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Pound Falls Most in One Month as Johnson Backs ‘Brexit’ Campaign

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The pound fell the most in over a month against the dollar after London Mayor Boris Johnson, one of the U.K.’s best-known and most popular politicians, said he’ll campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in a June referendum.

The drop undid a gain made late Friday, when David Cameron secured a deal on membership terms with EU leaders. The U.K. Prime Minister said the following day that he would fight to keep Britain in the bloc, and set a June 23 date for the vote. Morgan Stanley analysts wrote on Friday that Johnson’s decision would be key for sterling, given his popularity with the British public.

“The pound should come under immediate pressure,” if he opted to campaign to leave, analysts led by Hans Redeker wrote in an e-mailed report.

The pound fell 1 percent to $1.4258 as of 9:11 a.m. in Auckland on Monday, the most on a closing basis since Jan. 15. It climbed 0.5 percent Friday. While the currency is down 3.2 percent this year, it has rebounded from an almost seven-year low of $1.4080 reached in January.

Even after Cameron announced a deal winning welfare curbs on Friday, a measure of traders’ expectations for price swings in the pound against the euro during the next six months remained at the highest since 2011. Although the announcement of the date removes one aspect of ambiguity for traders, they now face months of polls and campaigning that could boost volatility further.

With traders already pushing back bets on the timing of a Bank of England interest-rate increase, the prospect of Britain leaving the world’s largest single market had been causing further concern, helping push down the pound against most of its Group-of-10 peers this year.

“The pound’s weakness is a product of uncertainty of the U.K.’s ongoing membership of the union, not the timing of the poll,” said David Page, a senior economist at AXA Investment Managers in London. “Weakness is likely to reflect any increased perception of the likelihood to leave and as such is likely to be a constant feature over the coming months.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said earlier this month that if Britain quits the EU sterlingcould fall to $1.15-$1.20 — levels last since in 1985. HSBC Holdings Plc said in January that a forecast for a jump to $1.60 by year-end relied on the nation remaining in the 28-member club.

Higher Volatility

Six-month implied volatility on the pound against the euro, a measure of price swings based on options, was at 12.10 percent on Friday, the highest level since September 2011, based on closing prices.

“The uncertainty will persist” into the vote, said Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA in London. “Sterling was the weakest major last week and probably remains under pressure.”

The uncertainty over the vote hasn’t had the same impact on equities. While U.K. stock swings have increased this year, FTSE 100 Index implied volatility remains lower than for the euro area. And the weakening of the pound has actually helped the gaugeperform better than any other major market in the region. Even small- and mid-cap companies, deemed more at risk in a “Brexit” scenario, have fallen less than their European peers. Pictet Asset Management says U.K. stocks are not reflecting the true danger of an exit.

Ministers’ Stance

After the announcement of a date, attention quickly turned to the stance of ministers who, while given a free hand by Cameron to campaign against the government’s position, were asked not to announce their intentions until after the cabinet meeting on Saturday.

Johnson isn’t the only dissenter. Six ministers said they’d defy Cameron and campaign to leave on Saturday, among them the Prime Minister’s long-time friend and ally, Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

Even so, Cameron has convinced the majority of his cabinet to support him, including Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Theresa May, who were both seen as wavering over which way to vote.

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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FG Instructs DBN to Increase Funding Towards MSMES Following The Global And Domestic Disruptions

The federal government of Nigeria has directed the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to step up its efforts to increase its funding for MSMEs.

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The federal government of Nigeria has directed the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to step up its efforts to increase its funding for MSMEs.

Following the impact of the Russian-Ukraine war that has disrupted business activities in different countries across the world, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) during this period have continued to face increased difficulties.

Noting that MSMEs occupy a critical part of the Nigerian economy and contribute 48 percent to Nigeria’s GDP, the FG has demanded the DBN to expand its funding windows to provide affordable financing to a wider cross-section of MSMEs.

In a response to the demand of the federal government, the Managing Director of DBN Dr. Tony Okpanachi while speaking at DBN’s 3rd annual lecture series with the theme: “Thriving in the Face of Domestic and Global Disruptions”, assured that despite the adverse effect of domestic and global disruptions on MSMEs in Nigeria, the bank would continue to empower and drive the critical sub-sector of the economy to deploy innovative strategic solutions in the management of their businesses.

The Bank also assured of its continuous partnership with its Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to eliminate the financing constraints faced by MSMEs.

His words, “In Nigeria, we’re currently plagued with rising inflation of 20.52% (as of September 2022). We are as well afflicted with rising food and commodity prices, coupled with the rising and unstable exchange rates among others.

“The effects of Global disruption on international trade often come as a shock to businesses. These series of events have led to uncertainty and radical changes to companies’ well-established strategies across the globe and MSMEs are not exempted.

“The future of work is currently in a state of flux, with many old and new challenges hitting MSMEs particularly hard. Hence, Governments, corporate bodies, and individuals, mostly MSMEs must find ways to adapt to the changing times and the volatility of the market, deal with uncertainty, and figure out how to convert that into opportunities.”

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) was conceived by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in collaboration with global development partners to address financing constraints faced by MSMEs and small Corporates in Nigeria.

The bank has successfully disbursed over N512 billion in loans to no less than 225,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria since it was established five years ago.

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Agriculture Well Below its Potential

Agriculture remains integral for developing economies, capable of stimulating growth across the non-oil economy via its broad potential value-chain interlinkages.

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Corn, Soybeans Decline As Favorable Weather May Boost U

Agriculture remains integral for developing economies, capable of stimulating growth across the non-oil economy via its broad potential value-chain interlinkages.

