Desirous of stimulating economic activities in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monday directed commercial banks and other authorised dealers in the foreign exchange (FX) market to ensure that they channel 60 per cent of total FX purchases from all sources (interbank inclusive) to end users strictly for the purpose of importation of raw materials, plant and machinery.
The central bank said it took the decision following its review of returns on the disbursement of FX and observed that a negligible proportion of FX sales were being channelled towards the importation of raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
The CBN gave the directive in a circular signed by its acting Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Mr. W.D. Gotring. The letter dated August 22, 2016, was posted on the central bank’s website.
It said: “Following the review of returns on the disbursement of foreign exchange to end users, it has been observed that a negligible proportion of foreign exchange sales are being channelled towards the importation of raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
“Against this background and in order to address the observed imbalance, authorised dealers are hereby directed to henceforth dedicate 60 per cent of total foreign exchange purchases from all sources (interbank inclusive) to end users strictly for the purpose of importation of raw materials, plant and machinery.
“The balance of 40 per cent should be used to meet other trade obligations, visible and invisible transactions. For the avoidance of doubt, authorised dealers are to continue to publish weekly sales of FX to end users in the national newspapers and to render statutory returns on same to the CBN promptly. Please ensure compliance accordingly, until otherwise advised.”
The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Jacobs, recently voiced concerns that the FX scarcity and rising cost of funds had sent manufacturing output plunging to below 20 per cent.
But with the directive, analysts said yesterday that manufacturers would be able to get a substantial part of their FX requirements met.
One market observer lauded the CBN for the directive, adding: “The CBN with this directive has prioritised the real sector so that industries can bring in their raw materials, machines and equipment without having to wait for the banks for weeks and months on end to smile their way.
“This means that the banks and authorised dealers will be required to seek out and prioritise their customers who need to bring in raw materials, plant and machinery for production and not the other way round.
“This is bound to have a positive impact on productivity in the manufacturing sector and hopefully will lead to a drop in the prices of goods that they produce.”
In a related development, the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, has said most banks were yet to comply with the CBN’s directive that they sell $50,000 from diaspora remittances to bureau de change (BDC) operators on a weekly basis.
In a statement yesterday, the ABCON boss said only 10 per cent of BDCs from the Lagos market had accessed dollars from banks since the CBN gave the directive nearly three weeks ago.
The banks that have complied include First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
Gwadabe further disclosed that BDCs in Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja, Onitsha, Maiduguri, Benin and Enugu were yet to buy dollars from banks.
He said the BDCs had been selling dollars between N345 and N355 to dollar, far above the interbank rate, because of the shortfall in supply.
The banks, he added, are supposed to sell to the BDCs on the same day within the week, but failed to do so.
“Instead of staggering the payment, the banks should sell to the BDCs on the same week day, so that the impact will be felt in the market.
“We also want the CBN to license new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to deepen the market.
“Our members across the country have funded their accounts two weeks ago but the banks are not selling to them. The BDCs that met the CBN’s policy guidelines on the disbursement and were cleared by the banks have still not received a dime from the banks,” he said.
Gwadabe called on the CBN to outsource the dollar distribution role to an independent distributor since the banks have failed in their assigned role.
“I think the banks are compromising the policy and CBN’s directive on the matter. And like I said earlier, since the banks are not co-operating, I expect the CBN to take that role from them and assign it to a reputable independent distributor,” he said.
The CBN had directed authorised dealers that are agents of approved IMTOs to sell foreign currency accruing from inward money remittances to licensed BDCs.
The spot rate of the naira appreciated on the interbank FX market to N308.73 to the dollar monday, as against the N316.55 at which it closed last Friday.
The gains made by the naira on the interbank market yesterday were attributed to dollar sales by the central bank to some banks. Traders said the central bank selectively sold dollars to commercial lenders just before the market closed.
The central bank remains the major supplier of dollar in the market and has been selling the greenback almost daily to boost liquidity as the naira continues to search for an equilibrium price.
The CBN ditched its 16-month-old peg on the naira last June and introduced a flexible exchange rate regime to allow the currency to trade freely on the interbank market.
However, on the parallel market, the naira closed at N396 to the dollar yesterday, slightly stronger than the N396.55 to the dollar as of Friday last week.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s search for an end to its dollar shortage woes dimmed yesterday, when oil prices fell more than two per cent from last week’s high, following expectations of more crude shipments from Iraq and Nigeria, coupled with rising US oil rig count and increased Chinese exports.
While Iraq’s plan to increase exports of Kirkuk crude by 150,000 barrels per day this week from northern fields weighed on prices, the weekend’s announcement by the Niger Delta Avengers that it was ready for ceasefire and dialogue with the federal government also raised expectations of oversupply in the international market.
A prolonged ceasefire by the Avengers will potentially lead to the recovery of over 700,000 barrels per day that was shut in due to the attacks on oil facilities by the militant group, thus adding to the oversupply in the market.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said recently that Nigeria would require an additional 900,000 barrels per day to achieve the 2016 production target.
A stronger dollar was also said to have fuelled the price drop, as the currency rose yesterday against other major currencies on increased expectations that the US Fed could raise interest rates this year.
