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Airtel Africa Share Price Spikes Ahead of Dividend Pay

Airtel Africa Share Price Spikes Ahead of Dividend Pay

Airtel Africa Share Price Spikes Ahead of Dividend Pay

Ahead of interim dividend payments, equities investors’ interest in Airtel Africa has forced a new rerating of the telecommunication company’s share price in the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), according to trading data from the local bourse.

The company which has maintained itself as the largest by market capitalisation had fallen from the rank after investors’ sporadic selloffs ahead of its earnings release.

The telecom earnings performance was upbeat, driven by growth in data amidst strong capital investment in infrastructure and a relatively moderate leverage position. It is noted that some Africa market has seen strong currency depreciation which impacts earnings.

However, analysts maintain a positive outlook for Airtel Africa’s 2022 earnings performance. In the Nigerian Exchange, Airtel Africa’s share price appreciated by a whopping 14.17% spanning five days of buying momentum. The share opened the week at N1,270 but closed higher at N1,450.

Stockbrokers told MarketForces Africa that Nigerian stocks are trading below emerging market peers despite solid earnings reports and relatively healthier fundamentals.

The telecom company’s valuation inched to N5.449 trillion, according to data from the local bourse. Though, it is still catching up from its peak when its share printed up to N2,000.

In its recent announcement, Airtel Africa declared a 2.18 cents dividend payable on 9 December 2022 to shareholders on the register at of the close of business on 11 November 2022.

The telecom company said in a regulatory filing that shareholders have to elect to collect final dividend payment in U.S. dollars, Great Britain pounds or Nigerian naira.

It said shareholders holding their shares in London Stock Exchange may elect to receive their entire dividend payment in Great Britain pounds or U.S. dollars. READ: Airtel Africa levels Up Earnings, Upgrades Dividend Despite FX Loss

However, shareholders in the Nigerian Exchange who do not indicate their currency of choice before 28 November 2022 will receive their dividends in Nigerian naira.

Airtel Africa has 3.758 billion outstanding shares valued at N. 449 trillion at the close of the trading session in the Nigerian stock market on Friday.

Nigerian Bourse Booms as Market Movers Rally

Nigerian Bourse Booms as Market Movers Rally

Nigerian Bourse Booms as Market Movers Rally

Market capitalisation rises by N1.7 trillion as market movers companies’ stock listed in the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) recorded large price appreciation amidst an upward adjustment to the benchmark lending rate.

Ordinarily, investments often split betting between stocks and the fixed income market where an interest rate hike is expected to drive yield repricing. The monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria this week raised the policy rate by 100 basis points.

Market analysts projected that the surge will trigger yield repricing. However, there has been buying interest in the stock market as value hunters positioned strongly in stock market heavyweights- Airtel Africa, Dangote Cement, MTN Nigeria, BUA Cement and BUA Foods.

This week, Airtel Africa’s share price popped higher by 14.2% after previous selloffs by equities investors that spotted value in London Stock Exchange. Dangote Cement also gained 10% while MTN Nigeria’s share price rose by 6.6%.

BUA Group helped the stock market momentum this week with gains across its two key subsidiaries – BUA Cement and BUA Foods.

Trading data show that BUA Cement’s share price rose by 9.7% while BUA Foods popped up 11.2% for investors who had taken a position in the company which came to the market this year.

Consequently, the Nigerian Exchange Al-share index advanced 6.9% in a week to settle at 47,554.34 points. Market return advanced to 11.3% from the beginning of the year to date, up from 4.2% while market capitalisation increased by ₦1.7 trillion to ₦25.9 trillion, Afrinvest said in a market report.

In the week, activity level improved as average volume and value traded rose 2.1% and 77.0% to 141.8 million units and ₦3.1 billion respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were TRANSCORP (93.8m units), AIICO (49.1m units) and ZENITH (41.4m units) while MTNN (₦2.6bn); ZENITH (₦913.0m) and AIRTELAF (₦894.4m) were the top traded stocks by value.

