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CBN Offers New 12-Month Futures Contract of $1bn at N250/$

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CBN

One month into the June 27, 2016 introduction of and formal unveiling of the Naira-Settled OTC FX Futures Market, the pioneer 1M contract – NGUS JUL 27 2016 $/N279, for about $26.73 million executed between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and authorised Dealers on FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, matured and was settled on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, according to this BusinessDay.

Consequently, in line with the FMDQ OTC FX Futures Market Framework,N962.23mn total Settlement Amount was paid to the ‘Futures Banks’ – the counterparties to the CBN – on the matured NGUS JUL 27 2016 at $/N279 on the maturity date, July 27, 2016.

The CBN has consequently replaced the matured July 2016 contract and has now offered a new 12M contract, NGUS Jul 19 2017, with a total notional amount on offer of $1.00bn at N250 to $1.

Analysts say this is a milestone in the history of the Nigerian FX market, with the OTC FX Futures market having reported remarkable success in its almost one month of existence with over $1.20bn worth of the CBN’s OTC FX Futures contracts across all the tenors.

The profile of the buyers of the contracts includes Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and importers, among others, who have been trading on the FMDQ OTC FX Futures Trading and Reporting System.

In line with the OTC FX Futures Market Framework released by FMDQ and the FMDQ OTC FX Futures Market Operational Standards, the 1M contract was valued by the Exchange against the Nigerian Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange Fixing (NIFEX) spot rate, which ceased to trade on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

Clearing operations and settlement for the final variation margins, as valued by FMDQ, were effected through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System PLC (NIBSS), acting as the clearing and settlement infrastructure for the margining and settlement of the OTC FX Futures contracts.

Meanwhile, the hike in the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), anchor rate at which the CBN lends to banks by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) may have started its positive impact, with over 4,000 percentage or $158million surge in deals at the interbank FX spot market, a day after the decision, data from the FMDQ website show.

Consequently, foreign exchange dealers traded $162.4million in 33 spot deals between Tuesday and Wednesday, compared to thin trade of $3.560million recorded the preceding Monday in six deals.

Nigeria’s currency traded at an average of N316.93/USD on Thursday, as at 2.39 PM, FMDQ data showed. At the FX interbank spot market, the local currency reached a high of N340.46/USD and a low of N283/USD yesterday. Dealers traded $23.414million on Thursday in 12 deals.

Charlie Robertson, global chief economist at Moscow-based Renaissance Capital said “Nigeria FX is closer to the market clearing rate and long-term fair value (315-320/$) on a 20 year average Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) model”.

“The key point is that Africa is back – with two of the three biggest economies (Nigeria and Egypt) now making themselves investable again, after an overly long period where FX policy deterred investors. As we progress through 2H16, it is worth re-examining Africa again,” Robertson said.

Michael Famoroti, economic research analyst at Vetiva Capital Management, in recent commentary said the move by the MPC is positive for the naira in the short-term “but note that longer-term, it is in addressing the structural defects in Nigeria’s export sectors that will ensure a viable currency market.

“We expect that following this decision, the interbank market rate could retrace closer to the N300/USD level and if the CBN’s move to redirect liquidity via banks to Bureau De Changes (BDCs) proves successful, the gap between the interbank and parallel market rate could narrow in the coming weeks,” the Vetiva analyst added.

The prices of oil, Nigeria’s biggest source of revenue steadied just above three-month lows on Thursday, as producers continued to pump more than needed, filling inventories, and economic growth prospects darkened.

Brent crude oil was down 35 cents at $43.12 a barrel by 1335 GMT, after touching $42.88, its lowest since April 20. U.S. light crude was down 15 cents at $41.77.

“Having introduced a flexible exchange rate policy, we expect the current move by the CBN to raise interest rates to positively affect the foreign exchange market as we anticipate that more foreign direct investments (FDI) will begin to flow into the country, targeting investments in Government securities which will now return higher. This should immediately improve liquidity in the FX market and reduce volatility,” said research analysts at Lagos-based Capital Bancorp Plc.

