Items filtered by date: Monday, 03 December 2018
Data from the US Energy Information Administration has shown that imports of crude oil by the United States from Nigeria has reached an all time low.
 
This is believed to be on account of the growing production of Shale oil in the US.
 
According to the data, the US slashed its import of Nigerian crude to 904,000 barrels and 1.74 million barrels in July and August respectively, down from 7.77 million barrels in June and a peak of 10.33 million barrels in February this year.
 
Similarly, total imports by the US of crude from Nigeria declined to 45.79 million barrels in the first half of this year from 55.78 million barrels in the same period last year.
 
Trade in Nigerian crude remained subdued on Thursday as a high volume of unsold cargoes kept buyers reluctant to step in, according to Reuters, while traders estimated that nearly a quarter of the December programme remained available.
 
Offers for Nigerian Qua Iboe and Bonny Light, two of the nation’s grades, hovered around $1.65 a barrel above dated Brent, down from $1.70 earlier last week.
 
It would recalled that the Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Mordecai Ladan, had last week lamented that Nigeria’s most valued crude oil customers have abandoned the country.
 
It was reported in September that the US Atlantic Coast imports of West African crude oil were expected to decline due to harsh arbitrage conditions made difficult by the large premium of ICE Brent futures over West Texas Intermediate, as well as strong premiums for WAF grades.
 
According to S&P Global Platts, Traders tracking these grades exported in the US expected WAF imports to the USAC to fall to virtually zero.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Published in Business
Monday, 03 December 2018 18:00

Hazards of aloe vera consumption

Aloe vera is a succulent cactus plant species of the genus aloe, belonging to the family Liliaceae. It is widely known as “the Miracle plant” for its various medical, cosmetic and nutraceutical purposes. Aloe vera gel is a slick substance that is extracted from the interior of the aloe vera leaf, while latex refers to the yellow part which lies beneath the leaf skin. It grows in wild tropical climates around the world and it is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal use. Aloe vera is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. It is widely used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries, and has an estimated annual market value of $13bn globally. Aloe vera is well recognised by its thick, pointed and fleshy green leaves, which can grow to about 12-19 inches (30-50 cm) in length. Each leaf is full of a slimy tissue that stores water, which makes the leaves thick. This slimy, water-filled tissue is the “gel” we associate with aloe vera products. The gel contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Bottom line: Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant that is used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Its leaves are full of a gel-like substance that contains numerous beneficial compounds. Aloe vera is a good product for external use. If consumed orally over a long time, it has far-reaching medical consequences. Benefits of external use of aloe vera Applying aloe vera gel is considered safe. It has been employed for use on the skin because of its healing properties. It can be used on burns, skin abrasions, psoriasis and bug bites. Medical attention should be sought for severe burns, wounds, or frostbite. It can also be used in Human Papiloma Virus infection and for wound healing in people who are not allergic or sensitive to aloe. Aloe serves as analgesic for wound pains; it prevents itching and serves as astringents-causes contraction of body tissues. Its higher water content makes it a good moisturiser for the skin. Skin elasticity is increased via its ability to cause collagen and elastin repair. Aloe vera acts as an emollient which helps to soften and sooth the skin. However, there are some benefits to ingestion of aloe vera and manufacturers now make oral products such as juice and all sorts of liquid vitamins, energy boost drinks, and other health supplements. Aloe vera juice side effects Consuming unprocessed juice extracted from the latex can cause several side effects leading to major health risks. Some of the side effects of aloe vera juice are: Its juice contains a substance called anthraquinone, which is a laxative that can cause diarrhoea if taken in large amounts. Severe diarrhoea can cause pain, cramps and dehydration. Consult your doctor before consuming aloe vera juice, especially if you are undergoing medical treatment or taking prescribed drugs. The juice may cause adverse reactions when consumed alongside a few medicines. The laxative in aloe vera may even inhibit the absorption of some drugs in the body. Aloe vera juice also reacts to herbs like jalap roots, castor oil, rhubarb root and bark root, causing dehydration and diarrhoea. Fenugreek and garlic do not digest well with aloe juice; it can lower blood sugar and potassium levels in the body. Drinking aloe vera juice can result in allergic reactions, such as skin rash or hives, itchy or swollen skin, difficulty in breathing, chest pain and throat irritation Aloe vera juice contains latex, an ingredient which has many health risks associated with it. It can aggravate health problems like colitis, Crohn’s disease, appendicitis, diverticulosis, intestinal obstruction, hemorrhoid, stomach pains and ulcers. There are also reports which suggest of hepatitis caused by consumption of aloe vera juice, becoming a cause of concern for people with liver problems. Pregnant and lactating women are strictly forbidden from consuming aloe vera juice, due to its purgative and irritant qualities. It may stimulate uterine contractions in pregnant women, leading to miscarriage and birth defects. Lactating women should also refrain from consuming aloe vera juice, as it contains anthraquinone which may lead to diarrhoea. It is also considered unsafe for children below 12 years of age. Drinking aloe vera juice side effects are most commonly experienced by people who consume excessive amounts, exceeding the recommended dosage. When taken internally, aloe vera may cause some unwanted health issues. The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that side effects can range from mild issues, such as diarrhoea and stomach cramps, to more severe problems that include low-blood sugar and possible hepatitis. The National Toxicology Programme reports that aloe vera consumption produced cancer in rat models, although no such studies to that effect have been performed on humans. The United States National Library of Medicine reports that taking internal aloe vera may lead to liver injury, often between three and 24 weeks after consumption. As a part of the Food and Drug Administration over-the-counter drug product review, a final rule was issued suggesting that the stimulant laxative ingredient of aloe (including aloe extract and aloe flower extract) in OTC products generally lack safety and effectiveness or may be misbranded. Written by: Professor of Anatomy/Consultant Reproductive Endocrinologist This email address is being protected from spambots. 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Published in Opinion & Analysis
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead negotiations with China over tariffs, market access and structural changes to intellectual property practices over the next 90 days, the White House has confirmed, potentially signaling a harder U.S. line.
 
