Sentiments, speculation and rumours have been identified by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, as some of the major determinants of developments in the global oil market.
 
OPEC’s Secretary General, Dr. Mohammed Barkindo, revealed this in a paper he presented at the Ninth IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks in Saudi Arabia.
 
According bto him, it was unfortunate that the oil market can be subjected to forces which are not often grounded in facts.
Barkindo said: “Unfortunately, the oil market can often be subjected to forces which are not grounded in fact, especially at times of disconnect between prices and market fundamentals.
“Sentiment, speculation and even rumours have been known to drive the market. The situation can be further complicated by computerised or automated trading, with algorithms, Big Data and AI playing important roles.
 
“Energy outlooks are an antidote for this post-factual age. Indeed, our common currency, as it were, is fact-based data. Our industry is currently under siege from multiple fronts. Yet, some of these comments have tended to mischaracterise our objectives and misrepresent market realities.
 
“A classic example of this is the persistent notion that oil is on the verge of demise. According to this belief, renewables are about to completely replace hydrocarbons and those who seek to discuss the nuances of this idea are downplaying the climate challenge.
 
“At OPEC, we are acutely conscious of the challenge of climate change. Our member countries continue to take appropriate policies, implement programmes and projects to tackle the challenges of climate change.
 
“At the most recent UN Climate Change Conference, COP24 in Katowice, OPEC reiterated that it remains fully engaged and supportive of the Paris Agreement.
“Indeed, some of our member countries heavily invest in alternative sources of energy. For example, Saudi Arabia plans to generate some 59 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from solar and wind by 2030, and eventually produce upward of 200 GW from renewable sources.”
 
Continuing, the OPEC scribe said: “However, this is not a race to renewables alone; it’s a race to lower greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, OPEC emphasizes the importance of energy efficiency and its great enabler, technological innovation.
 
“Given how our industry can be mischaracterised, the need for dialogue is all the greater. Consider the Ancient Greek roots of the word: ‘dia’ meaning through and ‘logos’ meaning reason or speech. And reasoned discussion, based on factual analysis, is crucial in this age of ‘alternative facts.’
“Dialogue fosters transparency, which is another priority for our organisation. OPEC truly is an ‘open book.’ All our publications and data are available online, accessible via digital Apps to the general public free of charge.
 
“Dialogue and transparency are indispensable to the multilateral system. OPEC will always align with the values at the heart of the multilateral system and affirms absolute conformity between its activities and principles, and the ideals of the UN. We are an intergovernmental organisation which has been registered at the UN Secretariat since 6 November 1962.
 
“These noble principles manifest themselves in the historic new chapter heralded in the oil industry through the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ process. A win-win situation has developed and made a substantial contribution to the synchronous global economic growth seen in 2017-18.
“Intensive discussions on further institutionalizing our cooperation are currently underway, as we finalize the draft ‘Charter of Cooperation.’
 
“Given the achievements to date, it is no wonder that all parties are enthusiastic to further cement our cooperation through a collaborative approach. Looking forward, there can be no doubt that with the GCEF, IEF, IEA and OPEC working together, guided by reason, supported by facts, we can continue to meaningfully contribute to the industry and the global economy.”
 
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) fourth quarter economic report has revealed that about $39.9 billion was injected into the foreign exchange market to defend the Naira between January and December 2018.
 
The CBN makes regular dollar injections into the foreign exchange market which helps the apex bank achieve long-term naira stability and curb volatility in the forex market. The CBN usually injects liquidity about three times a week.
 
The intervention is provided to authorise dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, as well as other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and Small and Medium Enterprises segment.
 
Customers that required foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance, among others, are also allocated funds from the intervention.
 
The report read in part, “A total of $9.18bn was sold by the CBN to authorised dealers in the fourth quarter of 2018.
 
“This represents 16.1 per cent decline below the level in the third quarter of 2018, but was 80.6 per cent above the level in the corresponding period of 2017.
 
“The development, relative to the preceding quarter, reflected the decline in interbank sales and swaps transactions in the review quarter.
 
