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CBN intervenes with $8.28 billion to defend Naira 

The CBN injected a cumulative sum of $8.28 billion to further sustain relative stability in the Foreign Exchange (FX) market.  

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CBN releases new guidelines for OFIs, orders inclusion of NUBAN code or face sanctions

As part of its continued intervention in the foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) injected a cumulative sum of $8.28 billion to further sustain relative stability in the Foreign Exchange (FX) market.

According to the latest CBN’s Financial Markets Department report for half year 2019 (January – June), the apex bank made available a whopping sum of $8.28 billion to authorised dealers, compared to US$9.49 billion in the corresponding period of 2018. This indicates a 14.6% decrease in foreign exchange intervention in the financial market of the Nigerian economy.

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[READ MORE: CBN moves to tighten regulations on Fintech firms]

Number breakdown

According to the report, the CBN sustained its direct intervention in the foreign exchange market to manage demand pressure and ensure exchange rate stability.

  • The report showed that the highest sales recorded by the CBN was on Forwards sales. Specifically, the CBN recorded $4.57 billion as Forward sales.
  • Also, the CBN sold $2.14 billion at the Inter-bank spot, US$212.11 million at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window,US$550.70 million for Invisible and US$810.00 million sales were recorded for SMEs.
  • On the other hand, the bank purchased $9.36 billion at the inter-bank segment, hence a net purchase of US$1.08 billion.
  • At the Forwards segment, the sum of US$4.97 billion matured while $2.55 billion was outstanding at end-June 2019.

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Defending Naira

Since the introduction of the Investor and Exporter window, the CBN has increasingly intervened in the forex market as an active buyer and seller. Meanwhile, in the half-year report, the CBN attributed reductions in its intervention to low demand for foreign exchange, amongst other factors.

Specifically, the CBN stated, “The first half of 2019 recorded an overall reduction in foreign exchange demand pressure, as well as moderation in exchange rate volatility compared with the corresponding period in 2018. The foreign exchange demand pressure and capital outflows witnessed in early 2019 were attributed to uncertainties around the 2019 general elections.”

While providing further insights on the intervention recorded between January and June 2019, the CBN disclosed that the increased sales at the inter-bank spot market in 2019 were attributable to the Bank’s foreign exchange management strategy of sustaining liquidity and maintaining exchange rate stability.

[READ ALSO: CBN opposes telcos’ plan to start charges on the use of USSD code]

Despite the drop in CBN’s intervention in the foreign exchange market, experts have continued to raise concerns regarding the depletion of the country’s reserves.

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A quick check showed that Nigeria’s external reserves has continued its free fall and currently stands at $40.9 billion. Explaining why the country’s reserves depleted, the CBN in its monthly economic report for August 2019 stated that the decrease was due, mainly, to increased foreign exchange market interventions and external debt service payments, as well as, direct payments.

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Business News

CBN’s MPC unlikely to cut rates, as Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.16 billion

Note that Nigeria’s inflation could potentially rise to 14% by the end of the year due to a higher VAT and a weakened naira.

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CBN, GTBank, CBN disagrees with IMF, says land border closure boosting local production, Border closure: Emefiele says Benin, others must engage Nigeria before borders are reopened , bvn 2.0, CBN reveals banks’ foreign assets rise to N14.19 trillion in 2019

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the interest rate of 13.5% unchanged during its meeting later today.

The projection is coming on the heels of macroeconomic fundamentals released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed that inflation rose to 12.34%; its seventh consecutive monthly rise and highest level since April 2018.

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Note that Nigeria’s inflation could potentially rise to 14% by the end of the year due to a higher VAT and a weakened naira. Therefore, in order to minimise the risk of exacerbating inflationary pressures, the CBN is unlikely to further cut rates. This possible outcome from the MPC meeting will help stimulate economic growth, just like it did in 2019.

Meanwhile, despite the foreign exchange liquidity crisis being experienced in the currency spot market, data obtained from CBN revealed that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have further increased to $36.16 billion (Gross Estimate) as of 28th of May, 2020.

(READ MORE: Naira depreciates to N460/$1 at the parallel market, despite improved liquidity)

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The surge in Nigeria’s external reserves is due to the fact that the price of crude had gained more than 40% since the deadly COVID-19 pandemic started, coupled with reports that foreign investors are returning to Nigeria. The disbursement of $3.4 billion emergency facility by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to CBN has also been a contributing factor.

Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves hit $36.16 billion, Nigeria’s Central Bank MPC meet today

Recall that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had promised more liquidity in the currency market, assuring that all genuine dollar demands would be met.

However, an Interest rate expert, Ola Oladele, during a phone chat with Nairametrics, advised that the CBN should keep its word by boosting Nigeria’s Forex supply as the persistent downtrend in the currency black market continues. She said:

“The depreciation of the naira in the parallel market as a result of low supply of FX from official sources and less optimistic outlook on the economy due to falling oil prices.

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“The BDCs haven’t received supply from official sources since our borders were closed and the crash in oil prices has made natural sellers of FX more cautious.

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“We hope that the recent statements by the regulator will restore confidence and subsequently, supply to the market.”