Afrinvest said performance across sectors was bullish as 5 of 6 indices under its coverage universe closed in the green. The AFR-ICT index led advancers, up 10.7% week on week following gains in AIRTELAF (+14.2%) and MTNN (+6.6%).

Trailing, the Industrial Goods and Insurance indices rose 9.5% and 5.1% week on week respectively due to buying interest in DANGCEM (+10.0%), BUACEMENT (+9.7%), NEM (+9.9%), and CORNERST (+15.9%). READ: Market Movers Valuations Unaltered as Stocks Bleed

Price appreciation in ACCESSCORP (+6.2%), ZENITH (+2.6%), BUAFOODS (+11.2%), and NB (+18.7%) pushed the Banking and Consumer Goods indices higher by 3.1% and 0.2% week on week respectively.

Conversely, the Oil & Gas index was the sole loser, down 1.3% on account of sell pressure in SEPLAT (-3.6%) and TOTAL (-2.0%). Investor sentiment, as measured by market breadth, improved to 0.34x from -0.02x as 49 stocks advanced, 19 declined and 89 closed flat, Afrinvest said.

The top outperforming stocks for the week were NB (+18.7%), SOVRENINS (+16.7%), and PRESTIGE (+16.2%) while the top underperforming stocks were NESTLE (-20.7%), CAPHOTEL (-10.0%), and SCOA (-9.3%).

“We anticipate the bullish streak would continue following renewed interest in the market. However, this sentiment might be short-lived as economic catalysts remain absent”, Afrinvest said. # Nigerian Bourse Booms as Market Movers Rally

Naira Slumps to New Low as Demand for FX Rises

Naira Slumps to New Low as Demand for FX Rises

Naira Slumps to New Low as Demand for FX Rises

Exchanged at N446.33 on Friday, the Nigerian local currency has crossed yet another red line as the naira struggles against stronger trading pairs including the United States dollar, the Great Britain pound sterling, the Euro and others.

It was a double whamming of pressures for the Nigerian economy as the local currency value weakened at investors’ and exporters’ foreign exchange market while foreign reserves fall to $37.18 billion.

In Nigeria, hot monies from foreign investors’ buckets have been reduced as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implements capital control measures that curb portfolio holders’ ability to repatriate foreign currencies abroad.

When the naira depreciates, foreign goods and services become expensive to Nigerian buyers, thus forcing imports to reduce. Analysts said this has a positive effect on a productive economy.

For Nigeria, this has not been the case given structural deficiencies, according to analysts amidst a loud cry for an official devaluation of the local currency.

Nigeria has close to zero comparative production advantage across key sectors including extractive, translating to low foreign currency receipts. Despite this, the country depends heavily on foreign goods and services – creating disequilibrium between the demand and supply of foreign currency.

“There is no future for Nigerian naira without structural reforms that trigger foreign currencies inflow into the economy and reduce import bills”, MarketForces Africa gathered from economists that prefer not to be mentioned.

At the investors’ and exporters’ FX window, the exchange rate crossed N446 again over renewed demand pressures for dollars; lost 66 kobo from N445.67 at the beginning of the week.  According to data from FMDQ Exchange, the naira was exchanged at NGN446.33 per United States dollar on Friday.

The battle to save the soul of the Nigerian naira has been tough for the monetary authority due to weak fiscal performance, a resultant effect of a lack of strategic initiatives to drive dollar receipts.

By market consensus, the outlook for the local currency remains bleak with a persistent drop in external buffer, and low foreign currency receipts despite structurally driven higher import bills. At the current level, Nigerian external reserves provide a cover for 9 months of imports.

Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria show that gross foreign reserves declined by $10.97 million this week to $37.18 billion – the lowest level since 30 Sep 2021 when it settled at $36.78 billion.

Trading activities in the parallel market were calmer following the monetary policy authority’s decision to release new naira notes ahead of schedule.

