not immune. The breakout could still be a strong signal but just not the explosive one we’re used to in this space.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge, Heightening Demand Concerns



Crude oil

Oil prices declined on Thursday as concerns over demand intensified due to a larger-than-anticipated build in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 0.5% to $83.25 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 0.3% to $78.28 a barrel.

The Energy Information Administration’s report revealed a substantial increase in U.S. crude oil stockpiles by 4.2 million barrels to 447.2 million barrels for the week ending February 23rd.

This surge surpassed analysts’ expectations and marked the fifth consecutive week of rising inventories.

While gasoline and distillate inventories witnessed a decline, concerns regarding a sluggish economy and reduced oil demand in the U.S. were amplified.

Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, highlighted that the significant stockpiles have heightened investor worries.

Moreover, the anticipation of delayed U.S. interest rate cuts further weighed on market sentiment, potentially undermining oil demand.

Traders have adjusted their expectations for rate cuts, with an easing cycle predicted to commence in June rather than March as previously anticipated.

Market participants await the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index for insights into inflation trends, while the possibility of an extension of voluntary oil output cuts from OPEC+ looms over price dynamics, amid lingering uncertainty in the demand outlook and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Shortage Threatens Dangote, Government Refineries, Minister Raises Alarm



Dangote Refinery

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has sounded a clarion call over a looming crude oil shortage that threatens the operations of the newly inaugurated Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and government-owned refineries in Nigeria.

Addressing stakeholders at the seventh edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, Minister Lokpobiri expressed concerns that unless deliberate efforts are made to increase investments and crude oil production, these refineries may struggle to obtain enough feedstock for petroleum product manufacturing.

The Dangote refinery, a colossal project spearheaded by Dangote Industries Limited, has a daily requirement of up to 650,000 barrels of crude oil, while government-owned refineries could need approximately 400,000 barrels.

However, the current pace of crude oil production and investment in Nigeria falls short of meeting these demands.

Minister Lokpobiri highlighted the need to ramp up production and attract investments in the upstream sector to ensure adequate feedstock supply for the refineries.

He emphasized the importance of efficiently utilizing Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves to enhance domestic energy security and economic prosperity.

Furthermore, the minister underscored the significance of investing in energy infrastructure and transitioning towards more environmentally friendly practices to address Nigeria’s energy needs effectively.

The alarm raised by Minister Lokpobiri underscores the urgency for strategic interventions and collaborative efforts to mitigate the impending crude oil shortage and secure the future of Nigeria’s refining industry amidst evolving global energy dynamics.

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NNPCL Pledges End to Nigeria’s Energy Scarcity Within a Decade



Mele Kyari - Investors King

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has announced a bold initiative aimed at ending Nigeria’s persistent energy scarcity within the next decade.

Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, revealed this ambitious plan during the opening ceremony of the seventh Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja.

Kyari’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope for millions of Nigerians grappling with chronic power shortages and energy deficiencies.

In his statement, Kyari expressed confidence that all issues related to energy scarcity in the country would be resolved within the next 10 years.

Assuring stakeholders of NNPCL’s unwavering commitment, Kyari emphasized the company’s dedication to collaborating with partners to bridge the energy deficit gap and foster prosperity for all Nigerians.

He highlighted NNPCL’s pivotal role as a key partner to oil-producing companies in Nigeria, facilitating the divestment of international oil companies from onshore and shallow water assets in the country.

Furthermore, Kyari underscored NNPCL’s statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, emphasizing the importance of sustainable production from divested assets to ensure energy security for Nigerians.

In addition to addressing domestic energy challenges, NNPCL is also exploring avenues for sustainable energy investment across Africa.

Kyari revealed the company’s intention to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank, aiming to secure funding for energy projects on the continent and guarantee regional energy security.

The event, attended by prominent stakeholders including government officials and representatives from international organizations, marks a significant step towards reshaping Nigeria’s energy landscape and fostering economic development through improved energy access.

As NNPCL charts its course towards energy abundance, Nigerians remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a brighter energy future.

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