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Economy & Politics

Fourth Mainland Bridge to begin before December

The bridge is also designed to be a two-level bridge – the upper level will function as a means for vehicular traffic, while the lower level will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions.

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Fourth Mainland Bridge to begin before the end of 2020

The Lagos state government has announced that in line with its vision for a smart city, work on the Fourth Mainland Bridge, will commence before the end of year 2020.

In addition to this, construction of the Lekki Regional road will also commence within the next seven months.

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Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye disclosed this during the Ministerial Press briefing organised by the State Government  

The architectural design done by NLE works proposed a design speed of 140km on the bridge, with 8 interchanges to facilitate effective interconnectivity between different parts of the State, and a Four-lane dual carriageway with each comprising 3 lanes and 2metres hard shoulder on each side.

(READ MORE: British High Commission releases flight schedule for final evacuation)

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The bridge is also designed to be a two-level bridge – the upper level will function as a means for vehicular traffic, while the lower level will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions.

The proposed 38 km long fourth mainland bridge is expected to run through Lekki, Langbasa and Baiyeiku towns along the shoreline of the Lagos Lagoon estuaries, further running through Igbogbo River Basin and crossing the Lagos Lagoon estuaries to Itamaga Area in Ikorodu. It will then cross the Itoikin road and the Ikorodu – Sagamu Road to connect Isawo inward Lagos Ibadan Expressway at Ojodu Berger axis.

All of these routes are known to be traffic prone areas, and the construction of the bridge will ease traffic on these routes, thus reducing commute time for residents.

Recall that in April, the state government had shortlisted about 10 firms out of the 32 that expressed interest in the construction of the fourth mainland bridge. The bridge was estimated to be worth about N844 billion.

According to Engr. Adeyoye, the 10km long Lekki regional road will span “Victoria Garden City Scheme 1, connect VGC, Ikate Elegushi, Ikota, Chevron Drive, Ajiran, Pinnock Beach Estate, Gracefield Island and Orange Island, up to Freedom Road to Freedom Way at Lekki”

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Upon completion, this road will greatly ease traffic along the axis, serving as an alternative to the Lekki-Epe Expressway, which is already congested and is currently the only road serving the Lekki sub-region which connects directly to the Osborne/Third Mainland bridge corridor, Adeyoye assured.

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(READ MORE: LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month)

More projects to come

Adeyoye noted that there are other ongoing projects such Agege-Pen Cinema, Agric-Ishawo Road and the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, as well as the infrastructural upgrade of Oniru network of roads, namely Muri-Okunola Extension, Ligali Ayorinde and Akin Olugbade, along with seven major junctions in Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area.

Completed projects listed by Engineer Adeyoye include Iworo-Ajido and Epeme Roads phases 1 and 2, and the 6.65km two-lane single carriageway with a 300m bridge of 9m width, which was constructed by CCECC.

 

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Business News

Google signs in to Theta (blockchain) to transform the global digital economy

Theta fuel can be bought indirectly on most cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and Coinbase. You will need to already own an Ethereum or Bitcoin (BTC) before you can trade with it.

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Google, Google updates user tools after probe against privacy rights, Experts laud Google’s decision to offer banking services , Google sacks workers over data violations on security policies , All Tech Companies eventually became Fintechs- Google to launch new debit card, Google signs in to Theta (blockchain) to transform the global digital economy

Google is collaborating with Theta Labs in a move to make video delivery networks more efficient through Google Cloud.

As part of the business partnership, Google is assisting Theta with its Mainnet 2.0 launch, a hard fork happening around noon Pacific time on Wednesday,” said Theta Labs’ Chief Executive Officer Mitch Liu.

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Allen Day, a developer for Google Cloud, explained that the distributed ledger technology “enables new business models that potentially transform the global digital economy, including the media and entertainment industry.” 

“We look forward to participating as an enterprise validator, and to providing Google Cloud infrastructure in support of Theta’s long-term mission and future growth,” He added.

(READ MORE:Google, Facebook extend remote working for employees)

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Google signs in to Theta (blockchain) to transform the global digital economy

Theta blockchain

Things you need to Know

Theta, which is blockchain-based, enables content-delivery with high-bandwidth content delivery using a decentralized system. It is a cryptocurrency with its own type of blockchain (Theta). It can also be described as the operational token of the Theta protocol. Individuals use Theta Fuel to complete transactions like interacting with or deploying smart contracts.

READ ALSO: Blockchain technology expected to tackle Africa’s challenges across industries

How to buy Theta Fuel?

Theta fuel can be bought indirectly on most cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and Coinbase. You will need to already own an Ethereum or Bitcoin (BTC) before you can trade with it.

Google joins the likes of Gumi Cryptos, Blockchain Ventures, and Binance, as external enterprise validators that propose and confirm new blocks on the Theta blockchain. This statement defends the fact that Google Cloud is also becoming Theta Fuel preferred cloud provider with yesterday’s statement.

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“YouTube is particularly interesting because they utilize mostly internally-developed technology for video delivery and streaming, which makes experimentation a lot easier without having to rely on external platforms like Akama,” Liu said.

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