Naira-Settled OTC FX Futures contracts are essentially non-deliverable Forwards (NDF) contracts where parties agree to an exchange rate for a predetermined date in the future, without the obligation to deliver the underlying US Dollar (notional amount) on the maturity/settlement date.

Upon maturity, both parties are assumed to have transacted at the Spot FX market rate.

Since these contracts are cash- settled in Naira, there is no physical delivery of the underlying currency to the counterparties, in this case the CBN and the Authorised Dealers.

The differential between the OTC FX Futures contract rate and the NIFEX Spot rate on the settlement day determines the Settlement Amount, the gain/loss inherent in the contract; and the party that would have suffered a loss with the NIFEX Spot FX rate is paid the Settlement Amount in Naira, thus ensuring that both parties in purchasing or selling the US Dollar in the Spot FX market will achieve an effective rate equal to the NDF rate that had been guaranteed to each other via the trade in the OTC FX Futures contract.

To facilitate the operational efficiency of the Futures market, the CBN, on June 24, 2016, issued a circular on ‘Externalisation of Differentials on OTC FX Futures Contracts for FPIs’, thus providing an avenue for this category of end-users, upon presentation of an FMDQ-issued Settlement Advice and a Certificate of Capital Importation, to repatriate the Settlement Amounts of the OTC FX Futures contracts. Similarly, on July 22, 2016, the apex Bank released another circular mandating the sale of foreign currency proceeds of international money transfers by banks to the Bureaux-de-Change (BDC) operators, who will in turn sell the proceeds to retail end-users.

Thus serving to ease the demand pressure for FX in the BDC market and improving the value of the Nigerian Naira against the US Dollar.

Meabwhile in its continued efforts aimed at bringing back liquidity into the Nigerian FX market, attracting foreign investors and shoring up the contracting economy, the Central Bank revised its quotes on the OTC FX Futures market on July 27, 2016.

A month after the launch of the product, the OTC FX Futures market has witnessed significant buy-in from the market, with c. $1.33bn of contracts purchased in the first month, considerably reducing front-loading in the spot market and promoting hedging

Although the Spot FX rate depreciated 14.73 percent between June 27 (N281.49) and July 27, 2016 (N330.12) and yields on the 1-year and 3-month bills (Jul-6-2017 & Oct-20-2016) recorded 7.20 percent and 4.13 percent hikes over the same period, OTC FX Futures quotes by the CBN were adjusted to remain competitive in furtherance of the strategy to attract foreign investors into the domestic market.

Changes along the OTC FX Futures curve were asymmetric, with significant adjustment at the short-end of the curve.

NGUS APR 26 2017, previously quoted at N210.00 (the lowest priced contract), is now quoted at N260.00, reflecting a 23.81% increment in the price – the largest change across the curve.

Patrick Atuanya & IHEANYI NWACHUKWU

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.

Markets

Global Markets Near Record Peaks and Will Get Stronger: deVere CEO

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Stocks

As the FTSE 100 hits 7,000 points for the first time since the Covid pandemic, global stock markets are poised to “get even stronger”, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The observation from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as London’s index jumped over the important threshold in early trading in London, gaining over 0.5% to 7024 points.

Mr Green notes: “London’s blue-chip index is up 40% since the worst lows of the pandemic.

“This landmark moment represents the wider optimistic sentiment gripping global markets which are near record peaks.

“We can expect global stock markets to get even stronger as investors look to seize the opportunities from economies reopening.

“They are looking towards economies rebounding in a post-pandemic era due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus, pent-up cash and demand, and strong corporate earnings.

“The current ultra-low interest rate environment and the under-performance of bonds will also act as a catalyst for stock markets.”

However, the CEO’s bullish comments also come with a warning.

“I would urge investors to proceed with caution as there are some headwinds on the horizon, including relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, which could be coming to a tipping point in coming weeks.

“As such, in order to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate risks, investors must ensure proper portfolio diversification.”

Mr Green concludes: “A variety of factors are going to drive global stock markets. Investors will not want to miss out and should work with a good fund manager to judiciously top-up their portfolios.”

