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FRAUD: FBI’s arrest of Invictus Group’s Okeke stirs controversy

The FBI’s arrest of Forbes-celebrated Invictus Group CEO, Obinwanne Okeke, has stirred controversy in the media space.

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FBI's arrest of Invictus' Obinwanne Okeke stirs controversy, Invictus Obi: Court forfeits Obinwanne Okeke’s N280 million to FG 

The arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke, who in 2016 made it into Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 Listby the Federal Bureau of  Investigation (FBI), has stirred controversy in the media space. 

As reported on Nairametrics, Okeke was arrested by the FBI over $11 million wire fraud after an Office365 account belonging to a steel company’s CEO was hacked. The suspect was said to have conspired with several individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorization.

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According to an Affidavit seen, Marshall Ward, a Special Agent of FBI, said Okeke’s intention, alongside other conspirators, was to initiate a fraudulent transfer of funds. Ward stated that Okeke should be charged for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

[READ MORE: Forbes names Maikanti Baru Oil & Gas Man of the Year]

The controversy: Following Okeke’s arrest, thousands of twitter users have taken to the social media space to express their disappointment in Forbes, and at the same time, knock Okeke for the global disgrace he has caused other Nigerians.

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See reactions below –

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[READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Mary Njoku, founder of the newly acquired ROK]

The backstory: It was learnt that the FBI was contacted by the representatives of Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and firm equipment, last year after they experienced a fraudulent wire transfer of $11 million through an email compromise. 

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Business News

Forex turnover drops by 28.3% as naira depreciates against the dollar at I&E window

Naira improved against the dollar by N1.35, closing at N386.33 to a dollar, as against the indicative rate of N387.68 to a dollar that it opened with.

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Forex turnover drops by 28.3% as naira depreciates against the dollar at I&E window

The naira has depreciated to N386.33 to a dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, as the volatility of the foreign exchange market continues. The local currency was weakened by N0.83 against the dollar, when compared to the N385.50 to a dollar that it traded on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The exchange rate at the I&E window is different from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s published exchange rate, which currently stands at N360/$1. This is also different from the exchange rate at the parallel market, which is still stable at N445/$1, according to information on AbokiFX as of Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

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Available information from the daily trading at FMDQ (where FX is traded by importers and investors) shows that the naira improved against the dollar by N1.35, closing at N386.33 to a dollar, as against the indicative rate of N387.68 to a dollar that it opened with on Wednesday.

Further analysis of the information from the FMDQ shows that the turnover for the day declined by about 28.3% at $24.64 million. This is against the $34.35 million turnovers that was recorded the previous day.

(READ MORE:Naira appreciates at parallel market)

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The foreign exchange market seems to have stabilized at the parallel market, following the reduction in demand for dollars especially by currency speculators, and improved liquidity. The rebound of crude oil prices appears to have eased the concerns of investors over possible devaluation of the naira.

Having so much naira wealth does not guarantee you getting dollars, Forex turnover drops by 28.3% as naira depreciates against the dollar at I&E window

The gap between the CBN official rate and the parallel market rate, also known as the black market, has been greatly reduced as the naira appreciated to N445 to a dollar from N460 to a dollar last week, following CBN’s intervention.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the Naira spot market rate is overvalued by 10% when measured by its current real effective exchange rate relative to the 5-year average.

 

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Economy & Politics

Manufacturing PMI slide into recession territory

This is the first clear data-driven sign that Nigeria is in a recession.

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The much-awaited Purchasers Managers Index (PMI) was released on May 29th by the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to the latest data, Manufacturing PMI in the month of May stood at 42.4 index points, indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector for the first time after recording expansion for thirty-six consecutive months.

The figure compares to 51.1 and 49.2 index points in March 2020.

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The latest number now falls squarely within recession numbers and this is a clear sign that Nigeria is closer to recording a major contraction in the second quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the nation’s PMI’s number hit a year low in April 2016 of 43.7, before plummeting further to 41.9 in June 2016. Nigeria subsequently fell into a recession by the end of the second quarter of 2016 and remained in recession throughout the course of the year.

The nation’s non-manufacturing PMI fell for a consecutive month to an all-time low of 25.3. The decline in manufacturing PMI was significant following thirty-six consecutive months of expansion, while the non-Manufacturing PMI contracted for the second consecutive month.

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A further look into the report shows that the manufacturing sector employment level index stood at 24.5 points in May, a decline compared to 47.1 points recorded in March and 56.4 points in February 2020.