The Naira gained about 2% week to close the week at N775 from N784 in the previous week’s close as currencies traders reduce the naira vault ahead of the CBN deadline for exchanging old notes. Trading data from the FX market show that market participants maintained bids between N444 and N452 at the investors and exporter FX window.

At the Investors’ window, total turnover declined by 7.1% from the beginning of the week to $422.66 million on Thursday, with trades consummated within the N431.00 – N463.05 band. according to Cordros Capital analysts’ notes.

In the forwards market, the naira depreciated by 0.5% to N451.47 for a 1-month contract and a 3-month contract dropped by 0.3% to N458.71.For 6-month contracts, the naira appreciated by +0.2% to N476.24 while the 1-year contract fell by 0.2% to N503.37. 

Cowry Asset Management analysts anticipate the cool calm to continue across all segments of the FX market barring any distortion in the market and as the apex bank continues its weekly market intervention in the secondary market to shore up the naira.

“We expect the FX liquidity issues to remain over the short-to-medium term in the absence of any positive signal that denotes an improvement in FX supply relative to the pre-pandemic levels”, Cordros Capital analysts maintained. READ: Treasury Bills Yield Slumps as Inflation Fears Ease

Analysts said considering the tepid accretion to the reserves given low crude oil production and elevated PMS under-recovery costs, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) which have historically supported supply levels in the Investors and exporters’ window will be needed to sustain FX liquidity levels in the medium to long-term.

“We think further adjustments in the exchange rate peg closer to its fair value and flexibility in the exchange rate would significantly attract foreign inflows back to the market”, Cordros Capital insists. # Naira Slumps to New Low as Demand for FX Rises

NASD Sees Moderate Gain After Losing Streaks

NASD Sees Moderate Gain after Losing Streaks

NASD Sees Moderate Gain After Losing Streaks

Investors trading shares of unlisted companies’ on NASD over-the-counter (OTC) securities exchange see a moderate capital gain in the just concluded week as market sentiments popped higher.

Following a moderate price appreciation registered, the OTC investors gain ₦0.05 billion, thus pushing market capitalisation up to ₦935.12 billion from ₦935.07 billion at the beginning of the week.

Investors’ wealth had bled due to price depreciation over the past week, dragging the market cap below the N1 trillion mark. READ: Market Cap of NASD OTC Falls to N1 Trillion

The OTC Securities Exchange Index closed the week with a positive movement, increasing by 0.01% to close the week at 711.66 points against 711.61 record seen in the previous week.

 There was a 63.92% decrease in the total value traded during the week. Investors traded a total of ₦37,491,621.00 in value compared to ₦103,907,121.85 in the previous week. Meanwhile, total trade activity for the year closed at ₦27,515,140,624.12 on Friday.

The total volume traded during the week printed at 1,430,766 units compared to 68,739,902 units in the previous week.

This translates to a 97.92% decrease in trade volume compared to the level of transactions reported in the previous week. Thus, the total volume traded for the year inched to 3,792,571,564 units.

UBN property Plc ranking top among the five most traded securities by volume, according to trading results. Afriland Properties Plc was the fifth most traded stock by volume traded in the week.

Friesland Campina Wamco Nigeria Plc ranking top among the five most traded securities by value and Afriland Properties Plc was the fifth most traded security by value traded in the week.

UBN Property Plc, which currently holds a market capitalisation of ₦5.57 billion closed the week at ₦1.00 representing a 1.01 percent increase from the previous close of ₦0.99.

Year to date, the NASD OTC securities exchange market closed on a negative note over a persistent decline in market performance. Trading data indicates that thus far, NASD Index’s year-to-date return has decreased by 4.20%.

