Connect with us


Nerves Amid China Warnings



Stocks - Investors King

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

We’re seeing more risk aversion on Tuesday as Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan generates numerous unsettling headlines at a time of strained ties between the US and China.

US House Speaker Pelosi’s proposed visit has been met with numerous threats from Beijing including an unspecified military response. They have continued this morning, hours ahead of the apparent arrival which is clearly making investors very nervous.

Stock markets throughout most of Asia are in the red, with those in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan unsurprisingly seeing the biggest declines. In Europe, it’s more of a mixed bag while US futures are pointing to a slightly lower open which may change in the hours leading up to the opening bell depending on where Pelosi touches down.

Another member of camp “data-dependent”

The Australian dollar slid on Tuesday as the RBA joined the Fed in camp “data-dependent” following a string of aggressive rate hikes. The central bank maintained that further tightening will be warranted but was keen to stress that they are not on a pre-set path and that they will be driven by the data.

The RBAs forecasts highlight the challenges facing the economy, with unemployment seen falling a little further before rising to 4% but this is naturally subject to immense uncertainty in the outlook. I expect the RBA, like the Fed and others, will continue tightening fairly aggressively over the course of the remainder of the year before proceeding with far more caution into 2023.

Smashed it out of the park

BP unsurprisingly smashed it out of the park in the second quarter, reporting its second highest profit ever as energy firms continue to capitalise on soaring prices. The company has boosted its dividend by 10% and intends to execute a $3.5 billion share buyback on the back of the results which were far stronger than expected. It also highlighted its investment in the energy transition although, in the current climate, that will be overshadowed by the billions being returned to shareholders.

There will undoubtedly be an enormous amount of attention on these earnings, which come days after Shell’s record profits, coming at a time when households are facing eye-watering energy bills. But in much the same way that these firms make huge profits when prices are high, it works both ways. Not that this makes it any easier to accept when we’re experiencing such an extreme example as we are currently.

How influential is Biden in OPEC+?

Oil prices are slipping again on Tuesday as traders take a more cautious stance ahead of the OPEC+ meeting. There’s a lot more uncertainty this time around as they’re no longer on a pre-set path that people were hoping would change but never really did. The decision this week will tell us just how unified the group still is, how committed it is to rebalancing the market and whether President Biden has any influence in the cartel at all.

There have been reports that Saudi Arabia will put forward a case for higher levels of production at the meeting after making assurances to President Biden. Of course, that won’t necessarily translate into an agreement on higher output, with the priority remaining the unity of the alliance. And let’s not forget that the group is still incapable of delivering on what it’s already agreed. So unless Saudi Arabia and the UAE are going to do more heavy lifting, any deal may have little impact on the situation.

Can gold push on from here?

Gold is relatively flat on Tuesday after securing a fourth consecutive day of gains at the start of the week. The yellow metal has been buoyed by the moves we’ve seen in bond markets, the shift to a less hawkish stance by the Fed and the pullback in the dollar. The threat of recession and the potential realisation that the stock market is just experiencing another bear-market rally may also feed into further gold strength.

The next big test to the upside falls around $1,800 although it could see some resistance around $1,780 where it appears to have stumbled this morning. A corrective move to the downside could see support arrive around $1,750-1,760, as we’ve seen in the past. It all depends on how much further yields can fall given inflation is still high and more tightening is almost inevitable.

A bottom in bitcoin?

Bitcoin is recording losses for a third consecutive day in what could be a sign of recovery momentum waning. There certainly were signs of this during the most recent rally which peaked a little shy of $25,000 and the corrective pattern that’s formed over the last month and a half could easily be viewed as a bearish setup following the sell-off that preceded it. It’s difficult to say at this point but it will probably ultimately depend on inflation, the Fed and whether we see any more worrying crypto news flow. Perhaps the hesitancy is a sign that traders lack confidence that this is a bottom and the start of the good times returning.

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

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Surge as China’s Holiday Demand and Tight US Supply Drive 2% Weekly Gain



Crude oil - Investors King

Oil prices to close the week with about a 2% gain as robust holiday demand from China and constrained U.S. fundamentals overshadowed concerns about potential supply increases from Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, gained 5 cents to $95.43 per barrel at about 6:00 a.m. Nigerian time on Friday while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) rose by 16 cents to $91.87 per barrel.

The market’s resilience became evident as it rebounded from a slight 1% dip in the previous session when profit-taking followed a surge in prices to 10-month highs.

China, the world’s largest oil importer, played a pivotal role in driving prices higher. Strong fuel demand coincided with China’s week-long Golden Week holiday, with increased international and domestic travel significantly boosting Chinese oil consumption.

Analysts at ANZ noted that this holiday season’s surge in travel was underpinned by the fact that the average daily flights booked were a fifth higher than during Golden Week in 2019, pre-dating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, improving macroeconomic data from China and the steady growth of its factory activity further supported the bullish sentiment.

The U.S. economy’s robust growth and indications of accelerated activity in the current quarter also bolstered expectations of sustained fuel demand.

