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Lekki Gardens Repositions, Unveils new Technical Structure

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Lekki Gardens
  • Lekki Gardens Repositions, Unveils new Technical Structure

Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, has strengthened its technical team to ensure timely delivery of quality and affordable housing to its esteemed clients.

To achieve this, the company has engaged topnotch consultants and contractors in different aspect of the construction value chain as work recommences across all its project sites after carrying out due system and process overhauling.

Speaking at a special media parley held in Ikeja GRA, recently, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, Mr. Richard Nyong disclosed that the company embarked on a strategic overhauling of its business, processes and people to enable it deliver a better housing experience to its clients.

“In the last six months, we have taken time to review and strengthen our technical structure, today Lekki Gardens now boasts of a solid technical team with qualified and experience professionals to deliver a world-class housing experience to our clients. Also, Lekki Gardens now works with the ‘best in class’ among building and construction consultants and contractors in Nigeria” he said.

While assuring the clients and stakeholders of the company that their investment is safe and appreciating in value in spite of the current economic downtown, Mr Nyong revealed that despite the temporary setback, the company remains economically viable and liquid without any form of indebtedness to any bank. He revealed that the accounts of the company have been audited and certified satisfactory by Ernst &Young – a global auditing firm.

Richard Nyong used the medium to announce the appointment of Mr. Andrew Jibunor, a seasoned and experienced building and construction expert with experience spanning decades working with the biggest players in the industry as the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for Lekki Gardens. He also stated that the company has made other key appointments in other departments of the company.

He explained that while work has started in some of Lekki Gardens sites, he stated that work would commence fully across all project sites by the end of October. He appealed to the clients for their understanding as the delay in delivery is warranted by the restructuring which would ensure that the company deliver world class quality housing.

Also speaking at the event, the new Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Mr. Andrew Jibunor stated that the company has put in place some policies including Quality Management, Planning & Coordination as well as Health, Environment and Safety all in the pursuant of the global best practice.

Jibunor said “In line with the mandate of the technical team, we are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring best quality standards at every stage of the building process. Our new process ensures that every project passes through a more rigorous procedure of monitoring, supervision and approval to ensure that we deliver a unique housing experience for our clients.”

He stressed further that Lekki Gardens has raised the bar in terms of the requirements for consultants and contractors in qualifying to work with the company noting that by so doing, the company now works with the very best in the industry.

Highlighting some of the milestones achieved by the company, Jibunor stated that the new technical team has introduced a new health, safety and environment regime which is mandatory for all Lekki Gardens facilities, workers, contractors and visitors to comply with. He noted that this includes; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Signages, training and deployment of safety representatives/officers across all sites as well as safety induction for all visitors.

In ensuring a technically sound building and construction, he added that the technical team has carried out a condition survey for sites, building and structures to ensure the quality of work in terms of existing design information appraisal, visual appraisals and inspections as well as other appraisals like soil tests/CPT, NDT, pile loads, Perimeter Survey, Confirmation of Topographical & Spot levels and M&E installation tests and integrity tests.

Jibunor added that the new technical team has integrated the use of information technology in their systems with the introduction of the builders’ trend to provide a bird’s eye-view of all their projects on one mobile platform for all stakeholders. The builders’ trend communication platform equips all the company’s stakeholders, marketers and subscribers, with an easier mode of tracking and follow-ups as well as updates on all ongoing projects.

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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Shooting First, Asking Questions Later

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By Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA

That was pretty much the response of both national governments and financial markets on Friday as fears over the new Omicron Covid-19 variant swept the world. Travel restrictions from Southern Africa have been quickly erected with Israel shutting borders full stop. In financial markets, US bond yields sank as investors rushed for safety (bond prices move inversely to yields), oil prices collapsed by over 9.0%, stock markets headed south with commodity prices and haven currencies such as the Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen has banner days as markets priced in a return to wider movement restrictions.

Having been burnt so badly with their own complacency over the emergence of the delta variant, national governments were taking no chances this time around. Interestingly, both gold and bitcoin flopped as well, and it seems neither is a haven or an inflation hedge when the flag really goes up. Looking at the performance of the platinum group metals on Friday, I am not really surprised that gold sank. But I also suspect that quite a bit of cross margin liquidation accounted for the sell-down in gold and cryptos.

