London — China, the world’s largest crude importer, has started to reduce its reliance on West African oil, smitten by the lure of cheaper Iranian oil amid a backdrop of swollen inventories and higher flat prices.
This is a huge setback for Angola and Republic of Congo, which are heavily reliant on Chinese demand, for its foreign oil revenues, trading sources said this week.
“It is almost as if China took a look at $70/b oil and the state of COVID-19 in the West and said we are not paying any longer at these elevated levels — with a subtext that Iran is more than willing to oblige with lower prices,” said a Europe-based crude oil trader. “I don’t blame the Iranians…after all selling at $60/b or so is still very attractive for them no doubt and for China it is a win (economically and also a poke in the eye to the US),” he added. Read more…..
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Intense interest in cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and the Covid-19 pandemic have sparked debate among central banks on whether they should issue digital currencies of their own. Advocates argue that central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, can make cross-border transactions easier, promote financial inclusion, and provide payment system stability. Here’s how central bank digital currencies could become the future of digital finance.