Over the weekend, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, issued a surprising circular. It “warned” banks and Bureaux De Change operators to ensure that they sell forex to Nigerians looking for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) or Business Travel Allowance (BTA).
To show how serious the CBN was about its circular, the Governor himself, Godwin Emefiele paid surprise visits to First Bank, UBA and Zenith Bank to monitor compliance.
In his remarks during the visit, he reiterated to those looking to get forex to “Just walk to any bank with your travel document, show your Visa and air ticket. They will ask for your BVN and once they verify it, they should attend to you on the spot.”
So, why is the CBN suddenly sending out frantic instructions to banks and BDCs? We have a few suggestions.
Emerging Market sell-offs
The United States dollars have strengthened against major emerging market currencies in the last few days. This has triggered a sell-off in most emerging markets like Argentina and Turkey and there is a palpable fear of a contagion in markets like Nigeria.
We already see a clue that this is happening with the stock market closing with losses for 8 straight days and 10 out of 11 days of trading. The market is about to close May for only the 9th time in about 33 years. It is likely that foreign investors are selling off.
Black market depreciation
The exchange rate at the black market depreciated to N366 in the last one week. It has hovered between N362 and N363 for months. The sudden depreciation of the naira is said to have spooked folks at the CBN sending them into a temporary panic mode.
The black market is often seen as the precursor for where the official exchange rate might be trading in the future, thus the CBN is taking no prisoners. The retail end is where BDC’s and commercial banks sell to business travelers so it is not surprising that the CBN is taking the latest depreciation rather seriously.
Since President Buhari announced that he is running for a reelection earlier in the month, the market has been worried about the impending consequences. Investors are worried that the stakes are so high that politicians may start to stash up forex ahead of election spending.
Forex is typically the currency of choice for politicians looking to sway king makers and party stalwarts, so it is likely that the lure of this demand could trigger another round of hoarding by banks and BDC operators. This is perhaps why the CBN is “warning” them to make sure they sell their suppliers to “genuine” buyers.
The international market is currently worried about what is going on in Italy. An expected coalition collapsed leading to an inevitable election in the next few months. It is believed that a reelection might usher in a populist government. This uncertainty is causing markets to retreat. Retreats also affect foreign portfolio investments into emerging markets like Nigeria.
Global insecurity and uncertainty also have a huge role to play in all of this. The status of the Iran Nuclear deals has made the world a lot less safe. The bombing of Syrian territories by Israel is increasing tensions and unrest in the middle east. Donald Trumps anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader is also a major concern to the global community considering the controversies surrounding it and how unpredictable the outcome is.
Also, global prices which rose past $80 per barrel earlier in the week dropped to under $70 as word of an increase in crude oil output from OPEC and Saudi Arabia spooked markets. While this does not have an immediate impact on the naira, the unpredictability of events around the world is also affecting decisions on capital inflows to emerging markets like Nigeria.
Crude oil prices record gains, as Iraq pledges to curb crude oil production
Oil markets traded softer into the weekend on the back of escalating US-China tensions.
Crude oil prices soared higher on the first trading session of the week. This is as Iraq, a leading OPEC member, disclosed that it would reduce its oil production. More so, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken executive action on the provision of economic aid to Americans hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby reigniting hopes among crude oil traders for a recovery in energy demand.
The West Texas Intermediate gained 1.26% to $41.71. Brent Crude was also up 0.95% to $44.82 at the time this report was drafted.
Iraq, the second-largest OPEC member (in terms of production capacity) disclosed that it would increase its production cuts to compensate for failing to comply with a deal earlier made in April 2020 to curb crude oil production.
Insight: In an explanatory note to Nairametrics, Stephen Innes, the Chief Global Market Strategist at AxiCorp, spoke about the macros that crude oil is presently focused on. He said:
“Oil remains in a relatively tight trading range with upside capped by concerns about the pace of the post-COVID-19 macro recovery and rising OPEC+ and US supply.
“Oil markets traded softer into the weekend on the back of escalating US-China tensions. Although prices bounced favorably on the US employment data, they were unable to hold on to their gains given the geopolitical overhang.”
Still, crude oil markets continue to test the upper bound of its recent trading range, supported by OPEC’s unwavering compliance commitment which was reaffirmed when Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s energy ministers made a joint statement saying that they were fully committed to the OPEC+ oil production agreement.
