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NEWS DIRECTORY

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We bring you various leading news from across Africa, on business, economy, market, and politics. Towards A Profitable Africa.

2020-06-02 05:57:37.0

Marriott Reopens All Hotels In China As Travel Rebounds

Marriott has reopened all of its hotels in China and the group says it has seen a recovery in business travel.

The world's third largest hotel chain has 350 outlets across China and says that occupancy rate is now at 40%.

Marriott gave an upbeat statement on Monday about its business in China as it emerges from coronavirus lockdowns.

Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson said the occupancy rates at its Chinese hotels had been as low as 7% in late January when China was at its peak of cases.

Mr. Sorenson told a travel conference that it is not just leisure travel growing, but it is business travel and Chinese are flying again.

He however warned that occupancy might not recover to pre-coronavirus levels for several years.

2020-06-02 05:56:53.0

US Economy Could Be Affected for A Decade Due to Coronavirus

According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)the drag on the US economy from the virus pandemic will last almost a decade.

It forecasts the outbreak will cut US economic output by 3% between this year and 2030, a loss of $7.9tn (£6.3tn). The warning comes as tens of millions of people are out of work due to lockdown measures.

America's historic downturn comes even after trillions of dollars have been pumped into the economy.

The nonpartisan CBO said the majority of the loss was caused by the sharp contraction in economic activity this year, which it had not predicted in its last 10-year report, published in January.

2020-06-02 05:56:02.0

Ugandan To Lose $1.6 Bln In Tourism Earnings As A Result Of COVID-19

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni said the country will lose $1.6 billion a year in earnings from tourism as visitors stay away due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s economic mainstays as the east African country attracts visitors to see a range of game including lions, giraffes, buffalos and others that roam its savannahs.

Museveni in a speech late on Monday referring to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy said Ugandan already will lose 1.6 billion dollars per annum from the loss of tourism. The president did not say what time frame he was referring to.

The International Monetary Fund said last month that Uganda’s tourism earnings were expected to fall 54% in the 2019/20 (July-June) fiscal year, and decline 52% in the next year.

2020-06-02 05:55:08.0

Mali cotton output at 700,000 T in 2019/20

State-owned Malian Company for Textile Development (CMDT) on Monday said it produced 700,000 tonnes of cotton in the 2019/2020 season, around 6.6% more than the previous year,

Chief Executive Baba Berthe said Mali is one of four cotton producers in sub-Saharan Africa, alongside Chad, Benin and Burkina Faso. CMDT’s target for next season is 820,000 tonnes.

Mali’s cotton season runs from April to March in two phases: production between May/June and September/October, and a harvesting and marketing phase that runs from October/November to the end of March.

2020-06-02 05:53:38.0

South African rand falls on U.S. protests, Sino-U.S. tensions

The South African rand fell against the dollar in early trade on Tuesday, amid growing concerns over U.S.-China tensions and rising violent protests across the United States.

At 0645 GMT, the rand traded at 17.4130 per dollar, 0.22% lower than its previous close.

In the absence of local catalysts, traders’ focus was on global events.

Executive director at Peregrine Treasury Solutions in Pretoria, Bianca Botes said the rand is currently caught in range-bound trading.

Broader global risk appetite was also hampered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to use force to end violent protests in American cities, while reports of an order from China to halt U.S. soybean purchases again raised the spectre of damaging trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.

2020-06-02 05:52:22.0

Hospital Operator Mediclinic Sees Full-Year Loss

Mediclinic International Plc, owner of a chain of private hospitals in southern Africa, the Middle East and Switzerland on Tuesday reported a net loss for the full year that ended on March 31.

The company reported a net loss of 315 million pounds ($394 million) for fiscal year 2019/2020 as compared with 151-million-pound loss in 2018/19.

The British company, said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) - its earnings from core business - came in at 480 million pounds, down 3% from the last fiscal year.

Group Chief Executive Officer of Mediclinic, Ronnie van der Merwe said in a statement that a high degree of uncertainty remains regarding the progression of the pandemic and its full impact, which may well continue for at least the next 12 months.