As the week starts a new, it is a very mixed performance in Asia today. Over the weekend, the WHO said that omicron’s symptoms appear to be mild, and the head of Moderna said a newly rejigged version of their vaccine could be available by early 2022. That seems to have been enough to flush out the perpetual optimists of the US stock market, with US index futures strongly rallying this morning. Oil has leapt 4.0% higher as well, recouping nearly half of Friday’s losses. US 10-year T-note futures fell by over 1.0% on Friday (percentage of the price, not headline yield), but have fallen 0.35% this morning, meaning US 10-year yields have edged back up, and the US Dollar, having crumpled on Friday, perhaps the day’s biggest surprise, is stronger across the board.

If US-dominated markets are attracting the buy-the-dippers like flies to a fresh pile of dung, the picture is rather more cautious in early Asian markets. Australia, Japan, and South Korean stock markets are all lower, and sentiment barometers, the Australian and New Zealand Dollars have hardly moved. Gold spiked lower to $1770.00 an ounce when the margin servers went on at 0700 Tokyo, but quickly bounced back to be unchanged at $1793.00 an ounce. Some poor soul has been stopped out in the Monday twilight zone.

Asia’s caution is understandable. Memories are still raw in the region of the delta wave earlier this year, including the author. Asia has a much higher beta to world trade and the global recovery than the US where the majority of GDP is internally generated. Having moved heaven and earth over the past six months to get vaccination rates across the region to impressive levels, the prospect of them being rendered useless and trade suffering is understandably weighing on sentiment. The first move in early Asia on Monday is often the wrong one. If that plays true today, the early optimism shown in the most illiquid time of the week for global markets, could evaporate as the day goes on. It is hard to see Europe for example, already facing another Covid-19 wave and more restrictions, suddenly finding light at the end of the virus tunnel.

The fact is, we don’t know enough about this new variant yet to make a conclusive call on whether this is delta 2.0, or a more benign version. That uncertainly alone should cap optimism but-the-dip waves this week, although the annoying use of “mutant virus” or “mutant strain” has reappeared in the global press as if we were facing the zombie apocalypse. That won’t calm nerves but even as a non-scientist I can tell you that every time a virus mutates it becomes a mutated strain, not a “mutant strain” leading the world to doom. Flu evolves every year in multiple strains (hence we need a flu shot every year), but its not a “mutant flu.” So, stop scaring people to sell column inches. That said, viruses don’t mutate to become worse at what they do, and if this version is subsuming delta, itself a nasty beast, caution is warranted.

Viruses aside, the world does move on and although omicron will capture the hearts and imaginations and column inches of the world and the financial market this week, there is other stuff happening. China releases official PMIs tomorrow and Caixin Manufacturing PMI on Wednesday, and Services PMI on Friday. Wednesday the 1st also sees the usual dump of PMIs for the rest of Asia and Europe, which also sees Eurozone Inflation and pan-Europe Retail Sales on Friday. South Korean Industrial Production and Retail Sale will generate some attention, as will Australian Retail Sales and Balance of Trade.

Believe it or not, this week is also a US Non-Farm Payroll week, usually the one ring to rule them all. The street is pricing in another 500K+ jump in jobs although its impact is totally reliant on the evolution of the omicron situation. If that has faded and payrolls are strong, we will be back to the Fed taper-trade. If it hasn’t, then it will be ignored no matter what the headline number is, as the street prices in central banks everywhere, including the Fed, breaking the glass, and hitting the big red “WIMP” button.

Speaking of central bankers, we have a plethora of them speaking tonight in the early hours before Asia. The ECB’s Christine Lagarde and the Federal Reserve’s Jerome Powell and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Debelle all speak. We have a rent-a-crowd of Fed Governors, Clarida, Williams and Bowman also making speeches. We already know what the only question will be to all of them. Expect to hear lots of x central bank stands ready if needed, we have lots of tools available, monetary policy remains flexible, insert we’ll loosen policy at the first sign of trouble comment without specifically saying it here. That might be good for stocks, commodities, and bonds if you are brave.

A mixed start for Asian stock markets.

US futures markets and Asian stock markets have diverged sharply today, with US index futures rallying after the bonfire of Friday, while Asian markets have moved sharply lower once again early in the session. Part of Asia’s negatively could be a partial catch-up to the scale of the US and European rout, but also their slower pandemic recovery, the scars of delta, and a much higher beta to world trade and the global recovery.

Meanwhile, US index futures raced higher out of the gate this morning and have continued higher, likely grasping at the straw of reports that omicron’s symptoms are milder. S&P 500 futures are 1.10% higher, with Nasdaq futures jumping 1.40%, while Dow Jones futures have risen by 0.75%.

