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Nigerians Struggle as Prices of Commodity Surge Under President Tinubu

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As Nigeria grapples with economic challenges, citizens are facing intensified financial strain due to a significant surge in commodity prices under the presidency of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The sharp increase in the cost of essential goods has compounded the woes of a nation already grappling with high inflation, rising unemployment, and stagnant wages.

A recent analysis reveals alarming spikes in the prices of key commodities across the country, painting a grim picture of the economic landscape.

Since Tinubu assumed office, the cost of living for ordinary Nigerians has become increasingly burdensome, with essential items becoming increasingly out of reach for many households.

The price of a 50kg bag of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, has surged by 85.7% from N35,000 in May 2023 to N65,000 in February 2024.

Similarly, the cost of a 50kg bag of flour has risen by 75.4% during the same period to N50,000 from N28,500.

The story is no different for other commodities; the price of a 50kg bag of beans has skyrocketed by 106.7% to N62,000, up from N30,000 in May 2023.

Meanwhile, a bag of onions now commands a whopping N60,000, representing a 114.3% increase from N28,000.

However, amidst the general trend of price hikes, there have been minor exceptions. The price of a 25-litre container of palm oil experienced a modest reduction from N29,000 in May 2023 to N25,000, representing a 13.8% decrease.

Contrastingly, a bag of cement surged by 54.8%, jumping from N4,200 to N6,500 within the same period.

This surge in commodity prices has left many struggling to afford basic necessities, exacerbating the already precarious living conditions for millions across the nation.

As citizens grapple with the economic fallout, calls for urgent government intervention to alleviate the hardship facing ordinary Nigerians are growing louder.

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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Commodities

Geopolitical Uncertainty Drives Gold Prices Higher Despite Fed Rate Cut Concerns

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As tensions simmer in the Middle East and concerns loom over Federal Reserve policy, gold continues its upward trajectory, defying expectations and reinforcing its status as the ultimate safe-haven asset.

The latest surge in gold prices comes amidst escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Reports suggest that the United States and its allies are bracing for potential missile or drone strikes by Iran or its proxies on military and government targets in Israel. Such a significant escalation in the six-month-old conflict has sent shockwaves through financial markets, prompting investors to seek refuge in gold.

Despite initial setbacks earlier in the week, gold resumed its blistering rally, buoyed by the specter of geopolitical uncertainty.

On Wednesday, the precious metal witnessed its most significant decline in almost a month following a hotter-than-expected US inflation readout.

This unexpected data led traders to recalibrate their expectations for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year, causing the yield on 10-year Treasuries to surge above 4.5%.

However, gold’s resilience in the face of shifting market dynamics remains remarkable. Even as concerns mount over the Fed’s rate-cutting trajectory, the allure of gold as a safe-haven asset persists.

Prices hover just shy of a record high reached earlier in the week, propelled by robust buying from central banks.

Market analysts interviewed by Bloomberg anticipate further gains in gold prices, citing continued geopolitical tensions and strong momentum in the market.

The precious metal’s near-20% rally since mid-February underscores its enduring appeal as a hedge against uncertainty and inflationary pressures.

At 9:54 a.m. in Singapore, spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,341.58 an ounce, signaling continued investor confidence in the metal’s resilience.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, meanwhile, remained relatively unchanged near its highest level since November.

Silver, often considered a bellwether for precious metals, held steady after reaching a three-year high, while platinum and palladium also registered gains.

As the world navigates through a complex web of geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainties, gold remains a beacon of stability in an increasingly volatile landscape.

Its ability to weather market fluctuations and maintain its allure as a safe-haven asset reaffirms its timeless appeal to investors seeking refuge amidst uncertainty.

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Price Surge Propels Cameroon Farmers Towards Cocoa’s Lucrative Future

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A quiet revolution is underway in Cameroon as farmers enticed by soaring cocoa prices are abandoning traditional crops to embrace the lucrative world of cocoa farming.

The recent surge in cocoa prices has prompted a wave of optimism among farmers, signaling a shift in the agricultural landscape of the West African nation.

Banyuy Elsie Kinyuy, a 57-year-old high school tutor from Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, epitomizes this transformative trend.

