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Naira Plummets to All-Time Low of 472/Dollar

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The naira slumped to a new all-time low of 470 to the dollar on the parallel market on Wednesday, posting its biggest daily decline since the Central Bank of Nigeria adopted a flexible foreign exchange regime.

The local currency stood at 452 to the dollar at the close of trading on Tuesday, down from 445 against the greenback on Monday.

The naira closed flat at 312.99 against the dollar at the interbank market on Wednesday, according to data from FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.

Traders and analysts said dollar liquidity remained a major challenge in the market amid surging demand pressure on the greenback by parents paying schools fees of their children studying overseas as well as travellers.

The President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, told our correspondent, “The rate is N472 to the dollar as we await the kick-off of the distribution of dollars to the BDCs by Travelex on Friday.

“As we speak, no bank is dispensing dollars to the BDCs. The BDCs’ accounts were debited by some banks since Monday and they are not able to pay any of the BDCs so far debited by them. This is really sending a bad signal in the market.”

A currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said the parallel market was being used as a mirror of what the naira should be doing, adding, “For me, it may not really reflect naira’s performance. But basically, it is a demand and supply dynamics.”

According to him, the volatility in the parallel market will continue as long as the 41 items excluded from the official forex market remain banned.

“Around this time, a lot of people are paying school fees abroad and we see a lot of demand for forex for other sundry expenses or obligations. So, all of these will put pressure on the naira at the parallel market,” he added.

Noting that the naira had been relatively stable in the official market, Ezun said, “But the parallel market will always respond to liquidity, which is not available. The parallel market will help you to assess the level of liquidity in the market.

“So, if liquidity is high, we will see it in the parallel market. But as we speak today, there is no liquidity in the market, and that is why we keep seeing that volatility in the parallel market.”

The Ecobank analyst said the naira might hit 500 against the dollar in the coming days.

He explained, “The only way out is when there is dollar inflow into the market, and this is one of the reasons the CBN says it is not willing to cut the Monetary Policy Rate now. The idea is that why you are still trying to woo foreign investors into your fixed-income market, you should continue to be able to assure them of returns on their investment.

“What the CBN can do is to use monetary policy to keep encouraging inflows into the market.”

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.

Finance

CBN Pursues Expansionary Monetary Policy to Boost Output and Moderate Inflation

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CBN Says it Lowered Interest Rates to Use Expansionary Monetary Policy Boost Output and Moderate Rising Inflation

Following the shocking reduction in the monetary policy rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 percent, the Central Bank of Nigeria has explained the reason for such a decision after months of saying no.

The Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele said the central bank is pursuing an expansionary monetary policy to abate pressure, up economic productivity and then use expected improved in aggregate supply to moderate the rising inflation rate.

Emefiele said this was necessary to address likely recesssion and contain the rising inflation rate.

He said, “The committee was therefore of the view that to abate the pressure, it had no choice but to pursue an expansionary monetary policy using development finance policy tools, targeted at raising output and aggregate supply to moderate the rate of inflation.

“At present, fiscal policy is constrained and so cannot, on its own, lift the economy out of contraction or recession, given the paucity of funds arising from weak revenue base, current low crude oil prices, lack of fiscal buffers and high burden of debt services.

“Therefore, monetary policy must continue to provide massive support through its development finance activities to achieve growth in the Nigerian economy.

According to the governor, Monetary Policy Committee members were confronted with a policy dilemma after the economy contracted by 6.10 percent in the second quarter and expected to dip again into recession in the second quarter.

It is, therefore, of the view that, if a recession occurs in Q3, the committee would be confronted with proposing policy options in a period of stagflation,” he added.

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Unity Bank Projects Loss After Tax of N1.80 Billion for Q4, 2020

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Unity Bank Predicts N1.80 billion Loss After Tax and N1.66 Billion Pretax Loss for Q4, 2020

Unity Bank Plc said it is expecting to lose N1.80 billion in loss after tax in the fourth quarter of 2020.

While the lender said it is targeting N4.98 billion in gross earnings for the quarter, it is projecting a pretax loss of N1.66 billion, according to a recent earnings forecast released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s website.

In its fourth-quarter earnings forecast, the bank said it was also targeting N3.36 billion in interest income.

Unity bank earnings rose by 11 percent to N22.8 billion in the first half of 2020, up from N20.55 billion recorded in the same period of 2019.

In the first half, the bank grew profit before tax by seven percent to N1.12 billion from N1.05 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. While profit after tax also rose by seven percent from N967.51 million in H1 2019 to N1.03 billion in H1 2020.

Similarly, Unity Bank posted earnings of N11.01 billion in the first half, representing a 5 percent increase from the N10.50 billion recorded in the same period of 2019.

The bank asset expanded by 48 percent from N293.05 billion in H1 2019 to N445.95 billion in the same period of 2019. While the lender’s loan book grew by 53.7 percent from N70.62 percent in Q2 2019 to

Also, Unity Bank grew deposit by 19 percent from N257.69 billion recorded as of December 2019 to N306.47 billion.

Speaking on the performance, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, the bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, said “Despite the inclement economic conditions occasioned by the global pandemic, which almost paused or at best put activities at a slower pace in virtually all sectors of the economy, the bank has been able to ride the waves to maintain its growth trajectory looking at the key performance indicators.

“The assessment, therefore, is that the repositioning efforts which have taken root before the headwinds are equally able to withstand shocks.”

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States Debt Rises by 163 Percent -BudgIT

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Debts of All 36 States Rise by 163 Percent or N3.34 Trillion to N5.39 trillion Between 2014 and 2019

Debts continue to rise across the 36 states of the Federation, according to a recent report by BudgIT, a public sector-focused financial information house.

In the just released 2020 edition of its annual state of states report titled, “Fiscal Sustainability and Epidemic Preparedness Financing at the State Level”, BudgIT said debts rose by 162.87 percent or N3.34 trillion from N2.05 trillion in 2014 to N5.39 trillion in 2019 across the 36 states.

The report stated that 10 of the states incurred half or N1.68 trillion of the entire debt, adding that seven of the 10 states are from the South while three are from the North.

Speaking on how states can attain fiscal sustainability, Damilola Ogundipe, BudgIT’s Communications Lead, said: “States need to grow their Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, as options for borrowing are reduced due to debt ceilings put in place by the Federal Government to prevent states from slipping into debt crisis. There has to be a shift from the culture of states’ overdependence on Federation Account Allocation Commission, FAAC.

The report further stated that 13 states, including Lagos, Oyo, Kogi and others, were unable to fund their recurrent expenditure together with debt repayments due in 2019.

It stated: “From our 2020 State of States analysis, 13 states were unable to fund their recurrent expenditure obligations together with their loan repayment schedules due in 2019 with their respective total revenues. 

“The worst hit of these 13 states are – Lagos, Oyo, Kogi, Osun and Ekiti states while the other states on this pendulum are Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Cross River, Benue, Taraba and Abia. 

“Furthermore, of the remaining 23 states that can meet recurrent expenditure and loan repayment schedules with their total revenue, eight of those states had really low (less than N6 billion) excess revenue, that they had to borrow heavily to fund their capital projects. 

“The worst hit are Zamfara, Ondo and Kwara who had N782.45 million, N788.22 million and N1.48 billion left, respectively. 

“Based on their fiscal analysis, only five states – Rivers, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi and Kebbi states – prioritised capital expenditure over recurrent obligations, while 31 states prioritised recurrent expenditure according to their 2019 financial statements.”

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