2020-06-02 05:50:50.0

ACEP Against Ghana Gas Acting as National Gas Aggregator

Energy think tank, African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), still stands by its suggestion that government should make the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) a subsidiary of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) with regards to the implementation of the Gas Master Plan and not an aggregator.

According to ACEP, Ghana’s oil and gas sector is too small to have many independent national players and kicked against the approval of the Ghana National Gas Company as the national gas aggregator by the Office of the President.

ACEP said GNGC does not have the capacity to assume the liabilities of the commitments that come with the role of an aggregator in the Ghanaian oil and gas sector.

A statement signed by the Executive Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye in response to GNGC’s rejoinder however explained that the existence of GNGC as an independent company, as shown in ACEP’s earlier analysis, is a product of politics and not an optimal option for Ghana’s developing oil industry.

2020-06-02 05:24:24.0

Marketers Cry Out as FG Cuts Petrol Price to N121.50

Fuel marketers have expressed concerns over the further reduction by the Federal Government of the pump price of petrol.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, in a circular to marketers dated May 31, 2020, announced a new pump price band of N121.50 to N123.50 per liter for petrol.

The agency noted that the recent approval of the pricing regime that became effective on March 19 and the provision for the establishment of a monthly price band within which retailers should sell the product.

The PPPRA said after a review of prevailing market fundamentals in the month of May and considering marketers’ realistic operating costs as much as practicable. They also wish to advise of a new PMS guiding pump price with the corresponding ex-depot price for the month of June 2020, as follows: price band N121.50 – N123.50 per liter.

The Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Clement Isong, said the price modulation by the government was hurting marketers’ businesses.

He urged the PPPRA to carry the operators along in determining the monthly price band for the product.

2020-06-02 05:23:29.0

Senate, NNPC Clash Over $21 Crude Oil Production Cost

The Senate Committee on Finance on Monday rejected the revenue targets projected for the various revenue-generating agencies in the country to fund the Revised 2020 Budget, describing their proposed sums as grossly inadequate.

Members of the Senate panel also condemned in strong terms the explanation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that it spent $21 to produce a barrel of oil.

They spoke when the heads of the various revenue-generating agencies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the NNPC, and the Nigeria Customs Service, led by the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, appeared before the Senate panel to defend their proposals in the revised budget.

The Chief Operating Officer of the NNPC (Upstream), Mr. Yemi Adetunji, told the panel that the agency reduced the production cost per barrel of crude oil from $25 proposed in the approved 2020 budget to $21 in the revised budget in line with the current realities.

He said the NNPC was working with relevant stakeholders to reduce the administrative cost through a multi-disciplinary approach in terms of planning and engagement of various partners.

2020-06-02 05:22:38.0

Oil Rises To $38 As OPEC+ Discusses Production Cut Extension

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia are moving closer to a compromise on extending current oil output cuts and are discussing a proposal to roll over supply curbs for one to two months.

The international oil price benchmark, Brent crude, stood at $38.51 per barrel as of 9:30pm Nigerian time on Monday.

OPEC and its allies, a group called OPEC+, decided in April to cut output by a record 9.7 million barrels per day, or about 10 per cent of global output, to lift prices battered by a demand drop linked to lockdown measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Reuters quoted OPEC sources as saying that rather than easing output cuts in July, the de-facto OPEC leader, Saudi Arabia, was leading discussions on sustaining them until the end of the year.

An OPEC+ source said there was support for Russia’s proposal for an extension of one month, but added that there no consensus on it yet.

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News Updates

  • Marriott Reopens All Hotels In China As Travel Rebounds

  • US Economy Could Be Affected for A Decade Due to Coronavirus

  • Ugandan To Lose $1.6 Bln In Tourism Earnings As A Result Of COVID-19

  • Mali cotton output at 700,000 T in 2019/20

  • South African rand falls on U.S. protests, Sino-U.S. tensions

  • Hospital Operator Mediclinic Sees Full-Year Loss

  • ACEP Against Ghana Gas Acting as National Gas Aggregator

  • Marketers Cry Out as FG Cuts Petrol Price to N121.50

  • Senate, NNPC Clash Over $21 Crude Oil Production Cost

  • Oil Rises To $38 As OPEC+ Discusses Production Cut Extension