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The Swiss National Bank Left Interest Rates at a Record Low

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Credit Suisse

The Swiss National Bank left interest rates at a record low and maintained its pledge to intervene if needed to push back against pressure on the “significantly overvalued” franc.

Announcing its decision on Thursday, the SNB said its measures continue to help weaken the currency, which has been a weight on the economy, holding back growth and pushing down inflation. It maintained the rate on sight deposits at minus 0.75 percent, as forecast by 15 of 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey, and kept its target range for three-month Libor unchanged.

Credit Suisse responded by saying SNB President Thomas Jordan is being too optimistic on the outlook and should have cut rates to weaken the franc and boost demand. The SNB sees growth accelerating to 1.5 percent next year from just under 1 percent this year and said that headline Swiss data showing a third-quarter stagnation don’t tell the full story.

In its analysis, the central bank also said the global backdrop had deteriorated, but it’s “cautiously optimistic.” On its key Swiss inflation outlook, it expects consumer prices to fall 0.5 percent next year before rising in 2017, though by less than forecast in September.

“The SNB has missed an opportunity to show its determination to weaken the franc in lowering its deposit rate,” said Maxime Botteron, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich. The growth forecast for 2016 will be “very difficult to achieve in the absence of any substantial depreciation,” he said.

In the buildup to the meeting, Jordan got some relief when new European Central Bank stimulus this month fell short of market expectations, sending the Swiss currency to a seven-week low versus the euro. That’s given him time to wait for a likely Federal Reserve rate increase next week, which could have global spillover effects.

“As long as the euro-franc exchange rate remains in a comfort zone of between 1.07 and 1.10 thanks to interventions, the SNB will probably hold off from additional interest-rate cuts,” said Dominik Studer, an analyst at UBS in Zurich.

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CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Global Credit Rating Affirms Sovereign Trust Insurance A Rating

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insurance

Global Credit Rating Affirms Sovereign Trust Insurance A Rating

Global Credit Rating, an international rating agency based in South Africa, has affirmed Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc A rating in its latest report released for the month of December 2020.

In a statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Global Credit Rating noted “that the Company has shown a great deal of consistency in her claims paying obligations to her numerous customers spread all over the country.

The Report further stated that “the listing of the Rights Issue in 2019 helped in increasing the Shareholders’ funds of the Company by 33.8%, to N7.8b by the end of the Financial year in 2019 as against the figure of N5.8b in 2018.

“Subsequently, by the third quarter of 2020, the Shareholders’ funds had increased to N8.2b which also translated to a 31% increase in the corresponding period of 2019 with a figure of N6.3b. In the Rating Agency’s opinion, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc is strong in liquidity with more than adequate claims coverage that compares well to industry averages.

“The capital adequacy of the Underwriting Firm is considered strong according to the rating report and this is underpinned by the sizeable capital base catering for the quantum of insurance and market risks assumed. In this regard, the ratio of Shareholders’ funds to NEP, (Net Earned Premium) improved to 189.2% in the Q3 of 2020 as against 130.9% in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

In terms of peer-to-peer performance comparison, “Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc did very well when compared with other selected insurers in terms of Capital, Total Assets, Gross Premium Income (GPI) and Net Premium Income (NPI).”

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Banking Sector

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 25.7 Billion in 2020

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Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 25.7 Billion in 2020

South Africa – Refinitiv today released the 2020 investment banking analysis for the Sub-Saharan African. According to the report, an estimated US$523.7 million worth of investment banking fees were earned in Sub-Saharan Africa during 2020, down 15% from 2019 and the lowest annual total in six years.

Fee declines were recorded across M&A advisory, debt capital markets underwriting, and syndicated lending.  Advisory fees earned from completed M&A transactions generated US$108.3 million, down 55% year-on-year to the lowest level since 2013.  Debt capital markets underwriting fees declined 13% to US$64.9 million, a four-year low, while syndicated lending fees fell 3% to US$263.0 million. Equity capital markets underwriting fees totalled US$87.5 million, almost three-times the value recorded during 2019.

Fees generated in the energy & power sector account for 26% of total investment banking fees earned in the region during 2020, up from 10% during the same period last year, while the financial and technology sectors account for 17% and 13% respectively.  South Africa generated the most fees in the region, a total of US$279.9 million accounting for 53%, followed by Mozambique with 14%. Boosted by lending fees, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group earned the most investment banking fees in the region during 2020, a total of US$57.3 million or an 11% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

The value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$25.7 billion during 2020, 62% less than the value recorded during 2019 when Naspers’ US$35.9 billion internet assets spin-off boosted merger activity to an all-time high.  The value of deals recorded during 2020 is the lowest annually since 2012.  The number of deals declined 5% from last year to a seven-year low.

The value of deals with a Sub-Saharan African target declined 39% to a sixteen-year low of US$12.5 billion as domestic M&A within the region declined 44% from last year and the combined value of inbound deals reached just US$7.1 billion, the lowest annual total since 2009.

Chemicals company Sasol agreed to sell a US$2.0 billion stake in LyondellBasell in October, the largest deal in the region during 2020.  Boosted by this deal, materials was the most active sector for deal making during 2020, accounting for 23% of Sub-Saharan African target M&A activity, followed by energy & power (19%) and technology (17%).  South Africa was the most targeted nation, followed by Uganda. Outbound M&A reached a three-year high of US$6.0 billion during 2020, 13% more than the value recorded during 2019.  The value was boosted by Angolan state-owned Sonangol’s purchase of PT Ventures from Africatel Holdings for US$1.0 billion and Templar Investments’ US$1.0 billion offer for Jindal Steel’s Oman unit. With advisory work on twenty deals worth a combined U$4.4 billion, JP Morgan holds to the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during 2020.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached US$2.5 billion during 2020, 54% more than the value recorded during the previous year, but lower than every other annual total since 2005.  The number of deals recorded increased 19% from 2019 but was lower than any other yearly tally since 2012.  One initial public offering was recorded during 2020, compared to three in 2019.  Malawian telecoms company, Airtel Malawi, raised US$28.7 million on the Malawi Stock Exchange in February. JP Morgan took first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during 2020.

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

The African Development Bank raised $3 billion in a “Fight Covid-19” social bond at the end of March to help alleviate the economic and social impact the Coronavirus pandemic will have on livelihoods and economies in the region.  With this deal, and Ghana’s US$3 billion Eurobond in February, Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$8.9 billion during the first quarter of 2020, the second-highest first quarter DCM total in the region of all-time.  Only US$1.9 billion was raised during the second quarter, the lowest quarterly total in eight years, followed by US$4.0 billion during the third quarter.  Prosus raised US$2.2 billion in December, boosting fourth quarter bond issuance in the region to US$4.3 billion.  The total proceeds raised during 2020 is US$19.0 billion, down 30% from last year and a four-year low.

Deutsche Bank took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond underwriter ranking during 2020 with US$2.6 billion of related proceeds, or a 13% market share.

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Finance

DF Holdings Limited Purchases 474,603,596 Shares of AIICO

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AIICO insurance

DF Holdings Limited Purchases 474,603,596 Shares of AIICO

A majority shareholder in AIICO Insurance Plc, DF Holdings Limited, has increased its stake in the company by purchasing additional shares of 474,603,596.

In a disclosure statement published through the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and signed by Donald Kanu, the Company Secretary, AIICO, DF Holdings Limited purchased the shares on 31, December 2020 from the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos Nigeria.

The 474,603,596 shares were purchased at N1.17k per share. Meaning, DF Holdings Limited invested N555.286 million in AIICO Insurance. See the details below.

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