Overall, total volume traded year-to-date stood at 3,792,571,564 units on Friday in 2451 deals while the total value of these transactions settled at ₦27,515,140,624.12. # NASD Sees Moderate Gain after Losing Streaks

Zenith Tech Fair Produces 11 Finalists with N53 mln

Zenith Tech Fair Produces 11 Finalists with N53 mln
Group Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu (1st Right); Deputy Managing Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, _OON_ (1st Left); Founder/CEO, Foris Lab, Onuigbo John Chukwubuikem (2nd Left); Founder/CEO, Ecotutu, Babajide Oluwase (3rd Left); and Founder/CEO, Finva, Oluwatomisin Kolawole (2nd Right) during the presentation of cash prizes to the winners of the Hackathon at the Zenith Tech Fair 2.0 held at Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.

Zenith Tech Fair Produces 11 Finalists with N53 mln

A total sum of N53 million in prize money was won at the end of a keenly contested hackathon session at the Second Edition of the Zenith Tech Fair, themed “Future Forward 2.0”, which was held on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The prize money was shared among eleven finalists who emerged from the over 500 contestants that took part in the hackathon, with Ecotutu, a cleantech company making cooling affordable and accessible for businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, emerging as the overall winner and taking home the grand prize of N20 million.

This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Foris Labs, an app-based platform that allows students to conduct science experiments individually and in groups interactively via their mobile phones, won N15 million and a mentorship programme with Seedstars.

Also, the second runner-up, Finva, a start-up which helps creditors offer credits at low risk, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme with Seedstars. Other finalists who took home N1 million each include Sanwo, Itinu -Ev, Eduvacity, Green Bii, Zion Robotics, Sono Care, Base, and I grow Africa.

Speaking during the presentation of the prize monies, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, congratulated all the finalists for coming this far in the competition.

He reiterated the bank’s readiness to provide all that is necessary to make budding entrepreneurs succeed. According to him, “all finalists would be enlisted into our incubation lab for grooming and mentorship. Our expectation is that we are going to scale and grow them just like the zenith brand.

So, looking at what we have gone through, I can tell you that so much iron has been loaded on fire. The only thing left is to activate the digital talents, tech skills and entrepreneurship that would culminate in a new digital economy for Nigeria”.

Described as a huge success by participants, the two-day Tech Fair featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life.

These include Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, Big Data, FinTech, Augmented Reality, Data Analytics, 5G and Communication Technologies.

At the event, a keynote address on the theme: “The Future of Banking: Digital Transformation Journey”, was delivered by Brett King, the renowned futurist, bestselling author, award-winning speaker, Founder of Moven and Author of Bank 4.0.

The event also featured a goodwill message by Jim Ovia, CFR, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank and opening remarks by Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of Body of Banks’ CEOs, Nigeria. Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations include;

Tarik Alatovic, Senior Partner, McKinsey; Juliet Ehimuan, West Africa Director, Google; Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Inc.; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Head, Visa West Africa; Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology, CBN; Chris Lu, Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria, and Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, amongst others.

The fair featured three panel sessions.

The first panel, which examined “The future of payments: what next and how can we get there”, had Prof. Yinka David West of Lagos Business School as the host, with four discussants, including Agada Apochi, Managing Director, UPSL; Olu Akanmu, Managing Director, Opay; Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director, NIBBS; and Kari Tukur, V/P & Head of Products East/West Africa, MasterCard.

The second panel explored the theme “What are the main challenges of digital transformation in the financial industry? How do we solve them?”. It was hosted by Brett King and had four discussants, including Tosin Eniolorunda, Managing Director, TeamApt; Obi Emetarom, Managing Director, Appzone; Dr. Babatunde Obrimah, COO, FintechNGR; and Olugbenga Agboola, Founder/CEO, Flutterwave.

The third panel discussion, titled “Driving the global trade revolution with technology: current transformation trends”, was hosted by Samuel Eze, Founder/CEO, Ourpass, and had five discussants, including Mike Ogbalu III, Managing Director, PAPSS; Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch; Massimiliano Spalazzi, Country Manager, Jumia; and Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, Director of Trade & Exchange, CBN.

