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World’s Biggest Pension Fund Loses $64 Billion

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Pension

The world’s biggest pension fund posted its worst quarterly loss since at least 2008 after a global stock rout in August and September wiped $64 billion off the Japanese asset manager’s investments.

The 135.1 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) Government Pension Investment Fund lost 5.6 percent last quarter as the value of its holdings declined by 7.9 trillion yen, according to documents released Monday in Tokyo. That’s the biggest percentage drop in comparable data starting from April 2008. The fund lost 8 trillion yen on its domestic and foreign equities and 241 billion yen on overseas debt, while Japanese bonds handed GPIF a 302 billion yen gain.

The loss was GPIF’s first since doubling its allocation to stocks and reducing debt last October, and highlights the risk of sharp short-term losses that come with the fund’s more aggressive investment style. Fund executives have argued that holding more shares and foreign assets is a better approach as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to spur inflation that would erode the purchasing power of bonds.

“Short term market moves lead to gains and losses, but over the 14 years since we started investing, the overall trend is upwards,” Hiroyuki Mitsuishi, a councilor at GPIF, said at a press conference in Tokyo. “Don’t evaluate the results over the short term, as looking over the long term is important.”

Passive Investments

GPIF had 39 percent of its assets in Japanese debt at Sept. 30, and 21 percent in the nation’s equities, according to the statement. That compares with 38 percent and 23 percent three months earlier, respectively. The fund had 22 percent of its investments in foreign stocks at the end of September, and 14 percent in overseas bonds.

The retirement fund’s stock investments are largely passive, meaning returns typically track benchmark gauges. GPIF’s Japan equities slid 13 percent, the same decline posted by the Topix index, as China’s yuan devaluation and concern about the potential impact if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates roiled global markets. The fund lost 11 percent on its foreign equity holdings. Shares have rebounded since Sept. 30, with the Topix climbing 12 percent.

The fund can hedge its foreign-exchange risk if needed, Mitsuishi said, while declining to comment on whether GPIF had, or plans to start doing so.

Japanese Bonds

GPIF’s 0.6 percent return on Japanese debt compares with an 0.9 percent advance on a Bloomberg gauge of the nation’s sovereign bonds during the period. The fund’s foreign debt investments lost 1.3 percent during the quarter, as the yen strengthened 2.2 percent.

GPIF hadn’t posted a quarterly loss since the three months through March 2014. The most recent results included returns from a portfolio of government bonds issued to finance a fiscal investment and loan program, with GPIF providing such figures since 2008. If those are stripped out, the drop was the fund’s third-worst on record, exceeded only by declines in the depths of the 2008 global financial crisis and the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund lost 4.9 percent in the third quarter, with equity investments sliding 8.6 percent, its manager said on Oct. 28.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board delivered a 1.6 percent gain in the same period, with the fund’s President Mark Wiseman crediting diversification across assets and geographies for the result. It held about 51 percent of its portfolio in public and private equities, 29 percent in fixed income and about 20 percent in real estate and infrastructure investments.

“Compared to our past portfolio, swings in returns have become wider,” Mitsuishi said. “But in the long-term view, we see there’s less risk of failing to meet pension payouts with the new portfolio.”

Bloomberg

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Finance

Remittance to Nigeria, Other African Countries Hits $53bn in 2022

Remittance to Sub-Sahara Africa rose to $53 billion in this year

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The World Bank report has indicated that remittance to Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa has reached $53 billion in 2022. This represents an increase of 5.2 percent when compared with 2021.

Investors King understands that remittances into Nigeria and Kenya constitute a significant percentage of all the remittances into the African Sub-Sahara region. 

“Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa, the region most highly exposed to the effects of the global crisis, grew an estimated 5.2 percent to $53 billion in 2022, compared with 16.4 percent last year (due mainly to strong flows to Nigeria and Kenya),” the report stated.

According to the World Bank report on Migration and Development, prepared by the bank’s Migration and Remittances Unit and Development Economy, remittance has constituted an important part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a number of African countries. 

For example, Remittances as a share of GDP in the Gambia is 28 percent while it stood at 21 percent in Lesotho, the report noted. 

