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Reserve Bank of Australia Sees Faster Growth

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Australia’s central bank maintained its forecast of accelerating growth in response to easy policy, even as risks around key trading partner China cast a shadow over the regional economic outlook.

The Reserve Bank of Australia trimmed its inflation forecast for the year through June 2016 and its 2017 growth projections in a quarterly monetary policy statement Friday but it kept most of its estimates unchanged.

“A further increase in growth in household incomes and demand is anticipated, supported by rising employment, low interest rates and lower” gasoline prices, it said “The outlook for China’s growth is a significant uncertainty for the outlook for the Australian economy.”

Australia is benefiting from a depreciating local dollar that helps insulate the economy from shocks abroad and increases the competitiveness of local industries, whereas jurisdictions like Europe and Japan are struggling with their currencies. Local policy makers kept rates unchanged Tuesday for a ninth month as they gauge the impact of recent financial market turbulence on global and domestic growth.

The Australian dollar fell and was quoted at 71.87 U.S. cents at 11:32 a.m in Sydney after December retail sales were lower than anticipated.

The market upheaval in part reflects “concerns about the evolving balance of risks in China and the ability of the Chinese authorities to manage a challenging economic transition,” the central bank said today. “Any sharp slowing in economic activity or increase in financial stresses in China could spill over to other economies in the region.”

China Devaluation

China devalued its currency in August and then undertook an eight-day stretch of weaker yuan fixings through Jan. 7, roiling global financial markets and fueling concern it was favoring depreciation to revive the slowest growth in a quarter century.

China’s central bank has at the same time been burning through its currency reserves to support the yuan amid record capital outflows.

At the same time, Australia recorded its biggest quarter of employment growth on record at the end of last year and unemployment fell to 5.8 percent, even as the economy was on course to expand at a below-trend pace.

“It is possible that the strength in the labor market data contains information about the economy not apparent in the national accounts data,” the RBA said. “In part, employment growth appears to have reflected the relatively strong growth of output in the more labor-intensive sectors of the economy, such as household services.”

The RBA is trying to orchestrate a transition away from mining investment to other industries in the economy, using low rates and a weaker dollar as a tailwind for industries. In some areas this is working: rising house prices have fueled a residential construction boom and conditions for business are above average. Yet there is still no sign of an uptick in investment outside the mining industry it is seeking.

Unwinding Investment

Resource firms are about half way through the unwinding of investment programs, and reflecting lower global commodity prices, the central bank today lowered its forecast for the terms of trade, or the ratio of export prices to import prices, by about 4 percent compared with its November estimate.

Given inflation is low and the central bank expects little upturn, it reiterated that there may be “scope for easier policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand.”

While global central banks are struggling with disinflation or outright deflation that an open economy like Australia’s will be exposed to, one of the curiosities to date is the lack of pass through of higher import prices from a falling currency.

The RBA said today that based on history, the direct effect of the depreciation since early 2013 should add about half a percentage point to underlying inflation over each year of the forecast period. It indicated this time may be a bit different.

Competitive Pressures

“Heightened competitive pressures, including from new entrants into the Australian retail market, and greater efforts by retailers to reduce their costs and improve efficiency, are continued to limit the extent to which higher import prices are evident in final retail prices for some time,” the RBA said.

That’s a boon for consumers. The central bank also said its forecast for better household consumption and income growth — reflecting higher employment and the plunge in gasoline prices – – indicate the nation’s savings ratio is likely to decline less than previously expected.

The RBA said its liaison with retailers “suggests that trading conditions improved in the Christmas and post-Christmas sales period.”

Bloomberg

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.

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Banking Sector

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO): Profit After Tax Inches Slightly Higher in Q3 2021

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GTCO Commemorates Listing on Nigerian Exchange - Investors King

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO Plc), Nigeria’s leading financial institution, grew profit after tax by 4.11 percent to N49.986 billion in the three months ended September 30, 2021.

This was slightly higher than the N48.012 billion filed in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, according to the bank’s unaudited financial statements released on Tuesday and obtained by Investors King.

The lender’s interest income drops by 7.48 percent to N68.945 billion in the third quarter under review, down from N74.518 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Interest expense inched slightly higher to N13.057 billion in Q3 2021, representing an increase of 5.3 percent when compared to N12.397 billion filed in the same period of 2020.

As expected, GTCO’s net interest income moderated by 10.03 percent from N62.121 billion in Q3 2020 to N55.887 billion in Q3 2021.