The halo effect of the US futures is starting to reverse the early losses suffered in Asian markets. The Nikkei 225 have reversed its entire early falls to be unchanged, with South Korea’s Kospi is down only 0.40%. Taipei has also recovered, down only 0.30% now. However, Singapore remains 0.90% lower, with Kuala Lumpur 0.25% and Jakarta 0.68% lower. Tourism-centric Bangkok will likely endure a tough start to the day. Australian markets have staged a sharp about-face this morning after a very negative start, both the ASX 200 and All Ordinaries rallying back to be down just 0.10% for the session.

China markets are mixed with casino stocks in Hong Kong sharply lower as China’s clampdowns extend to that sector. Technology stocks have rallied strongly though leaving the Hang Seng down just 0.20%. In Mainland China, the Shanghai Composite is down 0.30% with the CSI 300 easing by 0.25%.

Given the price action seen in Asia today, led by the US futures rally, European stocks are poised to jump higher this afternoon if the US futures rally is sustained. Having been stretchered off with serious injuries on Friday, as Europe faced a double whammy of omicron and its 4th virus wave, European markets, theoretically, have the most to gain if the price action in oil this morning, for example, is anything to go by.

I would add a large note of caution however for equities in general. Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we have just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started. Expect plenty of headline-driven whipsaw price action this week.

The US Dollar stages a post-Friday recovery.

In a rather surprising move for the author, the US Dollar suffered heavily on Friday, the dollar index falling by 0.74% to 96.07 as haven currencies like the Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen staged powerful rallies. EUR/USD rallied as well, perhaps because so much bad news was priced into it, climbing 0.90% to 1.1310. The US Dollar suffered I believe, on cross margining selling, and that an omicron wave would bring the Fed’s taper to a shuddering halt, something with which I agree with, as US yields fell sharply at the long end of the curve.

This morning, the rally in US equity futures and oil has lessened those fears, with US yields also firming. That has seen the dollar index rally by 0.22% to 96.28, with the JPY, CHF and EUR falling by around 0.25%. USD/JPY fell by an impressive 1.70% to 113.40 on Friday, testing 113.00 intraday. From a technical perspective, USD/JPY should start to form a bottom around 113.50 and EUR/USD will likely struggle to make much progress above 1.1300 unless US bond yields dramatically fall from here.

Currency markets are also sending out a few subtle signs that risk sentiment remains highly elevated, with Asian currencies falling aggressively on Friday, but making back only very modest gains today. Notably, USD/KRW is unchanged at 1193.50 today, and USD/CNY is barely changed at 6.3860. USD/THB, meanwhile, has actually risen 0.70% to 33.740 and USD/MYR is unchanged at 4.2380. Another warning sign comes from USD/TRY which is also unchanged, although the Mexican Peso and South African Rand, cremated on Friday, have risen 1.0% on thin volumes. The Australian and New Zealand Dollars fell 1.0% to test 2021 lows at 0.7100 and 0.6800 on Friday, but the sentiment indicators have only recovered by 0.25% this morning.

So, in the EM and commodity space, currency markets are adopting a much more cautious tone, suggesting the overall market remains very much on edge. Like equities, a negative omicron headline or two is likely to see the sell-off resume in earnest, which should benefit the Yen and Franc once again. Markets will be very much set up for a binary outcome this week based on omicron headlines, subsuming even the US Non-Farm Payrolls results. Positive news, buy everything, sell havens. Negative news, sell everything, buy havens, watch the whipsaw, and rinse repeat. Volatility will be the winner.

Oil stages an impressive recovery after Friday’s bonfire.

Oil will be the market where short volatility traders go to die this week. The omicron whipsaw is on full display today as Brent and WTI, having fallen by over 9.0% on Friday, have staged a very sharp rally in Asia. Brent crude has risen by 4.78% to $76.35 a barrel, and WTI has rallied by a mighty 5.45% to $71.85 a barrel, thanks to some tenuous reports that omicron’s symptoms are mild. Time will tell if this is correct (and I hope it is), but financial markets aren’t waiting around to find out.

The picture for oil is further muddied by the OPEC+ JMMC meeting and full meeting this week, the latter occurring on Friday. Negotiations with Iran restart in Vienna today as well over their nuclear programme. The prospect of Iranian crude increasing on international markets, another potential volatility point. Add all that in with virus developments and whipsaw price action this week in oil, is more likely to be chainsaw action.

