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Naira Plunges Further; Now 372 a Dollar

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US dollar

The acute scarcity of foreign exchange, especially the dollar, continued on Wednesday with the naira closing at 372 against the United States currency at the parallel forex market.

According to Punch, forex dealers linked the persistent fall of the naira to panic buying of the dollar and other major international currencies by importers, individuals and businessmen.

With the naira exchanging at 372 to the dollar, the local currency has lost 20 per cent of its value at the parallel market in the last 10 days.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has, however, left its official rate unchanged at N197 to the dollar at the interbank window.

The naira, which hit a record low of 352 against the greenback on Tuesday, had closed at 345 on Monday.

On Friday, the local currency fell to 338 against the US currency, a day after the Bankers’ Committee expressed concern over the mounting foreign exchange bills for school fees and medical bill payment.

The naira, which has been on a free fall in the past few weeks, fell steadily at the parallel market from 310 last Monday to 335 last Thursday.

Equities stocks fell almost by two per cent on Wednesday, hit by a major decline in cement companies’ shares, including Dangote Cement, which accounts for the third of local bourse capitalisation, Reuters reported.

The local bourse index dropped by 1.81 per cent to 24,070 points as investors took profits from previous gains on the stocks.

“Due to the rapid decline of the naira’s value, some offshore investors are booking profit and selling down their holdings,” one stockbroker said.

Shares in Dangote Cement fell by 4.11 per cent; Ashaka Cement was down by four per cent, while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria dropped by 8.89 per cent to drag the index down.

The currency and stock markets have been hit hard by the persistent fall in crude oil prices, Nigeria’s main export, causing a decline in government revenues and the exit of foreign investors from the local bourse.

A forex dealer at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Mr. Saliu Mohammed, said the increasing demand for the greenback was overwhelming the market.

This, he said, was responsible for the naira’s free fall.

“Most individuals who sell (dollars) to us are no longer willing; but demand is piling up,” another dealer in Ikeja, who identified himself as Ibrahim Tukur, said.

Last month, the CBN banned dollar sales to the BDC operators, sending the naira to a record low at the black market, and later stopped the daily sale to the interbank market, in an effort to conserve the external reserves, now at their lowest in more than 11 years.

The nation realises around 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings from crude oil exports. The foreign reserves have fallen to $27.83bn as of February 12, data from the CBN website showed.

Commenting on the development, the Managing Director, Cowry Assets Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said, “The CBN does not have the forex to manage the exchange rate today. Unless we adjust the exchange rate, things may continue to get worse. As it is today, the naira can no longer be a store of value, going by the rate at which it is losing its value at the parallel market.

“Most people are buying dollar to store their wealth. We cannot ignore the parallel market because that is where most people are holding their transactions. A timely intervention by the Ministry of Finance and the CBN to give a clear guidance on how they intend to manage the exchange rate will save the day.”

 

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

Investors Oversubscribed for FGN Bonds by N205.87 Billion in October

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FG October Bonds Oversubscribed by N205.87 Billion

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has said investors oversubscribed for the Federal Government’s October bonds by N205.87 billion.

The DMO stated this after concluding the monthly FGN bonds auction on Wednesday.

Two instruments of 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 re-opening 15-year bond and 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 re-opening 25-year bond were auctioned.

The two bonds of N15bn each with a total auction figure of N30bn received a subscription of N235.87bn.

The 15-year tenor and 25-year tenor bonds received 99 and 67 bids but recorded 21 and 26 successful bids respectively.

The amounts allotted for each of the bids were N20bn and N25bn respectively.

According to the DMO, successful bids for the 15-year tenor bond and 25-year tenor bonds were allotted at the marginal rates of 4.97 per cent and six per cent respectively.

However, it added, the original coupon rates of 12.5 per cent for the 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 bond and the 9.8 per cent for the 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 bonds would be maintained.

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Lafarge Africa Sustains Growth in Third Quarter, Reports N53.3bn Revenue

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Lafarge Africa

Lafarge Africa Grows Revenue by 31.4 Percent to N53.3bn Revenue in Q3 2020

Lafarge Africa Plc, a cement manufacturer headquartered in Lagos, sustained its strong growth in the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2020.

In the company’s financial results released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the cement manufacturer’s revenue rose by 31.4 percent from N45.172 billion posted in the third quarter of 2019 to N59.337 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

Similarly, operating profit grew by 7.2 percent from N7.746 billion in the corresponding quarter to N8.302 billion in the quarter under review. This strong performance continues across the board as net income expanded by 2.8 percent to N4.867 billion, up from N4.734 billion posted in the third quarter of 2019.

Lafarge earnings per share rose by 2.8 percent to 30 kobo in the third quarter, again up from the 29 kobo posted in the same period of 2019.

On the outlook for the company going forward, the company said:

 Market demand is expected to remain strong in Q4.
 Naira devaluation and inflation remain a concern in Q4.
 The implementation of our “HEALTH, COST & CASH” initiatives would continue to deliver
improvement in our performance.
 We will maintain a healthy balance sheet.

Speaking on the company’s performance, Khaled El Dokani, CEO, Lafarge Africa Plc, said “Our robust results for the first 9 months reflect the strong recovery of the demand in Q3 and the successful implementation of our “HEALTH, COST & CASH” initiatives. Both have delivered considerable improvement in recurring EBIT, net income and free cash flow, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Naira devaluation, particularly in Q3.

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Despite COVID-19 Pension Assets Hit N11.4 Trillion

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Total Pension Assets Expand to N11.35 Trillion

The National Pension Commission has revealed that the total pension assets rose to N11.35 trillion as of the end of August 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted businesses and economic productivity.

According to the latest figures from the National Pension Commission,  the commission assets expanded from N11.08 trillion in June 2020 to N11.3 trillion in July.

The report noted that 66.27 percent or N7.51 trillion of the funds had been invested in the Federal Government’s securities.

While some of the funds were also invested in domestic and foreign ordinary shares, corporate debt securities, local money market securities and mutual funds.

In the commission’s second quarter (Q2 2020) report, it said that following “the issuance of demand notices to some defaulting employers whose outstanding pension contribution liabilities had been established by recovery agents, 16 of the affected employers remitted N261.33 million during the period.

“PenCom said this represents a principal contribution of N152.79 million and penalty of N108.54 million during Q2 2020.”

In the commission’s Q2 2020 report, it said “the pension fund administrators (PFAs) 2,839 contributors under the micro pension plan, remitted a total of N7.4 million to the RSAs as pension contributions.

Also in the same quarter, it said the PFAs recaptured 56,990 RSA holders and uploaded their data to the enhanced contributory registration system (ECRS).

PenCom further said the growth in the industry’s membership was driven by the RSA scheme, which had an increase of 41,147 contributors, representing 0.46 percent.

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