Oil Surges On Decrease In US Fuel Stock, Ongoing Geopolitical Tensions

Taiwo Adekeye, FMVA

February 8, 2024

Oil prices increased for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, triggered by a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. fuel stocks, and rising tensions in the Middle East. U.S. gasoline stocks declined by 3.15 million barrels last week while Distillate stocks fell 3.2 million barrels. Brent crude futures increased by 62 cents to close at $79.21 a barrel as of while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up by 55 cents to close at $73.86.

Egypt:  Egypt Increases minimum wage by 50%

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has increased the monthly minimum wage by 50% hitting 6,000 pounds ($194), taking effect in March, part of a 180-billion-pound urgent social protection package. Egypt’s central bank went hawkish on its rate by 200 basis point and raised its tax threshold by 33%, from 45,000 pounds to 60,000 pounds, for all employees in the public and private sectors. Egypt has been suffering from a slow-burning economic crisis and chronic shortage of foreign currency and has been discussing with the IMF for the last two weeks to revive and expand the loan agreement of $3billion almost completion.

Kenya: Kenya can settle its $2 billion bond

Kenya is fit to repay its $2 billion international bond maturing in June, and this should assist the shilling in recovering from its record lows.  The East African nation is under close monitoring to see how it handles the debt instrument due to its growing debt burden, a significant currency depreciation and uncertainty over its access to financial markets.  Kenya has received disbursements amounting to over $1 billion in the 60days and expects to get another $1.5 billion from the World Bank between March and May. However, the shilling declined significantly by over 20% against the U.S. D last year and has fallen further this year.

Zambia: Zambia negotiates bargains larger shares in new mining projects

Zambia is keen to negotiate larger holdings in new mining projects in order to boost its revenue and increase spending by investors on social projects and mines.  Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer after neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and ZCCM has interests of 10% to 20% in mines including those owned by Barrick Gold, Vedanta Resources and First Quantum Minerals.  Zambia’s government has set a copper production target of about 3 million metric tons within a decade, its output has been decreasing gradually due to challenges at some operations including Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines.

India: India to become the primary driver of global oil demand growth through 2030.

India is on the verge to becoming the largest driver of global oil demand growth between 2023 and 2030, gradually taking the lead from top importer China, according to International Energy Agency (IEA).  The world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer is on track to post an oil demand increase of almost 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) between 2023 and 2030, accounting for more than one-third of the projected 3.2 million bpd of global increases in the period. It is forecasted that India’s demand would reach 6.6 million bpd in 2030, up from 5.5 million bpd in 2023.

Japan: Japan’s Dec real wages declines at a slow rate

Japanese workers’ real wages fell for a 21th consecutive month in December but at a slower pace, data showed on Tuesday, as inflation eased, but a higher rate of wage growth is needed for the government’s bid to support the economy. Inflation-adjusted real wages, a barometer of consumer purchasing power, fell 1.9% in December from a year earlier, but slowed from a revised 2.5% decline in November. The consumer inflation rate which includes fresh food prices excluding rent or its equivalent, slowed to a 3.0% gain, the slowest pace of increase since June 2022, reflecting receding inflationary pressure from raw material costs.