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Dollar gains strength, triggered by doubts over COVID-19 vaccine

U.S dollar gains strength, Investors turned to the dollar as their haven asset after the report cut their hopes for a potential cure for the COVID-19 virus. 

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Nigeria received $1.29 billion capital inflows in Q2 2020, down by 78.6%, IMF, Nigerian Manufacturers confirm dollar scarcity, Donald Trump, U.S dollar gains strength, triggered by doubts over COVID-19 vaccine

The American dollar regained its bullish momentum on Wednesday, amid doubts over a potential vaccine for the Covid-19 virus.

At about 4.20 am, Nigerian local time, the U.S dollar index, which tracks the American dollar against a basket of major currencies like Euro, Canadian dollar, Swedish Krona, Swiss Franc, British pound, and Japanese Yen, stood at 99.368, up 0.24%.

Late Tuesday, a statement from medical news website STAT cast uncertainty over encouraging early results from a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial, saying that the American drug maker had not supplied enough data to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness. 

Global Investors turned to the U.S dollar as their haven asset after the report cut their hopes for a potential cure for the COVID-19 virus.

(READ MORE: Crude oil price rises, as fear of COVID-19 new cases limit rally)

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What it means: Nigerians hoping to meet foreign exchange payment obligations, transactions via the dollar to countries like Europe, and Japan, will have the need to pay fewer dollars to fulfill such transactions.

Also, in recent weeks the world’s most powerful man, Donald Trump, boosted the U.S dollar rally when he said, “It’s a wonderful time to have a strong dollar … Everybody wants to be in the dollar because we kept it strong. I kept it strong,” in an interview with Fox Business News.

READ ALSO: From pandemic to poverty: Nigeria’s future with COVID-19

This comment is in contrast with his earlier stance in which he railed against the dollar’s strength, saying that a strong U.S dollar made U.S. exports expensive abroad and hurt American corporations that needed to convert their foreign earnings into dollars.

Olumide Adesina is a French-born Nigerian. He is a Certified Investment Trader, with more than 15 years of working expertise in Investment Trading. Member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society. Behavioral Finance, Duke University. You can follow Olumide on twitter @tokunboadesina or email olumide.adesi[email protected]

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Companies

GMD, 2 Executive Directors buy 5 million additional units of Zenith Bank Plc shares

In three separate transactions, major stakeholders purchased 5 million units of Zenith Bank’s shares.

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Executive Director buys 2 million additional Units of Zenith Bank Plc Shares.

Zenith Bank Plc, Group Managing Director, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, and two Executive Directors, Messrs. Dennis Olisa and Ahmed Umar Shuaib, have purchased an aggregate of 5 million units of additional Zenith Bank Plc shares.

This was disclosed by the bank, in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and seen by Nairametrics.

According to the notification, signed by the Company’s secretary, Michael Osilama Otu, the purchase was made in the bourse, over three transactions on the 16th and 17th of September, 2020.

As part of the regulatory requirements, the disclosure must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when the trade is executed by a major shareholder or director of a listed firm.

Breakdown of the deal

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According to the details of the deal verified by Nairametrics, Mr. Dennis Olisa pulled the highest deal as he purchased 2,000,000 additional units of Zenith Bank Plc’s shares at an average of N17.18 per unit, totaling N34.36 million. Mr. Ahmed Umar Shuaib also purchased 2,000,000 additional units of the Bank’s share, at an average price of N16.99 worth N33.98 million. Completing the trio was, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu who purchased 1,000,000 additional units at an average of N17.05 worth N17.05 million.

This major purchase boosted the total number of trade deals (Volume) posted by the Bank in the NSE market, as the deals contributed about 11.61% of the Bank’s total deals between 16th and 17th of September, 2020.

(READ MORE: Zenith Bank rewards customers with massive giveaways in the “Zenith Beta Life” weekly promo)

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What this means

Based on the recently released H1 2020 Financial Results of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu had 45,500,000 direct shares as of June 30, 2020. Mr. Ahmed Umar Shuaib had 7,577,343 direct shares, while Mr. Dennis Olisa had 7,122,316 direct shares. All these remained unchanged from their reported shares in H1 2019.

With the addition of 1,000,000 shares, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu’s stake increased to 46,500,000, indicating an increase of 2.19%. Mr. Ahmed Shuaib’s shares also leaped by 26.39% to 9,577,343, while Mr. Deniss Olisa’s shares increased by 28.08% to 9,122,316 direct shares.

This deal may signify that the Bank’s insiders expect an increase in share price. It is a positive signal to outsiders, coming from top insiders who are abreast with latest information on the Bank’s prospects.

This can play a vital role in stimulating a bullish trend. Zenith Bank’s share price is currently trading at N16.70 on the NSE.

Conclusion

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Regardless of the impact of the pandemic on the income and revenue of banks, Zenith bank still remained one of the high-flying financial organizations in Nigeria. For example, the tier-1 bank’s gross earnings grew by 4.37% from N331.5 billion in H1 2019 to N346.1 billion in H1, 2020. Its Profit After Tax increased by 16.81% from N111.7 billion to N114.1 billion within the period under review. The aforementioned factors might have been the reason behind the recent bullish trend for its stock.

