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Coronavirus forcing UK cinemas to shut down , as Nigerian counterparts record revenue loss

Cinema houses are the latest victims of Coronavirus as the disease continues its onslaught on business activities across the world.

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Nigerian cinemas earn N3 billion in six months, Nigerians paid N1.2bn to see movies in 2 months, Filmhouse, Silverbird, others generate over N79.8 million on Valentine’s weekend , Coronavirus forcing cinemas to shut down, as Nigerian cinemas record revenue loss

Cinema houses are the latest victims of Coronavirus as the disease continues its onslaught on business activities across the world.

Coronavirus had negatively affected oil price, trade and airline operations globally, now cinema operators are left counting their losses as they are shutting down over fear of the virus.

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COVID-19: How the tables turned on Europe

Cinemas in the UK are shutting down, urging the government to support them in order to remain in business as the lockdown will affect their revenue generation. The decision to stop screenings came after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, advised against social gatherings like Pub and Restaurants.

Companies like VueOdeonCineworld and Picturehouse are some of the Cinemas locking up until further notice in the UK, with return date as far as May. According to the operators, the decision is part of their contribution to curbing the spread of the virus, which has infected about 189,683 people globally.

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[READ MORE: Alibaba donates test kits to Africa to battle Coronavirus, Ethiopian PM to take charge)

Speaking on Vue’s shutdown, Tim Richards, founder and CEO of the cinema, said, “Since the first news of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been doing everything we can to provide a high quality, enjoyable and safe big screen experience for our customers. 

“However, in line with the UK Government’s latest public health advice, we will be closing all our 91 cinemas in the UK and Ireland from today, March 17, until further notice. As you would expect, we are also doing our part by putting employment policies in place so that our staff are protected and are not penalised financially.

“We want to wish all our customers and employees well during these difficult times. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you back at one of our cinemas soon.”

Cineworld Group CEO Mooky Greidinger said, “At Cineworld and Picturehouse we are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice.

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“We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content.”

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Also, Oden wrote on its website, “Following government guidelines Odeon cinemas are closed until further notice.”

A spokesman said: “In line with the latest Government guidance on COVID-19, we are temporarily closing our cinemas. We will continue to monitor the situation and look forward to welcoming back guests as soon possible.”   

Also, the BFI Southbank said it would be closing “effective immediately”. “It’s with great regret that, due to the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic, and following Government’s updated advice, we’ve taken the decision to close BFI Southbank effective immediately. All forthcoming events & screenings are now cancelled or postponed.” 

Meanwhile, in Nigeria where confirmed cases of coronavirus is as low as three persons (two among them have recovered), cinema business is still open as the Nigerian government hasn’t announced stricter measures like banning large gatherings.

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But revenue dropped during the week when the Federal Government announced the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria. From the N81.5 million recorded between February 21 to February 27, 2020, revenue generated by all the Cinema houses dropped to N71 million between February 28 to March 5. The first case was announced on February 28.

[READ MORE: IMF says it can mobilize $1 trillion loan to help countries counter Coronavirus)

Attendance also dropped from 73,209 to 68,922 admissions during the same periods under review. However, Cinema revenue bounced back, hitting N81.9 million between March 6 to March 12, 2020, while attendance increased to 71,795; data from Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) showed. This amount was made from cinemas likes Silverbird, Genesis Deluxe, FilmOne and Ozone Cinema.

There are no signs to compel cinemas to follow in the path of their UK counterparts cinemas as coronavirus isn’t widespread in Nigeria. The Senate is already calling for restriction on countries with high cases of coronavirus in order to curb the spread in Nigeria.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

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Business News

Brent crude surges pass $36, as major oil producers stick to their pledge on oil output cut

Note that crude oil prices are still down by 45% since the beginning of 2020, a situation that had forced oil-dependent Nigeria to revise/readjust her 2020 national budget, as Nairametrics reported. 

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Brent Crude

Brent crude gained on Tuesday’s London trading session, upon clear signs that major oil producers are sticking to commitments to reduce crude supply, even as more automobiles get back on the road following the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world.

Brent crude futures gained about 0.7%, to trade at $36.25, 6.50 am Nigerian time adding to a 1.1% gain on Monday in thin holiday trading. Commenting on this, Will Sungchil Yun, a commodities analyst at VI Investment Corp., said the following to Bloomberg news from Seoul:

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“The market is starting to witness the effect of output cuts along with a reduction in inventories, while the global economy is on its path to recovery. Still, there’s caution with the absence of a cure for the pandemic as well as the possibility of a second wave of infections.” 