A stronger dollar makes oil, which is priced in dollars, more expensive for buyers using other currencies, reducing demand.
With the expectations of oversupply weighing on the prices, the global benchmark, Brent crude yesterday was down $1.34, or 2.6 per cent, at $49.54 a barrel, after hitting a two-month high of $51.22 on Friday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude’s most active contract, October, fell $1.28, or 2.5 per cent to $48.32 a barrel, after hitting a six-week high of $49.60 on Friday.
Reuters reported that China’s July diesel and gasoline exports soared 181.8 per cent and 145.2 per cent respectively, from the same month last year, putting pressure on refined product margins.
Citing data from the oil service firm, Baker Hughes, the Wall Street Journal also reported that the number of rigs drilling for oil in the US has risen for eight straight weeks.
According to the data, US oil output has fallen for more than a year after companies sharply cut spending on new drilling, but higher oil prices in recent months have prompted some companies to put new rigs to work.
US producers added 32 new rigs in shale-oil regions in August, which could add 200,000 barrels a day of new supply, according to an analyst at SEB Markets.
Oil rallied with few stops over the past two weeks, going from a bear to bull market as it reversed a loss of over 20 per cent in early August on speculation that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will agree to a production freeze with non-OPEC members.
Unlocking Investments into Africa’s Renewable Energy Market
The African Energy Guarantee Facility (AEGF) is launching a virtual roadshow of free webinars allowing a deeper understanding of risk issues for renewable energy projects on the continent, and conversations around risk mitigation solutions. The first webinar will take place on Thursday, 23 September from 14:30-16:00 hrs. EAT.
The session will be oriented on how to get more energy projects from the drawing board to the grid. While the energy demand in African economies is expected to nearly double by 2040, and although the potential for renewable energy is 1,000 times larger than the demand, only 2GW out of almost 180GW of this new renewable power were added on the African continent.
Clearly not good enough! To improve the situation within the next two decades, new solutions need to be implemented urgently. De-risking and promoting private sector investments will play a crucial part of it.
In this 90-min interactive session, AEGF partners: the European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW Development Bank, Munich Re and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) will share their experience and provide valuable insights on how they were able to come together and design practical solutions for investors and financiers of green energy projects in Africa aligned with SDG7 objectives.
Across Africa, the complexity of renewable energy projects and their long tenors hold back crucial energy investment. Tailored to the specific needs and risk profiles of sustainable energy projects, AEGF will tackle the investment challenge by providing underwriting expertise and capacity tailored to market needs.
The AEGF will significantly boost private investment in sustainable energy projects, both expanding access to clean energy and contribute to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals. The scheme supports new private sector investment in eligible renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
Shell Signs Agreement To Sell Permian Interest For $9.5B to ConocoPhillips
Shell Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, has reached an agreement for the sale of its Permian business to ConocoPhillips, a leading shales developer in the basin, for $9.5 billion in cash. The transaction will transfer all of Shell’s interest in the Permian to ConocoPhillips, subject to regulatory approvals.
“After reviewing multiple strategies and portfolio options for our Permian assets, this transaction with ConocoPhillips emerged as a very compelling value proposition,” said Wael Sawan, Upstream Director. “This decision once again reflects our focus on value over volumes as well as disciplined stewardship of capital. This transaction, made possible by the Permian team’s outstanding operational performance, provides excellent value to our shareholders through accelerating cash delivery and additional distributions.”
Shell’s Upstream business plays a critical role in the Powering Progress strategy through a more focused, competitive and resilient portfolio that provides the energy the world needs today whilst funding shareholder distributions as well as the energy transition.
The cash proceeds from this transaction will be used to fund $7 billion in additional shareholder distributions after closing, with the remainder used for further strengthening of the balance sheet. These distributions will be in addition to our shareholder distributions in the range of 20-30 percent of cash flow from operations. The effective date of the transaction is July 1, 2021 with closing expected in Q4 2021.
Shell has been providing energy to U.S. customers for more than 100 years and plans to remain an energy leader in the country for decades to come.
Oil Gains 1 Percent on Possible Tight Supply
Oil prices rose on Tuesday as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande.
Brent crude gained 95 cents or 1.3% to $74.87 a barrel by 0645 GMT, having fallen by almost 2% on Monday. The contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) , which expires later on Tuesday, was up 91 cents or 1.3% at $71.20 after dropping 2.3% in the previous session.
Global utilities are switching to fuel oil due to rising gas and coal prices, and lingering outages from the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ada that imply less supply is available, ANZ analysts said.
“While slowing Chinese economic growth and uncertainty around the (U.S.) Fed’s tapering timetable weighed on market sentiment, other developments still point to higher oil prices,” ANZ Research said in a note.
Still, investors across financial assets have been rocked by the fallout from heavily indebted Evergrande (3333.HK) and the threat of a wider market shakeout in the longer term.
“Evergrande’s woes are threatening the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy and making some investors question China’s growth outlook and whether it is safe to invest there,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
While that view of the state of China’s economy is weighing on markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to start tightening monetary policy – likely to make investors warier of riskier assets such as oil.
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