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The Fed is Spooking Investors Into Adopting Fundamentals




The Federal Reserve’s expected move today to raise interest rates is spooking investors into doing what they should be doing already: ensuring their portfolios are properly diversified – and this is a good thing.

This is the assessment from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations, as markets wait for the U.S. central bank’s announcement on Wednesday at which they could signal the first lift-off in U.S. interest rates since 2018 as they seek to tackle hot-running inflation.

He notes: “Today is the day. Investors around the world have been prepping for the Fed’s big decision since the beginning of the year, which, in turn, has sparked bouts of volatility in global stock markets.

“We saw this turbulence on Monday with one of the most remarkable Wall Street rebounds on record. It was the first time since the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis that the Nasdaq had been down more than 4% on the session and closed up. It was a similar story on the Dow Jones index.”

The deVere CEO explains what’s happening: “While higher interest rates increase borrowing costs for all businesses, they also make firms’ projected profits worth less in investors’ valuation models. This is exacerbated for tech and other growth stocks whose peak earnings are not expected for years to come.

“As such, investors are now more eager to reconsider the value sectors of energy, industrials, materials and financials, and increase their exposure to them.

“Some of the tech and growth stocks’ valuations are simply too high and it doesn’t make sense to be over-exposed.

“However, sensibly, they will not be dumping all growth stocks. They will also be aware that the pandemic has led to the advancement of fundamental trends, such as online shopping, remote working and gaming.”

In short, says Nigel Green, the Fed’s expected move on interest rates is “is spooking investors into doing what they should be doing already: ensuring their portfolios are properly diversified.”

This, he goes on to say, “is a good thing.”

A diversified portfolio is a collection of different investments that combine to reduce an investor’s overall risk profile. Diversification includes owning stocks from several different industries, regions, and risk profiles, as well as other investments such as bonds, commodities, currencies and real estate.

“As ever, the best way to mitigate risk and position yourself for opportunities is to be diversified.”

He concludes: “The Fed is delivering a high-pitched wake-up call to investors around the world about financial history: review your portfolio regularly, remain diversified and don’t try and ‘time the market’.”


Snake Island Port Makes History with $1 Billion Private Investment in Concession Agreement



Snake Island Port

Snake Island Port has achieved a significant milestone by securing a momentous $1 billion private investment through a historic concession agreement.

This landmark agreement is set to transform the port’s operations and propel it to new heights.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerdock, Maher Jarmakani, expressed his elation over this remarkable achievement. Jarmakani affirmed that the 45-year concession agreement with the Federal Government would not only allow for an expanded operational scope but also attract substantial private investment, amounting to an impressive $1 billion.

Jarmakani conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to the Federal Government for its unwavering support in enabling the expansion of Nigerdock’s operations. This collaboration serves as a testament to the government’s commitment to fostering partnerships that drive economic growth, job creation, and the development of critical infrastructure.

Nigerdock, a multipurpose port facility situated within the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ), occupies an expansive 85-hectare area and encompasses three terminals. The facility specializes in ship repair, logistics, and free zone solutions. Recognizing the potential of Snake Island Port, the Presidency awarded Nigerdock free zone and port status back in 2005, leading to the establishment of the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone. In subsequent years, the Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigeria Customs Service granted approvals for direct shipping and cargo handling operations, respectively.

With the new concession agreement, Snake Island Port is poised for transformative growth. The extended operational scope and influx of private investment are expected to attract both domestic and international businesses, stimulating economic development in the region. This milestone aligns perfectly with Nigerdock’s long-term vision of becoming a globally recognized maritime operator, further enhancing its contribution to Nigeria’s economy.

The approval of the concession agreement not only emphasizes the Nigerian government’s commitment to public-private partnerships but also underscores its dedication to driving infrastructure projects nationwide. The collaboration between Nigerdock and the Federal Government sets a positive precedent, fostering an environment conducive to investment and economic prosperity.

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Nigerian Banks and Telcos Struggle to Resolve N100bn USSD Debt



US Dollar -

Nigerian banks and telecommunication firms are currently struggling to resolve a N100bn Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt.

This debt has been accumulating over the past few years due to a disagreement over non-remittance of USSD fees.

USSD services have been essential to financial inclusion in Nigeria, with a large number of Nigerians using it to access banking services through their mobile phones. However, despite its significance, banks and telcos have been at loggerheads since 2019 over the non-remittance of USSD fees.

The accumulated USSD debt was initially estimated at N32bn in 2019, and by November 2022, it had risen to N80bn. Unfortunately, it has now increased to over N100bn as banks and telcos are yet to come to a resolution.

According to Gbolahan Awonuga, the Head of Operations of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, banks and telcos are still locked in discussions with no way forward. He said, “the debt has continued to increase, and it is now over N100bn.”

A source in one of the telecoms companies also disclosed that banks owe one of the telcos about N100bn. This amount, the source said, does not cut it as it could be estimated at N150bn, including debts owed to other telcos.

However, the recovery process has been frustrating for telcos as banks refuse to acknowledge the debt, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supports them. The source said, “no progress has been made simply because the banks have dug in their heels and are refusing to accept that they owe us money, not to talk of repaying.”

This issue threatens financial inclusion as many underserved Nigerians rely on USSD services to access banking services. It is essential that banks and telcos resolve this issue quickly to ensure that businesses and individuals can continue to carry out transactions seamlessly.

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Foreign Investment in Nigerian Exchange Declines by Over 50% in One Month



Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) has reported a significant decrease in foreign investment in its markets.

According to the Domestic & Foreign Portfolio Investment Report for March 2023, transactions conducted by foreign investors fell by 53.16% from N19.62bn in February to N9.19bn in March, equivalent to about $42.51m to $19.94m respectively.

The decline marks a considerable setback in the efforts to attract foreign investment into Nigeria.

The report shows that total transactions conducted by domestic investors also dropped by 19.06% from N169.29bn in February to N137.03bn in March.

However, the decline in foreign investment was much more significant, with the total value of transactions by foreign investors decreasing by 88% compared to transactions by domestic investors, which stood at 96% in March 2023.

The decrease in foreign investment is attributed to several factors, including the uncertainty around exchange rates and the unfavorable business environment.

Prof Olawale Ajai of the Lagos Business School pointed out that insecurity and the opaque Naira foreign exchange regime have made Nigeria unattractive to foreign investors.

He also noted that low national productivity, infrastructure deficits, and poor human capital development have contributed to the decline.

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, also highlighted the forex challenges facing foreign investors, citing the delay in accessing foreign exchange for the repatriation of their dividends or capital.

He added that the reduced proportion of foreign investors in the Nigerian capital market was not permanent, and he expected the foreign exchange situation in Nigeria to improve substantially.

The decline in foreign investment is a cause for concern for the Nigerian economy, which is heavily reliant on foreign investment to drive growth.

The government must take urgent steps to address the challenges facing foreign investors and create a more favorable business environment to attract more foreign investment.

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