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External Reserves Shed 2.1% in One Month

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The nation’s external reserves fell to $25.78bn as of August 16, down by 2.11 per cent from its level a month ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria data showed on Thursday.

This came just as the CBN stepped up dollar sales to boost interbank liquidity and support the local currency.

The central bank has been selling dollars almost daily on the interbank market to prop up the currency. The naira touched an all-time low of 365.25 per dollar on Thursday.

The foreign exchange reserves had fallen marginally to $26.20bn on July 28, down from $26.32 on July 22.

On May 28, the foreign exchange reserves stood at $26.42bn; it was down by 9.2 per cent year-on-year.

During the month of July, the reserves hovered between $26.3 and $26.4bn.

Similarly, the foreign exchange reserves oscillated between $26.3 and $26.4bn in June.

The reserves had stood at the $26.4bn between May 24 and 27, after dropping to $26.5bn from $26.6bn the same month.

Between May 31 and June 7, the external reserves stood at $26.3bn, before rising back to the $26.4bn mark on June 8, a level it maintained up until June 24. On June 27, it fell back to $26.36bn.

The CBN had last month lifted its 16-month-old currency controls and auctioned about $4bn on the spot and futures market to clear a backlog of dollar demand, to help boost interbank market trading.

The reserves had dropped by over 10 per cent from last year when they were at $29.7bn.

The global plunge in oil prices has caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development has forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned last month.

The external reserves have lost over $2bn this year.

The nation recorded a balance of payments deficit of 1.4 per cent in its Gross Domestic Product at the end of 2015, owing largely to its first current account deficit (three per cent of the GDP) in over a decade.

The nation’s external reserves had reduced by $6.7bn within a period of 21 months, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, said on March 23.

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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Appointments

Former Goldman Sachs Managing Director, Gurbhej Dhillon Joins Flutterwave as New the CTO

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Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company, today announced the appointment of former Goldman Sachs’ Managing Director, Gurbhej Dhillon as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Gurbhej joins at a key time for Flutterwave, following its recently completed Series D funding round, valuing the company at over USD 3 billion, and maintaining its rapid expansion.

As the new CTO, Gurbhej will be responsible for the further development of Flutterwave’s innovative technology platform which currently supports integrations with key technology partners like VISA, Mastercard, Discover Card Networks, and customers like Uber, Flywire, Booking.com etc. He will focus on improving the architecture and infrastructure, as well as providing leadership enabling other engineering and product leaders to create the best solutions that support business growth for customers.

Gurbhej joins Flutterwave from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, where he was the CTO and Head of Lending Engineering. He has extensive experience in enterprise application architecture across financial services and consumer businesses. At Marcus, he was responsible for launching platforms to significantly grow businesses while improving customer experience and established strategic partnerships with several Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to that, Gurbhej was CTO for Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Capital Markets team, responsible for the design, architecture, and build-out of strategic platforms that enabled clients to execute equity and debt product offerings.

Gurbhej is a great supporter of the Developer Community in Africa and admires the work they have done in recent times, building creative solutions at a world-class standard.

In his role as CTO of Africa’s leading technology company, Gurbhej hopes to support the Community to attain higher levels.

Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said: “I look forward to working closely with Gurbhej as we continue to expand rapidly. With the needs of our customers constantly evolving, we remain focused on driving further innovation across the business and continuing to develop our cutting-edge technology platform that simplifies payments and connects the African market with the world. Gurbhej’s experience and deep expertise in developing financial technology platforms will be instrumental in Flutterwave’s further growth.”

Commenting on his appointment, Gurbhej Dhillon said: “I am delighted to be joining the Flutterwave team at such an exciting time for the company. As a leading financial technology company in Africa, Flutterwave is well-positioned to capitalise on the global trends in payment digitisation and continues to drive Africa’s digital transformation, creating further opportunities for customers and merchants alike. It is a very crowded market with lots of new entrants so it is vital that we as a company continually look to innovate our products and services, improve our existing architecture and create endless possibilities for everyone.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Bankman-Fried’s FTX Says no Talks to Acquire Robinhood

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Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange said it is not in talks to acquire Robinhood Markets Inc, after a report on Monday claimed the exchange was exploring such a deal.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday FTX was discussing internally how to buy the app-based brokerage and that Robinhood had not received a formal takeover approach, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

“There are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood,” Bankman-Fried said in an emailed statement.”We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them.”

Robinhood declined to comment. The retail-trading platform’s shares were down 5% in extended trading after jumping over 14% on the report.

Last month, the founder and chief executive of FTX revealed a 7.6% stake in Robinhood but said he did not have any intention of taking control of the retail-trading platform.

Robinhood’s dual-class shares give its founders control of 64% of the voting shares outstanding, making it virtually impossible for takeovers without their support.

The popular trading platform has come under pressure this year as trading volumes ease from 2021’s frenetic pace – when retail investors used it to pump money into shares of so-called meme stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

That slowdown, along with a sell-off in high-growth technology stocks, has driven a near 50% slump in Robinhood shares this year. The company had a market valuation of nearly $7 billion as of Friday’s closing price.

FTX’s U.S. arm announced in May it would launch a stock trading platform by the end of the summer. Last week, it acquired partner Embedded Financial Technologies for an undisclosed amount, which would add custody, execution and clearing services to its equity trading platform.

FTX and its billionaire founder Bankman-Fried have rescued other players during the crypto market’s recent crash. It provided crypto lender BlockFi with a $250 million revolving credit facility to help the firm avoid a liquidity crunch.

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Business

Heavy Rains Help Ivory Coast Cocoa, But Some Farmers Fear Flooding

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Above-average rains last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions were good for development of the next October-to-March main crop, but much more moisture could be damaging, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s top cocoa-producing country is in its rainy season from April to mid-November, with farmers reporting unusually heavy rains last week in the western region of Soubre, the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and the eastern region of Abengourou.

It was difficult to harvest pods on trees for the mid-crop, and also to dry and store beans after harvesting, farmers said.

“The rains were very strong. It’s hard to keep the beans in good condition,” said Alexandre Boni, who farms near Agboville, where 128.1 mm of rain fell, 70 mm above the five-year average.

“There is also a risk that some fields will be flooded,” he added.

Similar fears were voiced in Soubre and Abengourou, both of which had more than 99 mm of rain last week, 47.5 mm and 46.7 mm above their respective five-year averages.

In the west-central region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were also above average, farmers said they were happy because flowers were proliferating on trees for a strong start to the main crop in October.

“The weather is good. We could be getting a lot of cocoa from September,” said Amani N’Guessan, who farms near Yamoussoukro, where 71.8 mm fell last week, 44 mm above the average.

Weekly average temperatures ranged from 24.8 to 27.7 degrees Celsius.

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