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Naira Faces Pressure on Rising Dollar Demand, Outflows

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External Reserves
  • Naira Faces Pressure on Rising Dollar Demand, Outflows

The combination of tightening global financing conditions, which has resulted to capital outflows in the country, the elevated global risk aversion, 2019 election uncertainties and high services payments are likely to put pressure on the naira going into next year.

Analysts at CSL Stockbrokers Limited and the Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDC), who stated this in two separate reports, argued that capital repatriation by foreign investors was also expected to heighten dollar demand.

While on the parallel market, the naira trades relatively stable at N361 per dollar – N362 per dollar, currency pressures are building at the Investors’ and Exporters’ foreign exchange (I&E) window, where transactions are now being executed at an average rate of N364 per dollar, compared to N362 per dollar-N363 per dollar in previous months.

But the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had insisted that it has enough war chest to meet forex demand in the country.

To the CSL, Nigeria’s periodic currency crises are mainly due to policy makers’ inability to deal with the macroeconomic phenomena called the “impossible Trinity.”

It said, “The impossible trinity (also known as the trilemma) postulates that it is impossible to have all three of the following at the same time: a fixed foreign exchange rate, free movement of capital (absence of capital controls) and an independent monetary policy.

“We think pressure will appear in the foreign exchange market and a parallel market premium in the range of 10-20 per cent will return. Given this view, we recommend that local fixed income investors shorten duration and remain focused on the short-end of the curve.”

While the report noted that the introduction of the I&E FX Window in April 2017, showed the CBN’s effort in liberalising the foreign exchange market, it pointed out that a free floating exchange rate was yet to be accepted in the country.

It added, “Meanwhile, the CBN still has considerable level of control over interest rates. These policy inconsistencies have been in place since independence with its attendant impact evident in the nation’s periodic currency crisis. Nigeria runs a substantial deficit of $5-6 billion on the services balance, however this is usually offset by surplus from the trade account meaning that Nigeria runs a current account surplus.

“We believe CBN will seek to avoid changes to the official exchange rate and will be prepared to see the parallel market premium widen. Looser fiscal policy in the run-up to the election is likely to increase demand for foreign exchange as demand for imports increases, and some of the funds inevitably will be misappropriated.

“We expect demand for foreign exchange to rise significantly beyond the CBN’s willingness to provide it. This will lead to a widening of the parallel market premium as private sector entities with service payments (mostly, interest and dividends) to make have to scramble for foreign exchange.”

On its part, the FDC, a research and financial advisory company anticipated, “increased forex demand in the next couple of months as manufacturers commence inventory build-up for festive sales. This, in addition to increased election spending, could result in exchange rate depreciation. However, the CBN has iterated its preference for exchange rate stability over buoyant external reserves. Hence, we expect the currency to remain relatively stable in 2018.”

The report pointed out that the depletion of Nigeria’s external reserves was expected to be sustained in subsequent months,” owing to forex demand pressures arising from election and festive spending.”

In addition, the firm predicted one more hike in the US Federal Reserves’ (the Fed) interest rate in 2018. This it stated would further intensify capital outflows, heightening pressures on the exchange rate.

However, higher oil proceeds could slow down the pace of depletion, it noted.

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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FBN Holdings Boost First Bank CAR With N25 Billion Capital Injection

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FBN Holdings

First Bank Boosts CAR With N25 Billion Capital Injection

FBN Holdings Plc announced it has boosted the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of its commercial banking subsidiary, First Bank of Nigeria Limited by N25 billion.

According to the statement released by the bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange website, the capital injection represents part of the net proceeds of the company’s divestment from FBN Insurance Limited.

It noted that the capital injection upped the bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio to 16.53 percent –before capitalising year to date profit– as at June 2020.

Oyewale Ariyibi, the Chief Financial Officer of the Company, was quoted as saying “the divestment is in line with the Group’s medium to long term strategic objectives. The divestment has unlocked significant value embedded in the former subsidiary which is being leveraged to strengthen the core banking business for which the Group is renowned“.

Ariyibi further stated that the Company’s objective is to increase capital across the Group in order to drive business growth, enhance efficiency and improve overall shareholders’ value.

Uk Eke, the Group Managing Director, who commented on the company’s performance for the first half of 2020 said “The H1 2020 financial results are impressive and reconfirm our consistent focus on enhanced shareholder value. Despite the difficult operating environment, the results demonstrate our capacity to deliver exceptional services to our customers in these uncertain times. Looking ahead, we remain cautious, but confident that our business is fundamentally strong to surmount any future challenge towards delivering superior financial performance“.