GCR Downgrades FSDH Merchant Bank as Capital Moderates

GCR Downgrades FSDH Merchant Bank as Capital Moderates

GCR Downgrades FSDH Merchant Bank as Capital Moderates

While the outlook is accorded as stable, GCR Ratings has downgraded FSDH Merchant Bank Limited’s national scale long-term issuer rating to BBB+ (NG) and affirms the short-term issuer rating of A2 (NG).

The emerging market-focused rating firm also downgraded the national scale long-term issue ratings of FSDH Funding special purpose vehicle (SPV) Plc.’s Series 1 Tranche A and Tranche B Bonds to BBB (NG) and BBB+ (NG) respectively.

GCR said it considers FSDH Merchant Bank Limited a core operating entity to FSDH Holding Company Limited, as such, the national scale issuer credit ratings on the bank reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the Group.

It added that a one-notch rating downgrade reflects the sizable moderation in FSDH Merchant Bank’s capitalisation metrics, which has had a significant impact on our assessment of the bank’s credit profile.

GCR noted that FSDH Merchant Bank has grown strongly into its capital over the last 12 months, due to an acceleration in loan growth which surpassed the bank’s budget projections and prior years of conservative risk asset growth, as well as outstripping internal capital generation.

It said the merchant banker’s capital adequacy ratio declined sharply, from 31.0% in December 2020 to 20.0% as of December 2021.

GCR hints that its computed core capital ratio for the Group deteriorated from the high range of 37.4% as of December 2020 to the intermediate range of our assessment, to register at 20.8% as of December 2021.

“The dip was largely driven by the strong growth in risk-weighted assets, having registered a 54.3% year-on-year growth in RWA relative to internal capital generation growth of 3.5% over the period”.

As of September 2022, RWA moderated by 14.9%, due to the write-off of the bank’s major non-performing loan and relatively strong collateralization of the newly originated loans, which has supported capitalisation ratios.

“In the near term, we expect GCR core capital ratio for the Group to register within the 25%+ range, supported by the projected rebound in earnings and cautious RWA growth”, GCR said.

However, the relatively high contribution of market-sensitive income to the earnings profile and foreign currency exposures present downside risks to capitalisation, given the challenging operating environment, it stated.

The rating note said FSDH Merchant Bank’s competitive position reflects its growing franchise strength and potential for diversification as the Group continues to implement its strategic growth aspirations in both the banking and non-banking financial service segments.

“The bank has a long-standing position and compares well to merchant banking peers in the market”.

Over the past year, FSDH has demonstrated its increased competitiveness through the strong growth recorded, with a fast-growing client base comprising some of the top corporate and mid-sized industry players, GCR said.

According to the rating note, the bank’s risk position has shown some improvement over the past year. It is noted that credit losses moderated from the high of 2.4% recorded in FY2020 to 0.5% in FY2021.

Similarly, the merchant bank non-performing loans ratio also moderated to 4.7% from 5.6% over the period, albeit largely driven by strong loan growth. READ: Banks Non-Performing Loans Ratio Moderates as CBN Debits Rise

As of September 2022, GCR stated that the NPL ratio improved to 1.7% on account of the write-off of the bank’s major NPL, an industry-wide exposure in the telecommunication industry for which the bank made full provisions in FY2021.

The rating said counterparty concentrations also improved, with the top twenty exposures contributing 83.9% to gross loans as of December 2021 compared to 98.8% recorded in December 2020.

FCY loans contributed a significant 37.4% to gross loans as of December 2021 as against 40.5% in 2020, albeit balanced by the fact that foreign currency loans are granted to mainly to obligors with foreign currency receivables, thereby providing some level of natural hedge.

Notwithstanding, GCR said it takes cognisant of the potential seasoning of the loan portfolio, as the newly originated loans mature.  The bank grew its loan book by a high of 37.1% as of 9M-2022 compared with 96.1% in 2021 and 13.8% reported a year before.