This downturn is mostly attributed to the halt in economic activity as businesses in Nigeria result in layoffs and pay cuts in order to survive the effect of the lockdown.

Also, all 14 subsectors of the manufacturing sector, reported lower raw material inventories, consequently contracting the inventories index to 37.4 points in May 2020. An effect of the supply chain bottleneck associated with the lockdown measures implemented in most countries of the world.

Specifically, this figure translates the effect of lockdown procedures and trade restrictions implemented by Nigeria’s major trade partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that Nigeria’s major trade partners; China, USA, Spain, and the Netherlands account for about 45% of our import.

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What you need to know:  PMI is a survey that is conducted by the Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The respondents are purchasing and supply executives of manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations in all 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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In his reaction to the data, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in the Monetary Policy Communique, highlighted how dire the situation.

He said, “The contraction in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs was attributed to slower growth in production, new orders, employment level, raw materials, and input prices.

“The employment level index for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs also contracted further to 25.5 and 32.0 index points, respectively, in May 2020 compared with 47.1 and 47.3 index points in March 2020.

“Generally, the purchasing managers’ activities in May 2020, were largely affected by the lockdown of the global economy to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The CBN thereafter reduced its monetary policy rate from 13.5% to 12.5% for the first time since March 2019.

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What this means: This survey is a bellwether for economic growth in Nigeria and helps the central bank gauge the mood of businesses in the economy.

PMI above 50 typically indicates a positive mood for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. Two major causes for concern in the data are the new orders and employment levels.

At 42.8 points, the new orders index declined after thirty-sixth consecutive months of growth, indicating declines in new orders in May 2020. Three subsectors reported growth, 2 remained unchanged while 9 recorded declines in the review month.

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Business News

Brent crude price fails to remain over $40, concerns over pledge cut strengthens

Brent crude lost 1.14 %, to trade at $39.38 a barrel at 3.40 am Nigerian time, failing to stay over the $40 resistance price level. 

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Where next for oil prices?, Brent crude futures gained 0.14 to trade at $34.70 at the time this report was drafted, recovering some of its losses earlier in the oil trading session. , Brent crude price fails to remain over $40, concerns over pledge cut strengthens

Brent crude prices dropped on Thursday morning, reversing the gains recorded yesterday, on reports that supply will rise if major crude oil producers fail to reach an agreement on crude oil output cuts that have helped in stabilizing crude oil prices since the start of COVID-19.

Brent crude lost 1.14 %, to trade at $39.38 a barrel at 3:40 am Nigerian time, failing to stay over the $40 resistance price level.

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OPEC members such as Nigeria and Iraq have shown weak compliance in meeting their crude oil production reduction targets set last month.

“Overall, the market is moving in the right direction with the gradual easing of the lockdown. But we still need to be cautious. There is always a risk of another wave of the coronavirus,” the first OPEC source said.

“The other thing is how quickly demand patterns will recover. Inventories are still above average levels and that needs to be tackled.”

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(READ MORE: OPEC+ to discuss extension of output cut as Chinese demands boost Nigerian oil)

OPEC+ had initially agreed to reduce crude oil production by a record 9.7 million barrels per day, or about 10% of global production of crude oil, for the month of May and June in order to minimize the damage caused by COVID-19 pandemic in weakening global demand for crude oil.

Oil prices gain likely to halt over demand uncertainty as US-China tension intensifies, Brent crude price fails to remain over $40, concerns over pledge cut strengthens

Meanwhile, OPEC+ private sources reportedly told Reuters that Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed on a precursory deal to extend oil production cuts by one month while putting pressure on countries with poor compliance such as Nigeria and Iraq to deepen their oil production cuts.

What you should know about OPEC+: OPEC + came into light in late 2016 as a means for major oil-exporting countries to exercise their control over crude oil prices. Essentially, OPEC+ is an amalgamation of OPEC (Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela) and high oil-exporting non-OPEC countries like Mexico, Oman, South Sudan, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

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Rather than reducing crude oil production cuts in July, OPEC+ was deliberating on keeping those cuts beyond June. 

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“Saudi Arabia and Russia are aligned on the extension for one month,” one OPEC source said.

“Any agreement on extending the cuts is conditional on countries who have not fully complied in May deepening their cuts in upcoming months to offset their overproduction,” the private source told Reuters.

“I don’t think there will be a meeting on Thursday. There are still many challenges,” another OPEC source added.

 

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