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9mobile Joins MTN, Launches E-Sim Service 

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9mobile

9mobile Launches E-Sim Service

Nigeria’s mobile network operators have joined the rest of the world in launching E-Sim, an embedded sim.

In July, MTN Nigeria set the ball rolling with the launching of its E-Sim trial. This was followed by 9mobile that launched its E-Sim earlier this month.

E-Sim is a form of an in-built sim that is embedded directly into a device without using a physical Sim.

Speaking on the new E-Sim, the Acting Director of Marketing, 9mobile, Layi Onafowokan, described the latest move as the most excellent experience that advanced technology provides.

According to him, the E-Sim is an in-built sim embedded in mobile devices in order to reduce the possibility of losing or damaging sim and eliminate the stress of dealing with the cutting of sim cards or finding adaptors.

It also enables multiple usage and adaptation of one subscriber profile across a broad range of mobile communication devices, internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) apps including smart commuting, metering, tracking, and surveillance, rather than the restricted single-device use of the conventional SIM card.

Onafowokan said: “Customers can walk into any of our select 9mobile Experience Centres to request E-Sim activation. A QR code will be provided to scan and download E-Sim profile and perform the usual SIM registration.

He added that customers that activate E-Sim service will enjoy up to 7GB data-free while those who want to change to E-Sim will only do a SIM swap at approved centres.

E-Sim is compatible with Google Device like Pixel 3, 3 XL, 4, and Pixel 4 XL. Apple Device like Iphone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, Xs, Xs Max and Iphone XR. Samsung S20 Series.

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Access Bank Enters Into Definitive Agreement With Cavmont Capital

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herbert wigwe

Access Bank Signs Definitive Agreement With Cavmont Bank Ltd

Following July 8, 2020 announcement, the Board of Access Bank Plc on Thursday said its subsidiary, Access Bank Limited (Zambia) has entered into a definitive agreement with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia regarding the acquisition of Cavemont Bank Ltd.

In the statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the bank said the proposed acquisition will position Access Bank as one of the top 10 banks in Zambia and improve the bank’s momentum to advance its strategic objectives.

The bank said “This is a highly complementary transaction, combining ABZ’s wholesale and trade finance capabilities with Cavmonth Bank’s retail and commercial banking operations. Customers of the enlarged bank will benefit from greater security offered by what will be one of the most capitalised banks in Zambia with a more diversified product and service offering and a broader geographical footprint and infrastructure. The enlarged bank will be well-placed to participate in the long-term economic growth of Zambia, predicated on the country’s vast reserves of natural resources and fast-growing young population.

The transaction agreement showed Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmonth Bank while Capricorn Group Limited, majority shareholder of Cavmonth Capital Holdings, will invest around $16.5 million or ZMW300 million of preference shares into Access Bank Zambia.

According to the bank, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Speaking on the transaction, Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, said “Access Bank is focused on building the scale needed to become a leading bank in its key operating markets through leveraging the right partnerships. This transaction underscores our approach and is another stepping stone towards delivering on our strategic aspirations of becoming the World’s Most Respected African Bank and Africa’s Gateway to the World. It will strengthen our presence in Zambia, while furthering our footprint for growth in the COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.

“Over the years, we have worked hard to build a sustainable international bank of African origin that can expand the potential of businesses, support economic prosperity, facilitate trade and investment and extend the power of banking to millions of people who do not yet have the financial tools to achieve their dreams. This proposed transaction aligns with that strategy”.

Thinus Prinsloo, Managing Director of Capricorn Group, also said: “Access Bank is an African banking group with an impressive growth trajectory and geographic reach across Africa and internationally. This transaction is an excellent strategic fit with Cavmont Bank’s presence in Zambia and will strengthen the capital base from which to achieve long-term sustainable growth. Zambia is an economy with th potential that is poised for a robust recovery, and this combination best positions the combined bank to harness these opportunities“.

Peet van der Walt, the Managing Director of Cavmont Bank, explained that: “Cavmont Bank’s vision is to be a world-class bank, rated amongst the best in Zambia. This proposed merger with Access Bank Zambia accelerates our strategy and positions us as a top ten bank in the country. As a subsidiary of one of the largest banking groups in Africa, Access Bank Zambia has the scale, capabilities and ambition to enable the combined bank to pursue exciting strategic opportunities in Zambia.

“Our customers will benefit from greater security offered by one of the most capitalised banks in the country, increased scale in Zambia, access to a broader digital and retail offering, and a geographic network across the continent. We look forward to working closely with Access Bank to deliver the benefits of the merger to all the stakeholders.” Shareholders should note that the cautionary announcement dated July 8, 2020 is hereby withdrawn and shareholders are no longer required to exercise caution when dealing in the group’s shares in relation to the potential transaction.”

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