“This may subsequently result in a weakening of the risk metrics, especially given the uncertain and stressed macroeconomic outlook. Also, market risk is of key concern, given the highly volatile interest rate environment.

“A sizable portion of the bank’s securities portfolio comprises available-for-sale instruments, which are susceptible to potentially steep revaluation losses with an attendant impact on earnings and capitalisation”.

FSDH Merchant Bank funding and liquidity assessment are slightly positive to the ratings, according to GCR. Core customer deposits as a proportion of the funding base dipped to 47.9% as of December 2021 from 63.7% as of December 2020, albeit improving marginally to 54.5% as of 9M-2022.

GCR considers the bank’s local currency liquidity sufficient, noting liquid assets coverage of wholesale funding and customer deposits registering at 1.4x and 63.3% respectively, as at 9M-2022.

The stable outlook reflects an expectation that FSDH will maintain a positive earnings trajectory such that the GCR core capital ratio for the Group registers at the projected level of over 25% in the next 12-18 months while maintaining its relatively low credit losses and NPLs.

FSDH’s demonstrated good market access is expected to support the bank’s foreign currency funding base, thereby averting foreign currency liquidity issues in the near term. #GCR Downgrades FSDH Merchant Bank as Capital Moderates

Bond Falls after CBN Sold 364-Day Bills at 14.84%

Bond Falls after CBN Sold 364-Day Bills at 14.84%

Bond Falls after CBN Sold 364-Day Bills at 14.84%

Trading activities in the secondary market space ended on a mixed note after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offered investors higher spot rates at the primary market auction conducted midweek.

The CBN sold Treasury bills at the primary market auction at higher stop rates. The 364- day bill’s stop rate increased to 14.84% (from 13.99%), while the 90-day and 180-day bills remained sticky at 6.50% and 8.05%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the average yield on the Federal Government of Nigeria slides amidst bullish momentum that started following monetary policy rate hikes this week. Though, FGN bonds price were relatively steady despite yield moderation.

MarketForces Africa noted that the average yields across the market have been on pendulum swings as market participants begin to weigh their investing positions against rising inflation, and a higher interest rate environment.

Pressures on short-term rates eased on Thursday in the absence of liquidity tightening that has persisted in the money market due to low maturities of government instruments that could trigger inflows into the financial system.

Data from FMDQ Exchange platform show that the Open Buyback Rate (OPR) declined to 9.63% on Thursday as liquidity in the financial system improved. Also, the Overnight Lending Rate fell by 738 basis points to 9.88%. READ: Debt Investors See Mixed Yields Ahead of DMO, CBN Auctions

Trading activities in the Treasury bills secondary market were mixed, albeit with a bearish tilt, as the average yield inched higher by a basis point to 10.62%, according to traders’ notes. 

Across the curve, Cordros Capital analysts said the average yield was flat at the short and long ends.  Yield expanded at the mid (+2bps) segment following the sell-off of the 112-day to maturity (+17bps) bill.

Elsewhere, fixed income market analysts reported that the average yield remained at 10.2% in the OMO bills segment.

In the bond market, the values of plain vanilla FGN Bonds were unchanged for the majority of maturities tracked by Cowry Asset Management despite the average secondary market yield contracting by 0.06 percentage points to 14.39%.

Across the benchmark curve, the average yield declined at the short (-14bps) and long (-4bps) ends as investors demanded the MAR-2024 (-82bps), and JUL-2045 (-14bps) bonds, respectively.

Analysts noted that local bond investors played around the back end of the yield curve with a bullish tilt which saw an increase in price across mid to short-term tenored buckets.

