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EU Supports Nigeria, Beninoise Customs with N8.1bn Scanner

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  • EU Supports Nigeria, Beninoise Customs with N8.1bn Scanner

The effort to facilitate trade and speedy clearance of cargo in Nigeria’s busiest land border will be revved up soon as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and its Beninoise counterpart have taken delivery of a new cargo scanning machine donated by the European Union (EU) at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) joint border post, Seme-Krake.

Valued at about N8.1 billion, the scanner is said to be an upgrade on the old fixed scanner at the cost of N3.54 billion and installed by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) in 2013.

Addressing journalists at the border post, the Controller, Seme Area Command of the NCS, Comptroller Muhammed Uba, said the scanner, which is currently being test-run, would be maintained by ECOWAS for two years.

He said Customs officers of both countries have been trained on how to read images from the scanner, stating that when operational, it would facilitate trading activities at the border post.

He said with the deployment of the scanner, Customs would only subject goods to physical examination only when in doubt of scanned image.

“Officers have been trained; both Benin and Nigeria Customs Service along with other agencies who are on the stage in the cargo clearance process. The scanner is bought by the European Union for both Nigeria and Benin. All types of trucks will be passing through the scanner and officers who have been trained will read the images and whatever is inside the truck, the officers will know. In any case where the image is not clear, the truck will be subjected to 100 per cent physical examination,” he said.
Meanwhile, he has announced the seizure of 175 pieces of textiles materials worth N2.2 million smuggled into the country from Benin Republic.

Mohammed, who paraded the items at Seme border, also said the Command generated the sum of N2.62 billion from March till date, while intensified operations by the enforcement unit have drastically reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum.

Mohammed said about 8,304 bags of 50kg foreign rice, which is equivalent to over 14 trucks load of rice worth N89 million were also seized, while another 71 cartons of expired food seasonings worth N458,109, and 336 cartons of alcoholic drinks worth N5 million were intercepted during the period.

Others are, “31 X 25litres Jerry Cans of vegetable oil worth N269,911; 35 X 50kg Bags of sugar, N444,785; 138 x 25litres of PMS, worth N212,100 and 71 Cartons of Expired Food Seasonings worth N458,109. 175 pieces of 6 Yards of Textiles worth N2.24million, 15 sacks of used clothes N677,486 and 28 cartons of Medicament, N1,083,978 and 410 sacks of School bags worth N13.2million. Also, 2,000 cartons of Expired Biscuits, N7,742,700 and another truck loaded with 493 packs of Baby Diapers worth N4.1million, ”he said.

Mohammed also disclosed that “1,582 parcels of Cannabis Sativa found concealed in an Indomie truck; and another notable arrest of 55 parcels of same Cannabis Sativa concealed in a Sienna bus. A total of 1,686 parcels were arrested (with street value worth of over N30 million) for the period under review.

“As part of our community service, the Customs Comptroller General, directed that a total of 25,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice (equivalent of 42 trailer trucks), 650 bags of Sugar, 150 cartons of tin tomato, 150 bags of flour, and 250 kegs of vegetable oil were transferred to the Nigeria Army Corps of Supply and Transport (NACST) between the month of April and May, for onward delivery to Yobe State Government, Damaturu for distribution to IDPs in the state.

“A total of 11 vehicles have also been seized notable among them are Toyota Highlander (2005), Range Rover (2007), Toyota Rav 4 (2006), Toyota Venza (2010) and others with combined duty paid value of N46.1million” he stated, adding that six suspects were arrested during the period under review.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Oil Steadies, But Outlook Gloomy as Coronavirus Cases, Supply Grow

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Oil price

Oil prices eked out small gains on Tuesday after sharp losses, but sentiment remained subdued as a surge in global coronavirus cases hit prospects for crude demand while supply is rising.

Brent crude was up 43 cents, or 1%, at $40.87 a barrel. U.S. oil gained 43 cents, or 1.1%, at $38.99 a barrel. Both contracts fell more than 3% on Monday.

A lack of progress on agreeing a U.S. coronavirus relief package added to market gloom, although U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday she hoped a deal can be reached before the Nov. 3 elections.

A wave of coronavirus infections sweeping across the United States, Russia, France and many other countries has undermined the global economic outlook, with record numbers of new cases forcing some countries to impose fresh restrictions as winter looms.

“We think demand from this point onwards is really going to struggle to grow. COVID-19 restrictions are all part of that,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) commodities analyst Vivek Dhar.

CBA expects U.S. oil to average $38 and Brent to average $41 in the fourth quarter this year.

Prices got some support from a potential drop in U.S. production as oil companies began shutting offshore rigs with the approach of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday the worst is over for the crude market.

But his comment contradicted an earlier remark from OPEC’s secretary general, who said any oil market recovery may take longer than hoped as coronavirus infections rise around the world.

Meanwhile, Libyan production is expected to reach 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in the coming weeks, the country’s national oil company said on Friday, a quicker return than many analysts had predicted.

That is likely to complicate efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to restrict output to offset weak demand.

