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CBN will continue monetary policy aimed at boosting stock market

The CBN has insisted that it will continue with its monetary policy measures towards the stock market in efforts to resuscitate the economy.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that it will continue with its monetary policy measures aimed at boosting the stock market, even as the country faces higher inflation and remains in recession.

This was made known by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in his remarks at the end of the monetary policy committee meeting held last week. He believes a bullish stock market is a leading indicator of a medium-term macroeconomic recovery of the economy.

READ: CRR Compliance: Banks suffer another N226 billion in CRR debits

According to Mr. Emefiele,

“On the Financial Markets, the Committee considered the improved performance in the equities market as a leading indicator of medium-term macroeconomic recovery. Thus, it urged the Bank to maintain its policies on exchange rate and financial system stability to attract more investment into the Nigerian equities market.”

Nigerian stocks are one of the best performing asset classes and stock markets in the country. Stocks are currently up 29% YTD, reversing all the post-Covid-19 losses incurred at the height of the lockdown in March and April.

Why this matters: The CBN’s decision to continue with its policy of lowering interest rates is a major boost for the stock market, and an indication that the rally currently being enjoyed by investors will remain sustained.

READ: CBN, NDIC to set up bridge bank for struggling financial institutions

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Sigma Pensions
  • A preferred next line of action will be to encourage robust capital market activities such as IPOs and other forms of public offers.
  • With limited investment outlets, more and more inflow from institutional investors could create new demand for capital formation.
  • However, the pressure on the exchange rate could force a change in policy, increasing interest rates to attract foreign investor dollars in Eurobonds and other foreign offerings.

READ: Forex inflow in I&E window declines by $2.8 billion as FPIs drop by 97%

How we got here

The positive performance for stocks is largely driven by central bank policies that have reduced interest rates for other competing asset classes, such as treasury bills and corporate bonds. Treasury bills yields have fallen below 1% in recent weeks, with true yields falling into negative territory earlier in November.

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For most parts of the last two years, Nigerian stocks remained unattractive despite offering dividend yields in the double digits. Yet, investors will rather go for risk-free treasury bills and FGN Bonds.

READ: A summer of higher food prices, limited room for monetary policy

Since the last massive stock market crash in 2009, local investors have relied on activities of foreign portfolio investors in deciding what stocks to buy and when to even invest in the stock market.

Stanbic 728 x 90

However, with Covid-19 triggering billions of dollars in foreign portfolio outflows exited stock markets, frontier markets like Nigeria suffered massive losses until the central bank policy of low-interest rate environment opened opportunities.

The central policy that gave birth to lower interest rates began in May 2019, when it increased the cash reserve requirement of local banks and forced a loan to deposit ratio of 65%.

This forced banks to either lend more to the private sector or avoid being debited via the cash reserve requirement provisions of the bank. Banks felt lesser impetus to stimulate customer deposits, thus increasing the amount of naira in the economy looking for where it will be invested.

As Nairametrics earlier reported, in the third quarter of 2019, the apex bank announced it would stop local nonbanking investors from purchasing its lucrative OMO bills, releasing over a trillion into the economy. As OMO bills matured into 2020, trillions more unlocked in the economy with very few options available for investments.

It is likely that the stock market will close positively by year-end, reversing most of the losses incurred in the last 18 months. The CBN’s latest decision to continue with its policy is an indication that the drive to look inward in the quest to resuscitate the economy is being pushed on all fronts.

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Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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Funds Management

Best Pension Funds in Nigeria for the month of March 2021

Nigerian Pension Fund administrators in the month of March 2021, recovered from the downturn recorded in February to post marginal growth.

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Pension plan participation among Nigerians increases

Nigerian pension funds asset recorded tepid growth in the month of March, recovering marginally from the negative growth recorded in the previous month, as 81.25% of the total funds recorded positive growth against 22% recorded in February.

This is according to data tracked by Nairalytics Research on the fund performances of Nigerian Pension Funds Administrators.

A cursory look at the data revealed that the RSA Fund IV on average performed the best in March, followed by RSA Fund III, while RSA Fund I remained flat in the review month.

Nairametrics considered the prices of the different RSA funds as of 28th February 2021 and compared them with the prices as of the last day of March (31st March 2021).

Below is a list of the best-performing funds in March


RSA Fund I

This fund has the highest allocation of risky or variable income instruments and participation is strictly upon a formal request from a contributor. The RSA Fund I is suitable for people who want to invest in high-risk instruments with higher rewards. Hence, contributors who are 50 years and above cannot apply to be moved into this fund.