OPEC+ compliance has held steady above 100% for quite some time now, suggesting there is not much swing production available to open the pumps anyway. I also note that pre-omicron, US production had recovered to 11.5 million bpd, yet prices were still high. That would suggest OPEC+ would have been comfortable raising production targets as planned, even if they couldn’t actually pump it.

However, OPEC+ has also repeatedly noted that a resurgent virus is one reason why they have been cautious about lifting production. OPEC+ has also forecast markets moving to a global daily surplus in early 2022. Taken with increasing US production, SPR releases, and now a potential omicron roadblock to the global recovery, OPEC+ probably has all the excuses it needs to hit the pause button on increasing production in December and awaiting further virus clarity. Friday’s capitulation will have cemented that thinking.

Either way you cut it, I can’t help but feel that Friday’s lows were probably the bargain of the year if you were an oil buyer, speculative or physical. Technical indicators are pretty useless in markets like this, but I note that the RSIs on both contracts are close to oversold, and that both Brent crude its 200-day moving average (DMA) on Friday at $72.70, while WTI has regained its 200-DMA at $70.00 a barrel this morning.

Gold, the forgotten haven.

Friday should have been gold’s safe-haven day in the sun, and for a short time it wise, rising $23.0 an ounce to $1815.50 at one stage. However, but the sessions end, gold had slumped back to a $1793.00 close, a minuscule gain. Like bitcoin, gold suffered over the course of Friday even as US yields and the greenback sank. One reason is likely the very poor performance of platinum and palladium on Friday, the other is likely to be cross-margining stop-outs with investors liquidating gold positions to cover losses in equities for instance.

A general recovery by platinum group metals, industrial metals and cryptos today has failed to flow into gold strength, perhaps because US yields and the US Dollar are higher. Whatever the underlying dynamics, the price action is negative, gold rising just 0.10% to $1794.80 this morning, with the recovery rally leaving it behind. That suggests that the downside is the path of least resistance for gold, and it is a sell on rallies this week.

Gold will have resistance at $1800.00 and $1815.00 to start the week, with the post open spike to $1770.00 an ounce this morning, a dubious move even by Monday Asia futures open standards, will provide initial support. In between, gold may find some friends around $1780.00. Failure of $1770.00 signals a retest of $1760.00 and $1740.00 an ounce.

Bitcoin

The weekend worries unwound all of bitcoin’s 7.0% loss on Friday, as the power of buy-the-dip dangles an irresistible lure. Bitcoin is trading $57.330.00 in Asia, barely changed from the weekend session and has quite a solid line of resistance just above here at around $58,500.00 of fiat US currency. A rise through $58,500.00 signals a return to 60,000.00 in the first instance.

Bitcoin has successfully held its 100-DMA, today at $54,210.00 for three sessions in a row. My bearish radar won’t shout target acquired until we see a daily close well below that level. But if we do, a move below $50,000.00 is possible.

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Crude Oil

New COVID Variant: Brent Crude Sheds Over $10 to $72 Per Barrel

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Crude oil - Investors King

Brent crude oil extended decline by over $10 on Friday on concerns that a new COVID variant called B.1.1.529 could force economies to impose restrictions and slow down global demand.

Brent crude, against which Nigerian crude oil is measured, dropped from $82.55 per barrel it attained on Thursday to as low as $72.09 on Friday at 7:20 pm Nigerian time before it rebounded slightly to $72.98 per barrel as shown below.

Global financial markets plunged across the board following reports that two cases of the new heavily mutated COVID variant from South Africa have been reported in Hong Kong and that the United Kingdom, one of the most affected nations during COVID-19 with over 140,000 deaths has halted flights from six South African nations to prevent a potential breakout of the new COVID variant.

Experts are concerned that the new variant outbreak would slow down global growth and increase global risks going into the new year.

According to Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA, “Even without severe restrictions, people will adopt more caution which will weigh on demand, as OPEC+ has repeatedly stated and factored into their models.”

However, heavy crude oil-consuming nations like the United States, China and others that have been calling for more supply will now enjoy substantial price reduction if this continues, therefore, Joe Biden may not need to release millions of barrels into the global market.

“Crude is back at levels last seen at the start of October and if this risk aversion continues in the weeks ahead, there’s plenty of room to fall. While OPEC+ would likely have avoided altering production plans next week or in the months following in response to the SPR releases, it may soon feel its hand is being forced. Next week may come too soon but another major outbreak could see them slam on the brakes,” Craig Erlam added.

