Asian stocks rose as the yen steadied after breaking through 100 against the dollar and investors weighed the prospects for higher rates this year.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 139.69 as of 9:10 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.3 percent as the yen retreated against the dollar after briefly touching 99.54 on Tuesday. New York Fed President William Dudley said the central bank could potentially raise interest rates as soon as next month, warning investors that they are underestimating the likelihood of increases in borrowing costs.
“Considering how much the yen has strengthened, Japanese shares are showing resilience,” said Chihiro Ohta, a senior strategist with SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “However, there aren’t any reasons to actively buy Japanese stocks right now.”
Asian equities have climbed 23 percent from their February low through Tuesday as lackluster data from the world’s biggest economies fueled speculation central banks will continue to support them with stimulus and loose monetary policy. While the odds the Fed will raise rates in December climbed to 51 percent on Tuesday, from 45 percent the previous day, traders are betting there’s only a 22 percent chance of tightening next month, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Investors also weighed the policy response from the Bank of Japan as the yen surpassed 100 per dollar for the second time this year. Strategists at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. and Morgan Stanley see the yen extending this year’s 20 percent gain versus the dollar, further confounding policy makers who are seeking to spur growth and inflation in the world’s third-largest economy. As the currency surged Tuesday, Japanese Vice Finance Minister Masatsugu Asakawa said he’s watching with concern to see if there are speculative moves in the foreign-exchange market.
The “Japanese economy is extremely weak,” Perpetual’s Sherwood said. “Helicopter money could be in play as Japanese policy makers run out of ammunition.”
South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.6 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.
Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index added 0.3 percent in most recent trading, while those on the Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5 percent on Tuesday, after advancing above its 200-day moving average for the first time in a year as volume rebounded. While the gauge has climbed 17 percent from its January low, it’s still down 40 percent from last year’s peak.
China’s regulators took another step toward opening their financial markets on Tuesday, unveiling a second channel for foreign investors to buy the country’s stocks while also lifting restrictions on asset flows. The trading link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is expected to start in about four months.
The long-delayed second link, which had been expected for more than a year, is part of China’s efforts to internationalize its capital markets and increase its global influence to something more in line with the heft of the nation’s economy. Barriers to foreigners wanting to trade the $6.5 trillion of mainland equities were one of the reasons that MSCI Inc. decided not to include the shares in its global benchmark indexes in June. Authorities in Beijing have also kept tight control over how much money leaves the country.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent. The U.S. equity benchmark index slipped 0.6 percent on Tuesday.
SEC To Ban Unregistered CMOs From Operating By Month End
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will stop operations of Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are yet to renew their registration on May 31, 2021.
This was contained in a circular signed by the management of SEC in Abuja on Monday.
On March 23, SEC had informed the general public and CMOs on the reintroduction of the periodic renewal of registration by operators.
The commission noted that the reintroduction of the registration renewal was due to the need to have a reliable data bank of all the CMOs registered and active in the country’s capital market.
“To provide updated information on operators in the Nigerian Capital Market for reference and other official purposes by local and foreign investors, other regulatory agencies and the general public, to increasingly reduce incidences of unethical practices by CMOs such as may affect investors’ confidence and impact negatively on the Nigerian Capital Market and to strengthen supervision and monitoring of CMOs by the Commission,” SEC explained.
According to the circular, the commission said CMOs yet to renew their registration at the expiration of late filing on May 31, would not be eligible to operate in the capital market.
It explained that CMOs were required to have completed the renewal process on or before April 30, however, the commission said late filing for renewal of registration would only be entertained from May 1 to May 31.
SEC also said that asides from barring the CMOs who failed to comply accordingly, their names would be published on its website and national dailies.
It added that names of eligible CMOs would be communicated to the relevant securities exchanges and trade associations.
A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B
Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.
India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.
This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.
As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.
The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.
India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.
Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.
An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.
India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.
This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.
India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.
A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.
According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.
Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects
The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.
Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.
The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.
Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa Greenco, Dr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEG, Orli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global Partners, Beatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.
Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”
Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”
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