OPEC+ – made up of OPEC and allies including Russia – is planning to increase production by 2 million bpd from the start of 2021 after record output cuts earlier this year.

An analyst survey by Reuters ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday estimated that U.S. crude stocks rose in the week to Oct. 23, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell.

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Nigel Farage Urged to Highlight Perils of DIY Investing

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160624_INV_PoundBrexit

Nigel Farage appears to be advocating a DIY approach to investing – and this could be “monumentally risky” for inexperienced investors, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as a daily finance-orientated newsletter from the team of the Brexit Party leader and political activist urges its readers to “tell us about your successes by going it alone – leaving the money men and middlemen by the side of the road…”

Mr Farage’s email is provided for correspondence.

Mr Green comments: “Successful DIY (Do It Yourself) investing can be possible, but for most people it is not recommended – indeed, it could be a costly and traumatic accident waiting to happen.

“Going it alone can be monumentally risky for inexperienced investors as the complexities involved can sink their portfolios.

“Perhaps this is why around two-thirds of wealthy individuals have a professional financial adviser of some sort, according to new independent research from the University of Toronto.”

He continues: “I would urge anyone who extols the virtues of a DIY approach to investing to also underscore the risks and potential pitfalls to be avoided.”

A pro will help you make the best investment decisions in five key ways, says Nigel Green.

“First, helping you to diversify a portfolio. Spreading money around is vital to curb risk. However, it must be used correctly – diversification will only add real value if the new asset has a different risk profile.

“Second, investing with a plan: Unless you have a sound plan, you’re gambling, not investing.

“Third, avoiding emotional decisions. Overly emotional decisions can prove deadly when it comes to investments because they are blighted by prejudices and biases.

“Fourth, regularly reviewing your portfolio: Investments need to be consistently reviewed to ensure they still deserve their place in the portfolio and that they are still on track to reach your long-term financial objectives.

“Fifth, not focusing excessively on historical returns: The future investment situation is likely to be different from time-aged averages.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “While investing remains almost universally regarded as one of the best ways to create, grow and safeguard wealth, considering the pitfalls of getting it wrong, it could be an expensive mistake for you and your family not to seek professional advice.”

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Top Five US Oil and Gas Firms Lost $307bn in Market Value Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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Crude oil

Market Value of US Five Largest Companies Decline by $307bn in 2020

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas industry was faced with slumping prices. However, with a record collapse in oil demand amid the coronavirus lockdown, the COVID-19 crisis has further shaken the market, causing massive revenue and market cap drops for even the largest oil and gas companies.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, the top five oil and gas companies in the United States lost over $307bn in market capitalization year-over-year, a 45% plunge amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Market Cap Still Below March Levels

Global macroeconomic concerns such as the US-China trade war and the oil overproduction set significant price drops even before the coronavirus outbreak. A standoff between Russia and Saudi Arabia in the first months of 2020 sent prices even lower.

After global oil demand plunged in March, Saudi Arabia proposed a cut in oil production, but Russia refused to cooperate. Saudi Arabia responded by increasing production and cutting prices. Shortly Russia followed by doing the same, causing an over 60% drop in crude oil prices at the beginning of 2020. Although OPEC and Russia agreed to cut oil production levels to stabilize prices a few weeks later, the COVID-19 crisis already hit. Statistics show that oil prices dropped over 40% since the beginning of 2020 and are hovering around $40 a barrel.

Such a sharp fall in oil price triggered a growing wave of oil and gas bankruptcies in the United States and caused a substantial financial hit to the largest gas producers.

In September 2019, the combined market capitalization of the five largest oil and gas producers in the United States amounted to $674.2bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. After the Black Monday crash in March, this figure plunged by 45% to $373bn. The following months brought a slight recovery, with the combined market capitalization of the top five US gas producers rising to over $461bn in June.

However, the fourth quarter of the year witnessed a negative trend, with the combined value of their shares falling to $367bn at the beginning of this week, $6.2bn below March levels.

Exon Mobil`s Market Cap Halved in 2020, Almost $155bn Lost YoY

In August, Exxon Mobil Corporation, once the largest publicly traded company globally, was dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average after 92 years. As the largest oil and gas producer in the United States, the company has suffered the most significant market cap drop in 2020.

Statistics indicate the combined value of Exxon Mobil`s shares plunged by 52% year-over-year, falling from almost $300bn in September 2019 to $144bn at the beginning of this week.

Phillips 66, the fourth largest gas producer in the United States by market capitalization, witnessed the second-largest drop in 2020. Statistics show the company`s market cap dipped by 49.6% year-over-year, landing at $22.9bn this week.

The Yahoo Finance data revealed that EOG Resources lost over $21bn in market cap since September 2019, the third-largest drop among the top five US gas producers.

Conoco Phillips witnessed a 42% drop in market capitalization amid the COVID-19 crisis, with the combined value of shares plunging by almost $30bn year-over-year.

Statistics show Chevron witnessed the smallest market cap drop among the top five companies. At the beginning of this week, the combined value of shares of the second-largest US gas producer stood at $141.5bn, a 36.9% plunge year-over-year.

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