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Naira Exchanges at N430/$ as CBN Resumes FX Sales

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  • Naira Exchanges at N430/$ as CBN Resumes FX Sales

The Nigerian Naira gained on Monday following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement that it has commenced the sales of foreign exchange to small businesses and parents wishing to pay their kids’ school fees.

The CBN had suspended forex sales to Bureau De Change operators in line with the Federal Government directive on COVID-19 lockdown about four weeks ago.

The apex bank, however, announced on Monday that it has resumed the sales of forex to commercial banks for onward sale to parents looking to pay their children school fees abroad and small businesses in need of imported goods for their businesses.

Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, the President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, explained that the easing of restrictions helped to flatten the curve in the forex market.

Gwadabe stated that the Naira was exchanged as higher as N470 to a US dollar on Wednesday last week before the CBN announcement on forex sales resumption moderated forex exchange to N430 on Monday.

He said, “The partial lifting of the suspension on forex sales through the CBN announcement on school fees and the SMEs imports funding through the CBN window was what broke the camel’s back and a drive toward flattening the curve in the forex market, and led the naira to gain over 3.5 per cent strength over the dollars from an all high of N470/$ on Wednesday last week to N430/$ at the close of business today (Monday).

“The noticeable frivolous demand that had pervaded the market during the period of the lockdown had been upturned by the lifting of the suspension.

“It is imperative to note that the road to price discovery in the market will be achieved as soon as Bureau de Changes resume operation to a more realistic rate of N405/$ in the month of May.

“We the BDC operators urged the CBN to resume the sales of forex to the BDCs for a better market price discovery and effective liquidity to continue to defend the value of the naira and the infant industries.”

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.

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Healthcare Startups Raised $111.4bn in Total Funding, a 34% Jump Year-on-Year

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Startups in the Healthcare Sector Raises $111.4bn in Funding

The coronavirus pandemic put enormous pressure on the healthcare industry, forcing pharmaceutical giants and institutions to roll out clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine at breakneck speed. But behind the COVID-19 outbreak as the main healthcare issue in 2020, large health systems and venture capital firms continued investing millions in startups whose products could bring critical healthcare delivery innovation.

According to data presented by Buy Shares, UK, the total amount of funds healthcare startups raised over time hit $111.4bn in September, a 34% jump year-on-year.

Total Funding Amount Surged by 162% in Three Years

In 2015, healthcare startups worldwide raised $5.4bn in funding rounds, with the cumulative value of investments reaching $24.4bn that year, revealed the CrunchBase data. During the next two years, this figure surged by more than 68%, reaching $45.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Statistics show that 2018 delivered a $19.2bn of investments into healthcare startups, while the cumulative funding value rose to $64.7bn. In 2019, the total value of raised funds jumped by $24.7bn to $89.4bn, the most significant increase year-on-year.

The Crunchbase data revealed the first quarter of 2020 delivered $7.1bn worth investments into healthcare startups, a 51% increase year-on-year. Between April and June, the cumulative value of funding rose to $103.7bn and continued growing. Statistics show the total funding amount healthcare startups raised over time surged by 162% in the last three years.

Analyzed by geography, North America represents the leading region with $72.4bn of investments in healthcare startups. The US companies raised more than 97% of that amount, with California and San Francisco as the leading hubs. Asian startups hit $25.5bn in total funding, ranking as the second-leading region globally. European healthcare startups follow with $12.8bn worth funding rounds.

Three Largest Funding Rounds in 2020 Worth Over $2bn

The CrunchBase data also revealed the three largest healthcare startup funding rounds this year hit over $2bn value.

Last month, JD Health, the healthcare unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, raised more than $830 million from Hillhouse Capital in Series B funding, the largest investment in 2020. The company announced it would use this capital to further strengthen its pharmacy supply chain capabilities and explore additional healthcare services opportunities in the broader healthcare sector.

In July, Seattle-based biotech startup Sana Biotechnology raised $700 million in initial financing that will be used to advance the company’s discovery and development programs that deliver engineered cells as a treatment for different types of diseases.

Statistics show that Lyell Immunopharma`s $493 million worth Series C funding round represents the third-largest healthcare startup investment in 2020. Last year, the San Francisco-based company joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline plc to develop new technologies to improve cell therapies for cancer patients.

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FinCEN Leaks: Tone Down The Rhetoric and Focus on Improving Banking Checks

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Banks Must do More To Prevent Financial Crime

The FinCEN leaks underscore that banks must do much more to prevent financial crime, but also that a clear distinction must be made between legal and illegal financial practices.

This is the message from Nigel Green, the CEO and founder of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations, as more than 2,500 documents from the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network raise concerns about what banks’ clients might be doing.

Mr Green says: “These documents show how some of the world’s biggest banks have seemingly turned a blind eye to criminals moving dirty money around the world through their systems.

