BusinessDay

Five things to know to start your Monday

Saudi Aramco posts record profit

 

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco reported a record profit following a crude oil price rise made possible by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The company which replaced Apple Inc. as the most valuable company in the world followed big oil giants such as Shell Plc and BP Plc in reporting huge earnings for Q1, 2022. This is according to Bloomberg.

The rise of London Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) to $110 and $107 per barrel helped a great deal in achieving the results of its financial record.

A breakdown of its financial report showed that the oil giant made a net income of $39.5 billion, up 82% from a year earlier, when global energy demand was still trying to pick up from the effect of the 2020 COVID-19 global lockdowns.

Bloomberg also reported that the company’s “free cash flow rose almost to $31 billion, though it opted to keep its quarterly dividend unchanged at $18.8 billion.” During the coronavirus virus that badly hit the global economy in 2020 and 2021, the company suffering from a massive slump in profit was forced to borrow, forcing its debt-to-equity to rise to more than 16 percent.

However, due to these impressive earnings reports, the company has been able to drive down the debt to equity ratio to 8 percent.

 

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The two major factors oil and gas analysts at Rigzone attribute to being responsible for Aramco’s impressive results have been the rise in oil prices by more than 45 percent this year and an increase in Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Accordingly, the country’s output fluctuated around 10.2 million barrels a day between January and March, up 20% year-on-year.

Many anticipate that production will continue to rise until September, when the agreement between OPEC countries and OPEC+ countries expires.

Shareholders will be ecstatic after the result, which exceeded the average estimate of $38.5 billion, and its shares rose 4.2 percent to close at 42.35 riyals on Sunday, extending their year-to-date gain to 30%.

With this result, the company is now valued at $2.48 trillion.

 

NATO takes in Sweden, Finland as US Aid vote nears

 

Fearing any kind of opposition to Joe Biden’s relief request for Ukraine, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has promised that his $40 billion relief package for Ukraine may be approved on Wednesday.

Ignoring the threats of Russia over their request to join NATO, the Baltic Nations-Sweden and Finland have announced plans to join the alliance, Bloomberg reported. A move that will change the direction of the war, following earlier threats by Russia to use nuclear weapons on both countries if they join the alliance.

It also changes the security architecture of Europe as the alliance will likely have full control of the Baltic Sea, giving NATO the advantage over Russia to use as their naval base.

The decision to accept the Baltic Nations was made on Sunday when NATO foreign ministers unanimously accepted the countries into their fold.

The only country to raise concern was Turkey, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu unhappy that Finland and, particularly, Sweden have had relations with Kurdish militants who have been active in eastern Turkey, Bloomberg reported.

Fearing any kind of objection, Sweden has decided to send a team of diplomats to Ankara, Turkey for talks to resolve the misunderstanding between the countries. NATO Secretary-General General Jens Stoltenberg is confident that the move will go smoothly.

“Turkey has made it clear that their intention is not to block membership,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Berlin. He said he was confident Turkey’s concerns wouldn’t delay the membership procedure, and that his aspiration “is still to have a quick and swift process.”

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Atiku seeks Abia PDP’s support with his five-point agenda

Atiku Abubakar
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and presidential aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has pleaded for the support of Abia PDP delegates in the forthcoming presidential primary to choose a candidate who will represent the party in the 2023 presidential election.

The former vice president, who was speaking with special delegates from the state at the Government House Banquet Hall, presented his five-point agenda to them.

They are the economy, education, dealing with insecurity, restructuring of the country and instituting symbols of unity.

He appreciated the South-East for their unwavering support during the 2019 election and how they have encouraged him thus far. He debunked claims in some quarters that labelled him as anti-Igbo. According to him, “Therefore, nobody can label me anti-Eastern or anti-race.”

He was worried about the fact that a miscalculation by the party could cost them the presidency and pleaded with the delegates to do what was politically right to enable the party to reclaim the presidency in 2023. He said, “We must win the next election. Would we like to go back? Do we want to remain in opposition? These are the questions before us. ”

He reassured the delegates that he still remains the best for the region to produce the presidency in the future. “Your aspiration as Igbo people will materialise and be realised.” So, give me victory so that your aspiration will be realized, “he said.

“Together, we can achieve these goals if we unite as the PDP and fight for power.”

Ex-Somali leader Mohamud wins presidency

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud defeated incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed 214-110 votes to claim the presidency in Somalia.

The election, which took place in an airport hangar and was protected by “blast walls”, saw parliamentarians make a decision via voting to decide who amongst the candidates was the best to help the country overcome the myriad of challenges the country faces.

According to Reuters, the 66-year-old former president who ruled the country from 2012 to 2017 was declared the winner after a third-round runoff saw him take a landslide victory over his closest contender—the incumbent president.

We have to move ahead. We do not need grudges. No avenging, “Mohamud said in his acceptance speech from the airport compound in the capital Mogadishu, patrolled by African Union (AU) peacekeepers.

On hearing the result of the much anticipated election, supporters of Mohamud defied the curfew to celebrate his victory, cheering, dancing, shouting joyously, and firing gun shots into the air.

The new president inherits a lot of challenges from the incumbent president arising from the terrorist group, “al-Shabaab,” and the worst drought in more than 30 years.

Many still remain downbeat about hope for any improvement in things in the country despite the successful election.

Most of the people who spoke to Reuters complained of the recycling of the same old faces that were responsible for the problem in the first place.

Halima Nur, a mother of four who spoke to Reuters in Mogadishu, said, “Hassan Sheikh is not good, but he is the lesser of the two evils.” We hope Somalia will be better, ”

“We hope this time Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will improve and become a better leader.” We hope Somalia will be peaceful, though this may take time, “said student Mohamed Ismail.

 

Egypt’s unemployment edge higher to 7.4%

 

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in Egypt (CAPMAS), the number of people who have been unable to get a job rose to 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021 from 7.2 percent in the same period in 2020 but is 0.1 percent lower than in the third quarter of 2021.

The agency, which is equivalent to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of Nigeria, reported that the number of unemployed people increased by 34 thousand over the same period of last year to 2.2 million in the fourth quarter but declined by 11 thousand from Q3.

According to Tradingeconomics, despite a drop in urban unemployment to 11 percent from 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, rural unemployment rose to 4.5 percent during that same period.

Reports showed that the number of newly employed rose by 1,901 thousand to close at 29.7 million in the last quarter of 2021.

However, the current quarter for unemployed youths within the age bracket of 15 to 29 years stood at 64.3 percent, which is the highest in 10 years.

Finally, there are fears that these numbers are likely to get worse following the impact that the current rise in food and fuel prices has had on the economy.

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