- Stock Market Remains Bearish
The stock market remained bearish in the first week of 2019 as investors continued to adopt cautious trading following persistent political jitters ahead of general elections next month.
The market, which recovered in 2017 after two years of decline to grow by 42.3 per cent, depreciated by 17.8 per cent in 2018.
Analysts attributed the negative performance of the market in 2018 to rising yields in the United States(US) due to hike in interest rates and the political uncertainties in the domestic economy in the build up to the 2019 elections amidst a sluggish growth in gross domestic product (GDP).
Given the fact that some of the factors still exist, the local bourse maintained a bearish trend last week with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI), shedding 1.28 per cent to close at 30,638.90. However, market capitalisation appreciated by 0.78 per cent to be at N11.426 trillion due to listing of additional shares of Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
All other indices finished lower with the exception of the NSE Oil and Gas Index that rose by 2.91 per cent. The NSE Industrial Index led decliners with 3.9 per cent, followed closely by the NSE Banking Index with 2.7 per cent. The NSE Consumer Goods Index and NSE Insurance Index went down by 1.0 per cent apiece.
Commenting on the market performance, analysts at Cordros Capital said: Our view continues to favour cautious trading in the equities market amidst brewing political jitters ahead 2019 elections, and the absence of a positive market trigger. However, we expect positive macroeconomic fundamentals to drive recovery in the long term.”
The equities market may suffer more decline in the days to come as there is no indication of the return of foreign investors soon. Besides, local investors are still watching the polity and not willing to stake their money now until after the general elections.
The Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Mary Uduk had said a large percentage of investors in our market are foreign investors and their exit continued to impact negatively on the market.
“We can see that the impact of increase in interest rate in advanced countries not just US, has impact on capital outflow thereby leading to reduced performance in our markets. I want to say that the interest rate increase in advanced economies not just the US, does not affect only Nigeria but also affects other emerging and frontiers market in the world,” she said.
Also, analysts at CSL Stockbrokers said while prices of equities have depreciated significantly, it may be too early for investors to take advantage of the low prices.
They said: “Although, we acknowledge that the broad sell off in the market has led to a significant moderation in the share prices of stocks providing opportunities for bargain hunting, we think that the argument for “Buying the dip” frequently advanced by money managers and traders is still too early to call for.
“With growing concerns about a weakening global economy, the U.S Fed providing guidance for two rate hikes in 2019 and more importantly, the elevated political risk in the domestic economy, we expect foreign investors to remain on the sidelines. Hence, we still expect a choppy theme to characterize the nation’s bourse over the short term.”
Zenith Bank Gets Recognition for Best Corporate Governance
Zenith Bank Plc’s strong business ethos, ethical values, and impeccable corporate governance have been rewarded with ‘Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2021 award by the Ethical Boardroom.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said the award, published in the June 2021 edition of The Ethical Boardroom magazine, recognised the bank’s adherence to global best practices and institutionalisation of corporate governance as well as setting an industry-wide example of best practices in that field.
Commenting on the award, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to quality, accountability, fairness and transparency in our engagement with all stakeholders.
“It is also an affirmation of the bank’s professionalism, ethical conduct and sustenance of global best practices and standards which is attributable to the joint collaboration of the management and staff.”
The award comes on the heels of others and recognitions that the bank has garnered in recent times for its track record of excellent performance and commitment to global best practices.
For instance, Zenith Bank was voted as Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020; Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, and Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2020 by the Ethical Boardroom.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine.
Similarly, the bank was recognised as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the THISDAY Awards 2020, Retail Bank of the year at the 2020 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being as well as Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2020.
Zenith Bank has been generally adjudged a corporate governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange.
The bank continues to sustain this reputation and reappraise its processes to ensure that its business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.
The bank places a premium on its core business strategy anchored on people, technology and service, to create value for its numerous clientele.
“With a team of dedicated professionals, the bank leverages its robust Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide cutting-edge solutions and products through its network of branches and electronic/digital channels,” the statement added.
Egypt: African Development Bank Approves Loan of €83 Million for Egypt’s Electricity Sector to Spur Economic Recovery from Covid-19
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved an €83 million loan to finance the second phase of Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program. The funding is part of the Bank’s budget support to the Egyptian government to strengthen its electricity infrastructure, which is expected to bolster the private sector and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
The program seeks to enhance the power sector’s financial sustainability, governance and operations. It will also advance the provision of clean, reliable energy to drive green growth. Egypt’s successful reforms in the sector have led to greater private investment in utility-scale renewable energy projects.
“Egypt’s Vision 2030 instills the sustainability ethos across all sectors. Energy and electricity are amongst the top sectors in Egypt’s International Development Cooperation’s portfolio, pushing towards a green reform,” said Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al Mashat. “With 2021 being the year of private sector engagement, the Electricity and Green Growth Support Program will contribute towards sustainable growth and job creation and catalyze the development of Egyptian private entities,” she added.
Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for the North Africa Region, said the African Development Bank continues to actively engage with the Egyptian government and private sector companies to support the country’s medium-term development plan and economic reforms, with a particular focus on economic infrastructure such as energy, transport, water and sanitation, as well as industrialization.
In addition to the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement and the Japan International Cooperation Agency have also provided financial support to Egypt’s Electricity and Green Growth Support Program.
Zambia: African Development Bank Approves $1.4 Million Grant to Improve Household Food Security in the Wake of Covid-19
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $1.4 million grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program to reduce malnutrition among the Southern African nation’s most vulnerable households.
The Mitigating Impacts of Covid-19 on Household Food Security Project will create about 150 permanent skilled or semi-skilled positions and 40 part-time unskilled jobs in crop, livestock and fisheries value chains. The project will supply inputs for crops, livestock and aquaculture enterprises to promote good agricultural practices and increase food production. There will also be a capacity building component.
“The agriculture sector is an important source of livelihoods, employment and GDP in Zambia. Increased food supply resulting from additional grant funds will lead to more jobs, improved quality of life, and reduction of malnutrition in many impacted communities,” said Martin Fregene, African Development Bank Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry.
The project provides supplementary funds to the ongoing Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project, a $32 million grant-funded initiative also from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has been managed by the Bank in the Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chongwe, Rufunsa, Serenje and Chitambo districts of Zambia over the past five years.
Global Agriculture and Food Security Program administrators said the six districts were selected based on poverty levels, food insecurity and malnutrition prevalence. However, with this funding and program, these districts have the potential for economic growth, and to promote crop diversification. Some 5,000 people, including 3,750 women and 1,000 youth, will benefit. Some 5,000 people will also benefit indirectly along the commodity value chains.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Zambia has implemented bold measures to protect the health and economic well-being of its citizens. These steps included a nationwide program to scale up agricultural diversification. The Bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility launched in 2020 has been a lifeline to member governments by providing resources to tackle the pandemic.
“The facility will consolidate the Bank’s support for Zambia’s economic diversification and impact mitigation against Covid-19,” said Mary Monyau, the Bank’s Country Manager in Zambia.
The Zambian project is in line with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, specifically, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Similar Bank projects have been successfully undertaken in Malawi, Niger, Liberia, Senegal and the Gambia.
The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program was established as a response to the 2008/09 world food price crisis, following a commitment by the Group of 8 nations (G8) in September 2009 to mobilize up to $20 billion for agricultural development and food security. The World Bank supervises about half of the project portfolio of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. The African Development Bank managed about a quarter in December 2019, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, 11%.
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