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a trade truce, agreeing to hold off on new tariffs following months of escalating tension. The two sides also agreed to negotiate over the next 90 days.
 
Lighthizer leading the talks marks a shift from the administration's previous approach to China trade talks that had been largely led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Lighthizer, an experienced trade negotiator and having just completed a new agreement with Canada and Mexico, is one of the administration's most vocal China critics.
 
"Robert Lighthizer, the ambassador, USTR, is in charge of these negotiations," White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told National Public Radio. "He's the toughest negotiator we've ever had at the USTR and he's going to go chapter and verse and get tariffs down, non-tariff barriers down and end all these structural practices that prevent market access."
 
A White House official also confirmed the decision to have Lighthizer lead the negotiations.
 
Mnuchin had said the negotiations with China would be led by Trump, with an "inclusive team" of administration officials, including himself and other cabinet officials.
 
Mnuchin led some past rounds of talks due to his relationship as the counterpart to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also led a failed round of talks in Beijing in June, while mid-level Treasury officials hosted a round of discussions in August.
 
The White House said on Saturday that the talks would cover structural changes in China on forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.
 
Most of these issues were identified in USTR's "Section 301" investigation of China's intellectual property practices, which formed the basis of the U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.
 
Lighthizer said last week that China had failed to alter the "unfair, unreasonable" practices at the heart of the trade dispute.
 
 
Source: The Routers
Published in Business

Travel consultancy ForwardKeys confirms Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai.

Ethiopia has overtaken Dubai as a conduit for long-haul passengers to Africa, highlighting the success of the state airline’s expansion drive and the reforms of its new prime minister.

Travel consultancy ForwardKeys said on Wednesday Addis Ababa airport had increased the number of international transfer passengers to sub-Saharan Africa for five years in a row, and in 2018 had surpassed Dubai, one of the world’s busiest airports, as the transfer hub for long-haul travel to the region.