“Of the total, foreign exchange forwards disbursed at maturity was $3.15bn (34.3 per cent); sales to BDCs, $2.98bn (32.5 per cent); investors’ and exporters’ window, $2.09bn (22.8 per cent); interbank sales, $820m (8.7 per cent); and swaps transactions, $0.13bn (1.5 per cent).
 
“However, the average exchange rate of the naira vis-à-vis the United States dollar at the interbank segment depreciated by 0.2 per cent to N306.70/US$, relative to the level at end-September 2018.
 
“Similarly, at the BDC segment, the average exchange rate, depreciated by 0.9 per cent and 0.01 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017 to N362.42/$.
 
“At the investors’ and exporters’ window segment, the average exchange rate stood at N364.27/$, representing 0.5 per cent and one per cent depreciation relative to the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017, respectively.
 
“Consequently, the premium between the average interbank and BDC rates widened by 0.8 percentage points in the review quarter, from 18.2 percentage points at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, but the spread between the average exchange rates at the investors’ and exporters’ window and the BDC segment narrowed further to 0.5 per cent from 0.9 per cent at the end of the preceding quarter.”
 
An analysis of the report showed that foreign exchange inflow into the economy increased by 2.8 per cent to $27.64bn as of the end of December last year.
 
The increase in foreign exchange inflow was as a result of the 12.3 per cent increase in inflow through the CBN.
 
Oil sector receipts, which accounted for $3.02bn, showed a decrease of 14.5 per cent below the level at the end of the preceding quarter.
 
The report stated that with $11.49bn as of December 31 last year, non-public sector inflow rose by 22.5 per cent above the third quarter levels.
 
A further analysis of the report showed that autonomous inflow of foreign exchange was put at $13.13bn, which fell 6.1 per cent below the levels at the end of the preceding quarter.
 
Oil prices fell on Friday after the United States reported its crude output hit a record 12 million barrels per day (bpd), undermining efforts by Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC to withhold supply and tighten global markets.
 
International Brent crude futures were at 66.87 dollars per barrel at 0326 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their last close.
 
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at 56.84 dollars per barrel, down 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last settlement.
 
U.S. crude oil production reached 12 million bpd for the first time last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday in a weekly report.
 
That means U.S. crude output has soared by almost 2.5 million bpd since the start of 2018, and by a whopping 5 million bpd since 2013.
 
America is the only country to ever reach 12 million bpd of production.
 
As output surges, U.S. oil stocks are also rising.
 
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 15, the EIA said.
 
Analysts say U.S. output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.
 
“We see total U.S. crude production hitting 13 million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5 million bpd,” U.S. bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.
 
Of that, the bank said, “we could be seeing some weeks with 4.6 million bpd of gross crude exports by end-year, adding to this week’s new record” of 3.6 million bpd.
 
Friday’s dips at least temporarily halted a rally that pushed crude prices this week to their highest for 2019 so far amid the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
 
OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed late last year to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing.
 
Another recent price driver has been U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela. 
 
Oil prices fell on Friday after the United States reported its crude output hit a record 12 million barrels per day (bpd), undermining efforts by Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC to withhold supply and tighten global markets.
 
International Brent crude futures were at 66.87 dollars per barrel at 0326 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their last close.
 
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at 56.84 dollars per barrel, down 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last settlement.
 
U.S. crude oil production reached 12 million bpd for the first time last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday in a weekly report.
 
That means U.S. crude output has soared by almost 2.5 million bpd since the start of 2018, and by a whopping 5 million bpd since 2013.
 
America is the only country to ever reach 12 million bpd of production.
 
As output surges, U.S. oil stocks are also rising.
 
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 15, the EIA said.
 
Analysts say U.S. output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.
 
“We see total U.S. crude production hitting 13 million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5 million bpd,” U.S. bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.
 
Of that, the bank said, “we could be seeing some weeks with 4.6 million bpd of gross crude exports by end-year, adding to this week’s new record” of 3.6 million bpd.
 
Friday’s dips at least temporarily halted a rally that pushed crude prices this week to their highest for 2019 so far amid the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
 
OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed late last year to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing.
 
