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Nigeria’s economy sees 1.87% Q1 expansion1 minute read

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Data from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, NBS indicates that the country’s economy experienced some growth at the beginning of the year- growing by 1.87%  year-in-year in the first three months of 2020.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and a global lockdown has however, led to the stalling of commercial activities and a fall in oil prices.

The growth is the lowest recorded in less than two years, following an updated unemployment data of 13 million .

Despite Nigeria’s current crude oil production capacity being 2.07 million barrels a day, the lack of sales and OPEC+ production cuts. As a result, the Nigerian government is predicting that it’s economy will contract by 8.7% in 2020.

The World Bank projects that Nigeria’s impending recession will be more pronounced than that of 2016. Potentially, it could bring Africa’s largest economy to its knees. Early predictions indicate that it could be the worst recession in forty years.

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Business News

July crude oil sales expected to dip

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Initial reports show that crude oil exports from Angola for July will be lower than the cargoes sold in June. This means that 37 cargoes of crude oil could be sold in line with Angola’s OPEC+ production cuts.

OPEC+ has cut its oil exports sharply in the first half of May, companies that track the shipments said, suggesting a strong start in complying with a new production cut agreement

India’s International Oil Companies, IOC has re-issued a tender that closes on May 19 for West African crude, such as Nigeria’s Bonny light that would be loading between June 18-30.

A recovery in fuel demand in India gathered momentum in the first half of May versus April as curbs on transport and industrial activity were partly lifted in areas that have contained the spread of coronavirus, data showed.            

Sellers of Nigeria’s crude oil are optimistic because of the recent easing lockdown order in many nations. This had increased the demand for fuel as global refining capacity of crude oil picks up pace.

Also, offers for Nigerian Egina have jumped to dated Brent plus $2.50 after lingering at dated Brent flat, but it remains unclear whether any buyers were found.

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West Africa Business News

Bank of Ghana maintains interest rate

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The Bank of Ghana is keeping its interest rate unchanged at 14.5%. This comes after it concluded a $1 billion repo facility with the U.S. Federal Reserve to boost the country’s foreign exchange.

A repurchase agreement (repo) is a short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities.

According to the Bank, Ghana’s economy will grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic to 2% or 2.5 %.  The Bank’s governor, Ernest Addison forecast GDP growth of 6.8% in 2020 from 3.45 N 2019.

However, in Q1, the widening budget deficit of 1.04% occurred due to a reduction in revenue. Addison adds that the shortfall in oil price and other tax revenues due to global movement restriction had left the country with a large financing gap.

The bank had triggered an emergency financing provision allowing it to increase purchases of government securities, he said, and it had purchased 5.5 billion Cedis or $958 million of the government’s COVID-19 relief bond.

He said the bank stood ready to continue the assets purchase programme of up to 10 billion Cedis.

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Business News

Liberia’s largest palm oil company lays off 10% of its staff

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Liberia’s agriculture sector took a hard knock this weekend as Golden Veroleum, the country’s largest Palm oil company laid off 443 of its workers according to a statement from the company’s spokesperson, Aphonso Kofi on Saturday.

Kofi blames resultant low prices as the coronavirus pandemic impeded trade globally.

“Instead of closing down the company, the company has deemed it necessary to reduce the workforce. The previous number (of layoffs) was 1,200 but was trimmed after a series of negotiations with the government,” Kofi said.

Golden Veroleum is Liberia’s biggest palm oil company. It is owned by Verdant Fund LP from the U.S. with investment from Singapore palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources.

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