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US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates by 25 Basis Points Amid COVID-19 Concerns

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday raises interest rates by 25 basis points, against the widely expected 50 basis points

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The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates by 25 basis points, against the widely expected 50 basis points. The leading central bank was expected to move aggressively by at least 50 basis points in its next three meetings if it must curb escalating inflation rate and rein in high consumer prices eroding household income.

In its press release, the Federal Reserve attributed its decision to go slower than expected to a series of uncertainties in the global economy. The apex bank mentioned the uncertainty surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19-related lockdowns in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Earlier this week, China was reported to have extended its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in key cities to slow down the spread of the virus and avert a total shutdown of the economy like in 2020. The report bolstered commodity prices and extended crude oil’s bullish run, largely because China is the world’s largest importer of the commodity.

From the Fed statement, it can be deduced that the central bank is already preparing for a possible spillover from China and Ukraine. Hence, the reason for holding its trigger even with inflation at a record-high of 8.5%.

“The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing tremendous human and economic hardship. The implications for the U.S. economy are highly uncertain. The invasion and related events are creating additional upward pressure on inflation and are likely to weigh on economic activity. In addition, COVID-related lockdowns in China are likely to exacerbate supply chain disruptions. The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks,” the Federal Reserve stated.

In addition to the 25 basis points increase, the Fed will start reducing its balance sheet by cutting down on its treasury securities, debt and mortgage-backed securities holdings as early as June 1, 2022.

“The Committee decided to begin reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities on June 1, as described in the Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet that were issued in conjunction with this statement,” the statement read.

What Does This Mean?

Going by this Federal Reserve decision, I will expect the dollar index to start moderating and give back some of its recent gains. Also, the stock market should pare losses and rebound moderately as rising global uncertainty is expected to still be dragging on them.

The cryptocurrency space should come moderately alive in the meantime. Heaven assets like Gold, Yen, Dollar, etc will pull back in the near time.

 

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Rewards Customers in Its Firstmobile Cash-out Promo

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In collaboration with Interswitch, FirstBank has launched a promo to reward users of the FirstMobile app, its industry-leading mobile banking application. The promo tagged FirstMobile Cash-out Promo will run for 3 months. The promo, which started on Monday, 21st March 2022 will end on Tuesday, 21st June 2022.

Various prizes including, N1,000,000, N40,000, N10,000.00 cash prizes, N40,000 Airtime, LED Televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning systems will be won in the course of the three months campaign. A minimum of two bills payment worth N1000 and five airtimes of at least a total of N2000 in a week qualify a customer for any of the prizes. The promo is open to new customers and existing users of the FirstMobile app.

FirstMobile customers who do a minimum of 6 transactions weekly on the FirstMobile app, will be eligible for the respective rewards: N10,000 cash for 200 winners; Gift items (TVs, Refrigerators and AC) for 10 winners; N10,000 airtime for 340 winners.

On the other hand, 500 customers that carry out a minimum of 10 transactions monthly will win N30,000 cash. The Grand Prize of N1,000,000 will be won by 2 lucky customers who carry out a minimum of 20 transactions or a minimum of two bills payment of N1000 plus five airtime transactions of at least a total of N5000 in a week.

Speaking on the campaign, Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank’s Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products said, “as the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria, we are delighted to partner with Interswitch, an Africa-oriented technology-driven company, to reward our customers for their continuous patronage. Together with Interswitch, we remain committed to ensuring the continued safety of customers’ funds across multiple electronic payment channels irrespective of where our customers may be across the world. FirstMobile remains another obvious step towards leveraging evolving technologies to bring fast and convenient digital banking solutions to our customers”.

FirstMobile is built to reflect FirstBank’s resolve at reinforcing the digitisation of payment systems, whilst putting customers at an edge to conveniently meet their everyday needs at any time, irrespective of where they are. The app provides convenient access to both financial and non-financial transactions by FirstBank account holders via their mobile devices. It is sleek and convenient to use – evident in its easy enrolment process as all FirstBank customers with Verve and Naira Mastercards can begin using the app without having cause to visit a FirstBank branch. It is also poised to offer a more reliable and more convenient overall digital banking experience.

To set up the FirstMobile app, customers with android phones should visit the Google Play store to download and install the FirstMobile app. Customers with Apple devices can download it from the Apple Store. Once installed, customers are required to open the app, tap the register button, and use their FirstBank issued Naira MasterCard or Verve card to activate the app. After details have been inputted, an OTP code will be sent via an SMS to your phone number that is linked to your bank account and you are then required to Input a 5 digits code that will be your login password, select two security questions and answer them, create a personalised 4 digits transaction pin that will help your confirm transactions. Upon the conclusion of these steps above, click Done and start enjoying the app.

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Loans

Farmers Are Refusing To Pay Back Loans – CBN Cries Out

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agriculture

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cried out over the refusal of the majority of farmers who benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to repay their loans.

CBN Development Finance Officer, Mr Sadeeq Ajayi revealed this at the Agribusiness Innovation Clinic.

He claimed that the majority of the beneficiaries regard the loan as their part of the national cake in his speech entitled Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Across the Agricultural Value Chain, which was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

He urged farmers who had delayed their agricultural loans to repay them, claiming that the CBN’s failure to retrieve the loans from defaulting farmers had jeopardized the plan and prohibited other farmers from using it.

“While the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme had recorded some level of success, the failure of farmers to repay the loans has, however, been a major setback.

“Many of the farmers refused to pay back their loans due to the misconception that since CBN is the lender, the loan is a ‘national cake’ and they do not have to pay back what they consider theirs as citizens.

“This attitude has made it difficult for other farmers, who also want to access the loan, to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

In 2021, about 2.85 million farmers benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme. Investors King gathered that N554.63bn was disbursed, of which N61.02bn was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.

In its October monthly report, the CBN also revealed that the Anchor Borrowers Program disbursed N1.9 billion to 2,521 farmers to cultivate 8,963 hectares of land through three participating financial institutions.

Cassava, cotton, fish, groundnut, maize, poultry, rice, soya beans, wheat, cattle, sorghum, ginger, castor seed, sesame, tomato, cocoa, yellow pepper, oil palm, cowpea, and onion were among the crops cultivated on 3,097,834 hectares, according to the report.

ABP is an agricultural loan scheme launched by the federal government in 2015 through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers in order to increase agricultural production, create jobs, and reduce food import bills in order to conserve foreign reserves.

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Finance

MTN Nigeria’s MoMo Formally Commences Operation

MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank operations, today, 19th May, 2022

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MTN

MTN Nigeria’s subsidiary company, MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank (PSB) operations, today, 19th May, 2022.

This comes after a successful trial that began on May 16, 2022, to commemorate the start of MTN’s GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.

Investors King had reported the CBN’s approval of this process some months back stating; “This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.

“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to its fulfillment…”

MoMo PSB is determined to enable millions of Nigerians to access a broad range of financial service products. With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB will continue to expand its agent network in order to serve Nigerians across the country and eliminate friction from routine transactions by digitizing cash payments.

Customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country, and pay their bills by dialing *671# from any network.

Furthermore, MoMo wallets will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country in the future, a crucial feature considering Nigeria’s position as the top recipient of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the process,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Not just for those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he added.

MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”

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