The report added that remittances are an important source of household income for most Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Through remittances, most of the households in the LMICSs have been able to survive harsh economic conditions such as the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Remittances are a vital source of household income for LMICs. They alleviate poverty, improve nutritional outcomes, and are associated with increased birth weight and higher school enrollment rates for children in disadvantaged households”. 

The World Bank noted that although the rising price of goods has adversely affected migrant incomes, the reopening of the economy and international borders has led to the increase of remittance inflow into Sub Sahara Africa.

Meanwhile, the global bank acknowledges that countries that witnessed scarcity of foreign exchange rates or multiple exchange rates officially recorded a decline in remittances inflow as migrants shift to alternative channels which promise better rates. 

The report noted that sending funds back home from some countries in Europe and America could attract a transaction fee that is as high as 7.8 percent on average. 

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Banking Sector

Insider Dealing: Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Acquires 37 Million Shares in Unity Bank

Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022

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Unity bank - Investors King

The management of Unity Bank Plc has announced that a non-Executive Director, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir scooped 37,681,947 shares of the bank.

The transaction was disclosed in a statement signed by the bank’s secretary, Alaba Williams.

Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022, according to the disclosure available on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Insider dealing is the buying or selling of a company’s shares by someone with a piece of insider information not available to the public. Insider dealing is illegal in the U.S. but not in Nigeria as long as it’s disclosed.

The Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated all listed companies to disclose insider trading to enforce transparency across the nation’s Exchange market.

Also, insider dealings can help stakeholders and retail investors assess the confidence of top company executives in a listed company. While Alhaji Bashir’s acquisition could demonstrate his trust in the future of the company, it could also mean positioning ahead of a major company’s event given his position.

Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Profile

In 2017, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir was appointed as a Non-executive Director following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval.

Hafiz Mohammed Bashir is an accomplished professional with vast experience in the public and private sectors. He retired at the apex of Local Government Administration in Katsina State in 1992 and has chaired the Board of many companies – including Fiztom International Ltd, HafadGlobal Resources limited and Fiziks Nigeria limited.

Alh. Hafiz who is currently in private business holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Abubakar Tafawa BalewaUniversity, Bauchi, and an Advance Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Jos, a higher Diploma in Local Government Administration- AhmaduBello University. Zaria and Diploma in Insurance from ABU, Zaria He is also currently undergoing a Master’s programme in Business   Administration at the Business School of the Netherlands.

See the details of the transactions below.

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Loans

Lagos Chamber of Commerce Advised FG on Borrowing, Proffer Solutions to Foreign Exchange Crises

LCCI lamented that additional borrowings will further increase Nigeria’s debt-servicing bill

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has advised the Federal Government to explore alternative ways to finance the deficit in the 2023 budget proposal. LCCI lamented that additional borrowings will further increase Nigeria’s debt-servicing bill.

Investors King understands that the 2023 budget proposal as submitted to the National Assembly by the president has a deficit of N10.78 trillion.

Speaking at the organisation’s 134th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, LCCI President, Dr Olawale Cole, stated that although the chamber does not totally frown at the budget deficits, the chamber, however, is not disposed to issuing new commercial loans as well as bilateral and multilateral loans to finance the deficit. 

Dr. Olawale added that while President Buhari alongside other African presidents is seeking debt cancelation from international creditors, the presidents across the African continent keep piling up debts. 

“The world is a bit confused at our president’s well-publicized call for debt cancellation at the last United Nations General Assembly,” he noted.

Speaking further on the danger of the country’s incessant borrowing, Olawale said “the borrowings are significantly increasing, and Nigeria is struggling to service these debts due to revenue mobilisation challenges and an increased fuel subsidy burden”.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that debt servicing may gulp 100 percent of the federal government’s revenue by 2026 if the government fails to implement adequate measures to improve revenue generation,” he lamented. 

Similarly, the LCCI president also spoke on the foreign exchange challenges in Nigeria. He noted that the major cause of the fall in naira is a result of the drop in oil output and weak production amid increased demand for foreign currency. 

“The real solution to our forex scarcity crises is to boost production and expand exports. We must also resolve the crises around oil production, as 80 percent of forex earnings come from oil and gas exports,” he said. 

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