Another recent price driver has been U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela. 
 
Oil prices fell on Friday after the United States reported its crude output hit a record 12 million barrels per day (bpd), undermining efforts by Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC to withhold supply and tighten global markets.
 
International Brent crude futures were at 66.87 dollars per barrel at 0326 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their last close.
 
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at 56.84 dollars per barrel, down 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last settlement.
 
U.S. crude oil production reached 12 million bpd for the first time last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday in a weekly report.
 
That means U.S. crude output has soared by almost 2.5 million bpd since the start of 2018, and by a whopping 5 million bpd since 2013.
 
America is the only country to ever reach 12 million bpd of production.
 
As output surges, U.S. oil stocks are also rising.
 
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 15, the EIA said.
 
Analysts say U.S. output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.
 
“We see total U.S. crude production hitting 13 million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5 million bpd,” U.S. bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.
 
Of that, the bank said, “we could be seeing some weeks with 4.6 million bpd of gross crude exports by end-year, adding to this week’s new record” of 3.6 million bpd.
 
Friday’s dips at least temporarily halted a rally that pushed crude prices this week to their highest for 2019 so far amid the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
 
OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed late last year to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing.
 
Another recent price driver has been U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela. 
 
The fourth quarter 2018 report just released by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has shown that currency in circulation as at the end of December, 2818 rose 20.9 percent to stand at N2.32 trillion ($6.4 Billion).
 
According to the CBN report, the development relative to the preceding quarter reflected mainly 19.4 per cent and 7.5 per cent increase in its currency outside banks and demand deposit components respectively.
 
Also, the report puts the total deposits at the CBN at N15.7tn at the end of December 2018, indicating a 6.5 per cent increase above the level at the end of September 2018.
 
The increase, the CBN said is attributable to 13.0 per cent and 9.5 per cent rise in the other deposits of the private sector and the Federal Government respectively.
 
Of the total deposits at the CBN, the shares of the Federal Government, banks and private sector deposits were 49.6 per cent, 30.6 per cent and 19.8 per cent respectively.
 
Furthermore, the report showed that reserve money rose by 4.9 per cent to N7.135tn at the end of December 2018, compared with the increase of 7.0 per cent at the end of September 2018. The development reflected the increase in total bank reserves.
 
On money market development, the CBN disclosed that it was generally stable in the fourth quarter of 2018, as liquidity was buoyed by inflow from fiscal injections, Federal Government bonds, Nigerian treasury bills and maturing CBN bills, while outflow, such as the sale of CBN bills, FGN securities and provisioning and settlement for foreign exchange purchases, impacted on market liquidity.
 
Overall, the report indicated that banks continued to access the intra- day and standing facilities window to meet their short-term liquidity needs during the review quarter, while showing that total value of money market assets outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 was N11.897tn, showing an increase of 0.4 per cent, compared with 1.4 per cent increase, at the end of the third quarter of 2018.
 
The increase, the report said was as a result of the 12.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent increase in bankers’ acceptances and FGN bonds outstanding, respectively, during the quarter under review.
 
 
The dollar fell versus a basket of its peers on Monday as rising expectations of a U.S.-Sino trade deal led investors to shift away from the safety of the greenback into riskier assets.
 
Both the U.S. and China reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing last week, although the White House said much work remains to be done to force changes in Chinese trade behaviour.
 
Negotiations will continue next week in Washington as investors hope for an end to the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
 
“Trade is the big focus for the markets…with talks shifting from Beijing to Washington, we could get more news flow,” said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets.
 
“I expect the euro to remain under pressure this week while dollar and yen could also fall if we see risk-aversion based on negative trade news flow.”
 
The Aussie gained 0.2 per cent to 0.7154 dollar, after firming 0.48 per cent on Friday on hopes of a U.S.-China trade breakthrough. The kiwi dollar gained around 0.3 per cent on the dollar to 0.6886 dollar.
 
In Asia, the yen was steady versus the greenback at 110.53.
 
