African central banks are gearing up for a series of decisions in the next three weeks, with most of them leaning towards maintaining their current interest rates while keeping the option of rate hikes open.
These decisions come as these countries face currency risks due to rising borrowing costs in advanced economies and domestic challenges.
South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Ghana are expected to keep their rates stable, while Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya are likely to address currency weakness by raising borrowing costs. Mozambique’s decision is uncertain, with analysts split between a rate cut and maintaining the status quo.
The devaluation of currencies like the Angolan kwanza and the Nigerian naira by approximately 40% in the current year, along with other currency depreciations, has increased inflationary pressures. Central banks aiming to curb inflation may opt for policy rate hikes, as noted by Africa economist Yvonne Mhango.
In Angola, where the inflation rate climbed to 13.5% in August, Banco Nacional de Angola is expected to raise interest rates to combat inflation and stabilize the currency.
The Bank of Mauritius is likely to maintain its key rate, relying on base effects to control inflation rather than resorting to rate hikes. Seychelles is set to keep its record-low rates despite battling deflation, as a rate cut carries risks to financial stability.
In South Africa, the Reserve Bank is expected to keep rates unchanged after multiple rate hikes since November 2021, with a focus on assessing the economic impact of previous tightening measures.
Egypt, which surprised with a 100 basis point interest rate hike in August, is expected to pause its monetary tightening as monthly trends hint at a slowdown in inflationary pressures, according to Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic research at EFG Hermes. Tobacco and volatile food items have been the primary drivers of inflation in Egypt.
Access Holdings Posts 52.6% Profit for the First Half of the Year
Parent Company of Access Bank Celebrates Remarkable Financial Performance in H1’23
Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Access Bank, has reported a 58.9 percent surge in gross revenue to N940.3 billion for the first half of 2023.
The financial services giant also recorded remarkable growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) at 71.4 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively, culminating in N167.6 billion for PBT and N135.4 billion for PAT during the same period.
These financial milestones were unveiled as part of Access Holdings’ Audited Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the period concluding on June 30, 2023.
The driving force behind this unprecedented growth can be attributed to a potent combination of factors. A 63.0 percent growth in interest income and a 51.9 percent increase in non-interest income fueled the surge in gross revenue.
Access Holdings also witnessed a 35 percent year-to-date growth in customer deposits, capping the first half of 2023 at an impressive N12.5 trillion. This remarkable achievement encompassed all business segments, reinforcing the Group’s status as Nigeria’s largest financial institution by total assets.
The company’s total assets grew by 39.0 percent year-on-year to N20.9 trillion while shareholders’ funds surged by 40.6 percent to N1.7 trillion.
These astounding figures underline the Group’s ability to generate value from a diversified business portfolio, spanning banking, asset management, and payment services.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, commented on the company’s positive performance, saying, “Our growth plans for the African continent remain firm and clear, driven by the strong long-term growth prospects and trade opportunities seen across many of the countries.”
He went on to emphasize the company’s commitment to its 5-year cyclical strategy, stating, “Our primary objective remains to transform Access Holdings Plc into a leading financial and ecosystem player, fostering opportunities for shared prosperity among all stakeholders.”
Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.
Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.
In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”
While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.
President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.
The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.
The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.
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