Analysing data from travel booking systems that record 17 million flight bookings a day, ForwardKeys found the number of long-haul transfers to sub-Saharan Africa via Addis Ababa jumped by 85% from 2013 to 2017. Transfers via Dubai over the same period rose by 31%.

So far this year, Addis Ababa’s growth is 18%, versus 3% for Dubai.

Dubai has long been a major global air travel hub because it is the base of Gulf carrier Emirates. Given the lack of an “open skies” deal smoothing flights across Africa, many passengers travelling between one part of the continent and another, or from Asia or Europe to Africa, must often transit through Dubai.

But this is changing.

Ethiopian Airlines, the country’s most successful state company, is accelerating a 15-year strategy it launched in 2010 to win back market share on routes to and from Africa that are dominated by Turkish Airlines and Emirates.

It is also weaving a patchwork of new African routes to rapidly expanding and lucrative Asian markets.

ForwardKeys also attributed the recent jump in bookings via Addis Ababa in part to a positive international response to the broad reforms introduced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April and has upended politics in the Horn of Africa country of around 105 million people.

It cited two changes in particular: a move to allow visitors to apply for visas online, and Abiy’s pledge to open Ethiopia’s largely state-controlled economy to foreign investment.

After Abiy made peace with Eritrea to end a two-decade state of war, Ethiopian resumed flights to its neighbour in July. This month, it relaunched flights to Somalia’s capital after four decades.

And the rise of travel via Addis Ababa looks set to continue. International bookings via Ethiopia are up 40% year-on-year for November to January 2019, ahead of all other destinations in Africa, ForwardKeys said.

 

- Reuters

Published in Travel & Tourism

Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to about 11.4 per cent for the rest of this year till mid-2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiel*e, disclosed this while speaking on Nigeria’s outlook and policy thrust for 2019.

He said, “Inflation expectations are rising on the backdrop of anticipated politically related liquidity injections. For the rest of 2018 and towards mid-2019, Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to rise slightly to about 11.4 per cent and then moderate thereafter.”

The consumer price index, which measures inflation decreased to 11.26 per cent (year-on-year) in October2018, according to latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics on its ‘CPI and inflation report October 2018’.

The statistics revealed that this was a 0.02 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in September 2018 (11.28 per cent).

While speaking on the exchange rate, he said that although the CBN had so far managed to maintain exchange rate stability, the current capital flow reversals from emerging markets were expected to continue to exert considerable pressure on market rates.

This pressure, he added, could be amplified by the forthcoming elections, especially as the political marketplace heats up.

He said notwithstanding those pressures, the CBN was determined to maintain its stable exchange rate policy stance over the next few months, given the relatively high level of reserves.

“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market given increased oil-related inflows and contained import bill. I would like to make it categorically clear that sustaining a stable exchange rate is of overriding importance to us even as we continue to put measures in place to shore up reserves,” he said.

While speaking on the balance of payments, he said it was expected to remain positive in the short term, and that oil prices continue to recover, adding that it was expected that the current account balance would strengthen even further.

“This will be supported by improved non-oil performance as diversification efforts begin to yield results to reduce undue imports,” he added.

Emefiele also said that the apex bank would explore the possibility of leveraging technology to enhance credit to critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture and manufacturing.

 

Source: Punch

Published in News Economy

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday laid the foundation stone for huge new parliament to be built with Chinese funds outside the capital Harare.

The imposing circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres north-west of Harare, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported. Officials say the current colonial-era parliamentary building in the city centre is too small to accommodate lawmakers.

Mnangagwa said at the ceremony that China had provided a "grant, not a loan, to build a new parliament", without giving a figure.

"Other facilities like banks, hotels will be built around this place," Mnangagwa said adding that a "modern, smart city" was planned.

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Mnangagwa took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted by the military in November 2017.

He has vowed to revive Zimbabwe's economy that has been in ruins for nearly two decades.

China has funded and provided loans for many infrastructure projects across Africa in recent years, ranging from roads and power plants to sports stadiums and government institutions.

Critics say China's increasing sway over the continent undermines democracy and sovereignty.

 

AFP

Published in Economy

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