The energy market’s bullish run was boosted by comments from Russia which reported that its oil output had nearly plunged to its target of 8.5 million barrels per day for May and June. Daniel Hynes, a senior commodity strategist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, told CNBC that “there’s definitely a feeling those cuts have come through as well as you could expect. “With economies restarting, the focus definitely is on the improvement in the fundamentals, rather than what seemed like a complete collapse in demand only a few weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, explained that a surge in fuel demand should help reduce the present global surplus of around 7-12 million barrels per day by June or July. 

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Early next month, OPEC+ members are expected to meet to discuss whether to maintain their supply cuts which are intended at shoring prices. Note that crude oil prices are still down by 45% since the beginning of 2020, a situation that had forced oil-dependent Nigeria to revise/readjust her 2020 national budget, as Nairametrics reported.

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Economy & Politics

Africa day 2020: Buhari urges economic groups, CSOs and private sectors to drive peace for economic development

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged economic groups, CSOs and private sectors in Africa to strengthen collaborative efforts of the AU.

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COVID-19: President imposes lockdown on three states, Africa day 2020: Buhari urges economic groups, CSOs and private sectors to drive peace for economic development

As Nigeria continues to battle the rising insecurity fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged regional economic groups, civil society organisations and the private sector in Africa to strengthen collaborative efforts among member-countries of the African Union.

He added that stakeholders must take full ownership of the theme of this year’s celebration to  ‘silence the guns’, and allow for economic development in the continent.

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”Peace, security, unity, and harmony are prerequisites for development in Africa,” Buhari said, stressing the need for all economic groups to work together to achieve the peace required for economic growth.

This was part of the President’s message to African leaders to mark the celebration of the ”Africa Day 2020,” by the African Union Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO).

(READ MORE:Post Covid19: Global Leaders at UBA Africa Day Conversations Seek Economic Recovery)

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He noted that the selected theme for the year 2020, ”Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID-19” provides a ray of hope in the seemingly bleak situation caused by the pandemic across the globe.

He stressed the need for African leaders to ensure that every effort is made to ensure the success of silencing the guns in the continent, emphasizing the need to sensitize Africans about the inseparable connection between peace and development.

About the Africa Day

Africa Day is observed annually on 25 May, in commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was founded on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is now known as the African Union.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s external reserves up by 7% in 21 days, currency speculators to lose over N10 billion 

It should be noted that Nigeria’s external reserves went on a downward slide last year, having lost $11.75 billion within a space of 10 months. 

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The continuous increase in Nigeria’s external reserves appears to have been sustained as it recorded a third consecutive week of growth at the end of last week. Available data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) show that the country’s external reserve had risen to about $35.77 billion as of May 21, 2020. 

Despite the volatility of the foreign exchange market due to decline in crude oil export earnings, the external reserves increased sharply by almost $1 billion in just 9 days, rising from the $34.78 billion that it recorded on May 12, 2020, to about $35.77 billion that it ended with on May 21, 2020. 

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Nigeria’s external reserves have been on a steady increase since April 29, 2020, when it stood at $33.42 billion. This represents an increase of about $2.35 billion or 7% in 21 days. 

It should be noted that Nigeria’s external reserves went on a downward slide last year, after hitting a peak of $45.17 billion on June 11, 2019, thereby losing $11.75 billion within a space of 10 months. 

The recent gradual increase of the external reserves and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market, thanks to the CBN, have helped to strengthen the naira at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window. This was especially the case last week when the naira exchanged at N385.94 to a dollar from N386 to a dollar. 

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Note that the improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market and the continuous increase in the country’s external reserves were also made possible by the recent disbursement of $3.4 billion emergency facility by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the CBN on May 6, 2020. The money was intended to help Nigeria mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Recall that the naira has been under pressure against other major currencies, particularly the dollar, even as currency speculators have been making a lot of demands for dollars so as to make profits on future sales. 

Just last week, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had to warn speculators and businesses to stop patronizing the parallel market operators. According to him, the rates they are buying dollar now are unrealistic and possibilities abound that they will lose their money if they continue to do so. It has been estimated that speculators could incur over N10 billion losses. 

In the meantime, Governor Emefiele had promised more liquidity in the forex market, assuring that all genuine dollar demands by businesses and individuals will be met. This is coming against the backdrop of the planned resumption of dollar sales to the Bureau De Change Operators (BDC) by the CBN after almost 6 weeks that was suspended due to the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic. The President of Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), Aminu Gwadebe, had pointed out that the return of the BDCs to the forex market will help chase away speculators, curb rising inflation, boost productivity and employment, enhance price discovery, enhance market transparency and competitiveness. 

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