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IMF Insists on Naira Devaluation

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The Central Bank of Nigeria needs to devalue the naira by adjusting the official exchange rate of N199/dollar to a more market-determined exchange rate, the International Monetary Fund has said.

This position sharply differs from that of President Muhammadu Buhari, who insisted that Nigeria would not devalue the currency.

A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has, however, warned that naira devaluation could trigger an economic disaster for the country, urging Buhari not to yield to pressure to devalue the currency.

But the Washington-based monetary fund said in a statement on Wednesday that Nigeria’s economy was suffering from the impact of a sharp decline in oil prices, which made naira devaluation a necessity.

The statement read, “Nigeria is facing the impact of a sharp decline in oil prices. Eliminating existing macroeconomic imbalances and achieving sustained private sector-led growth requires a renewed focus on ensuring the competitiveness of the economy.

“As part of a credible package of policies, the exchange rate should be allowed to reflect market forces more and restrictions on access to foreign exchange removed, while improving the functioning of the interbank foreign exchange market.

“It will be important for the regulatory and supervisory frameworks to ensure a strong and resilient financial sector that can support private sector investment across production segments (including the SMEs) at reasonable financing costs.”

The IMF statement was released after its 2016 Article IV Mission to Nigeria.

It noted that the team met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; the Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma; and the Governor, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.

According to the fund, foreign exchange restrictions introduced by the CBN to protect reserves have impacted significantly on segments of the private sector that depend on adequate supply of foreign currencies.

“With oil prices expected to remain low for a long time, continuing risk aversion by international investors and downside risks in the global economy, the outlook remains challenging. The authorities’ policy response has focused on seeking to support growth, while preserving international reserves. The draft 2016 budget envisaged, appropriately, a significant shift in the composition of fiscal spending toward capital investment while increasing the allocation for a social safety net. At the same time, the CBN has eased monetary conditions.”

The IMF also noted that “in the light of the significant macroeconomic adjustment that is needed to address the permanent terms-of-trade shock, it will be important to put in place an integrated package of policies centred around: (i) fiscal discipline; (ii) reducing external imbalances; (iii) further improving efficiency of the banking sector; and (iv) fostering strong implementation of structural reforms that will enhance competitiveness and foster inclusive growth.”

Anyaoku said at the 40th and 7th anniversary symposium organised by the Ondo State Government on Wednesday in Akure that “those calling for official devaluation of the naira need to come up with a good answer to Nigeria’s current problematic situation with its currency.

“An incontrovertible fact is that with the current level of the country’s dependence on imported goods resulting in a monthly import bill that is about four times the value of its main export (crude oil) that is traded in the US dollars, official devaluation of the naira via-a-vis the dollar will inevitably produce a further rise in inflation to the detriment of all of us including the masses.

“Besides, in such circumstances, devaluation will lead to an unacceptable drain in the country’s external reserves that is already worryingly depleted.” Punch reported.

 

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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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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