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Equities Rally N29b Gain Amid Bargain-hunting

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Nigerian stock market
  • Equities Rally N29b Gain Amid Bargain-hunting

Nigerian equities yesterday broke a two-day downtrend with a net capital gain of N29 billion as investors sought to take advantage of low share prices. With more companies releasing their half-year results, investors traded on a tit-for-tat to moderate the downtrend that had shaped transactions in the previous trading sessions.

Average gain yesterday stood at 0.22 per cent, equivalent to net capital gain of N29 billion. Average year-to-date return, though still negative, improved marginally to -4.75 per cent.

The All Share Index (ASI)-the value-based index that tracks share prices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), increased from its opening index of 36,346.80 points to close at 36,427.22 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities improved from N13.167 trillion to close at N13.196 trillion. With 20 gainers and losers each, the positive overall market position was driven by gains recorded by large-cap stocks.

Sectoral indices showed considerable underlying positive trend as all indices closed on the upside. The NSE Banking Index and NSE Insurance Index rose by 0.8 per cent each. The NSE Consumer Index and NSE Industrial Goods Index appreciated by 0.2 per cent while the NSE Oil and Gas Index inched up by 0.1 per cent.

Nestle Nigeria led the gainers with a gain of N51 to close at N1,501. Cement Company of Northern Nigeria appreciated by N2.30 to close at N28.50. NASCON Allied Industries rose by 50 kobo to close at N20.50. Zenith Bank increased by 45 kobo to close at N23.70. Cutix gathered 39 kobo to close at N4.38 while FBN Holdings rose to 25 kobo to close at N9.65 per share.

On the downside, International Breweries led the losers with a drop of N2 to close at N35.50. Flour Mills of Nigeria followed with a loss of N1.50 to close at N27.20. Dangote Cement declined by N1 to close at N234. Custodian Investment lost 54 kobo to close at N5.56 while Dangote Sugar Refinery and Nigerian Breweries dipped by 50 kobo each to close at N15 and N104 respectively.

Total turnover stood at 171.22 million shares valued at N2.98 billion in 3,595 deals. Zenith Bank was the most active stock with a turnover of 30.29 million shares worth N717.23 million. United Bank for Africa followed with a turnover of 21.71 million shares worth N205.71 million while FCMB Group placed third with 19.01 million shares worth N35.97 million.

“We expect the market to close the week in the green, supported by bargain hunting in fundamentally sound stocks as observed in today (Thursday)’s trading session,” Afrinvest Securities stated.

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

US, Japan National Debt Surges by $8 Trillion in the Last 12 Months, China Recovers

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Forex Weekly Outlook March 6 - 10

The coronavirus-induced recession has seen countries that were already battling a skyrocketing national debt plunge into more crisis. 

Data analyzed by Finbold indicates that the top five countries globally with the highest public debt added $9.17 trillion between March 2020 and March 2021. The United States tops with the debt growing by $4.57 trillion from $23.45 trillion to $28.0.2 trillion.

Elsewhere, Japan’s public debt has grown from $11.42 trillion to $14.64 trillion. Cumulatively, the two countries have added $7.79 trillion in debt. Interestingly, the analysis shows that China’s national debt dropped by $0.57 trillion from $8.56 trillion to $7.99 trillion among the selected leading economies.

In terms of the country’s national debt percentage growth, Germany tops with 35.02%, followed by Japan at 28.2%, and the U.S. ranks third at 19.29%. Italy’s debt grew by 10.8%, with the UK standing at 7.19%.

US debt crisis complicated by Covid-19 response

The record surge in national debt for the covered countries is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis triggered the most profound economic downturn, with millions of people losing jobs and businesses temporarily or permanently closed; hence, revenues shrunk while spending soared.

Even before the pandemic, the United States was already battling a huge national debt crisis. The situation was further complicated after Congress approved several stimulus packages for relief, widening the debt. Furthermore, the low-interest rates meant that the US had to shoulder a heavier debt burden.

Similarly, Japan’s high national debt stems from the country’s response to the health crisis. The stimulus spending also put more pressure on the already dire public debt.

China’s pandemic response helps lower public debt

Despite being the virus epicenter, it was controlled swiftly, with economic activities resuming normally. There was balance between spending and revenue generation, meaning the deficit amount was low over the last 12 months.

China was also able to inject more money into the economy after becoming a key exporter of products needed to fight and curb the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, Asian nations exported a significant amount of face masks and ventilators to countries that lacked the capacity to produce their own.