Net interest income after loan impairment charges stood at N54.608 billion in Q3 2021, a decline of 7.04 percent from N58.745 billion recorded in Q3 20210.

However, GTCO was able to plug further decline with a 67.39 percent increase in fee and commission income. The bank realised N18.318 billion in fee and commission income in Q3 2021, up from N10.944 billion charged in Q3 2020.

Fee and commission expense increased slightly to N3.343 billion in the quarter under review, up from N2.239 billion in Q3 2020.

The bank grew net fee and commission income by 72.07 percent to N14.976 billion in Q3 2021 from N8.704 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Also, the bank’s net gains on financial instruments classified as held for trading dipped slightly to N8.048 billion in Q3 2021. While other income improved from N11.157 billion in Q3 2020 to N15.283 billion in Q3 2021.

Profit before income tax grew slightly by 2.11 percent to N58.852 billion in Q3 2021 from N57.638 billion in Q3 2020. The bank paid N8.866 billion in taxes in the period under review.

GTCO loses N9.491 billion to forex differential in the third quarter but also made N2.847 billion due to forex differential to take its total comprehensive income for the quarter N44.618 billion.

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BUA Cement Grows Profit After Tax by 20 Percent to N22.5 Billion in Q3 2021

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Bua cement - Investors King

BUA Cement Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading cement manufacturers, grew profit after tax by 20.06 percent to N22.510 billion in the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2021.

This represents a 20.06 percent or N3.762 billion growth from N18.747 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

In the company’s unaudited financial statements released on Tuesday and obtained by Investors King, revenue grew by 13.27 percent to N62.627 billion in the quarter under review, up from N55.288 billion achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

As expected, cost of sales inched higher to N33.497 billion in Q3 2021, a 8.9 percent increase from N30.751 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Gross profit stood at N29.130 billion while operating profit improved by 16.79 percent to N25.168 billion in the quarter under review from N21.548 billion filed in the same quarter of 2021.

BUA Cement’s net finance costs improved tremendously to N225.047 million in Q3 2021 from N1.229 billion posted in the same period of 2020.

Profit before income tax appreciated by 22.22 percent N20.264 billion in Q3 2020 to N24.766 billion in Q3 2021. The leading cement manufacturer paid N2.256 billion in income tax in the period under review.

Earnings per share grew from 55 kobo in Q3 2020 to 66 kobo Q3 2021.

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99 Percent of Bank Account Holders in Nigeria Have Less Than N500,000 in Savings – NDIC

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Retail banking

In another way to validate Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate and weak household income, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said 99.4 percent of all the bank accounts in Nigeria have less than the N500,000 Maximum Insured Limit (MIL) of the corporation.

Mr. Bello Hassan, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, NDIC, disclosed this in a workshop organised for Finance Correspondents and Business editors.

The MD and Chief Executive stated this against the concerns over the adequacy of the corporation’s maximum coverage limit of N500,000 per depositor, merchant and, non-interest bank, primary mortgage bank and mobile money operator, as well as N200,000 per depositor per microfinance bank.

Hassan said: “I need to reiterate that, as it is today, these limits are not only adequate, they are also consistent with the extant provisions and recommendations of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) in its Core Principle for Effective Deposit Insurance System on the determination of coverage limits.

“The IADI Core Principle No. 8 on coverage limits specifically requires that the thresholds should be limited, credible with the capacity to fully cover substantial majority of bank depositors while the rest remain exposed to ensure market discipline. Deposit insurance coverage should also be consistent with the deposit insurance system’s public policy objective.

“In addition, the coverage limits are not designed to be static but subject periodic reviews to ensure that they are consistent with the public policy objectives of the Deposit Insurance System. The Corporation successfully reviewed upward the coverage limits from N50,000 at inception in 1989 to N200,000 in 2006 and N500,000 in 2010.

“In the same vein, the Corporation invites you to note that in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the total number of accounts in the deposit money banks stood at 83.0 million; 99.1million; 112.0 million and 128.4 million respectively. Out of these numbers, the N500,000 coverage limit fully covered 99.4%; 97.6%; 97.5% and 97.6% of accounts, respectively. What these figures entail is that only less than 3% of accounts/depositors are not fully covered by the prevailing coverage limits.

“The implication of this is that in the event of failure of a bank, above 97% of depositors would be fully covered by the Corporation.

“From the foregoing statistics, it could be observed that the Corporation’s deposit insurance coverage limits are not only adequate but robust enough to engender confidence in our banking system.”

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