According to available data 9 of the funds recorded positive growth in the month under review, as against 1 recorded in the previous month.

First position: Crusader Sterling Pensions Limited

  • March return: 0.68%

Second position: ARM Pension Managers Limited

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Sigma Pensions
  • March return: 0.52%

Third position: FCMB Pensions Limited

  • March return: 0.44%

Others on the list of gainers include; Premium Pension Limited, Trustfund Pensions Plc, Pensions Alliance Limited, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, NPF Pensions Limited, and Sigma Pensions Limited.

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It is noteworthy that Investment One Pension Managers and Veritas Glanvills Pensions were not included in the analysis, as their information could not be obtained, as at the time of writing this article. Considering the aggregate performance of the fund, it stood flat at 0%.


RSA Fund II

This fund is balanced and suitable for middle-aged contributors as well as those with a medium risk appetite. It is designed to be less risky with reduced allocation to variable income instruments compared to Fund I. The age requirement for participation is 49 years and below.

First position: Crusader Sterling Pensions Limited

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  • March return: 0.65%

Second position: FCMB Pensions Limited

  • March return: 0.63%

Third position: ARM Pension Managers Limited

  • March return: 0.6%

Others on the list, which recorded positive growth in the month of March include; Leadway Pensure PFA, Nigerian University Pension Management, Trustfund Pensions, Pensions Alliance, Sigma Pensions Limited, Stanbic IBTC, and Radix Pension Fund Managers.

Of the 20 funds considered in the analysis, 16 recorded positive growth in value, representing 80% of the total. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that as with the case in the RSA fund I category, Investment One Pension Managers and Veritas Glanvills Pensions, were not included.

The aggregate performance of the RSA Fund II, stood at 0.29% in March 2021.


RSA Fund III

This is a conservative fund that is designed for contributors close to retirement and contributors with a low-risk appetite. It is suited for contributors between the ages of 50 and 60 years. However, younger contributors may opt to participate in this fund category.

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First position: APT Pension Fund Managers Limited

  • March return: 1.17%

Second position: Crusader Sterling Pensions Limited

  • March return: 0.73%

Third position: Pensions Alliance Limited

  • March return: 0.66%

In this category of funds, all the pension funds posted positive growth in the month of March, with the exception of Investment One and Veritas Glanvills, which were not included in the analysis. The aggregate RSA Fund III, appreciated by 0.47% in March 2021.

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RSA Fund IV

The RSA Fund IV is exclusively for retirees. In the month of February, of all 22 Pension Fund Administrators, 10 of them recorded positive growth. However, they were all marginal growth of less than 1%.

First position: Pensions Alliance Limited

  • March return: 0.74%

Second position: First Guarantee Pension Limited

  • March return: 0.74%

Third position: Crusader Sterling pensions Limited

  • March return: 0.71%

Similarly, as witnessed in the RSA Fund III category all but AIICO Pension Managers recorded positive growth in March 2021, a recovery compared to the previous month. In terms of the aggregate performance, RSA Fund IV grew by 0.5% in the month under review.

According to the monthly report from the National Pension Commission, the total Pension Fund assets declined in the month of February 2021 from N12.3 trillion recorded as of 31st January 2021 to N12.25 trillion. This could be attributed to the bearish performance of the various funds in February 2021.

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Business

CBN includes sugar, wheat on FX restriction list

The CBN is set to include sugar and wheat in the forex restriction list.

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CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to place sugar and wheat on its FX restriction list.

The plan was disclosed by the apex bank via its verified Twitter handle in a statement credited to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The tweet stated: “Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them. #Emefiele.”

It would be recalled that over the years, the CBN has been reviewing its list of restricted food items to include more items, with the most recent being the addition of maize, a widely-consumed staple food in the country.

What you should know

  • The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had earlier (on Thursday) given this hint while on an inspection visit to the proposed $500 million sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state, belonging to Dangote Sugar.
  • In 2015, the CBN listed 41 items that had been placed on its FX restriction list citing that the move was necessary to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve and boost local production of the items on the restriction list.
  • Some of the items which made the 2015 list are margarine, poultry and eggs, rice, and cement.
  • In 2020, the apex bank included maize in its FX restriction list as it directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.
  • Nairametrics had also earlier explained in its publication following the new policy shift, that the government’s premise for deciding to restrict FOREX on food is faulty, especially since Nigeria has not attained full food security and the agricultural sector is still struggling.

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