Reflecting investors’ sentiments, the value of the FGN Eurobond increased for all maturities as bondholders switch to buying sentiment. Hence, the average yield compressed by 0.11 percentage points to 11.66%. # Bond Falls after CBN Sold 364-Day Bills at 14.84%

South Africa Hikes Benchmark Repo Rate to 7%

South Africa Hikes Benchmark Repo Rate to 7%
Lesetja Kganyago, South African Reserve Bank Governor

South Africa Hikes Benchmark Repo Rate to 7%

Amidst rising consumer price index, the South African Reserve Bank raised its benchmark repo rate by another 75 basis points to 7% at its November 2022 meeting, as widely expected.

This is the 7th consecutive rate hike since policy normalization started in November 2021, to anchor inflation expectations more firmly around the mid-point of the target band and achieve the inflation target in 2024.

South Africa’s inflation rate unexpectedly rose to 7.6% in October from 7.5% in September, staying above the upper limit of the central bank’s target range of between 3% and 6% for the sixth straight month.

The headline inflation forecast for the country was revised up to 6.7% in 2022 as against 6.5% in September and to 5.4% in 2023 from 5.3%. However, CPI is estimated to decline to 4.5% in 2024 from the previous estimate of 4.6%.

South Africa’s core inflation estimates were left unchanged for this year at 4.3% but revised higher to 5.5% in 2023 from 5.4%. The country’s GDP growth projections were cut to 1.8% in 2022.

Interest Rate in South Africa averaged 11.96 percent from 1998 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 23.99 percent in June of 1998 and a record low of 3.50 percent in July of 2020. READ: Dealers Infractions: CBN Tightens Access to Discount Window

Meanwhile, the interest rate in South Africa is expected to be 7.00 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics’ global macro models and analysts expectations.

In the long term, the South Africa Interest Rate is projected to trend around 7.50 percent in 2023 and 6.50 percent in 2024, according to our econometric models. #South Africa Hikes Benchmark Repo Rate to 7%

Oil Falls as Supply Concerns Ease, Nigeria Cuts Price

Oil Falls as Supply Concerns Ease, Nigeria Cuts Price

Oil Falls as Supply Concerns Ease, Nigeria Cuts Price

Oil prices decreased on Thursday influenced by the impending price cap on Russian crude by G7 countries, easing tight supply fears. Nigeria has cut the official selling prices for December-loading crude reflecting a wider weakening in the market, while differentials for Angolan crude remained under pressure.

Trading data from the market shows that international benchmark Brent crude traded at $84.79 per barrel, a 0.73% decrease from the closing price of $85.41 a barrel in the previous trading session.

The American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $77.59 per barrel at the same time, a 0.45% drop after the previous session closed at $77.94 a barrel.

News that the price cap on Russian oil by the G7 countries would be above expectations alleviated the concerns of contracting supply and pushed oil prices lower. Although no official decision has been taken yet, the G7 countries are discussing setting a price cap of $65 to $70 per barrel for oil transported by sea from Russia.

Meanwhile, US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 0.8% during the week ending Nov. 18, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) late Wednesday. Inventories declined by around 3.7 million barrels to 431.7 million barrels, against the market expectation of a decrease of around 2.2 million barrels.

Nigeria Reduces Official Oil Price

Nigeria has cut the official selling prices for December-loading crude reflecting a wider weakening in the market, while differentials for Angolan crude remained under pressure. Qua Iboe’s price was cut to dated Brent plus 162 cents, from November’s 290 cents, according to Reuters.

In the same vein, offers of Angolan crude have been under downward pressure due to sluggish demand from China. Equinor was offering a cargo of Pazflor loading mid-December at dated Brent minus $2.50 a barrel, down over $1 on an offer a week earlier, and as of Wednesday had not sold the cargo.

One trader, normally a seller, thought differentials for other Angolan cargoes in January would not be as low as the Equinor offer indicated, Reuters reported. Dalia sold at around dated Brent parity for December loading, the trader said. The grade was not heard to have been offered yet for January loading.

Indian Oil Corp. is running a buy tender for crude loading around Jan. 10-20. The tender closes on Wednesday, with results expected on Thursday. Uruguay’s ANCAP is running a buy tender for Jan. 1-5 arrival. This tender also closes on Wednesday.

