By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
A sense of uncertainty over whether Russia will commit to OPEC’s proposal for deeper production cuts is weighing on Oil prices this morning.
OPEC ministers agreed that Oil production should be cut by 1.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d), with OPEC members cutting one million bbl/d and non-OPEC allies, led by Russia, cutting half a million bbl/d. However, Russia has yet to make a decision, which could make things very interesting when crunch talks with non-OPEC members kick-off later today.
If negotiations run smoothly and conclude with both sides committing to deeper cuts, this could support Oil prices in the short term. However, the medium to longer term outlook will remain heavily influenced by coronavirus fears and the negative impacts it will have on fuel demand.
Another theme throwing a proverbial wrench in the works for OPEC is US Shale. Oil production in the United States has reached a record high of 13.1 million bbl/d as of last week, which is nearly half of the 27.8 million bbl/d produced by OPEC members last month.
The combination of stuttering demand and rising Shale production will most likely spell more trouble for Oil which has weakened over 25% since the start of 2020.
Markets continues to be gripped by Coronavirus fears
Explosive levels of market volatility are becoming the new normal, as conflicting themes force the sentiment pendulum to swing between extremes.
This phenomenon has been witnessed throughout the trading week, as coronavirus fears clashed constantly with hopes for new global monetary and fiscal measures. Risk aversion made an unwelcome return on Friday, as Asian shares fell deep into the red, tracking steep losses from Wall Street overnight. Disruptions to global businesses from the coronavirus outbreak are becoming more apparent, and this is fuelling fears of a virus-driven global economic slowdown. The negative mood is likely to hit European markets as investors avoid riskier assets in favour of safe-haven instruments like the Japanese Yen and Gold.
Will February’s US jobs report rescue the Dollar?
The Greenback is struggling to nurse deep wounds inflicted by the Federal Reserve’s emergency 50 basis point rate cut on Tuesday.
Mounting expectations over the world’s most powerful central bank cutting interest rates again at its March 17-18 meeting has added insult to injury, and this continues to be reflected in the Dollar’s poor performance this week. Friday’s potential market shaker will be the monthly US jobs report for February, which should offer crucial insights into the health of the US labour market and whether the coronavirus is having an impact. The US economy is projected to have created 175k jobs in February with average earnings up by 0.3%, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.6%.
Given how the CME’s FedWatch tool currently shows a 100% probability of a US interest rate cut at the meeting later this month, a question on the mind of many investors is whether a blockbuster jobs report will sway the Fed from pulling the trigger.
Focusing on the technical picture, the Dollar Index is under pressure on the daily charts, with a breakdown below 96.50 opening the door to 95.90.
Gold bulls are back in town
Gold has gained over 5% this week thanks to coronavirus fears, speculation around central bank easing, global growth concerns and a weakening Dollar.
The general uncertainty and current risk aversion should support the precious metal due to its safe-haven nature. Going forward, with the Dollar set to weaken on Fed rate cut bets, prices could re-test $1700 if $1681 is breached.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
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