Crude oil prices went up on Friday as policy leaders around the world promised a huge injection of capital and other measures to limit the weakening world economy from the coronavirus pandemic, despite concerns the virus will destroy demand for oil.
Brent crude was up 0.8%, at $26.19 a barrel by 08.17 Nigerian time, while U.S. crude was 1.9%, at $22.73 per barrel.
Both of the benchmarks are down nearly two-thirds in 2020 and the plunge in economic activity and fuel demand has forced massive pullback in investment by energy firms.
Oil demand around the world may drop by 20% as 3 billion people are in lockdown, the head of the International Energy Agency said as he called on major producers like Saudi Arabia to help stabilize oil markets.
Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies pledged yesterday to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”
However, most are offloading their oil for below $20 a barrel as the coronavirus pandemic savages demand and global supply rises amid a battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia for market share, according to traders, state oil firms, major refiners and prices quoted in physical markets.
While all types of crude have been hit, so-called light and medium sweet grades are the least in demand, meaning the outlook is bleaker for countries such Nigeria, according to traders in oil from those countries.
The discounting is leaving revenue per barrel at a fraction of the prices factored into many 2020 budgets, which is likely to put even more pressure on government finances in some oil producing countries.
Nairametrics had reported that Nigeria is facing the toughest fiscal crisis in a decade based on its reliance on oil revenue. The country is set to witness a decline as its income from oil and gas is projected to fall by between 50% and 85% in 2020, reaching the lowest levels in more than 17 years.
Oil briefly traded below its lowest price since 2003 as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to bring the global economy to a standstill, weakening demand just as supply explodes.
Oil prices fell as political leaders around the world escalated lockdowns to curb the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic that has plunged the demand outlook for oil and threatened global economic growth. For instance, as at March 23, Brent crude futures dropped by $1.09, or 4%, to $25.39 a barrel by 12.30-noon Nigerian local time. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.7%, at $22.48 per barrel.
Many oil firms have rushed to reduce spending and some producers have already begun putting employees on leave.
The energy market has had to contend with the twin shocks of the demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the unexpected oil price war that erupted between producers Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier February.
COVID-19: WHO warns there may never be an immediate solution to the virus
WHO urged governments and citizens to focus on known basic steps to contain the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there might not be an immediate solution or cure to the COVID-19 pandemic despite the positive outcomes at the different levels of trials of vaccines for the virus.
The WHO said that despite strong hopes for a vaccine, there might never be a silver bullet for COVID-19, and the road to normality would be long.
According to the latest data, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 18.1 million people with more than 690,000 fatalities globally since late January, when the virus was first reported. This is just as some countries that thought they worst was over for them started experiencing a second wave of outbreak.
The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Mike Ryan, WHO head of emergencies, urged governments and citizens to focus on known basic steps to contain the pandemic such as testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and putting on a mask.
Tedros in a virtual news briefing in Geneva, said, ‘’The message to people and governments is clear, Do it all. He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world. A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be.’’
The WHO officials revealed that an advanced investigation team that was sent to China where the virus started, are not yet back. The UN health agency sent an epidemiologist and an animal health specialist to China on July 10 to lay the groundwork for a probe aimed at identifying how the virus entered the human species.
Tedros said WHO and Chinese experts had agreed on the terms of reference and a programme of work for a WHO-led international team of scientists and researchers from around the world. They are to study the origins of the virus in the city of Wuhan.
The WHO boss encouraged mothers to continue breastfeeding even if they had COVID-19, as the benefits outweigh the risks associated with infection.
Tedros also said the international hunt for a vaccine has been historic against the backdrop of the coronavirus disease being the biggest global health emergency since the early 20th century.
Tedros said, ‘’There are many vaccines under trial, a couple in the final stage of clinical trials – and there is hope. It does not mean that we will have the vaccine, but at least the speed with which we reached the level we reached now is unprecedented.”
“There are concerns that we may not have a vaccine that may work or its protection could be for just a few months, not more. But until we finish the clinical trials, we will not know.”
Shoprite Nigeria is worth at least N25 billion
N25.6 billion price tag is only reflective of what Shoprite Nigeria’s operations is worth on paper.
Africa’s largest retail chain, Shoprite, announced on Monday that it is has decided to divest from its Nigerian retail entity, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria, the owners of Shoprite Supermarket Nigeria.
Going by several media reports and social media accounts, the sale is close to being consummated and a buyer is already in line to purchase the company. Getting information on the purchase consideration for this deal can be difficult especially if there are non-disclosure clauses.
For example, then Zinnox purchased Konga from Naspers (another South African firm) and AB Kinnevik two years ago, though the purchase consideration was not disclosed. However, we do not know what Shoprite Nigeria is worth on paper.
What is it worth on paper? Going by the company’s most recent annual report published in June 2019, Shoprite values its equity in its Nigerian subsidiary, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Ltd at R 1.164 billion (1.1 billion rands). This translates to about N25.6 billion using the official exchange rate. This is also an equivalent of $67.7 million. The exchange rates are modest and will certainly be higher if the transaction was to be at this valuation.
However, the N25.6 billion price tag is only reflective of what Shoprite Nigeria’s operations is worth on paper, what accountant’s callbook value. It could be more or even less depending on how the negotiation goes.
Shoprite Nigeria business is also its second-largest, based on book value and next only to Angola.
How will it be funded? The potential investors will likely fund this transaction via debt or equity or a combination of both. Deals like this also take time to be completed even if an agreement is announced and will also be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria and possibly South Africa.
We will keep you updated as we get more information.
Social clubs, recreational centres to reopen August 14
The closure of all spas, bars, lounges, night clubs, cinemas, and game arcades remains in place.
The Lagos State Government has announced that social clubs and recreational centres will be allowed to reopen operations starting from Friday 14 August 2020.
Earlier today, the government released a statement via its official Twitter handle, in which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was quoted to have said that the reopening would be subject to clearance and possession of the Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate. This clearance certification can be gotten right here.
The Governor also added that at the moment, the safety clearance certificates are only being issued to social clubs with registered trustees.
*COVID-19* : Measures announced by the Lagos State Government to further relax the lockdown. @jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat #LASG #LagosAgainstCovid19 #CovidLASG #ForAGreaterLagos pic.twitter.com/3Mqz1o9dC7
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) August 3, 2020
In the meantime, however, the closure of all spas, bars, lounges, night clubs, cinemas, and game arcades remains in place. Any of the listed businesses that reopen prior to the set date and without meeting the set guidelines will be shut down. A monitoring and enforcement team will be at work to ensure that the “guidelines and directives are complied with to the letter”.
As part of moves towards a complete easing up of the lockdown, the Lagos State recently announced the reopening of schools. The government also announced that the reopening of religious houses and places of worship would take effect from August 7.
However, this is subject to strict adherence to standard precautions that have been put in place. All schools are expected to provide hand-washing facilities and ensure physical distancing within their premises. The Lagos State government will make available face mask 200 schools to which this reopening exemption applies for the duration of the reopening.
Relevant agencies have been directed to carry out spot checks and random inspections of schools and defaulters will be sanctioned appropriately.