Oil Prices Begin Decline Early In 2024, As Supply Concerns Subside

Taiwo  Adekeye, FMVA

January 3, 2024

Oil prices closed the first trading session of 2024 lower as expectations for interest rate cuts diminished and worries that supply disruptions from Red Sea tensions eased. Brent crude settled at $75.89, down by $1.15 while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $70.38 a barrel, down by $1.27.

South Africa: South African rand began 2024 on a declining note

The South African rand fell on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2024, as the USD rose on global markets. The rand traded at 18.5750 against the dollar, down 1.6% on its previous close. However, the dollar was up 0.7% at 102.13 against a basket of global currencies, on track for its biggest daily percentage gain since October. On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Top-40 index closed over 1.6% lower. The benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker, with the yield up 8.5 basis points to 9.855%.

Congo: Congo President Tshisekedi re-elected.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has been re-elected for a second term after getting more than 73% of the vote in the Dec. 20 poll.  Tshisekedi had obtained more than 13 million out of over 18 million valid votes, adding that turnout was more than 43%. However, Opposition frontrunner Moise Katumbi, who came second with 18%, has already ruled out mounting a legal challenge to the results, citing an alleged lack of independence of state institutions.

Egypt: Egyptians welcome the new year amid price hike

Egyptians began the new year with a series of price hikes as the government battles to keep up with rampant inflation, with inflation figure standing at 34.6%. On Monday, Egypt’s transport ministry raised the price of tickets on the Cairo metro by up to 20%, electricity prices are also soon set to rise by around 15% on average. While Telecom companies raised the prices of their internet services, with state-controlled operator Telecom Egypt

India: Rupee closes lower amid rising US dollar demand

The Indian rupee closed weaker on Tuesday, in line with broad weakness in Asian currencies, and pressured by U.S. dollar demand from oil companies and foreign banks. The rupee ended at 83.3175, lower by 0.1% compared with its close at 83.2375 in the previous session. Benchmark Indian equity indices, the BSE Sensex and Nifty 50, ended in the red as selling pressure emerged after the indices touched record high levels on Monday.

Russia: LNG exports to Europe declined by 1.9% in 2023

Russian exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe fell 1.9% to 15.8 million metric tons in 2023, and LNG exports to Asia fell 11% to 14.9 million tons. Overall LNG exports from Russia were down 6% last year to 31 million tons due to planned repairs at plants during the summer. In December 2023, Russian LNG exports reached a record level of 3.2 million tons, of which 1.9 million tons were from Yamal LNG.

Russia’s largest LNG producer, Novatek provided the bulk of the exports, shipping 18.7 million tons from the Yamal LNG project in the Arctic and 800,000 tons from Kriogaz-Vysotsk on the Baltic Sea.

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