Also, tight supplies in the U.S., evidenced by dwindling storage levels at Cushing, Oklahoma, provided additional support to oil prices. As rig counts fell, U.S. oil production was expected to slow down, potentially pushing the market into a deficit of more than 2 million barrels per day in the last quarter.

Investors are now eagerly awaiting the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), scheduled for October 4th.

The meeting will be a crucial indicator of whether Saudi Arabia will consider stepping up its supply in response to the nearly 30% surge in oil prices this quarter.

Analysts, however, caution that the market may be entering overbought territory, leading to possible hesitancy among participants and concerns that OPEC+ could ease production cuts earlier than planned if prices continue to rise.

The outcome of next week’s OPEC meeting will undoubtedly hold significant implications for the oil market’s future trajectory.

Continue Reading

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Soar to a Year High as Crude Reserves Plummet

Crude stocks at a pivotal storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, hit their lowest levels since July last year, sparking concerns about future supply stability.



Crude oil

Oil prices surged to their highest level in over a year during Asian trading hours, following a significant drop in crude stocks at a key storage hub.

Crude inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, plummeted to a mere 22 million barrels in the fourth week of September, close to operational minimums, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

This translates to 943,000 barrels compared to the prior week.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose to $95.03 per barrel during Asian trading hours, a peak not seen since August 2022 before settling at $94.61 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian oil, rose by 1.05% to $97.56 per barrel.

Experts have attributed this rapid price escalation to the precarious situation in Cushing, with Bart Melek, Managing Director of TD Securities, stating, “Today’s price action seems to be Cushing driven, as it reaches a 22 million bbl low, the lowest level since July 2022.”

Melek expressed concerns about the challenges of getting crude oil into the market if inventories continue to dip below these critical levels.

Predicting the future trajectory of oil prices, Melek suggested that prices could remain at elevated levels for the remainder of the year, especially if the global oil cartel, OPEC+, continues to enforce supply restrictions.

He noted that the global oil market is facing a “pretty robust deficit” on top of an already significant shortfall for this quarter due to OPEC’s production cuts.

Saudi Arabia, a key player in OPEC+, has extended its voluntary crude oil production cut of 1 million barrels per day until the year’s end, bringing its crude output to nearly 9 million barrels per day.

Russia has also pledged to continue its 300,000 barrels per day export reduction until December.

However, Melek added that, “We do think that prices could keep up near these levels for quite some time. But I don’t think it’s too permanent. And we might have seen the end of this rally.”

Continue Reading


Nigeria’s Struggles in the Energy Sector Highlighted as Ghana Nears Universal Access



Power - Investors King

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, continues to grapple with challenges in its electricity sector, resulting in a significant lag behind its West African neighbor, Ghana, in achieving universal access to electricity.

Ghana, with its population of 34 million, has made remarkable strides in expanding its power sector, attaining an impressive electrification rate of 88.54% with ambitions to reach 100% by 2024.

Ghana’s success story is characterized by its deliberate policy formulation and swift implementation to bolster its power sector, facilitating increased investment and widespread electricity access for its citizens.

Speaking at the Nigeria Energy Conference and Exhibition 2023 in Lagos, Ghana’s Minister of Energy, Andrew Mercer, underscored his country’s commitment to achieving universal access to electricity by the end of 2024.

Mercer stated, “The president of Ghana emphasized the aggressive target of the government to achieve universal access by the end of 2024 from the current rate of 88.54%. This is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all by 2030.”

In Ghana, the total installed energy capacity stands at 5,454 megawatts (MW) with dependable capacity at 4,843 MW, and peak demand reached 3,561 MW in May 2023.

Meanwhile, Nigeria boasts a significantly higher total installed generation capacity of 13,000 MW but only a fraction, between 3,500 and 4,500 MW, is effectively transmitted and distributed to Nigerian homes and businesses.

Tragically, this disparity means that over 80% of Nigerians still lack access to the electricity grid with only around 11.27 million Nigerians recorded as electricity customers as of Q1 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Ghana’s sustained electricity grid stability has resulted from consistent efforts by the government and stakeholders to enhance the nation’s electricity industry, ultimately improving the quality of life for Ghanaians and supporting economic activities.

Both Ghana and Nigeria have increased their reliance on thermal power generation, reducing the share of hydro power generation in favor of thermal sources. However, while Ghana boasts a record of grid stability and minimal outages, Nigeria has struggled with frequent grid collapses.

In September 2023, Nigeria experienced grid collapses on two occasions, disrupting power supply nationwide.

This disparity in grid reliability highlights the challenges faced by Nigeria’s electricity sector. According to data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigeria recorded a high number of grid collapses in recent years, with 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 witnessing 13, 11, 4, and 4 collapses, respectively.

In 2022, there were seven recorded grid collapses, with the most recent occurring on September 25, 2022, when power generation plummeted from over 3,700 MW to as low as 38 MW.

As Nigeria grapples with these electricity challenges, Ghana’s steady progress in its power sector serves as a reminder of the critical importance of comprehensive policies, infrastructure development, and stability in ensuring universal access to electricity for citizens, a goal that remains elusive for millions of Nigerians.

Continue Reading