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Business News

Oil Price falls as fresh concerns rise over Saudi’s drone attacks

Oil price has dropped as fresh concerns over the threat of a military response to attacks on Saudi Arabian crude oil facilities.

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U.S. budget suffers a deficit of $3.1 trillion in 2020, as pandemic slams the economy, President Trump to decide fate of TikTok in 24-36 hours, Vaccine, America's Trump finally bans TikTok, WeChat, US imposes visa ban on Nigerians for election-related activities, I am not going to do second debate - Trump

Oil price has dropped as there are fresh concerns over the threat of a military response to attacks on Saudi Arabian crude oil facilities.

Note that the attacks cut the country’s oil output by 50% and sent oil prices to a three-decade jump of 20%.

Following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities, the U.S President, Donald Trump threw frenzy in the windy, after his tweet indicated that Iran was the likely culprit behind the attacks. This has slightly built pressure on oil prices, as Brent crude dropped to $67.31 a barrel on Tuesday. Equities and other markets were also pressured.

According to New York Times, the U.S government has released satellite photographs showing what officials said were at least 17 points of impact at several Saudi energy facilities from strikes they said came from the north or northwest.

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[READ MORE: Oil prices spike after Saudi Aramco facilities suffer drone attack]

While Yemen’s Houthi rebels are reportedly claiming responsibility for Saturday morning’s attacks, recent reports stated that Saudi Arabia had declared Iran as directly responsible for the drone attacks on an oil field and refinery at the weekend, with satellite photos revealing how precise the strikes were.

Oil Price Reactions: Following the attacks, Oil prices ended nearly 15% higher on Monday, with the Brent benchmark seeing its biggest jump in about 30 years. Basically, the rise came after two attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities on Saturday knocked out about 5% of global supply.

  • Brent crude initially surged 20% at the start of Monday’s trading but eased back to end at $69 a barrel, up 14.6% while the US oil prices finished up 14.7%, the biggest jump since 2008.
  • Specifically, the attacks which led to global crude output 5% drop caused the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991.
  • Meanwhile, oil fell more on Tuesday morning as the market hung on tenterhooks over the threat of a military response.
  • Brent crude dropped 5.4% at $67.31 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate was down 87 cents, or 1.4%, at $62.03 a barrel.

On the other hand, energy experts are split over the reactions of the oil prices to the recent attacks. Some have stated that while a production shortfall from an attack on one pipeline or refinery could often be offset by others, a return to full capacity might take months and this might drive prices up further.

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[READ MORE: Oil Prices jump after Trump provides updates on trade-war]

Dragan Vuckovic, president of Mediterranean International, an oil service company that works in Egypt and Iraq stated:

This changes the oil markets psychologically for a couple of years for sure now that everything is shown to be vulnerable. One drone can hit a refinery or an oil-field installation and that causes fires, destruction and stops all production. It means less oil on the market and higher oil prices.”

Crude, Oil, IEA

Crude Oil

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“If a full-fledged war between Iran and Saudi Arabia breaks out, there would be no limit to how high prices could go,” Jay Hatfield, portfolio manager at InfraCap MLP, an exchange-traded fund that invests in oil pipelines stated.

City Index analyst, Fiona Cincotta had a slightly contrary view. According to Fiona as quoted by Reuters, “With the U.S. ‘locked and loaded’ awaiting signs from Saudi Arabia that Iran was involved, tensions in the Middle East could get worse before they get better. Under these circumstances, the price of oil could remain elevated for some time yet.

“However, let’s not also forget that the demand picture isn’t great right now, which will dampen the oil price quickly. Most recently China’s industrial production figures disappointed overnight.”

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[READ MORE: Trouble as crude oil price drops to a 7-month low, hits $57 a barrel]

Saudi’s Defiance: Despite Saturday’s attack, Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant, Aramco, has informed some of its major Asian customers that they would receive all the oil supply they had contracted — although lighter grades would likely be replaced with heavier crude, according to sources.

The U.S is also in the stand, as Donald Trump disclosed that he had authorized the release of oil from the Strategic U.S Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount to keep the market well supplied.

The bottom line: While there are early indications that oil prices may hit $100 per barrel high, the surge in oil prices following attacks on Saudi’s facilities may just be short-lived. It should be noted that while the US stands as one of the few countries that would be able to increase exports in the short term, Saudi Arabia still has vast quantities of crude in storage, which has been estimated to equal about 26 days of current crude exports along with other strategic storage facilities.

In the meantime, the longer the processing facility remains disrupted, the larger the potential impact on actual crude flows will be.

[READ MORE: U.S returns to Nigerian Oil, imports N349 billion crude oil in three months]

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Coronavirus

President Buhari signs COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021

President Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy.

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Buhari sacks DG National Directorate of Employment, Nasiru Argungu

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, “…and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”

The signing of the regulations was disclosed in a statement by the FG on Wednesday evening.

The law, which comes in 5 parts, includes; Part 1- Restrictions on Gatherings; Part 2- Operations of Public Places; Part 3- Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols; Part 4 – Offences and Penalties; Part 5 – Enforcement and Application; and Part 6 -Interpretation and Citation.

Restrictions on Gatherings

The regulations require that physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons. No gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.

