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CBN to Extend BVN Registration to Microfinance Banks, others

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to extend the Bank Verification Number (BVN) registration project to customers of other Financial Institutions (OFIs), its Director, Banking and Payment Systems Department, Dipo Fatokun, has said.

The OFIs are Microfinance Banks, Primary Mortgage Institutions and others.

Mr. Fatokun made the disclosure at a bi-monthly forum organised by Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

The forum had its theme as “Recent Developments in the Electronic Payments System and Implications for Consumers of Electronic Payment Services”.

Mr. Fatokun said the operators of the institutions were already working toward having their customers included in the BVN project.

He said the CBN would have OFIs customers enroll through deposit money banks because of the high cost of procuring the machines.

“We are considering using commercial banks as registration points for the OFIs customers.

“We also expect that many of the OFIs customers, who already have their BVNs, will supply the data to their banks, while those without BVN will register afresh,” he said.

Mr. Fatokun said the BVN project, being coordinated by CBN, commercial banks and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, had helped reduce the number of bank frauds in the industry.

“Any bank customer resident in Nigeria without a BVN would be deemed to have inadequate KYC (Know Your Customer).

“Effort is ongoing to ensure that customers of Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), such as Microfinance Banks and Primary Mortgage Institutions are brought into the system begin to get their BVNs,” he said.

Mr. Fatokun said the bank planned to come up with a regular framework that would blacklist fraudulent bank customers or place them on watch-list in the banking industry.

“I want to assure you that the BVN has assisted us a lot in the banking system.

“It has assisted us to check frauds, and we are working on a framework that will enable us, if not to blacklist customers because of some legal implications, but at least to watch-list.”

Mr. Fatokun said the CBN had been at the forefront of the transformation of the payments system in the country.

He said this was demonstrated through the development of the Payments System Vision 2020 document in 2007 and reviewed in 2013.

Mr. Fatokun said the number of BVN linked to customers’ accounts by Aug. 23 was 36.7 million, while the total number of individual customers in the banks was reported as 59.9 million at the same date.

Mr. Fatokun said e-payment remained an initiative of CBN under the Payments System Vision 2020 as part of the overall 2020 Strategy.

He said one of CBN’s mandates was the promotion of a sound financial system.

Mr. Fatokun said the Nigeria Police has agreed to set up a dedicated e-Payment and Card Crime Unit to complement the efforts of Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum on e-payment related crime.

“In following the global trend, the bank is currently reviewing the implications of cloud computing, virtual currencies like bitcoins and data protection,” he said.

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.

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Gold

Gold Prices Rise as Soft Dollar Supports Safe-haven Appeal

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gold bars - Investors King

Gold prices firmed on Monday, propped up by a subdued dollar and slight retreat in the U.S. Treasury yields, with investors gearing up for a week of speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers for cues on the central bank’s rate hike path.

Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,759.06 per ounce, as of 0400 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,759.00.

While the dollar index softened, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting their highest since early-July. A weaker dollar offered support to gold prices, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies.

“Gold is still looking slightly precarious where it is right now, and it’s probably bouncing off key technical level around $1,750,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.

“Gold remains an yield story and that yield story is very much tied back to the tapering story.”

A slew of Fed officials are due to speak this week including Chairman Jerome Powell, who will testify this week before Congress on the central bank’s policy response to the pandemic.

“There’ll be a lot of questions being put to Fed speakers about what the dot plots implied last week and weather there is higher risk of heightened inflation going forward and that rate hikes could be coming in the first half of 2022,” Rodda added.

A pair of Federal Reserve policymakers said on Friday they felt the U.S. economy is already in good enough shape for the central bank to begin to withdraw support for the economy.

Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.

Investors also kept a close watch on developments in debt-laden property giant China Evergrande saga as the firm missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 0.1% to 993.52 tonnes on Friday from 992.65 tonnes in the prior session.

Silver rose 0.9% to $22.61 per ounce.

Platinum climbed 1.3% to $994.91, while palladium gained 0.7% to $1,985.32.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Near $80 Per Barrel Amid Supply Constraints

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Oil prices rose for a fifth straight day on Monday with Brent heading for $80 amid supply concerns as parts of the world sees demand pick up with the easing of pandemic conditions.

Brent crude was up $1.14 or 1.5% at $79.23 a barrel by 0208 GMT, having risen a third consecutive week through Friday. U.S. Oil added $1.11 or 1.5% to $75.09, its highest since July, after rising for a fifth straight week last week.

“Supply tightness continues to draw on inventories across all regions,” ANZ Research said in a note.

Rising gas prices as also helping drive oil higher as the liquid becomes relatively cheaper for power generation, ANZ analysts said in the note.

Caught short by the demand rebound, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, have had difficulty raising output as under-investment or maintenance delays persist from the pandemic.

China’s first public sale of state oil reserves has barely acted to cap gains as PetroChina and Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totalling about 4.43 million barrels.

India’s oil imports hit a three-month peak in August, rebounding from nearly one-year lows reached in July, as refiners in the second-biggest importer of crude stocked up in anticipation of higher demand.

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Crude Oil

Oil Holds Near Highest Since 2018 With Global Markets Tightening

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil held steady near the highest close since 2018, with the global energy crunch set to increase demand for crude as stockpiles fall from the U.S. to China.

Futures in London headed for a third weekly gain. Global onshore crude stocks sank by almost 21 million barrels last week, led by China, according to data analytics firm Kayrros, while U.S. inventories are near a three-year low. The surge in natural gas prices is expected to force some consumers to switch to oil, tightening the market further ahead of the northern hemisphere winter.

China on Friday sold oil to Hengli Petrochemical Co. and a unit of PetroChina Co. in the first auction of crude from its strategic reserves said traders with the knowledge of the matter. Grades sold included Oman, Upper Zakum and Forties.

Oil has rallied recently after a period of Covid-induced demand uncertainty, with some of the world’s largest traders and banks predicting prices may climb further amid the energy crisis. Global crude consumption could rise by an additional 370,000 barrels a day if natural gas costs stay high, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Underpinning the latest bout of price strength is a tightening supply backdrop,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

Various underlying oil market gauges are also pointing to a strengthening market. The key spread between Brent futures for December and a year later is near $7, the strongest since 2019. That’s a sign traders are positive about the market outlook.

At the same time, the premium options traders are paying for bearish put options is the smallest since January 2020, another indication that traders are less concerned about a pullback in prices.

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