In November, Kinyuy made a bold decision to invest in a 3-hectare parcel of land in a rural area, approximately 200 kilometers northwest of her home. With determination in her heart and cocoa trees in her hands, she planted the seeds of her future retirement income.

“I remember earning 1.5 million CFA francs ($2,458) from these crops at one moment, whereas cocoa could barely give me 600,000 francs to 700,000 francs,” says Jean-Marie Mbida Obam, a 61-year-old farmer who has decided to return to cocoa farming after a hiatus of three years.

“I am back and prepared to completely revive all of my plantation. The cocoa price now is very good,” he adds, highlighting the allure of cocoa amidst the price surge.

The catalyst for this seismic shift lies in the global cocoa market dynamics. Double-digit production declines in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the top two cocoa-producing nations, have led to a scramble for beans.

Bad weather and a shortage of fertilizer have plagued cocoa farmers in these countries, causing a significant drop in production.

Consequently, cocoa prices on the New York futures exchange have skyrocketed from below $3,000 to $10,000 a ton in just a year.

Cameroon, with its favorable climate and fertile soil, has emerged as an attractive destination for cocoa cultivation.

Forecasts by the International Cocoa Organization predict a 3% increase in Cameroon’s cocoa crop, reaching 300,000 tons, amidst a global shortage.

Encouraged by such projections, farmers like Kinyuy and Obam are seizing the opportunity to tap into the potential of cocoa farming.

However, the journey towards a cocoa-rich future is not without its challenges. Traditional practices and land tenure systems often pose obstacles to aspiring cocoa farmers.

The need for modernization and access to resources such as land, finance, and technology remains paramount for sustainable cocoa cultivation.

Moreover, the European Union’s stringent regulations aimed at combating deforestation pose a looming threat to expansion plans in the cocoa industry.

Chocolate makers are now required to ensure that every bean imported into the EU is sourced sustainably, adding another layer of complexity to the cocoa supply chain.

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Commodity Titans See Record Profits in 2023 Amid Ukraine Fallout

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The world’s largest commodity trading firms have once again emerged triumphant, raking in record profits amidst the aftershocks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite some decline from previous years, industry leaders such as Vitol Group and Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. have reported staggering net profits to solidify their positions as dominant players in the global commodities market.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Vitol Group, one of the foremost players in the energy trading sector raked in $13 billion in net profit in 2023.

Meanwhile, its rival, Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., posted a profit of approximately $2.7 billion.

Though slightly lower compared to previous years, these figures represent a significant leap from historical earnings and underscore the resilience of these commodity titans in navigating turbulent market conditions.

The surge in profits extends what has been the most profitable period in the history of the commodity trading industry.

Over the past two years alone, the four leading privately-owned energy traders—Vitol, Trafigura Group, Mercuria, and Gunvor Group—have collectively generated net profits exceeding $50 billion. This astronomical increase dwarfs earnings from previous years, highlighting the unprecedented profitability of the sector.

Sebastian Barrack, head of commodities at Citadel, a leading hedge fund in the sector, described the profits accrued by the top commodity traders in the past two years as “really astronomical.”

Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, Barrack emphasized the unparalleled success of these firms amid evolving market dynamics.

However, the soaring profits come at a time of heightened scrutiny from governments and regulators.

The fallout from the war in Ukraine has placed the industry under increased scrutiny, prompting concerns about energy security and the role of commodity traders in global markets.

Moreover, a series of investigations into corruption have cast a shadow over some of the largest trading houses, exposing a culture of wrongdoing within the industry.

Despite these challenges, the profits amassed by commodity traders have translated into immense wealth for a select group of individuals. Several traders and executives have become billionaires or multi-billionaires as a result of the industry’s unprecedented success.

Vitol, Trafigura, and Gunvor are primarily owned by a relatively small number of individuals, further concentrating wealth within the industry.

The remarkable profitability of commodity traders in 2023 reflects the resilience and adaptability of these firms in navigating complex market conditions.

Despite facing geopolitical uncertainties and regulatory scrutiny, the industry continues to thrive, buoyed by strategic investments and a diversified portfolio of trading activities. As commodity traders look ahead, the challenge lies in sustaining this momentum and navigating future uncertainties in an ever-evolving global landscape.

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