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Low demand haunts Nigeria’s oil as unsold stocks hit 34m barrels

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…Fuel subsidy hits N2.4bn daily***

There are indications that international oil market is haunted by low demand as unsold Nigerian stocks have been estimated at between 20 and 34 million barrels.

A market survey by Platt showed that bidders for the country’s July-loading heavy and light sweet crudes were not present at the market. A trader, who preferred not to be named, said: “For the time being, it is extremely quiet. No one has tried to jump on these barrels.

Refiners are trying to reshuffle their needs. “Some refiners could be opportunistic about buying distressed cargoes,” another trader said. The survey showed that Akpo and Agbami, Nigeria’s best grades in terms of sulfur and gravity, have fallen to a seventh-month low as large quantities of oil from the June and July program remained unsold as traditional buyers sought alternatives. Akpo and Agbami were both last assessed at a 65 cents/b discount to Dated Brent, their lowest since November 13 when they hit the same level, S&P Global Platts data showed. Marketing barrels has been more difficult due to wide Brent-WTI spreads giving oil coming from west of the Atlantic Ocean a price advantage over Brent-related ones. However, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has expressed its commitment towards achieving increased market stability.

In its bulletin released, yesterday, OPEC stated: “Indeed, the organisation has been ‘midwifed’ to a collaborative decision among producers that before was never thought possible and which is unprecedented. ‘’With markets growing in complexity, the need for broader cooperation is more important than ever before. “Thus, this year’s OPEC seminar will provide a unique platform for enhancing cooperation, while also engaging in open discussions.

Additionally, the theme ‘Petroleum — cooperation for a sustainable future’ is certainly fitting, given today’s emphasis on major global challenges such as sustainable development, the environment and energy poverty.” “In addition, the ‘energy transition’ which was already a topic much debated at the biennial International Energy Forum meeting in New Delhi, India, in April of this year, will be the subject of much discussion. Understanding oil’s position in this rapidly changing landscape is important and it is sure to remain a topic of conversation for many years to come. More than 800 key players and decision makers will be on hand at this year’s seminar, including many ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

In the meantime, Nigeria may be losing the gains of increases in the international oil prices as the Federal Government subsidy on fuel has risen to N2.4 billion daily in May, from N774 million in March, 2018, also as a result of the high price of crude oil in the international market.

Unlike in March, this year, when the price of crude oil hovered at $66 per barrel, it had hovered between $75 and $80 per barrel since last month, thus pushing up landing cost of the refined product in the domestic markets for finished product importers like Nigeria. In a report obtained by Vanguard, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, stated that without the government subsidy, the price of petrol could have been as high as N205 per litre in the domestic market. According to PPPRA, the price of the commodity appreciated by 8.47 per cent from N189 per litre recorded in April 25, 2018 to N205 per litre as at May 16, 2018. The PPPRA report disclosed that during the week under reference, between May 11 and May 16, 2018, oil prices continued to soar, stating that the average price for Brent Dated was $77.92 per barrel; Nigeria’s Bonny Light was $78.08 while West Texas Intermediate, WTI, was $60.27 per barrel.

Price of petrol is still fixed at a maximum of N145 per litre, meaning that the NNPC is currently paying N60 as under recovery for a litre of the commodity. Speaking with Vanguard on this issue, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu said: “The explanation is simple. The higher the price of crude oil the higher the price of petroleum products in the international market. It should also be noted that this has also impacted on the landing cost, and by extension our under recovery.”

In a related development findings by Vanguard in Ogun state and other border communities showed that the situation is worsened by smuggling, as NNPC is now forced to subsidize the product for neighboring countries. Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru who led top management team of the corporation to visit Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), recently, had blamed the increase in fuel consumption on massive smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries. Baru had also raised an alarm on the proliferation of fuel stations in communities with international land and coastal borders across the country, insisting that the development had energized unprecedented cross-border smuggling of petrol to neighbouring countries, making it difficult to sanitise the fuel supply and distribution matrix in the country.