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“The provisions of these Regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)”

Operations of Public Places 

  • No person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurant, hotel, event centre, garden, leisure park, recreation centre, motor park, fitness centre or any other similar establishment except the person is using a facemask and has washed hands.
  • Managers of hostels, boarding houses, nursing homes, correctional centres, remand homes, holding cells, military detention facilities, and such centres for care and custody of persons, shall ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations.
  • Managers of such facilities shall ensure that suspected cases of Covid-19 are promptly and appropriately separated from others and are reported to medical officers of the State Ministry of Health for necessary action.

Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols 

  • Persons confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19 by an NCDC accredited laboratory, may not refuse isolation and or admission to a designated health establishment for management of the disease.
  • All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall designate a space or holding bay for the initial triage or assessment of suspected persons with COVID-19 in line with the approved protocol for case management.
  • All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall establish sample collection centres, where test samples from suspected cases can be collected and transmitted to an accredited testing laboratory in the State.

Offences and Penalties

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  • Any person who contravenes the provisions of these regulations commits an offence.
  •  Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these regulations commits an offence.
  • An offence under these regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.

Enforcement and Application 

  • Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies are hereby directed to enforce the provisions of these regulations.
  • Any officer of the enforcement agencies who fails, neglects, or refuses to enforce the provisions of these regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action
  • State Governors may issue regulations on further steps as may be considered necessary.

On interpretations of the law, the FG said, “Offence” means any act, which may constitute a violation of the provisions of these regulations, while “Enforcement Agency” means any law enforcement or security agency vested with the statutory power to investigate and prosecute. The law also stated that the regulations would go into effect immediately and remain in effect until otherwise determined.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Government had announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

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Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp user base top 3.3 billion, Q4 revenue of $28 billion

More people are spending their time online on the bias COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.

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The world’s biggest social media company, Facebook, recently posted its fourth-quarter earnings which were better than what many stock market experts had expected, against a backdrop of growing regulatory and political challenges.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp now have a combined user base of 3.3 billion to get their messages out.

Facebook itself has about 2.8 billion monthly users, beating the Wall Street market prediction of 2.76 billion, as humans spend more of their activities online on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.

Here are highlights of key metrics expected versus the comparable year-ago quarter, according to a Bloomberg consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts:

  • Revenue: $28 billion vs $26.407 billion estimated; $21.082 billion in Q4 2019.
  • Earnings per share (Adjusted): $3.88 vs $3.54 expected; $2.56 in Q4 2019.
  • Ad Revenue: $27.19 billion vs. $26.07 billion expected; $20.74 billion in Q4 2019.
  • Daily Active Users (DAU): 1.84 billion vs 1.828 billion estimates; 1.66 billion in Q4 2019.

“We believe our business has benefited from two broad economic trends playing out during the pandemic. The first is the ongoing shift towards online commerce.

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“The second is the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services.” Facebook CFO, Dave Wehner, said.

Capital expenditures including principal payments on finance leases, were $4.82 billion and $15.72 billion for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, respectively.

Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $61.95 billion as of December 31, 2020.

However, in spite of an impressive earning resulted posted by the world’s most valuable social media company, Facebook shares tanked by more than 3% on the consideration that the company printed a blurry outlook amid growing regulatory concerns and stiff competition.

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“We also expect to face more significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape. While the timing of the iOS 14 changes remains uncertain, we would expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter,” Dave Wehner said.

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Market Views

iPhone users top 1 billion, Apple posts revenue of $111.4 billion

The company passed 1.65 billion total installed devices worldwide in the quarter, with the installed base of iPhone topping 1 billion.

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Apple iPhone 11

The world’s most valuable listed company, Apple, printed better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter on the basis that users acquired more Macs, iPads, iPhones, and other Apple products at a record pace. Apple’s sales also beat stock market experts’ expectations.

However, Apple shares were down on account that the company failed to provide guidance for the December quarter, which made some investors jittery, thereby shorting the stock.

  • On a conference call with stock market experts and journalists, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, disclosed the company passed 1.65 billion total installed devices worldwide in the quarter, with the installed base of iPhone topping 1 billion.
  • Overall, Apple printed a revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21% from the year-earlier quarter, and profits of $1.68 a share. That was well above the Wall Street consensus of $102.8 billion and $1.40 a share.

“This quarter for Apple wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide,” said Tim Cook. “We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season.”

The three months ended Dec. 31 were also strong for Apple laptops and tablets. For iPads, sales were $8.4 billion, up 41%, and ahead of the stock market expert prediction of $7.4 billion.

Apple sales gained about 12% in the Americas, 57% in Greater China, and 17% in Europe, with gains of 33% in Japan and 11.5% in the rest of Asia.

Specta

The tech company’s wearables sales posted incredible numbers as well, with gains of 30% to $13 billion, ahead of the stock market experts’ prediction at $11.5 billion. And services revenue jumped 24% to $15.7 billion, ahead of the Street consensus at $15.2 billion.

“We are also focused on how we can help the communities we’re a part of build back strongly and equitably, through efforts like our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as our multi-year commitment to invest $350 billion throughout the United States.”

“Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO.

“These results helped us generate a record operating cash flow of $38.8 billion. We also returned over $30 billion to shareholders during the quarter as we maintain our target of reaching a net cash neutral position over time.”

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Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.205 per share of the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on February 11, 2021, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 8, 2021.

The most valuable tech company had posted gains of over 80% in 2020 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which it is a component, has risen about 6%.

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