The escalating trade dispute between the world’s largest economies have kept markets highly volatile since last year.
 
U.S. duties on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports are set to rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.
 
This happens if no deal is reached by March 1 to address U.S. demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.
 
The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, was down by 0.16 per cent at 96.74.
 
The index has gained 1.2 per cent so far this month in spite of weaker-than-expected U.S. data as well as a more cautious Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to keep rates steady this year due to a slowdown in growth and muted inflation.
 
The dollar index has gained mainly because of the euro, which has around 58 per cent weightage in the index.
 
The single currency was up 0.2 per cent at 1.1317 dollar in early Asian trade, after two straight weeks of losses.
 
Notwithstanding Monday’s gains, traders are betting on a weaker euro in the coming months as they expect the European Central Bank to keep its monetary policy accommodative due to low growth in the common area, tepid inflation and political uncertainties.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is not seeking to buy English Premier League (EPL) clubside Manchester United, the kingdom’s media minister said on Monday, News reports.

While denying reports to that effect, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, added that there had only been a meeting with the Saudi wealth fund regarding sponsorship.

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

He was reacting to reports that the crown prince had sought to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club.

“Manchester United held a meeting with PIF Saudi to discuss (a) sponsorship opportunity,” Shabanah said, adding that no deal materialised.

On Sunday, the British newspaper, the Sun, said the crown prince was in a £3.8-billion ($4.9-billion) take-over bid for one of football’s most popular clubs.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October.

It added that the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul however put the “skids” on a potential offer.

 


Source: The Routers

Twenty two stocks witnessed an increase in their prices on Thursday on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, leading to a rebound in the market, with investors gaining N14.83 billion.
 
Prices of 13 stocks however witnessed a decline at the end of trading.
 
The rebound is coming after the market witnessed a decline on Wednesday, with market capitalisation shedding a total of N18 billion.
 
At the end of trading on Thursday, market capitalisation rose from N12.087tn to N12.102tn, with the All Share Index increasing by 0.12 per cent from 32,413.92 basis points on Wednesday to 32,453.69bps on Thursday. Thereby improving the year-to-date return to 3.4 per cent.
 
Activity level however weakened as 423.379 million shares worth N3.729bn exchanged hands in 4,417 deals, representing a 10.1 per cent and 12.1 per cent decline in volume and value traded, respectively.
 
The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (97.6 million units), Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (41.1 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (40.3 million units), while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N997.1m), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N992.6m) and Access Bank Plc (N263.7m).
 
Performance across sectors was largely bullish as three of five indices closed in the positive territory.
 
The insurance index was the biggest gainer, recording a 1.2 per cent increase, while the industrial and consumer goods indices gained 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively due to buying interest in Dangote Cement Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and P Z Cussons Nigeria Plc.
 
The oil and gas and banking indices however declined by 0.8 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively on the back of profit-taking in Oando Plc, Eterna Plc, Zenith Bank and Access Bank.
 
Investors’ sentiment strengthened to 1.7x from the 0.7x recorded on Wednesday.
 
Associated Bus Company Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Unilever and Wema Bank Plc, topped the price gainers, as their share prices gain 10 per cent, 10 per cent, 9.62 per cent, 6.82 per cent and 6.74 per cent, respectively.
 
On the other side, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Oando, Dangote Flour Mills Plc, Union Diagnostic and Clinical Services Plc and Eterna topped the losers table as their share prices declined by 8.03 per cent, 5.17 per cent, 4.57 per cent, 3.23 per cent and 3.09 per cent.
 
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria has adjourned for further hearing of the N6,441,369,617.73 suit instituted against Zenith Bank Plc, by a Lagos businessman, Olusola Adejugbe and his company Tonique Oil Services limited over alleged excess and illegal charges.
 
By a further amended statement of claim accompanied by written statement on Oath sworn to by Adejugbe and filed before the court by Lanre Ogunlesi SAN, the businessman averred that in the course of his business engagements, his company Tonique Oil Services Limited obtained several credit facilities from Zenith Bank PLC while he pledged three of his properties as securities for the loan facilities.
 
