Global oil prices have surged to a 2-month high on growing signs of a rebound in oil demand. The oil rally extended to the fourth day, amid signs that producers are implementing output cuts as promised, with demand picking up due to global easing of lockdowns and hope for the positive test result of a coronavirus vaccine.
The Nigerian headline crude, Bonny light, surged by 13.77% as it hit $33.95 per barrel, getting to a 2-month high. The Brent crude has also hit a 2-month high, selling for $35.02 per barrel as at 10.00 am Nigerian time. The American WTI is selling for $32.60 per barrel.
At the peak of the global lockdown in April, about 3.9 billion people were affected, but now an estimated 3.7 billion people are living in geographical locations that are experiencing easing of lockdowns and various versions of reopening.
The June WTI contract expires on Tuesday, but it’s unlikely that there will be a repeat of the historic crash to less than zero that was experienced last month on the eve of the expiry of May’s contract. This is largely due to the gradual recovery of demand for crude and its derived products.
The positives in the oil market are also triggered by the implementation of output cuts by OPEC+ and other top oil-producing countries. This is just as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced and advocated for output cuts, in a move aimed at rebalancing the market.
The crude oil market also got a further boost after signs that progress on the global vaccine front is being made. The American Biotechnology company, Moderna Inc, on Monday, said that its vaccine had shown to be safe for humans and also demonstrated promising results in stopping Covid-19.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has disclosed that it could have 30 million doses of its vaccine ready by September.
However, according to Rystad Energy, the physical oil market is not out of the woods yet, as there is still a 13.7 million barrel of crude per day stock build-up in May 20. Although this is a reduction from the peak of the oil glut when it was a 26.7 million barrel per day inventory buildup in April, a significant overhang still remains.
The current situation in the oil market is a huge boost for the Nigerian government which has been going through an unprecedented fiscal crisis. The crash in global crude oil prices has made the Federal Government approve a further downward revision of the oil benchmark for the 2020 budget to $25 per barrel.
This will help improve the country’s revenue, reduce its budget deficit and improve its foreign exchange earnings, as oil contributes about 90% to its exports earnings.
Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state
President Buhari is presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.
According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.
This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.
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Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.
Some Nigerians mistook promptness of FG response as sign of weakness – Buhari
President Buhari has said that FG’s promptness to consent to the demands of the protesters was taken as a sign of weakness.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pointed out that the promptness with which the Federal Government acted in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
This was disclosed by the president in his national broadcast on Thursday, October 22, 2020, on the current widespread violence which has engulfed the country following the protest against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The president said that the government listened to the protesters and after evaluating their five-point demands, they were accepted and some of them implemented, which includes the disbandment of SARS.
In his address to Nigerians, President Buhari said, “As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
“Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
The president said the actions of these elements has caused serious violence which has led to the loss of human lives, attack on correctional facilities, destruction and vandalization of public and private properties, attack on the palace of Oba of Lagos, invasion of International Airport and so on.
While acknowledging that the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of every citizen as enshrined in the constitution, the president pointed out that this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens and the necessity to operate within the law.