- Oil Falls on Rising U.S. Inventories
Oil prices fell on Thursday after U.S. crude inventories swelled to their highest level since December adding to concerns about a global glut but OPEC talk of an output reduction limited losses.
Benchmark Brent fell 23 cents to $63.25 a barrel by 1212 GMT, after dropping by over $1 in early European trading. U.S. WTI fell more than a $1 before easing back to trade down 39 cents at $54.24.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories climbed by 4.9 million barrels to 446.91 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, its highest level since December.
U.S. crude oil production also stayed at a record 11.7 million barrels per day (bpd), the EIA said.
Tamas Varga, analyst at PVM brokerage, said the market trend was still bearish. “The question is what OPEC will do in December, will they cut, and if so, by how much?” he said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is worried about the emergence of a glut that could pull down prices further. But OPEC’s biggest exporter Saudi Arabia is also under U.S. pressure to prevent prices spiking higher again.
“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy!… Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
The oil market has also been weighed down by weak Asian and European markets as investors fret about slowing global growth in the face of rising U.S. interest rates and trade tensions. [nL8N1XX2GY]
Trading was expected to remain muted until Monday due to Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
More U.S. crude could also be heading to market as the U.S. pipeline bottlenecks are cleared in the second half of 2019. The increase in U.S. oil output has outpaced capacity to transport the additional crude.
To counter the surge in supply, OPEC is considering a deal to cut production when it meets on Dec. 6, although OPEC member Iran is expected to resist any voluntary reduction. Russia, an ally of OPEC, has also shown no sign it would join any cut.
“While there is talk that OPEC plus Russia may again agree to a production cut, the concern is that not all relevant parties will be able to come to an agreement,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
Africa’s Economy to Contract by $236bn in Value in 2020 Says AfDB
African GDP to Contract by $236bn in Value Says AfDB
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic could cost the entire African continent about $236.7 billion in cumulative Gross Domestic Product.
The bank disclosed this in its latest report on African Economic Outlook (Supplement) released on Tuesday.
The bank predicted that the damage could be far greater if the impacts of the pandemic persist on the continent beyond the second quarter of the year. It said this could lead to a bigger contraction in Africa’s GDP in 2020.
According to the bank, the continent’s Real GDP could contract by as much as 1.7 percent this year if the virus has a shorter duration. This represents about a 5.6 percent decline from the January 2020 prediction.
However, under a long term scenario into the second half of the year, this could result in a deeper contraction in GDP.
This, the bank said could lead to 3.4 contraction, up from the 1.7 percent projected under the shorter duration and represents a decline of 7.3 percent from the previous projection before the outbreak.
It, therefore, said the combined loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa could range between $173.1 billion and $234.7 billion in 2020-2021.
Brent Crude Oil Maintains $43 Per Barrel Despite Surge in US Inventories
Brent Crude Oil Sustains Upsurge Despite Rising US Inventories
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, sustained its upsurge at $43 per barrel on Wednesday during the London trading session despite a report showing a build-up in the U.S. crude inventories in the week ended July 3, 2020.
According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) report released on Tuesday, crude oil production in the U.S is expected to decline by just 70,000 barrels per day from the 670,000 bpd previously predicted to 600,000 bpd.
While this was below the projected decline, it also points to a build-up in U.S stockpiles and suggested that oil production from the world’s largest economy may not decline as previously projected in 2020.
“The EIA’s forecast of a lower decline in U.S. output was partially offset by its outlook for firm demand recovery, which limited losses in oil markets,” Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities said.
“Still, expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies would taper oil output cuts from August and softer U.S. equities added to pressure,” he said.
The EIA projected that global oil demand will recover through the end of 2021 as demand was predicted to hit 101.1 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of the year.
Illegal Withdrawals: Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over $1.05bn
Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawal of $1.05bn from NLNG Account
The Nigerian House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the account of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The decision followed the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC’ moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday.
The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”
Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.
“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.
“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
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