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Markets

Refinitiv Expands Economic Data Coverage Across Africa

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Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insights, Refinitiv today announced the expansion of its economic data coverage of Africa. The new data set allows investment managers, central bankers, economists, and research teams to use Refinitiv Datasteam analytical data for detailed exploration of economic relationships and investment opportunities among data series covering the African continent.

Securing reliable, detailed, timely, locally sourced content has not been easy for economists who have in the past had to use international sources which often can take many months to update and opportunities to monitor the market can be missed. Because Africa is a diverse continent, economists and strategists need more timely access to country-specific data via national sources to create tailored business, policy, trading and investment strategies to meet specific goals.

Africa continues to develop critical infrastructure, telecommunications, digital technology and access to financial services for its 1.3bn people. The World Bank estimates that over 50% of African inhabitants will be under 25 by 2050. This presents substantial opportunities for investors who can spot important trends and make informed decisions based on robust and timely economic data.

Stuart Brown, Group Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, Refinitiv, said: “Africa’s growing, dynamic and fast evolving economies makes it a focal point for financial markets today and in the coming decades.  As part of LSEG’s commitment to empowering the global markets with accurate and timely data, we are excited about making these unique datasets available via the Refinitiv Data Platform. Our economic data coverage of Africa will provide our customers with deeper and broader inputs for macroeconomic analyses and enable more effective investment strategies and economic research.”

Refinitiv Africa economic data coverage:

  • Africa economics content comprises around 500,000 nationally sourced time series data covering 54 African nations
  • Content is sourced from national statistical offices, central banks and other key national institutions
  • The full breadth of economics categories in Datastream including national accounts, money and finance, prices, surveys, labor market, consumer, industry, government and external sectors
  • International sources including OECD, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Oxford Economics & more provide comparable data & forecasts across the continent

Refinitiv® Datastream® has global macroeconomics coverage to analyze virtually any macro environment, and better understand economic cycles to uncover trends and forecast market conditions. With over 14.2 million economic times series map trends, customers can validate ideas and identify opportunities using Refinitiv Datastream. Access its powerful charting tools, 9,000 pre-built chart templates and chart studies for commonly used valuation, performance, and technical and fundamental analysis.

 Refinitiv continually grows available data – the China expansion in 2019 covered a unique combination of economic and financial indicators. Refinitiv plans to expand Southeast Asia covering Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia with delivery expected in 2021. This ensures that Refinitiv will have much needed emerging market economic content.

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Oil Rises on Drawdown in U.S. Oil Stocks, OPEC Demand Outlook

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Oil prices rose in early trade on Wednesday, adding to overnight gains, after industry data showed U.S. oil inventories declined more than expected and OPEC raised its outlook for oil demand.

Brent crude futures rose 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $63.95 a barrel at 0057 GMT, after climbing 39 cents on Tuesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures similarly climbed 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $60.46 a barrel, adding to Tuesday’s rise of 48 cents.

Oil price gains over the past week have been underpinned by signs of a strong economic recovery in China and the United States, but have been capped by concerns over stalled vaccine rollouts worldwide and soaring COVID-19 infections in India and Brazil.

Nevertheless, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) tweaked up its forecast on Tuesday for world oil demand growth this year, now expecting demand to rise by 5.95 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021, up by 70,000 bpd from its forecast last month. It is banking on the pandemic to subside and travel curbs to be eased.

“It was a welcome prognosis by the market, which had been fretting about the impact the ongoing pandemic was having on demand,” ANZ Research analysts said in a note.

Further supporting the market on Wednesday, sources said data from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels in the week ended April 9, compared with estimates for a decline of about 2.9 million barrels from analysts polled by Reuters.

Traders are waiting to see if official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday matches that view.

Market gains are being capped on concerns about increased oil production in the United States and rising supply from Iran at a time when OPEC and its allies, together called OPEC+, are set to bring on more supply from May.

“They may have to contend with rising U.S. supply,” ANZ analysts said.

EIA said this week oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by 13,000 bpd in May to 7.61 million bpd.

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