Foreign

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupts for third time in a week

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Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province, on Monday, erupted, gushing a 7,500-metre high cloud of ash and smoke into the air, officials said.


It was the third eruption for the volcano since Saturday when it spewed an ash column as high as 4,460 metres.

According to the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Monday’s eruption took place at 10.16 a.m. (0316 GMT) and continued afterwards.

The centre added that the alert levels for the volcano remained at the third-highest level.

“People are advised to stay away from the radius of three kilometres from the peak,’’ it said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Mount Sinabung has been erupting periodically since September 2013, when tens of thousands of people were displaced.

In 2016, nine villagers were killed after Sinabung ejected searing gas and volcanic materials known as a pyroclastic flow.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

https://nnn.ng/indonesias-mount-sinabung-erupts-for-third-time-in-a-week/

Economy

Oil down after United States crude inventories rise against expectations

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Oil prices fell on Wednesday after an industry group reported a surprise rise in United States crude, adding to worries about demand that led to a steep selloff earlier in the week.


Brent crude was trading down 30 cents or 0.7 per cent at $41.42 a barrel by 0347 GMT, after gaining 28 cents on Tuesday while United States crude dropped 34 cents or 0.9 per cent to $39.46.

Both contracts fell more than four per cent on Monday, the most in two weeks.

Surging cases of coronavirus infections in countries including France and Spain, along with the likelihood of more restrictions in Britain have renewed worries about fuel demand, just as more supply may come onto the market from Libya.

In the United States, where the death toll from COVID-19 has passed 200,000, the world’s highest, crude oil inventories rose by 691,000 barrels in the week to Sept. 18, according to industry data, compared with analysts’ forecasts for a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks fell by nearly 7.7 million barrels, nearly eight times expectations suggesting some demand for fuel in the world’s biggest oil consuming nation.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due out later on Wednesday.

“Official United States crude inventory data assumes greater than usual importance,’’ said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“A surprise increase could well be enough to initiate another downward leg in crude prices.’’

In Libya, the National Oil Company expects oil output to rise to more than a quarter of a million barrels per day (bpd) by next week, it said on Tuesday.

The NOC said it was restarting exports from the Zueitinia oil terminal after checking the security situation at the port and fields that pipe crude there.

An escalation in the country’s conflict led to a blockade of facilities, which is now easing, although analysts say they don’t expect Libya to reach the 1.2 million bpd of production it was pumping previously.

This year, “world oil demand will be down by more than 10 per cent on the year to around 90 million barrels per day (bpd) due to the COVID-19 crisis,’’ Eurasia Group said in a note.

“This will mark the biggest demand shock in industry history,’’ it said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/oil-down-after-united-states-crude-inventories-rise-against-expectations/
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Economy

Oil steady as United States storm eases but demand recovery fears persist

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Oil futures were little changed on Tuesday after sharp overnight losses, as the latest tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico lost strength.


But worries about fuel demand persisted with flare-ups around the globe in coronavirus cases.

Brent crude futures edged three cents 0.1 per cent, lower to $41.41 a barrel at 0637 GMT thus, reversing earlier small gains.

United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for October, due to expire on Tuesday, slipped four cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.27 a barrel.

The more active November contract shed three cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.51.

Crude prices, which fell about four per cent on Monday, won some respite as Texas refineries stayed after a tropical storm was expected to keep losing strength, allaying worries about United States refinery demand for feedstock.

However, concerns about global demand held sway.

“The recovery in sentiment after the rout in risk assets seen a fortnight ago was clearly fragile,’’ said Vandana Hari, an energy analyst at Singapore-based Vanda Insights.

“This week, the market is recalibrating to a likely stalling of the economic recovery in Europe as several countries in the region impose fresh restrictions to contain a surge in the coronavirus.’’

Monday’s price slump was spurred by concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases in major markets could lead to fresh lockdowns and hurt demand.

That raised the possibility that a return of Libyan oil could come when it isn’t needed, as the country looks to ramp up exports.

“We had a pretty punchy risk-off session (overnight) … on fears around the risk that a COVID-19 resurgence starts to have negative impacts on demand again,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research.

Markets are nervous about demand in places like the United Kingdom, where fresh restrictions are being imposed.

United States health officials are also warning of a new wave in the coming winter.

“When the virus resurges, governments lockdown, impose restrictions and individuals and businesses start to retreat.

It’s all bad for demand,’’ Shaw said.

Traders will be watching out for the American Petroleum Institute’s data on United States oil inventories due later on Tuesday.

United States crude oil and gasoline stockpiles likely fell last week, while inventories of distillates, including diesel, were seen climbing, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/oil-steady-as-united-states-storm-eases-but-demand-recovery-fears-persist/
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COVID-19

‘Work from home’ – Johnson starts shutting down Britain again as COVID-19 spreads

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday will tell people to work from home where possible and will impose new curbs on bars and restaurants to tackle a swiftly accelerating second coronavirus wave.


According to his office and ministers, with millions across the UK already under some form of COVID-19 restriction, Johnson will tighten measures in England while stopping short of another full lockdown like he imposed in March.

Johnson would hold emergency meetings with ministers, address parliament at 1130 GMT and then speak to the nation at 1900 GMT after government scientists warned that the death rate would soar without urgent action.

According to his office and ministers, just weeks after urging people to start returning to workplaces, Johnson will now advise them to stay at home if they can.

He would also order all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality sites across England to start closing at 10 p.m. from Thursday.

“There is going to be a shift in emphasis. If it is possible for people to work from home, we are going to encourage them to do so,” Michael Gove, the minister for the cabinet office, told Sky News.

The new curbs will restrict the hospitality sector to table service only, though Gove said he wanted those who could not work from home, for example in manufacturing, construction and retail, to continue to work from COVID-secure workplaces.

“Schools will also stay open,’’ he said.

It was unclear if the measures would be enough to tackle Britain’s second wave, which government scientists warned could reach 50,000 new cases per day by mid-October.

The UK already has the biggest official COVID-19 death toll in Europe and the fifth largest in the world, while it is borrowing record amounts to pump emergency money through the damaged economy.

Shares in Britain’s listed pubs and restaurant groups fell sharply on Monday in anticipation of the move.

The move will advance closing times by at least an hour for most areas.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he had agreed with local council leaders and public health experts on new restrictions to be put to central government to curb the outbreak in the capital.

Northern Ireland said it would extend existing restrictions in some localities on households mixing indoors across the whole of the province from Tuesday.

While Wales slapped curbs on four more areas.

Scotland said additional restrictions were almost certain to be imposed.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/ Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/work-from-home-johnson-starts-shutting-down-britain-again-as-covid-19-spreads/
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Economy

Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports

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Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.


Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.

Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.

But it was still unclear when production might restart.

“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.

More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.

“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.

Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.

Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/oil-prices-slip-on-potential-return-of-libyan-output-gulf-storm-supports/
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