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External Reserves Shed $1bn in Five Weeks

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CBN-headquarters-Investors King

The country’s external reserves have been depleted by $1bn in the last five weeks, latest statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria have showed.

This follows the CBN’s almost daily intervention at the interbank/official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as chronic dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.

In its efforts to defend the naira and prevent it from falling further at the official interbank market, the central bank has been selling dollars at the interbank market more frequently.

The naira had fallen to an all-time low of 365.25 to the dollar at the interbank market on August 18 before making a gradual recovery. On Friday, the local currency closed at 310.64 against the greenback.

At the parallel market, the naira, which has been under persistent pressure, closed at 424 to the dollar on Friday.

The external reserves fell by 2.86 per cent to $25.45bn on August 29, 2016, up from the $26.2bn it recorded at the end of July.

Year-on-year, the reserves have fallen by 18.9 per cent.

The reserves had fallen by 0.4 per cent at the end of July, down from the $26.34bn recorded on June 29.

The foreign exchange reserves stood at $26.42bn on May 28, down by 9.2 per cent year-on-year.

The CBN had on June 20 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 global plunge in oil prices has caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development had forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned in June.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee announced plans to adopt a flexible exchange rate policy after the external reserves fell to $26.56bn on May 23.

The external reserves have so far 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 reduced by $6.7bn within a period of 21 months, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said on March 23.

However, the foreign exchange reserves increased by $595m to hit a one-month high of $26.196bn, the CBN data showed on Monday.

It had stood at $25.6bn as of August 24, down from $26.21bn on July 28, the CBN data showed.

The reserves declined from $26bn on August 4, 2016 to $25.97bn on August 5 as the CBN stepped up dollar sales to boost liquidity at the interbank market and support the ailing naira.

The central bank has been selling dollars regularly at the interbank market to prop up the naira since it floated it on June 20.

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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Finance

Nigerian Banks’ Total Assets Rose by N11.15 Trillion

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the assets of Nigerian banks grew by N11.15 trillion to N64.32 trillion in the 12 months ended in April 2022.

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Retail banking

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the assets of Nigerian banks grew by N11.15 trillion to N64.32 trillion in the 12 months ended in April 2022.

In the report published by the apex bank, banks’ assets grew by 21% to N64.32 trillion in April 2022 from N53.17 trillion recorded in April 2021.

Kingsley Obiora, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, in his personal statement released by the CBN, said the growth was driven by balances with CBN/banks, OMO bills, and credit to the real sector of the economy.

He said, “The banking system remained sound, stable and resilient. Total assets of the banking industry grew by 20.97 per cent from N53.17tn in April 2021 to N64.32tn in April 2022, driven by balances with CBN/banks, OMO bills, and credit to the real sector of the economy.

“As a result, the total flow of credit to the economy increased to N26.10tn in April 2022 from N21.45tn in April 2021, representing an increase of 21.66 per cent.”

Obiora explained that credit flow increased in the following sectors, manufacturing, consumer credit, general commerce, information and communication and agriculture.

On non-performing loans, non-performing loans in the banking sector stood at 5.31% at the end of April 2022, slightly above the 5% target of the apex bank and better than the 5.89% recorded in April 2021.

CBN said the improvement was due to the restructuring of facilities, efficient recovery strategies and sound management practices by Other Depository Corporations.

Mr. Johnson Chukwu, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, attributed the improvement to an increase in money in circulation.

He said, “One is the increase in money in circulation, and that increase is coming about because the Federal Government is borrowing by way and means and that is injecting liquidity into the economy and it will tremendously contribute to the level of currency in circulation, and ultimately the banking assets side.

“This is because given the level of financial inclusion, given that people hardly keep money at home, any significant increase in money in circulation will have an impact on the banks’ total assets.

“Secondly, the banks have actually seen a significant increase in loans. Loan creation also means money creation.”

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank is Nigeria’s Best Commercial Bank for Second Consecutive Year

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the best commercial bank in Nigeria for a second consecutive year at the World Finance Banking Awards 2022.

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Zenith Bank Award Presentation

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has emerged as the best commercial bank in Nigeria for a second consecutive year at the World Finance Banking Awards 2022. The leading bank was also named the best corporate governance bank.

The awards were in recognition of the bank’s sound digital transformation and best-in-class sustainability and corporate governance practices that over the years have led to a stellar business performance, even in a difficult economic climate like Nigeria.

At the awards presentation at the London Stock Exchange on Monday was the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu.

Speaking on the awards, Onyeagwu said “These awards reflect our strong business fundamentals, resilience and ability to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the market through our innovative solutions, as well as our commitment to global best practices. As a member and signatory to various domestic and international sustainability frameworks including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles, we continue to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating value for our shareholders, customers, clients, investors, communities and the environment through our practices, operations and investments.”

Onyeagwu went on to dedicate the awards to Jim Ovia, CON, the Founder and Group Chairman, for his pioneering role in building the structures and laying the foundation for an enduring and very successful institution; the Board for the outstanding leadership they provide; the staff for their commitment and dedication; and the bank’s customers for making Zenith Bank their preferred financial institution.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions including being voted as Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards; and Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020. Also, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, Zenith Bank was honoured as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020 and emerged winner in four categories at the Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2021, carting home the awards for “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa.

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Finance

Bank Account Ownership in Nigeria Increased to 45% – World Bank

The number of unbanked adults in Nigeria continues to decline as the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensified financial inclusion efforts.

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Global Banking - Investors King

The number of unbanked adults in Nigeria continues to decline as the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensified financial inclusion efforts.

The percentage of adults with a bank account in Nigeria rose to 45% from 30%, according to the latest World Bank report titled ‘The Global Findex Database 2021’ obtained by Investors King.

The number includes all accounts with regulated financial institutions in Nigeria.

In part, the report reads, “Individual economies saw different rates of growth over the past decade. Between 2011 and 2021, economies such as Peru, South Africa, and Uganda drove up the average with account ownership increases of 25 percentage points or more.

“Uganda, in fact, saw its rate more than triple, from 20 per cent to 66 per cent. In India, account ownership more than doubled in the past decade, from 35 per cent in 2011 to 78 per cent in 2021. This outcome stemmed in part from an Indian government policy launched in 2014 that leveraged biometric identification cards to boost account ownership among unbanked adults.

“Other economies saw much smaller increases over longer periods. Pakistan, for example, grew by just 10 percentage points over the past decade, from 10 per cent in 2011 to 21 per cent in 2021. The Arab Republic of Egypt and Nigeria increased ownership by 18 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively—from 10 per cent to 27 per cent in Egypt, and from 30 per cent to 45 per cent in Nigeria.”

The Washington-based bank attributed the increase in account ownership in Nigeria and other African nations to growing mobile payment adoption.

It stated, “In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021, 55 per cent of adults had an account, including 33 per cent of adults who had a mobile money account—the largest share of any region in the world and more than three times larger than the 10 per cent global average of mobile money account ownership.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is home to all 11 economies in which a larger share of adults only had a mobile money account rather than a bank or other financial institution account. The spread of mobile money accounts has created new opportunities to better serve women, poor people, and other groups who traditionally have been excluded from the formal financial system.”

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