Away from the pandemic response, China’s declining public debt ties down the policy. In recent years the country has become less reliant on using credit to handle economic slowdowns. Amid the pandemic, policymakers were even reluctant to over-use debt to hit growth targets.

Overall, most countries globally have enacted a massive amount of monetary and fiscal stimulus to prevent a deep and prolonged recession, in return increasing the public debt burden. However, it appears there has been little effort to balance the coronavirus response with solving the national debt crisis.

The surging national debt for countries like the US is worrying since it has since surpassed its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $21.59 trillion, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. It is an indicator the country might have problems repaying the loans.

With the debt in the unstainable territory for some countries, it might generally impact the government’s ability to tackle future economic downturns.

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Finance

The Africa Digital Inclusion Facility Approves $1.3m Grants for Two Research to Enhance Women’s Digital Access to Loans and Micro-insurance

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secured loan

The Africa Digital Inclusion Facility approves grants worth $1.3 million for two research efforts to enhance women’s digital access to loans and micro-insurance.

The African Development Bank has approved two grants for research that will increase African women’s access to a range of digital financial services including loans and micro-insurance.

The grants, for $1 million and $300,000 respectively, will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility, a blended finance vehicle supported by the Bank, to two financial technology firms, Pula Advisors Kenya Ltd., and M-KOPA Kenya Ltd.

Pula Advisors will use the $1 million for research of social, cultural and economic factors that impact women farmers’ access to micro-insurance in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. Research findings will inform the design and implementation of gender-centric insurance products. The project will be undertaken over a 3-year time frame.

“This grant funding will be used to leverage technology to develop innovative and responsive loan and insurance products that can spur productivity and inclusion, especially for our women smallholder farmers and traders.” said Sheila Okiro, the Bank’s Coordinator for ADFI.

The three-year project will have three phases: product development; piloting; and scaling; the outcomes are expected to benefit 360,000 farmers, 50% of them women, as well as boost farm yields by up to 30%. This will also raise incomes and enhance household and national food security.

M-KOPA will use the $300,000 grant funding for research involving 250 women and 250 men in Kenya’s Kisumu, Eldoret and Machakos counties. The company will assess the barriers to and opportunities for women’s access to digital financial services and financial literacy programmes via smartphone, and use the research insights to design a financial services app that is relevant to small-scale women traders.

The project, approved by the Bank on 9 February, 2021, will benefit women with no or limited access to financial services that run small informal businesses. Once developed, the mobile app will be used to pilot small loans to the women traders.

Both projects align with ADFI’s digital products and innovation and capacity building intervention pillars as well as its cross-cutting focus on gender inclusion, a thematic running across all its interventions.

The PULA grant approval meets African Development Bank strategic goals, including the Ten-Year Strategy, two High-5 priority areas—feed Africa and improve the quality of life for Africans— and the financial inclusion strategies of Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

The M-KOPA project is aligned with the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program that seeks to increase access to finance for women.

ADFI is a pan-African initiative designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion throughout Africa, with the goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, 60% of them women, gain access to the formal economy. The Facility was formally launched in June 2019 at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Current ADFI partners are the French Development Agency (AFD); the French Treasury’s Ministry of Economy and Finance; The Government of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the African Development Bank, which also hosts the fund.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Boosts Cross Border Payment With FirstGlobal Transfer

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FirstBank Boosts Cross Border Payment With FirstGlobal Transfer

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the launch of First Global Transfer (FGT) to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The bank, in a statement, said: “First Global Transfer (FGT) initiative is specifically designed to ensure safe, timely and improved efficiency in the transfer of funds across the network of FirstBank subsidiaries in Africa.

“The FGT is not restricted to FirstBank and FBNBank customers alone but it is also open to every individual resident in the country the funds’ transfer is originating from.

“Intending users of the initiative are to visit any of the bank’s branches in Nigeria or subsidiaries in Africa, which are: FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, or FBNBank Senegal to enjoy the service.

“For example, with First Global Transfer, individuals and customers in Sierra-Leone can walk into any FBNBank branch to send money to FirstBank customers in Nigeria as well as FBNBank customers in Gambia, Ghana, DR Congo, Senegal or Guinea.”

Speaking on the initiative, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank said, “today’s customer is influenced by the technological advancement shaping businesses across various industries and our First Global Transfer (FGT) initiative is one of those advancement created to impact every individual in our host community in Africa, whilst promoting the ease and swift transfer of money from one country to another for business or personal activities.”

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