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Market Gains N29bn as CBN Reviews Forex Policy

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  • Market Gains N29bn as CBN Reviews Forex Policy

The Nigerian equities market appreciated by N29bn on Monday as the Central Bank of Nigeria released a new foreign exchange policy in the country with immediate effect.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange market capitalisation rose to N8.738tn from N8.709tn, while the NSE All-Share Index closed at 25,249.49 basis points from 25,164.91 basis points.

The new policy is the outcome of the last Thursday’s directive by the National Economic Council for immediate review to stem the widening gap between the inter-bank foreign exchange and parallel market rates.

The CBN said in order to ease the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in obtaining funds for foreign exchange transactions, it would henceforth be providing direct additional funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for personal and business travel, medical needs, and school fees, with immediate effect.

The equities market started the week on a positive note, advancing by 0.34 per cent, to settle the year-to-date return at -6.05 per cent. There were 10 gainers and 18 losers.

A total of 110.016 million shares worth N985.667m were traded in 2,160 deals.

PZ was the top gainer for the second consecutive trading day, advancing by 9.04 per cent, to close at a year high of N14.60.

Diamond Bank Plc, Nascon Allied Industries Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc also appeared on the top gainers’ list appreciating by 4.88 per cent, 4.55 per cent, 4.18 per cent and 3.33 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Forte Oil Plc declined the most in share price by 5.02 per cent to close at N53.87. UACN Plc, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc and Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc also appeared on the top losers’ table dropping by 4.95 per cent, 4.67 per cent, 4.55 per cent and 4.35 per cent, accordingly.

The NSE food and beverage index was the only index to close positive, with the oil/gas, banking and insurance indices declining by 0.63 per cent, 0.20 per cent and 0.11 per cent, respectively, while the industrial index traded flat.

Responding to the state of the market, analysts at Meristem Securities said, “The much expected upturn witnessed in the market today can be attributed to bullish activities on certain large-cap tickers, as well as intensified position-taking ahead of the 2016 financial year earnings releases and corporate actions.

“As we expect this to continue for most of the week, we advise value-seeking investors to temper their optimism with caution.”

Meanwhile, there was a decline in system liquidity, resulting in a 2.57 per cent increase in the average money market rate to 20.82 per cent, at the close of the trading session. The open buy-back and overnight rates rose by 2.67 per cent and 2.47 per cent, respectively, to settle at 20.50 per cent and 21.14 per cent, accordingly.

Activities in the Treasury bills space were characterised by bearish sentiments on February 17, 2017.

The one-month, three-month and six-month instruments recorded yield increases of 0.15 per cent, 0.02 per cent and 0.32 per cent, respectively. The average Treasury bills yield stood at 16.24 per cent (+0.16 per cent), at the close of Monday’s trades.

Similarly, in the treasury bonds space, yields advanced across most instruments, save for the March-2036, May-2018 and June-2019, which recorded declines of 0.04 per cent, 0.18 per cent and 0.03 per cent, accordingly. Consequently, the average bond yield increased by 0.12 per cent, to peg at 16.65 per cent at the close of trades.

The naira continued its downward trend at the parallel forex market, as it depreciated by 0.77 per cent, to settle at N520/dollar. However, the currency appreciated by 0.08 per cent at the interbank forex market, to close at N305.25/dollar.

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.

Finance

Nasdaq Set To Launch Options Trading For Coinbase Global

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Less than a week after the largest crypto exchange in the U.S. Coinbase was listed, Nasdaq is set to start trading options for Coinbase Global.

According to Reuters, a representative for Coinbase stated that the COIN.O options will start trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday, April 20.

The launch of equity options will offer a new way for investors to bet on the fortunes of Coinbase. Equity options represent the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a stock at a certain price, known as the strike price, on or before an expiration date.

The news follows Coinbase’s direct listing, which saw the firm’s stock fluctuate between a valuation of $429.54 and $310 on its first day of trading.

It was reported that the Chief Executive Officer of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong sold less than 2% of his holdings which worth about $292 million in shares on COIN’s first day of trading. According to filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Armstrong sold 749,999 shares in three batches at prices ranging from $381 to $410.40 per share for total proceeds of $291.8 million.

It was also reported that insiders dumped nearly $5 billion in COIN stock shortly after it was listed. Filings on the Coinbase Investor Relations website showed a total of 12,965,079 shares were sold by insiders, worth over $4.6 billion at COIN’s $344 share price at close on Friday.

Yahoo Finance reported the stock has slumped 22.5% from a high of $429.54 on April 14 to a current after-hours trading price of $332.75 where it appears to have settled after Monday’s trading session.

On April 20, Coinbase Pro announced that will add support for new trading pairs for Basic Attention Token (BAT), Cardano (ADA), Decentraland (MANA), and USDC from April 20. The four assets will be paired with three fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP), BTC, and ETH, with limited trading functionality to be made available while market liquidity is assessed at launch.