 

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Flight to Safety as Variant Fears Soar

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By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

Risk assets are getting pummelled at the end of the week as a new Covid variant sparks fears of new restrictions and lockdowns.

The most worrying thing about the new strain at the moment is how little we know about it, with early indications being that it could be more problematic than delta. The biggest fear is that it will be resistant to vaccines and be a massive setback for countries that have reaped the benefits from their rollouts.

We’ll no doubt learn more in the days and weeks ahead but for now, fear of the unknown will weigh heavily going into the weekend and could carry over into next week. We’re seeing a typical flight to safety in the markets with equities, commodity currencies and oil getting whacked and traditional safe havens like bonds, gold, the yen and swissy getting plenty of love.

In times like this, we get a true sense of what investors consider to be real, reliable safe-havens. And bitcoin is off 8% today which has delivered a fatal blow to its safe-haven credentials, putting an end to another crypto myth that has surfaced over the years despite there being zero evidence to back it up. Maybe one day investors will have a different opinion but right now, when their cash is at stake, they’re sticking with safe-haven assets with a track record, as they should.

Pfizer has sought to calm nerves, stating that should a vaccine-escape variant emerge, it could produce a tailor-made vaccine in about 100 days. Three months can feel like a long time but when compared to where we were 18 months ago, that is very reassuring as a worst-case. It may not be quick enough to prevent more restrictions this winter though.

Erdogan standing firm on interest rates

Turkish President Erdogan is successfully talking down the lira once again, claiming there’s no turning back from the new economy program and that interest rates will decline. It’s incredible to see a President have such disregard for something that will have such a huge impact on so many people. It’s like he’s playing with the markets to see what he can get away with. In a sign of Erdoganomics fatigue, the currency has quickly recouped the more than 2% losses it incurred immediately following the comments. A sign that these antics are now expected and priced in, it seems.

Oil slides on variant concerns

Oil is among the assets taking a heavy beating on the variant news today, falling more than 5% as traders fret about the impact on restrictions and behaviour this winter. Even without severe restrictions, people will adopt more caution which will weigh on demand, as OPEC+ has repeatedly stated and factored into their models.

It seems the US and other consuming countries have played their hand too soon. Sure, Biden will score some political points ahead of the midterms as voters see prices at the pump fall, which was ultimately the goal. But should prices spike again early next year, what then?

Crude is back at levels last seen at the start of October and if this risk aversion continues in the weeks ahead, there’s plenty of room to fall. While OPEC+ would likely have avoided altering production plans next week or in the months following in response to the SPR releases, it may soon feel its hand is being forced. Next week may come too soon but another major outbreak could see them slam on the brakes.

Gold jumps on safe-haven appeal

Times like this are when gold shines and we’re seeing investors flock back to an old reliable friend today. It has pulled a little off its highs after hitting $1,815 earlier in the session but it remains above $1,800 at the time of writing. It’s an interesting one for gold and bonds, as the situation now is very different from last year.

Central banks can’t just turn on the taps again with a “whatever it takes” avalanche of cheap cash as they have before. Inflation is a real problem and lockdowns will exacerbate the problem. Sure, they may be a little more patient and hold off on raising rates next month in the case of some or accelerating tapering in the case of the Fed, but they can hardly ramp up their stimulus measures in any considerable way. Their hands are tied.

This should still be bullish for gold as, at the very least, central banks will delay tightening until they have a better idea of the risks to the economy. Allowing inflation to run hot unaddressed could increase the hedge appeal of gold again, particularly in these uncertain times.

Bitcoin remains a speculative risk asset, for now

In recent weeks we’ve seen that, in times of real uncertainty, bitcoin has not done well as an inflation hedge or a safe haven asset. There’s no doubt it’s a fascinating tradable instrument and a highly speculative one, but it’s quite clear now that it’s a risk asset and nothing more. Not at the moment anyway. Who knows what the future holds.

It’s taking a real beating today, off around 8% and looking vulnerable. Key support around $55,500 has fallen which will now draw attention back to $50,000. I’m sure soon enough the eternal crypto bulls will pile back in and smell a bargain but as we’ve seen so often in the past, bitcoin is capable of enormous gains and eye-watering corrections.

If this new variant triggers major risk aversion in the markets, it could come under serious pressure. Unless of course, the inflation narrative catches again. No sign of it yet but, as ever with crypto, it has an incredible ability to find the bullish case in anything. Maybe this will be next.

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