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Oil prices in steady decline

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US crude stocks fell 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, more than triple the 3.1 million barrel draw analysts had expected, as refineries ramped up output, the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), said.

The report followed data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, on Tuesday that had boosted oil prices earlier.

Reuters reported that major oil firms began evacuating and halting production in the Gulf of Mexico after weather forecasts warned that a tropical disturbance might become a storm yesterday (Wednesday) or today.

Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and BHP Group were in the process of removing staff from 15 offshore platforms.

ExxonMobil said it was “closely monitoring” the disturbance to determine if its facilities might be affected.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17 percent of United States crude oil output, which stands at around 12 million barrels per day (bpd).

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EU Agrees Brexit Extension to January 31, 2020

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The EU has agreed to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020, according to a tweet from the European Council president.

Donald Tusk said the bloc would allow for a so-called “flextension” – meaning the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal was approved by Parliament.

It comes as MPs prepare to vote on proposals by Boris Johnson for an early general election on 12 December.
The SNP and Lib Dems have also proposed an election on 9 December.

The draft text of an agreement for the 27 EU ambassadors – seen by the BBC – also included a commitment that the Withdrawal Agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU cannot be renegotiated in the future. (BBC)

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US forces stages successful operation against IS leader

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the terrorist group ISIS, is believed to be dead after U.S. forces carried out an operation in Syria, NBC News reported, citing two American officials. The operation was carried out around midnight in Syria.

The U.S. was conducting forensic tests to confirm that Baghdadi was among the dead, according to NBC News, but officials believe he was killed.

The mission came after the U.S. received actionable intelligence regarding Baghdadi in recent days. Various media outlets had previously reported that officials believe Baghdadi was killed.

The news came hours after the White House said late Saturday night that President Donald Trump would be making a “major statement” at 9 a.m. ET Sunday. It wasn’t immediately clear what the president would discuss.

The White House statement came more than an hour after Trump tweeted that “Something very big has just happened!” without disclosing further details.

The apparent attack on Baghdadi came days after Trump announced that Turkey agreed to a cease-fire against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the area had triggered concerns that the U.S. was not only abandoning a key ally in its fight against ISIS, but also potentially creating room for an ISIS revival.

Baghdadi, who was born in Iraq, became a key figure in the al Qaida in Iraq terror group in the years following the U.S. invasion of the country. Eventually, that group gave way to Islamic State in Iraq, and Baghdadi rose through its ranks. He would form his own group, the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which took over prominent parts of Iraq, including the city Mosul.

U.S.-led forces in turn routed ISIS, forcing it to give up much of the territory it had seized. Baghdadi has been on the run, and has often been rumored to have been killed or gravely hurt.

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Buhari nominates Adesina for second term

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President Muhammadu Buhari has re-nominated Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), for a second four-year term as head of the African regional financial institution.

Adesina became president of the Bank on May 28, 2015, twenty four hours after his tenure as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration ended.

Adesina disclosed his renomination for the Bank’s top position Sunday when he received a lifetime achievement award as Nigeria’s international icon at the 23rd Hallmarks of Labour awards held in Lagos.

He said, “President Bihari has nominated me again to be re-elected for a second term as President of the AfDB. I thank him for that support and I am extremely grateful to him. By the God’s grace, and with your support, I was elected president of the AfDB on May 28, 2015, exactly 24 hours after my term of office as minister of our dear nation, the nation jubilated as I became the first ever Nigerian to be elected president of the AfDB.
“We have been able to do much and God has helped us tremendously. The Bank was voted fourth most transparent institution globally last year. The Bank continues to maintain its goal through the race, we connected 16 million people to electricity within the last three years. We connected 17 million people with agricultural technology to get food security, we got nine billion people connected to finance, 55 million people with access to improved transport, and 31million people with access to improved water sanitation. Nigeria is the largest shareholder of AfDB. There is still much to do, there are still lots of challenges as we all know. I know I cannot do much unless I get a second term as President of the AfDB. I want to say that once again Nigeria has given me air in my lungs. President Buhari has nominated me again to be re-elected for a second term as president of the AfDB.”

Adesina said his election as the first ever Nigerian to head the Bank was a collective effort of Nigerians, mentioning Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Prof. Sule Gambari, Nigeria’s former permanent representative at the United Nations and Dr Ngozi Okinjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy in the Jonathan government, whom he said represented the country well and made Nigeria stand tall in the international community and made it possible for him to follow their examples.

“Some of these people may be dead but they are alive. Their achievements have become paths for us today just like the paths of the forest that leads one to the beach. I want to say that all of us must begin to take responsibility and that there is need for all of us at all times to be the best ambassadors of Nigeria and to make it the nation we want it to be,” Adesina added.

He charged Nigerians to emulate the examples set by notable Nigerians, saying that his position at the head of the AfDB was a collective effort of all Nigerians.

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Oil prices fall again

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Oil slipped on Monday as China’s economic outlook remained weak even as manufacturing data improved, with an ongoing trade war with the United States weighing on demand growth for the world’s largest crude importer.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures were down 52 cents or 0.84 percent at $61.39 a barrel by 0846 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures were 35 cents or 0.63 percent lower at $55.56 a barrel.

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 49.8 in September, slightly better than expected and advancing from 49.5 in August.
However, it remained below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction on a monthly basis, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

The PMI data “remained in contractionary territory for the fifth month in a row, indicating that economic fundamentals were still weak,” Citi analysts said in a note.

“The (Chinese) government will certainly step up fiscal and monetary efforts to boost domestic demand, which we believe can help stabilize, probably not accelerate, economic growth.”

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has restored capacity to 11.3 million barrels per day after an attack on its processing facilities this month, sources told Reuters last week, although Saudi Aramco has yet to confirm it is fully back online.

While Saudi Arabia is maintaining exports by using crude from in

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