“For me, this highlights once again that these major financial institutions need to do much more and with vigour to help prevent high-level financial crime, which is a serious global problem.

“It brings up the issues of independent verification and conflict of interest within banks. Should a bank with a financial interest be allowed to make the decision on moving such large figures?

“A bizarre anomaly is that it appears that smaller amounts are often questioned, but larger figures often appear not to be.”

He continues: “Whilst banks must, evidently, do much more in this area, it is also important to make clear the distinctions between legal and illegal financial practices.

“A failure to do so muddies the waters and makes combatting financial crimes harder.

“For instance, some high-profile individuals have been accused of wrongdoing when their actions and decisions were legal at the time.

“The notion that they are ‘getting away’ with investments that were perfectly legal when they were made is, frankly, ludicrous and wholly unhelpful.

“Knowing this, some have accused these individuals of being ‘immoral’. However, the law is not supposed to be a moral issue.

“It might very well be the case that the laws need to be overhauled, but until that point, the witch-hunt must be called-off.”

The deVere concludes: “Let’s tone down the rhetoric and focus on the serious issues of stamping out financial crime by implementing more robust checks and balances inside the banking system.”

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Alibaba Group’s Revenue Surged to $22.7bn in Q2 2020, Still Four Times Less Than Amazon

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Alibaba Revenue Rose to $22.7bn in the Second Quarter 2020

While many Chinese companies have faced severe challenges and losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Alibaba Group is emerging as one of the country’s biggest corporate winners of the COVID-19 crisis. The multinational tech giant gained the opportunity to expand its business during the first half of 2020, as demand for its services and online marketplace traffic surged amid the coronavirus lockdown.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, the Alibaba Group’s revenue jumped to $22.7bn in the second quarter of 2020, still four times less than its leading competitor Amazon.

Alibaba Quarterly Revenue Jumped 34% YoY, Amazon’s 40%

Alibaba Group emerged as China’s leading eCommerce company after the 2003 SARS outbreak. Since then, it has become a significant hirer and a lender, providing more than 100,000 jobs and offering billions of dollars in loans to SMEs.

One of the group’s most profitable marketplaces is Taobao, responsible for more than 80% of its sales. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba isn’t involved in direct sales and doesn’t own warehouses; it simply helps branded manufacturers and small businesses to reach consumers. Although both tech giants have established a strong presence in their domestic markets, there is intense competition between them in expanding to the new markets.

Alibaba’s revenue amounted to $11.9bn in the second quarter of 2018, while its US competitor reported $52.8bn, four times more than that. During the next twelve months, Alibaba`s revenues surged by 41% to almost $17bn in the second quarter of 2020. Amazon’s revenue rose by nearly 20% to $63.4bn in the same quarter. After a strong performance in the third and fourth quarter of 2019, the revenue of both companies slightly dropped in the first quarter of 2020. However, the second quarter of the year delivered the highest results, so far.

Alibaba Group’s revenue jumped to $22.7bn; an 34% increased year-over-year. The company’s Q2 Results also revealed the number of their annual active consumers on the China retail marketplaces surged by 16 million in three months, reaching a total of 742 million. Mobile MAUs on China retail marketplaces jumped to 874 million in June, an increase of 28 million compared to the first quarter. Adjusted EBITDA grew by 30% in a year to $7.2bn, while quarterly net income rose to more than $6.5bn.

In August, Amazon also announced its excellent second-quarter results, which revealed double-digit revenue growth year-over-year driven by a surge in sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The US tech giant’s revenue spiked 40% year-over-year to $88.9bn, up from $81.5bn expected. Net income surged by 100% to $5.2 bn, while earnings per share hit $10.30, a significant increase compared to $5.22 in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported its North American sales rose by 43% to $55.4bn, while international sales grew 38% to $22.7bn.

Combined Market Cap of Two Tech Giants Soared by 81% YoY

Besides their revenues and profits booming amid the coronavirus outbreak, both Alibaba Group and Amazon witnessed significant growth in their market capitalization since the beginning of the year.

In December 2019, the market cap of the Chinese tech giant amounted to $570.9bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. After a 10% drop in March, this figure rose to $581.2bn in June. Statistics show the Alibaba Group’s market cap continued growing in the third quarter, rising by $181.2bn after fantastic Q2 2020 results. In September, it surged to $762.4bn, a 75% jump year-over-year.

In 2020, Amazon officially became the fourth tech company to join the $1 trillion club, besides Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet. Statistics show the company’s market cap amounted to $920.2bn in December last year. By the end of the first half of 2020, it rose to $1.38trn and continued growing ever since. Statistics show the combined value of Amazon’s stocks surged by $210bn after the US tech giant announced its last quarterly results and hit $1.59trn in September, an 80% increase year-over-year.

The combined market capitalization of the two competitors hit $2.35trn this month, almost 58% jump since the beginning of the year.

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