UACN’s major shareholder sells substantial shares
This is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UPDC.
One of the 3 major shareholders of UAC Nigeria Plc (UACN), Blakeney LLP, has substantially reduced its stakes in the conglomerate with the sale of 80 million additional shares.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by UAC Nigeria Plc. The notification was signed by the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Godwin Samuel.
Note that this is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UACN Petroleum Development Company (UPDC) to Custodian Investment Plc.
An analysis of this current sales and reduction of its stake shows that Blakeney LLP reduced its shareholding in the conglomerate through a deal on August 5, at a price of N5.75 per share. A further breakdown of the transactions shows that the 80,000,000 units were sold at N5.75 amounting to N460 million in purchase consideration.
Back Story: It can be recalled that UACN had earlier sent notifications to the NSE announcing sales of 75 million shares by Blakeney between the months of April and June
- In an earlier notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other stakeholders in February 2019, UAC of Nigeria Plc announced the emergence of three major shareholders with more than 5% stake in the company. The three major shareholders include Themis Capital Management (8.08%), Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited (7.27%), Blakeney GP 111 Ltd (7.55%).
- Nigeria’s oldest conglomerate has gone through some major restructuring in recent times following investments by these core investors and other major shareholders. In September 2019, UACN announced the outright dissolution of its interest and restructuring of UAC Property Development Company (UPDC) with the transfer of its interest directly to the shareholders.
- Over the years, UACN has transformed from a very large conglomerate with footprints in different sectors of the economy to a leaner organization with interest in Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Logistics, Agro-allied Industry, Paints and Chemicals.
- Blakeney Management is one of the oldest and largest institutional investors in Africa and the Middle East. They are based in London and have been managing funds since 1995 for some of the largest institutions in the world.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 9th of August 2020, 437 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 46,577 confirmed cases.
On the 9th of August 2020, 437 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,864 samples across the country.
To date, 46,577 cases have been confirmed, 33,186 cases have been discharged and 945 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 317,496 tests have been carried out as of August 9th, 2020 compared to 314,632 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 9th August 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 46,577
- Total Number Discharged – 33,186
- Total Deaths – 945
- Total Tests Carried out – 317,496
According to the NCDC, the 437 new cases were reported from 17 states- Lagos (107), FCT (91), Plateau (81), Kaduna (32), Ogun (30), Kwara (24), Ebonyi (19), Ekiti (17), Oyo (8), Borno (6), Edo (6), Kano (4), Nasarawa (3), Osun (3), Taraba (3), Gombe (2) and Bauchi (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 15,875, followed by Abuja (4,467), Oyo (2,868), Edo (2,382), Rivers (1,939), Kano (1,626), Kaduna (1,598), Delta (1,596), Plateau (1,502), Ogun (1,469), Ondo (1,284), Enugu (905), Ebonyi (870), Kwara (857), Katsina (746), Borno (688), Abia (644), Gombe (631), Osun (628), and Bauchi (577).
Imo State has recorded 476 cases, Benue (409), Nasarawa (370), Bayelsa (346), Jigawa (322), Akwa Ibom (235), Niger (226), Adamawa (185), Ekiti (178), Sokoto (154), Anambra (142), Kebbi (90), Zamfara (77), Taraba (72), Cross River (68), Yobe (67), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
|Date||Confirmed case||New cases||Total deaths||New deaths||Total recovery||Active cases||Critical cases|