He had revealed that detailed study conducted by the NNPC indicated strong correlation between the presence of the frontier stations and the activities of fuel smuggling syndicates. Providing a detailed presentation of the findings, the NNPC boss had noted that 16 states, having among them 61 local government areas with border communities, account for 2,201 registered fuel stations. He had said: “NNPC is concerned that continued cross-border smuggling of petrol will deny Nigerians the benefit of the Federal Government’s benevolence of keeping a fix retail price of N145 per litre, despite the increase in PMS open market price above N171 per litre.” Responding, Customs’ Comptroller-General had said the service would work with the NNPC to stem the tide of cross-border smuggling of petroleum products, noting that all hands must be on deck to ensure the economic survival of the country.

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Economy

Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

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Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

…RT.BRISCOE, Tantalizer lead the losers’ table 

 The equity market on Wednesday lost N25 billion due to selloffs in MTN Nigeria, Dangote Sugar and Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), among other stocks.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.670 trillion, shed N25 billion or 0.04 per cent to close at N56.645 trillion.

The All-Share Index also dropped 0.04 per cent, or 43.3 points, to close at 100,032.32, as against 100,075.59 recorded on Tuesday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return slipped to 33.78 per cent.

United Capital led 10 per cent to close at N36.30, Africa Prudential followed by 9.88 per cent to close at N8.90, and Cutix gained 9.86 per cent to close at N6.13 per share.

Oando rose by 5.63 per cent to close at N16.90, and Julius Berger advanced by 4.79 per cent to close at N87.50 per share.

Conversely, RTBRISCOE led the losers’ log with 5.71 per cent to close at 66k, and FTN Cocoa Processors trailed by 4.44 per cent to close at N1.72 per share.

Tantalizer declined by 4.26 per cent to close at 45K, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals shed 3.53 per cent to close at N1.64 and Consolidated Hallmark Plc lost N3.45 to close at N1.40 per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 35.71 per cent.

A total of 1.10 million shares valued at N10.08 billion were exchanged in 8,720 deals, compared to 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion exchanged in 8,151 deals posted previously.

Jaiz Bank led the activity log-in volume with 528.49 million shares worth N1.15 billion, Cutix followed by 194.64 million shares worth N1.19 billion.

Zenith traded 77.75 million shares valued at N3.11 billion to lead the log-in value, Universal Insurance transacted 36.26 million shares worth N12.35 million and FCMB sold 33.88 million shares worth N257.09 million. 

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Stock Market Maintains Positive Trends, Up 0.11%

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Stock market maintains positive trends, up 0.11%

…Redstarex, Deap Capital lead the losers’ table 

 The Nigerian stock market maintained its positive trends on Tuesday, increasing the overall market index by 0.11 per cent.

Investors gained N62 billion or 0.11 per cent as the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.608 trillion closed at N56.670 trillion.

The All-Share Index also advanced by 0.11 per cent or 109.3 points to close at 100,075.59, compared to 99,966.28 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.84 per cent.

Sustained by interest in Tier-one banking tickers such as Zenith Bank, FBN Holdings, United Bank For Africa (UBA), and Access Corporation, alongside United Capital, UACN and other advanced equities drove the market’s positive performance.

Meanwhile, market breadth closed positive with 19 gainers and 15 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ table, United Capital led by 10 per cent to close at N33, Cutix Plc followed by 9.84 per cent to close at N5.58 and Sunu Assurances gained 7.75 per cent to close at N1.39 per share.

Cornerstone Insurance rose by 7.69 per cent to close at N2.10 and UACN went up by 7.42 per cent to close at N15.20 per share.

On the other hand,  Redstarex led the losers’ table by 9.82 per cent to close at N3, and McNichols Plc trailed by 9.01 per cent to close at N1.01 per cent.

Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc lost 5.77 per cent to close at 49k, Eterna Plc declined by 4.44 per cent to close at N17.20 and Universal Insurance shed 2.78 per cent to close at 35k per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 0.78 per cent.

A total of 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion were exchanged in 8,151 deals, compared with 362.43 million shares valued at N7.37 billion exchanged in 8,405 deals posted previously.

Zenith Bank led the activity table in volume and value with 57.42 million shares worth N2.25 billion, and Access Corporation followed with 36.75 million shares valued at N707.17 million.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) also sold 29.16 million shares valued at N1.33 billion, Jaiz Bank traded 28.34 million shares worth N60.94 million and UBA transacted 20.31 million shares valued at N466.16 million.

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Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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