The plaintiffs averred that three different transactions leading to this litigation occurred in the company’s current account whereby excess interest and charges were discovered. The company demanded for a reversal but the bank refused.
 
A forensic accounting firm was commissioned to scrutinize and analyse the Company’s account. It was then discovered that between August 2006 and December 2013, excess interest and charges on the Company’s account by Zenith Bank Plc amounted to N1,842,471,801.99.
 
By a letter dated 19th February 2008, the bank granted Tonique Oil Services Company commercial paper facility of N2,568,644,276.09 to finance the purchase of 30,000MT of Petroleum products, but N2,501,270,000 was credited into the account of the company.
 
However, it was alleged further that instead of Zenith Bank financing the purchase of 30,000 metric tons of Petroleum products for the company as per letter of offer, the entire sum of N2,501,270,000 was diverted by the bank for the purchase of its own shares during the bank’s initial public offer, a conduct that is unethical, unprofessional and reprehensive.
 
In addition, out of the sum of N104,363,212.03 assessed as dividends payable on the bank’s shares only N42,173,498.43 was credited into the company’s account leaving outstanding balance of N62,169,713.60.
 
The bank’s shares purportedly bought by the Tonique Oil Company with the facilities granted by Zenith bank were managed by the bank so much that the bank eventually liquidated the shares after the value has nose-dived and depreciated.
 
Another activity on the Tonique Oil Company current account with the bank was the sale and purchase of a property in Port Harcourt that belonged to one of the shareholders /customers of the bank who needed to clean up some of his obligations to the bank. It was the bank who introduce Tonique Oil company to the shareholders 50,000 square meters of land out of which the company bought 20,000 square metres for the purpose of expanding its business earnings.
 
To facilitate the purchase of the land, the bank offered the company a term loan of N500,000 and it was part of understanding of the company and the bank that after the purchase of the land, the bank will finance the company’s Tank forms to be built thereon.
 
After the purchase of the land, the bank took possession of the title documents of the land as collateral but reneged on the promise and understanding to finance the Company’s tank farm on the land and since 2008 the land had been under the management of the bank and the same had been lying fallow.
 
In this circumstance, the plaintiffs contended that Tonique Oil Company was not indebted to the bank and any alleged indebtedness could only have been arisen as a result of the unconscionable and illegal acts of the bank’s officials in debiting the company’s account with astronomical spurious interest charged, consequently the plaintiffs also contended that such interest charges are illegal in that they contravene the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Credit and Foreign Exchange/Trade guidelines.
 
The plaintiffs financial consultant computed other charges that were passed into the account of the company, base on relevant policy circulars, guide to bank charges of Central bank of Nigeria and discovered that the bank excessively overcharged the company on interest on overdraft, COT, and VAT on COT, Management Fees, upcountry transfer fees, interest on commercial paper, foreign exchange purchases and letter of credits.
 
Consequently, the plaintiffs are contending that they are not indebted to the bank rather the bank has overcharged the plaintiffs to several billions of Naira.
 
The plaintiffs are urging the court to declare that Zenith Bank being a bank within the supervisions and control of CBN cannot charge interest on any facilities granted to them beyond the official approved policy rate of the Central bank of Nigeria.
 
The plaintiffs are also urging the court not only to restrain the bank from selling their property pledged as securities for the loan but to also compel Zenith Bank to pay Tonique Oil services company the sum of ₦6,441,369,617.73 being the total excess charges debited into the company’s account by the bank and interest on the same amount at the rate of 21% per annum from the date of judgement of the court until final liquidation.
 
However, by its further statement of defence accompanied with statement on oath sworn to by Senior Assistant Manager, Internal Control and Audit Department of Zenith bank, Vincent Ohanugo and filed before the court, the bank denied almost all the company’s claim and stated that the company was granted the following loans: ₦2.5 billion regular commercial paper , $36 million united state Dollars import finance facility, $6,648,000 commercial paper /usance facility $9 million Dollars import finance facility via usance facility $11 million Dollars short term import facility of ₦500 million.
 
 
Source: PmNews
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