|August 9, 2020||46577||437||945||3||33186||12446||7|
|August 8, 2020||46140||453||942||6||33044||12154||7|
|August 7, 2020||45687||443||936||6||32637||12114||7|
|August 6, 2020||45244||354||930||3||32430||11884||7|
|August 5, 2020||44890||457||927||17||32165||11798||7|
|August 4, 2020||44433||304||910||14||31851||11672||7|
|August 3, 2020||44129||288||896||8||20663||22570||7|
|August 2, 2020||43841||304||888||5||20308||22645||7|
|August 1, 2020||43537||386||883||4||20287||22567||7|
|July 31, 2020||43151||462||879||1||19565||22707||7|
|July 30, 2020||42689||481||878||5||19270||22541||7|
|July 29, 2020||42208||404||873||5||19004||22331||7|
|July 28, 2020||41804||624||868||8||18764||22172||7|
|July 27, 2020||41180||648||860||2||18203||22117||7|
|July 26, 2020||40532||555||858||2||17374||22300||7|
|July 25, 2020||39977||438||856||11||16948||22173||7|
|July 24, 2020||39539||591||845||12||16559||22135||7|
|July 23, 2020||38948||604||833||20||16061||22054||7|
|July 22, 2020||38344||543||813||8||15815||21716||7|
|July 21, 2020||37801||576||805||4||15677||21319||7|
|July 20, 2020||37225||562||801||12||15333||21091||7|
|July 19, 2020||36663||556||789||11||15105||20769||7|
|July 18, 2020||36107||653||778||6||14938||20391||7|
|July 17, 2020||35454||600||772||3||14633||20049||7|
|July 16, 2020||34854||595||769||9||14292||19793||7|
|July 15, 2020||34259||643||760||6||13999||19500||7|
|July 14, 2020||33616||463||754||10||13792||19070||7|
|July 13, 2020||33153||595||744||4||13671||18738||7|
|July 12, 2020||32558||571||740||16||13447||18371||7|
|July 11, 2020||31987||664||724||15||13103||18160||7|
|July 10, 2020||31323||575||709||20||12795||17819||7|
|July 9, 2020||30748||499||689||5||12546||17513||7|
|July 8, 2020||30249||460||684||15||12373||17192||7|
|July 7, 2020||29789||503||669||15||12108||17012||7|
|July 6, 2020||29286||575||654||9||11828||16804||7|
|July 5, 2020||28711||544||645||11||11665||16401||7|
|July 4, 2020||28167||603||634||6||11462||16071||7|
|July 3, 2020||27564||454||628||12||11069||15867||7|
|July 2, 2020||27110||626||616||13||10801||15693||7|
|July 1, 2020||26484||790||603||13||10152||15729||7|
|June 30, 2020||25694||561||590||17||9746||15358||7|
|June 29, 2020||25133||566||573||8||9402||15158||7|
|June 28, 2020||24867||490||565||7||9007||14995||7|
|June 27, 2020||24077||779||558||4||8625||14894||7|
|June 26, 2020||23298||684||554||5||8253||14491||7|
|June 25, 2020||22614||594||549||7||7822||14243||7|
|June 24, 2020||22020||649||542||9||7613||13865||7|
|June 23, 2020||21371||452||533||8||7338||13500||7|
|June 22, 2020||20919||675||525||7||7109||13285||7|
|June 21, 2020||20242||436||518||12||6879||12847||7|
|June 20, 2020||19808||661||506||19||6718||12584||7|
|June 19, 2020||19147||667||487||12||6581||12079||7|
|June 18, 2020||18480||745||475||6||6307||11698||7|
|June 17, 2020||17735||587||469||14||5967||11299||7|
|June 16, 2020||17148||490||455||31||5623||11070||7|
|June 15, 2020||16658||573||424||4||5349||10885||7|
|June 14, 2020||16085||403||420||13||5220||10445||7|
|June 13, 2020||15682||501||407||8||5101||10174||7|
|June 12, 2020||15181||627||399||12||4891||9891||7|
|June 11, 2020||14554||681||387||5||4494||9673||7|
|June 10, 2020||13873||409||382||17||4351||9140||7|
|June 9, 2020||13464||663||365||4||4206||8893||7|
|June 8, 2020||12801||315||361||7||4040||8400||7|
|June 7, 2020||12486||260||354||12||3959||8173||7|
|June 6, 2020||12233||389||342||9||3826||8065||7|
|June 5, 2020||11844||328||333||10||3696||7815||7|
|June 4, 2020||11516||350||323||8||3535||7646||7|
|June 3, 2020||11166||348||315||1||3329||7522||7|
|June 2, 2020||10819||241||314||15||3239||7266||7|
|June 1, 2020||10578||416||299||12||3122||7157||9|
|May 31, 2020||10162||307||287||14||3007||6868||7|
|May 30, 2020||9855||553||273||12||2856||6726||7|
|May 29, 2020||9302||387||261||2||2697||6344||7|
|May 28, 2020||8915||182||259||5||2592||6064||7|
|May 27, 2020||8733||389||254||5||2501||5978||7|
|May 26, 2020||8344||276||249||16||2385||5710||7|
|May 25, 2020||8068||229||233||7||2311||5524||7|
|May 24, 2020||7839||313||226||5||2263||5360||7|
|May 23, 2020||7526||265||221||0||2174||5131||7|
