Airfares for local travel between major cities in the country has surged by as much as 100% as Nigerians book tickets ahead of the Christmas holiday.
The spike in airfares has shocked a lot of local travelers as they are told that the reason for the increase in ticket prices is due to the devaluation of the naira.
- According to information gathered by Nairametrics from the websites of various Nigerian airlines and travel agencies, an Air Peace flight scheduled to take off on Thursday, 10th December, from Lagos to Abuja, cost as high as N100,528;
- while from Kaduna to Abuja on the same day is around N128,467 for an economy class ticket.
- Also, a flight from Maiduguri to Lagos costs around N128,467, while a return ticket between Lagos and Benin costs around N120,000.
- A flight from Lagos to Enugu departing on the 17th to return after Xmas on the 30th sold for N86,000 but as high as N170, 699 according to checks from Travel Stats.
What Airlines are saying
- Nairametrics had earlier reported that the management of Max Air and Aero Contractors in different interviews, attributed the sudden hike in fare to changes in the exchange rate.
- According to the statement from Mr. Kehinde Ogunyale, the station Manager of Max Air, the Airline increased the fare due to the Dollar to Naira exchange rate and the increase in demand for tickets.
- Also in a similar interview, Mr. Abdulmalik Jibreel of Aero Contractors explained that the high demand for tickets during this period necessitated the increase in fare, coupled with the Dollar to Naira exchange volatility.
- Some airlines also reported earlier in the year that the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) had increased Passenger Service Charges by as much as a 100% starting August 1.
What they are saying
In a discussion with Mr. Babatunde Akinyele, a Structural Surveyor told Nairametrics that he was forced to postpone his intended travel from Lagos to Benin yesterday when he saw the fare. He stated that he might have to consider alternative means of transportation if tickets continue to sell for that high.
A staff of travel agency whom we contacted revealed economy tickets more than doubled in some major routes mostly due to a surge in demand.
- An economy class ticket from Lagos to Benin (one way) sold for N60,000 while a return ticket for N120,000. Another ticket from Kano to Abuja sold for N95,000.
- Nairametrics also gathers that the increase was mostly because of the high demand for travel tickets, as most of her customers appear to be booking ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
- Another source suggests the spike in flight tickers could also be because airlines are trying to recover some of the losses incurred during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- Last July, Nairametrics reported airlines planned to increase local travel costs by 50% due to the devaluation of the exchange rate which has impacted their operations.
Nigeria has devalued its exchange rate three times this year already going first from N305/$1 to N360/$1 and then to N390/$1. The exchange rate at the black market is currently at N475/$1 and rose as high as N502/$1 last week.
In a nutshell,
Airfares for local travel have increased (and will continue to increase) for the following reasons;
- FAAN also increased taxes and charges that airlines pay by as much as 100%.
- The multiple devaluations of the exchange rate mean airlines have to spend more on services and replacement of parts most of which are dollar-denominated costs.
- Access to forex is also increasingly difficult as the CBN continues to ration dollar supplies. This has pushed demand into the black market worsening the exchange rate situation.
- Business travels also appear to have dropped significantly as most businesses now rely on online applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to hold meetings.
- This also creates a shortage of passengers for airlines, meaning they have to increase ticket sales to make up for limited roundtrips.
- At N100,000 Nigerians are paying an equivalent of $250 for a trip of less than an hour.
Why external reserves is falling despite a rise in oil prices
Increased oil prices seem not to have stopped the further slide in Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
Nigeria’s external reserve declined from $36.3 billion as of January 29, 2021, to $34.998 billion as of March 1, 2021, losing about $1.4 billion in just a month.
The rapid drop in the country’s external reserve is occurring despite the increase of Brent crude to over $66 per barrel as of February 24, 2021, from about $51 per barrel that it closed with on January 4, 2021.
Some analysts had attributed a couple of likely reasons for this drop. This includes the CBN intervention in the forex market to stabilize the exchange rate, low foreign inflows into the country, some CBN forex policies which discourage foreign investors.
The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadebe, during his chat with Nairametrics, said that the decline in Nigeria’s external reserve despite the recent increase in oil prices was due to supply shocks and shortages of foreign exchange due to drop of forex inflow from various sources.
Gwadebe said, ‘’You know we have a lot of supply shocks and shortages even before the appreciation of the crude oil prices, we just came out of recession with less than even 0.1%. We know the prices of crude oil, the demand came down throughout the Covid-19 period, even now with the new variant. So the IMTOs inflow has reduced drastically, export proceeds have reduced drastically, the I & E window has also gone down drastically. You know you can appreciate what is happening at the I & E window, their trade transactions sometimes hover up to N420/$1.’’
On why increased oil prices have not stopped the further slide in the reserves, the ABCON President said, ‘’Completely all the sources coming have dried up, the oil prices dried up, IMTO window dried up. We are talking about a month, and these are contracts that have been closed for 3, 6 months delivery, we are just witnessing it. It will take time, it’s a very good buffer, no doubt we rely on it heavily for 90% of our foreign exchange supply. So if we have that improvement, it will give the CBN the muscle, the wherewithal to continue to support the local market. It will give CBN the muscle to make any speculation, check any hoarding.”