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Banking Sector

Unity Bank Grows Asset by 67.90% to N492.02 Billion, As Gross Earnings Hit N42.71 Billion in FY 2020

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Unity Bank Plc grew its assets base to N492.02billion representing a significant increase of 67.90% from the N293.05 billion of total assets value recorded in 2019. This is even as the agric-focused lender declared gross earnings of N42.71 billion within the period under review.

A review of the Bank’s audited results for full-year ended 31 December 2020, released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, showed that the Bank improved its bottom line marginally as Profit After Tax, PAT stood at N2.09 billion. Profit Before Tax, PBT closed at N2.22 billion, in a year that was defined by the unmitigated impact of global pandemic characterized by disruptions in business activities and the general downturn that resulted in revenue/returns dip in major leading sectors globally.

The lender substantially grew its customers’ deposit portfolio to N356.62 billion, up from N257.69 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 38.4% growth. This affirms positive market uptake of the Bank’s product offerings, as well as the lender’s growing customer base to its recent aggressive push with agile customer-centric products, which has played a role in deepening financial services penetration, especially to a wider world, an underserved spectrum of the retail market.

Other major highlight of the audited financial statement relates to growth in its net operating income which rose to N25.46 billion from N23.21 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, representing a 9.71% increase. This is even as the net interest income recorded a significant jump, as it rose by 7.60% to N17.75 billion from N16.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. Earnings per Share closed at 17.85 Kobo.

The Bank’s gross loans portfolio increased by 92.9% to N206.2 billion in December 2020 from N106.9 billion in December 2019. The Bank’s lending strategy was specially tailored to support the nation’s food agenda. This had the added advantage of improving food security across the country, providing employment to thousands of youths and entrepreneurs, contributing to the conservation of FX stocks and mitigating security challenges by ensuring adequate empowerment of citizens and deepening skills acquisition across the value chain.

Commenting on the result, Unity Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tomi Somefun stated that the results showed the resilience of the Bank during unprecedented times of uncertainties and our ability to innovate and focus on key balance sheet items that will enable us to maintain the growth trajectory.

She further opined that: “Consequently, for the year under review, the opportunities to significantly create more quality assets for the business, thought to have a sustainable impact, informed part of choices made and we have seen some encouraging market uptake in this regard, apart from the benefits to the enterprise bottom-line that have also started trickling in. Other key performance indicators especially on the liability side of the business were equally not left out. The Bank deployed new product features and augmentation supported by omni-channel, USSD promotions and other channels to enhance services delivery efficiency, drive income generation capacities and enhance steady balance sheet growth for the year”.

Looking ahead, Somefun stated: “we will latch on targeted strategies to deploy significant investment in technology in order to ride the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the back of this, the Bank focuses on achieving major efficiency gains, deepening its retail footprints and penetrating identified cluster market segments, as bulwarks to tapping into various youth markets platforms, in addition to the mass market would get a further boost”.

While laying an outlook for the future, the Unity Bank’s Chief further stated: “The Bank is also looking to consolidate on the gains from its core business areas and niche in the agribusiness sector. The Bank has solidly financed over one million farmers over the past three years. These farmers cut across several primary crop production such as rice, maize, cotton, wheat, sorghum, etc coupled with their rich value chains, and we hope to continue to expand on this as we play our part in driving the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production.”

Analysts are of the view that has made an appreciable impact in the agribusiness and its value chains consistently, the market is excited that the current year performance and different initiatives of the Bank show that the agribusiness is bankable not only as a differential positioning but also for sustainable business performance and profitability.

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Banking Sector

Access Bank To Acquire BancABC Botswana

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Access Bank Plc on Monday disclosed that it had entered into a definitive and binding agreement with ABC Holdings Limited to acquire 78.15 per cent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana).

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent, is expected to close before the end of this quarter.

ABC Holdings is a subsidiary of London Stock Exchange listed group – Atlas Mara Limited.

Access Bank disclosed this in a statement signed by its Company Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi.

Bostwana is renowned for its quality sovereign credit rating and stability. Access Bank’s market entry is expected to further solidify its strategy as, “a strong banking partner in key verticals across retail and corporate banking, including especially supporting trade in payments across southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.”

Commenting on the deal, the GMD/CEO, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said: “We remain committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy in Africa, which we believe will create strong, sustainable returns for our shareholders and stakeholders at large, over the medium and long-term.

“The establishment of Access Bank through this acquisition in the Republic of Botswana will position the bank to deliver a more complete set of banking solutions to its clients active in and across the SADC and COMESA regions.

“This transaction complements our recent strategic growth acquisitions in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. We are building a bank of the future that Africans across Africa and the world would be proud of and look forward to welcoming the employees, customers and other stakeholders of BancABC Bostawana to Access Bank.”

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