|May 22, 2020||7261||245||221||10||2007||5033||7|
|May 21, 2020||7016||339||211||11||1907||4898||7|
|May 20, 2020||6677||284||200||8||1840||4637||7|
|May 19, 2020||6401||226||192||1||1734||4475||7|
|May 18, 2020||6175||216||191||9||1644||4340||7|
|May 17, 2020||5959||388||182||6||1594||4183||7|
|May 16, 2020||5621||176||176||5||1472||3973||7|
|May 15, 2020||5445||288||171||3||1320||3954||4|
|May 14, 2020||5162||193||168||3||1180||3815||4|
|May 13, 2020||4971||184||164||6||1070||3737||4|
|May 12, 2020||4787||146||158||6||959||3670||4|
|May 11, 2020||4641||242||152||10||902||3589||4|
|May 10, 2020||4399||248||142||17||778||3479||4|
|May 9, 2020||4151||239||127||11||745||3278||4|
|May 8, 2020||3912||386||118||10||679||3115||4|
|May 7, 2020||3526||381||108||4||601||2818||4|
|May 6, 2020||3145||195||104||5||534||2507||1|
|May 5, 2020||2950||148||99||5||481||2370||4|
|May 4, 2020||2802||245||94||6||417||2291||2|
|May 3, 2020||2558||170||88||2||400||2070||2|
|May 2, 2020||2388||220||86||17||351||1952||2|
|May 1, 2020||2170||238||69||10||351||1751||2|
|April 30, 2020||1932||204||59||7||317||1556||2|
|April 29, 2020||1728||196||52||7||307||1369||2|
|April 28, 2020||1532||195||45||4||255||1232||2|
|April 27, 2020||1337||64||41||0||255||994||2|
|April 26, 2020||1273||91||41||5||239||994||2|
|April 25, 2020||1182||87||36||3||222||925||2|
|April 24, 2020||1095||114||33||1||208||855||2|
|April 23, 2020||981||108||32||3||197||753||2|
|April 22, 2020||873||91||29||3||197||648||2|
|April 21, 2020||782||117||26||3||197||560||2|
|April 20, 2020||665||38||23||1||188||466||2|
|April 19, 2020||627||86||22||2||170||436||2|
|April 18, 2020||541||48||20||2||166||356||2|
|April 17, 2020||493||51||18||4||159||317||2|
|April 16, 2020||442||35||13||1||152||277||2|
|April 15, 2020||407||34||12||1||128||267||2|
|April 14, 2020||373||30||11||1||99||263||2|
|April 13, 2020||343||20||10||0||91||242||2|
|April 12, 2020||323||5||10||0||85||228||2|
|April 11, 2020||318||13||10||3||70||238||2|
|April 10, 2020||305||17||7||0||58||240||2|
|April 9, 2020||288||14||7||1||51||230||2|
|April 8, 2020||274||22||6||0||44||226||2|
|April 7, 2020||254||16||6||1||44||204||2|
|April 6, 2020||238||6||5||0||35||198||2|
|April 5, 2020||232||18||5||1||33||194||2|
|April 4, 2020||214||5||4||0||25||185||0|
|April 3, 2020||209||25||4||2||25||180||0|
|April 2, 2020||184||10||2||0||20||162||0|
|April 1, 2020||174||35||2||0||9||163||0|
|March 31, 2020||139||8||2||0||9||128||0|
|March 30, 2020||131||20||2||1||8||121||0|
|March 29, 2020||111||22||1||0||3||107||0|
|March 28, 2020||89||19||1||0||3||85||0|
|March 27, 2020||70||5||1||0||3||66||0|
|March 26, 2020||65||14||1||0||2||62||0|
|March 25, 2020||51||7||1||0||2||48||0|
|March 24, 2020||44||4||1||0||2||41||0|
|March 23, 2020||40||10||1||1||2||37||0|
|March 22, 2020||30||8||0||0||2||28||0|
|March 21, 2020||22||10||0||0||1||21||0|
|March 20, 2020||12||4||0||0||1||11||0|
|March 19, 2020||8||0||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 18, 2020||8||5||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 17, 2020||3||1||0||0||0||3||0|
|March 16, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 15, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 14, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 13, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 12, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 11, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 10, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 9, 2020||2||1||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 8, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 7, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 6, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 5, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 4, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 3, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 2, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 1, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 29, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 28, 2020||1||1||0||0||0||1||0|