The latest national accounts released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that agriculture accounted for c.23% of total GDP. On a y/y basis, the sector grew by 1.2% y/y in Q2 ’22, compared with 3.2% in the previous quarter. Within the sector, crop production grew by 1.5% y/y and accounted for 90% of agriculture GDP. The forestry and fisheries segments grew by 1.3% y/y and 0.9% y/y respectively.

However, livestock contracted by -2.9% y/y.

Over the past eight quarters, agriculture has grown by an average of 2.2% y/y. The agricultural sector has been a beneficiary of substantial credit interventions by the CBN and state-owned development banks. At its July meeting, the CBN/MPC disclosed that total disbursements under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) amounted to N1trn as at end-July ’22, distributed to c.4.2 million smallholder farmers across the country.

Furthermore, the total disbursements under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) amounted to N744bn for 678 projects in agro-production and agro-processing. The CACS is among the better performing credit intervention programmes, given its positive repayment outcome (currently estimated at c.N700bn). Meanwhile, for ABP only 40% of mature loans have been repaid.

The misalignment between the growth figures recorded in this sector and intervention efforts can be partly attributed to the large informal economy, which is estimated to represent c.50% of the economy. The formalisation process is partly hampered by absence of bank accounts (by an estimated c.40% of Nigerians).

Given the rural nature of agriculture, a significant number of farmers are unbanked. This contributes to the difficulties in accessing funds. The CBN is gradually winding down special intervention funds, except those that are tagged as critical (relating to SMEs and the power industry). This points towards gradual tapering to maintain the price stability mandate.

It is worth highlighting that the sector is still saddled with unresolved insecurity and structural challenges that undercut investments. Some of these structural challenges include poor storage facilities, poor transport networks, low technology, among others. These challenges contribute to the risk-averse posture of some banks with regards to providing credit to players within the agriculture sector.

Although there have been laudable interventions by the CBN and the FGN, the sector still requires investments. Based on the latest data from the CBN, credit to the agricultural sector accounted for just 6.1% of total credit to the private sector, compared with sectors such as trade/general commerce (7.1%), finance, insurance and capital market (8.6%), oil and gas (16.1%) as well as manufacturing (17.4%) in August ‘22.

Based on another data source, the NBS, agriculture accounted for 3.7% (USD57.4m) of total capital importation in Q2 ’22 compared with 3.3% (USD28.9m) recorded in the corresponding period in 2021. This is an increase of 99% or USD28.5m.

To encourage increased investments into the sector, financial institutions should consider innovative financing solutions targeted at active players across the agricultural value chain. This should boost returns and profitability as well as stimulate economic activity within the sector.

Regarding trade, agriculture exports accounted for 2% of total trade, declining by -30% q/q to N371bn in Q2. We note that cashew nuts in shell, sesame seeds, standard quality cocoa beans, shelled cashew nuts, and natural cocoa butter featured as top export products in Q2 ‘22.

However, agricultural exports have remained below 5% of total exports over the past five years. There is still vast room to boost agro-related exports. This can be achieved through sustainable public-private partnerships that can potentially transform the agriculture sector to ensure that it realises its potential.

In addition, a boost to export receipts should assist with fx revenue diversification and by extension, support overall GDP growth.

As for agriculture imports, it accounted for 9% of total trade, growing by 5% q/q to N464bn in Q2. The growth in imports is unfavourable for imported food inflation. As at August, imported food prices is 17.9%, increasing by 54bps YTD. On the back of supply-chain constraints exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, prices of some agriculture commodities have spiked. Notably, the prices of maize and wheat have increased by 20% and 19% respectively YTD.

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement should support agricultural activity, create new regional markets for farmers and strengthen the agro-value chain. However, there should be increased focus on value chain interventions, especially around agriculture commodities that the Nigeria has comparative and competitive advantage.

Furthermore, to boost agricultural exports, there is a need to improve quality of products to meet and/or exceed the global standard. This can be achieved through sensitisation programmes geared towards educating exporters across the country. This should assist with solving poor packaging, and high level of chemicals (in the case of agricultural produce), improper labelling, insufficient information on nutritional content, presence of high level of pesticide residue, among others.

Overall, agriculture can potentially drive economic diversification in Nigeria. Improving the agriculture sector requires stakeholders to adopt a longterm view and commit to short-term sacrifices beneficial to expanding the sector.

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Nigeria Has Lost N531 Million on The Suspended Abuja to Kaduna Train Service

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria disclosed that the country has lost N531 million between March 28 when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna train to September 2022. 

Okhiria noted that the money would have been remitted to the federal government. 

It would be recalled that terrorists unleashed an attack on the Abuja to Kaduna trail which led to the death of eight passengers. About 41 others were injured while scores were kidnapped.

Although some of those that were kidnapped have been released, about 22 are still in the den of the terrorists. Reports had it that about 970 passengers were onboard the train during the attack. 

In response, the Nigerian Railway Corporation halt service along the Abuja to Kaduna train corridor. 

According to the Managing Director of NRC, while speaking to newsmen in Lagos, he said the corporation will not resume service on Abuja to Kaduna rail until all those who remain with the terrorist are released. 

The Managing Director further disclosed that four members of the railway corporation are among those still held captive. 

He, however, expressed optimism that all those still in captivity will soon be released. He noted that the Minister of Transportation is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for train passengers and all train facilities.  The committee is to liaise with the appropriate ministries and agencies to fine-tune a safer railway system. 

“We are talking about present-day technology so that we can have real-time monitoring. We will also be deploying a lot of security agencies to be at strategic locations”.

Some of the places the committee has visited include the office of the Inspector General of Police(IG) and the Ministry of Information.

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