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Troubled Nigerian Loans Seen Spiking Before Economic Rebound

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  • Troubled Nigerian Loans Seen Spiking Before Economic Rebound

Access Bank Plc is predicting that the level of troubled loans in Nigeria will continue to climb before an economic recovery in the second half of the year brings relief to the country’s lenders.

“Across the entire industry you’ll see an uptick in non-performing loan ratios,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Wigwe said in an interview on Thursday in Lagos, the commercial hub. “We are better than most.”

Nigeria’s fourth-largest bank by assets expects that its NPLs will climb to “slightly below” 3 percent of total loans by the end of this year, Wigwe said, compared with 2.1 percent for the nine months through September. The picture is not as rosy for the rest of the industry as lower crude prices and foreign-currency shortages cause Africa’s largest economy to contract. Loans in the sector in danger of not being repaid surged to an average 13.4 percent by the end of September, above the 5 percent threshold set by regulators.

Access Bank is targeting companies that source their raw materials locally for loans to reduce the risk of unpaid debt, the CEO said. First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., the nation’s biggest lender by assets, stands out among the largest banks with an NPL ratio of 22.8 percent at the end of September. Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc have NPL ratios ranging from 2.2 percent to 4.1 percent.

Capital levels have also decreased. The sector’s capital adequacy ratio fell to 14.7 percent in June from 16.1 percent in December 2015. For big banks, which the regulator classifies as having more than 1 trillion naira ($3.2 billion) of assets, that ratio fell to 15.65 percent, still above the requirement of 15 percent.

Economic Rebound

Conditions in Nigeria’s economy should start improving in the second half if monetary and fiscal measures take hold, Wigwe said. The Central Bank of Nigeria left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record 14 percent in November as it seeks to contain inflation that rose to the highest level in more than a decade, while President Muhammadu Buhari plans to boost spending this year by 20 percent to revive growth.

Access Bank has managed to get into an “extremely liquid” position by raising 35 billion naira in the last quarter of 2016 by tapping a 100 billion-naira commercial bond program, he said.

“We will continue to raise until we can get to that program limit; some of it may mature, which we will repay, then raise again,” Wigwe said. “The whole idea is that we must always have that liquidity buffer.”

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.

Crude Oil

COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

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COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.

In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.

The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.

Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.

She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.

She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.

Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.

“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.

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Commodities

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

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Crude oil

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.

Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.

The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.

Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

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Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.

According to Michael McCarthy, the Chief Market Strategies, CMC Markets, the surged in gold price is a result of the projected drop in dollar value or uncertainty.

He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”

As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.

Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.

Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.

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