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Currencies

Naira gains at black market as CBN moves against prominent businessmen for forex abuse

The Naira appreciated against the dollar to close at N462/$1 on Thursday.

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Central Bank of Nigeria, Foreign exchange market, Naira vs dollas, IMF, Foreign Reserves, External reserves, CBN, Why do we all love the dollar? 

Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window remained stable for the fourth consecutive trading day to still close at N386/$1 during intraday trading on Thursday, September 17.

Also, the naira appreciated closing at N462/$1 at the parallel market as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensifies its move against forex abuse by asking banks to send domiciliary accounts details of some prominent businessmen

Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira appreciated against the dollar to close at N462/$1 on Thursday, according to information from Abokifx, a prominent FX tracking website. This represents a N3 gain when compared with the N465/$1 that it exchanged on Wednesday, September 16.

Currency Developments

  • The local currency has strengthened by about 7.8% within the last one week at the black market, as the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers in order to try to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.
  • The CBN has sold over $150 million to BDCs since the resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020. This was expected to inject more liquidity to the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
  • However, the exchange rate against the dollar has failed to sustain the initial gains made after the CBN announced plans to provide liquidity.
  • BDC operators have urged the apex bank to reconsider the margin allowed for the currency traders as it was inadequate to meet their expenses.
  • We also noted that forex traders monitored during the previous week appear to hoard forex as they anticipated further depreciation in the market.
  • There has been a sharp drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, although demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.

(READ MORE: Exchange rate stabilizes across forex markets as BDC window gets fresh dollar supply)

NAFEX: The Naira still remained stable against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Thursday, closing at N386/$1.

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  • This was exactly the same rate that it exchanged for on Wednesday, September 16.
  • The opening indicative rate was N386.05 to a dollar on Thursday. This represents a 5 kobo drop when compared to the N386 to a dollar that was recorded on Wednesday.
  • The N391.99 to a dollar is the highest rate during intraday trading before closing at the rate of N386/$1. It also sold for as low as N380/$1 during intraday trading.

Forex Turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window declined by 68.9% on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover dropped sharply from $282.23 million on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, to $87.78 million on Thursday, September 17, 2020.
  • The unusual huge forex supplies at the NAFEX window CBN’s move to clear the huge backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate back their funds.
  • The drop in forex supply reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
  • The average daily forex sale for last week was about $34.5 million which represents a drop from the $58.52 million that was recorded the previous week.
  • Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of August was about $857 million compared to $937 million in July.
  • According to a monitored media report and as part of the move against forex abuse and follow up to its earlier order, the apex bank directed deposit money banks to provide details of domiciliary accounts of some 12 top Nigerian businessmen, foreigners, and others.

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Cryptocurrency

Ethereum Miners earn a staggering $1 million in 1 hour

ETH miners on the network earned a staggering $1 million in just one hour.

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Two Ethereum Whales move 53,455 ETH, as DeFi tokens gain popularity

Ethereum miners seem to be smiling to the bank now. This feat is triggered by transaction costs on the Ethereum network recently reaching a new hourly record. Data retrieved from Glassnode, a crypto analytics firm, revealed that ETH miners on the network earned a staggering $1 million in just one hour.

Following UniswapProtocol’s announcement of the UNI token recently, Ethereum saw a massive surge in miner fees. Almost $1M USD in fees was spent in a single hour, thereby setting a new record high.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

This prevailing macro is positive for Ether miners whose turnovers have been increased by higher fees and more transactions. In fact, Ethereum’s network hash rate has been growing consistently, having reached a near two-year high.

Meanwhile, the median Ethereum gas price has massively spiked as well, reaching levels as high as 700 Gwei.

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READ: 88.0% of all Bitcoins mined, as 2.5 million BTCs left to be mine

READ: Like Gabon, Congo, Jumia shuts down operations in Cameroon

What is Gas? On Ethereum, all transactions and smart contract executions require a small fee to be paid, called Gas. In technical terms, Gas refers to the unit of measurement on the amount of computational effort required to execute an operation or a smart contract. The more complex the execution operation is, the more gas is required to fulfill that operation. Gas fees are paid entirely in ETH.

However, the Ethereum network has been having constant issues with high transaction fees and congestion since the rise of DeFi tokens. Recently, the network increased the limit of maximum gas per block from 10,000,000 gases to 12,500,000 gases. However, it is not the only network whose fees have been rising.

READ: Apple, Tesla share prices drop massively from record highs

Is mining Ethereum mining worth it? When it comes to most crypto assets, mining difficulty and costs related to it are only going upwards.

However, as ETH mining becomes more difficult based on more miners joining the process, it is expected that cost will move upward, as more computing power, software, and electricity are needed.

Nairametrics, however, believes that ETH’s value in recent months has gained exponentially and will most likely continue to do so, thus making mining potentially profitable in the long term.

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