US commercial crude oil inventories decreased 0.7% during the week ending Oct. 28, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. READ: IMF Cuts Nigeria Growth Forecast

Inventories fell by around 3.1 million barrels to 436.8 million barrels, against the market expectation of a decrease of around 6 million barrels. Strategic petroleum reserves, excluded in commercial crude stocks, also fell by 1.9 million barrels to 399.8 million barrels last week, the data revealed. Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels to 206.6 million barrels over the same period.

Crude production declines

EIA data showed that US crude oil imports rose by 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 6.21 million bpd during the week ending Oct. 28, while crude oil exports fell by around 1.2 million bpd to 3.93 million bpd.

US crude oil production, meanwhile, decreased by 85,000 bpd to approximately 12.35 million bpd over the same period. In the October Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA forecasted that crude oil output in the US would average 11.75 million bpd in 2022, up from 11.25 million bpd in 2021.

Crude oil output in the country in 2023 is forecast to reach 12.36 million bpd. #Oil Falls as Supply Concerns Ease, Nigeria Cuts Price

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID Scam: Court Orders Arrest of Another Foreigner Corrado Fantoli

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID Scam: Court Orders Arrest of Another Foreigner Corrado Fantoli

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID Scam: Court Orders Arrest of Another Foreigner Corrado Fantoli

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the arrest of one of the alleged brains behind the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd.’s alleged 9.6 billion dollars scandal, Corrado Fantoli.

Justice Donatus Okorowo gave the order while delivering a ruling in the ex-parte motion moved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s counsel, Bala Sanga.

The news agency reports that Fantoli, an associate of James Nolan, a Briton, that recently jumped bail. An arrest warrant was issued against him and he is declared wanted by the EFCC to stand a trial for a criminal charge preferred against him and another company.

In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273, dated June 20 and filed August 5 by the anti-corruption agency, Fantoli, who is said to be at large, is expected to face an eight-count money laundering charge.

NAN reports that while the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the complainant, Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd, a company, and Fantoli are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively in the suit.

Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, are said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.

When the matter was called on Thursday for the defendants’ arraignment, Fantoli was neither in court nor represented by a lawyer.

Charges were, however, read against the 1st defendant (the company) and the EFCC ‘s lawyer notified the court about his motion ex-parte, seeking the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Fantoli pursuant to the relevant sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 and the inherent power of the court.

According to Sanga, the agency is praying for an order of the honourable court issuing a warrant for the arrest of Corrado Fantoli, named in counts one to eight of the criminal charge No: FHC/ABI/CR/873/Z022 before this court for the respondent to be brought before this honourable court and face trial on the aforementioned criminal charge.

The lawyer, in a three-ground argument, said that the proof of evidence in support of the charge had disclosed a prima facie case against Fantoli, among others. READ: N20bn Bailout: Kogi Assembly Extends Ultimatum for Sterling Bank MD

Also in the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Isah Daku Suleiman, one of the EFCC’s investigators assigned to the investigation of the $9.6 billion P&ID fraud, the companies and individuals associated with it, including the 1st defendant, said the intelligence report revealed that Fantoli presently resides in Italy.

Suleiman said that Fantoli “is part of the brains behind Process and Industrial Developments Limited and Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Limited. READ: P&ID: EFCC Re-arraigns British National Nolan, Others for Money Laundering

“That as part of the directing minds of Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Limited, the respondent (Fantoli) should stand trial and answer to charges of infraction of extant money laundering laws and aiding the companies to breach extant criminal laws,” he said.

According to the official, it will serve the interest of justice to grant this application. Justice Okorowo, who granted the ex-parte motion, adjourned the matter until Dec. 2 for a hearing. # Alleged $9.6bn P&ID Scam: Court Orders Arrest of Another Foreigner Corrado Fantoli