‘’Now that we have prospects in oil prices definitely that news, that coming in of new inflows will give the CBN the muscle to make any speculation, to checkmate hoarding, because they are in I & E window, they are in BDC window, they are in a lot of windows, so they can come up with liquidity. Definitely, it is going to. And we have seen the impact because the way it was going before this increase in crude oil prices, it was worrisome and if you look at it now it has remained stable, the highest it went is N480 for the parallel market and its always trending down. There is that stability just for that news, so you can imagine when we start receiving the liquid grill just imagine what it will become just like people have predicted and analyzed N430, N450/$1 is what we might be looking at by the end of the year,’’ he added.
On his part, a treasury and financial analyst, Odinaka Nwokonkwo, while giving reasons why it should be that way, pointed to CBN obligations. He said the apex bank paid Eurobond maturities in January or thereabout, and did FX swap with local and international counterparts which may have matured and needed to be paid down.
He said, ‘’There is a Eurobond maturity that CBN funded for, so that would also reduce the reserves, then another thing is when you look at, CBN has been intervening in the forex market. So on that space, you are seeing retail, you are seeing SME and invisibles intervention weekly. Retail is biweekly and SME and invisible about $100 million weekly. So sometimes CBN has bilateral transactions with international institutions and local banks where they take their FX and basically give them treasury bills, so that also is part of the reserves.
‘’So if some of those swaps have matured and CBN needs to pay down these bonds, they will also see a reduction. So it’s a combination of a lot of things. And also what is the volume of sales of the oil, are we really selling more, is the quantity we are selling is the same as what we are selling before. The demand might drop a little bit because some countries also have a second lockdown.’’
Nwokonkwo also believes that in the next quarter, there might see an accretion because some of those obligations may not be there.
While pointing out that the accretion rate is slower than the debit rate, he said the oil price at $65 is not a significant increase compared to CBN FX obligations.
These external reserve figures and swings point to two things: Nigeria seems to be overestimating the power of it oil to keep the country running and the enduring reality it needs to find other ways of earning foreign exchange.
These are the top stockbrokers in Nigeria – February 2021
The top 10 stockbroking firms on the Nigeria Stock Exchange have traded stocks valued at N126.74 billion in the month of February 2021.
The All-share Index of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) dipped by 6.16% in February 2021, a major drawback on the 5.32% gain recorded in the previous month to bring the year-to-date loss to 1.17%.
While they may not be Wolf of Wall Street, the top 10 stockbroking firms on the Nigeria Stock Exchange have been doing big businesses, and have traded stocks valued at N126.74 billion in the month of February 2021, accounting for 58.43% of the total value of shares traded.
This is contained in the Broker Performance Report for the month of February 2021.
A cursory look at the data shows that the February 2021 figure represents a 12.32% increase when compared to N112.84 billion recorded in January 2021 and 19.27% increase compared to N106.27 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
Stockbrokers by value
- Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers is top on the list with trades worth N24.28 billion, representing 11.19% of the total value of traded stocks in The Exchange. It is worth noting that Stanbic IBTC also maintained the top spot in the 2020 ranking and also in the previous month.
- Absa Securities Nigeria Limited followed closely with trade-in stocks worth N23.64 billion, accounting for 10.9% of the total value. Absa Securities climbed by position from third recorded in January 2021.
- Cardinalstone Securities Limited stands third on the list with trades on stocks worth N18.98 billion representing 8.75% of the total trades. A step down from the second position held in the previous month.
- EFG Hermes Nigeria Limited followed with trades valued at N14.15 billion. This represents 6.52% of the total value of shares traded on the floor of The Exchange.
- Rencap Securities (NIG) Limited with a total value of N9.88 billion traded in stocks, accounted for 4.56% of the total recorded in the month of February.
- Others on the list include; Meristem Stockbroker (N9.25 billion), RMB Nigeria Stockbrokers (N8.89 billion), Apel Asset Limited (N6.26 billion), Imperial Asset Managers (N6.11 billion), and Cordros Securities Limited (N5.29 billion).
Notably, the top 5 firms in the month of January, did well to retain the top spot in the month under review.
Stockbrokers by volume of shares
- Cardinalstone Securities Limited topped the list in terms of volume of shares traded in February 2021, having recorded trades in 2.02 billion units of shares, hereby accounting for 11.33% of the total shares traded.
- Atlass Portfolios Limited followed closely with trades in 1.83 billion units of shares. This represents 10.24% of the total volume traded in the month under review.
- Meristem Stockbrokers Limited traded in 1.24 billion units of shares to stand in the third position. This accounts for 6.93% of the total volume of shares trades in the Nigerian Stock Exchange in February 2021.
- Morgan Capital Securities recorded total trades of 1.03 billion unit of shares, which represents 5.79% of the total trades.
- Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers traded in 859.62 million unit of shares in the month of February 2021, representing 4.77% of the total traded volume.
- Others on the list include; Greenwich Trust (740.2 million), EFG Hermes (471.05 million), Rencap Securities (364.02 million), Apel Asset (344.13 million), and CSL Stockbrokers (300.49 million).
What you should know
- The All-share index dipped by 6.16% to close at 39,799.89 index points as of 26th February 2021 from 42,412.66 points recorded in the previous month.
- Of all the sub-indices captured by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, only two of them recorded positive growth in the month of February. NSE Growth index (+9.33%) and NSE Oil & Gas Index (+4.36%).
- Meanwhile, the equities market capitalisation currently stands at N20.78 trillion as of 2nd March 2021, while the total bourse capitalisation stands at N38.15 trillion.
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