Customers’ Rush for Treasury Bills Worries Banks
Nigerian banks are currently finding it extremely difficult to mobilise deposits from institutional investors such as Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and insurance companies as well as individuals due to the attractive treasury bills yields.
The increasing awareness of the opportunities in the treasury bills market is seeing a lot of banks lose deposits to fixed income investments.
This is because most investors and bank customers now benchmark interest rates on term deposit against treasury bill rates.
THISDAY findings showed that those affected most are the Tier 2 banks as they are finding it difficult to meet the demand of the fund holders.
But the Tier 1 banks are not under such pressure, THISDAY learnt.
The cash squeeze in the market clearly manifested in the interbank lending rate which increased to 23 percent on Friday from five per cent the preceding Friday.
The Nigerian Treasury Bill currently offers a unique investment opportunity to investors. It offers security and guaranteed premium returns to its investors.
Last week, the 364-day instrument offered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recorded excess subscription to the tune of N91.1 billion, whilst the CBN allotted N136.5 billion at a stop rate of 18.5 per cent relative to the offered amount of N120 billion.
The 91-day (offer amount: N29.1 billion; subscription: N26.1 billion) and 182-day (offer amount: N80 billion; subscription: N69.75 billion) instruments were however undersubscribed, whilst the CBN allotted N23.2 billion and N69.57 billion at stop rates of 13.4 per cent and 17.4 per cent respectively.
An analyst at Ecobank, Mr Kunle Ezun, who confirmed the situation in the money market, said the banks are feeling the brunt now.
“A lot of the PFAs, insurance companies and individuals are not willing to do term deposit again. They prefer doing treasury bills.
“If they do term deposit, they get around seven per cent interest. But they can get as high as 18 per cent from treasury bills. A lot of the banks today are losing deposits because of this.
“What the PFAs are saying is that if you cannot match treasury bills, bring back my money. Individuals are also saying: if you can’t give what treasury bills will give me, I am not going to save money with you.
“If banks don’t have deposits, they can’t give loans. The few banks that are ready to match treasury bills rates are doing that at a cost,” Mr Ezun said.
The Chief Finance Officer, Wema Bank Plc, Mr Tunde Mabanwoku, also confirmed the challenge currently faced by the Tier 2 banks.
Mr Mabanwoku explained: “What we see now is that customers are increasingly benchmarking treasury bills rates. So, when customers come in that they want to do fixed deposits and you tell them its 12 per cent, they would be comparing what you tell them with treasury bill rates.
“So, customers are becoming a lot more aware of what is happening out there and they are saying if they can put their money in treasury bills at 17 per cent, why should they put their money in a bank at 12 per cent.
“So, banks have had to increase their cost of deposits just to match or get close to the sovereign rate.”
Also, the Managing Director, Afrinvest Securities Limited, Mr Ayodeji Ebo, disclosed that owing to the opportunities in the treasury bills segment, foreign exchange speculators who had converted their naira to the dollar are now re-converting the greenback, back to naira in order to invest in fixed income securities.
He said those that doubted the ability of the central bank to sustain its intervention are now convinced that the banking sector regulator has enough ammunition to sustain its foray in the market.
He said: “People have been observing the development in the forex market. We have observed for over four months, the CBN has continued to emphasise that they would continue to intervene.
“In addition to that, despite the frequent intervention by the CBN, the reserves have also not been depleting. So, that has boosted confidence.
“Also, if you look at the volume of transactions in the investors and exporters’ window, that has also increased and we have seen banks now re-introduce their naira cards for dollar transactions.
“So, those people that were trying to take arbitrage opportunities, especially those that entered when the dollar was as low as N400-N500, are trying to cut their losses by investing in risk-free investments like treasury bills. Luckily for them, the interest rate is also very high.”
Nigeria’s external reserves stood at $30.927 billion as at August 3.
NIMASA, NCC Collaborate to Create Submarine Cable Regulation in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are collaborating to develop a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cables and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Submarine and cable operators in Nigeria have been notified of the soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Speaking at a pre-audit meeting of both organs of government in Lagos on submarine cable regulation, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the agency was committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.”
“NIMASA is developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA will be the agency responsible for its implementation.
“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Mr Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA and the NCC also agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
BUA Cement, Nigerian Breweries, Others Drive Stock Market’s 0.06% Loss
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited recorded a 0.06 per cent loss on Friday as a result of the selling pressure on some blue-chip stocks at the bourse.
It was observed that the decline was mainly driven by the poor performances of financial and industrial goods shares during the trading session.
Data obtained by Business Post showed that the insurance space lost 1.01 per cent, the industrial goods counter depreciated by 0.66 per cent, the banking sector declined by 0.25 per cent, and the consumer goods category shed 0.21 per cent, while the energy index remained flat.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) moderated by 31.55 points to 54,892.53 points from 54,924.08 points, and the market capitalisation went down by N18 billion to N29.903 trillion from N29.921 trillion.
A total of 137.6 million shares valued at N3.9 billion exchanged hands in 2,912 deals on the last trading session of the week compared with the 117.9 million shares worth N1.4 billion traded in the preceding session in 2,575 deals, representing an improvement in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by 16.71 per cent, 178.57 per cent, and 13.09 per cent, respectively.
Fidelity Bank closed the session as the most traded equity after it sold 21.5 million units and was trailed by GTCO, which sold 14.9 million units. Neimeth traded 14.0 million shares, UBA exchanged 12.8 million equities, and Transcorp traded 8.9 million stocks.
Investor sentiment was slightly strong yesterday as the market breadth was positive with 13 price gainers and 11 price losers led by AIICO Insurance, which fell by 5.00 per cent to 57 Kobo.
Linkage Assurance depleted by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, Coronation Insurance went down by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, International Breweries depreciated by 2.25 per cent to N4.35, and Transcorp lost 2.19 per cent to trade at N1.34.
On the flip side, NPF Microfinance gained 6.94 per cent to finish at N1.85, Geregu Power appreciated by 6.25 per cent to N323.00, Lasaco Assurance rose by 5.00 per cent to N1.05, Chams grew by 4.17 per cent to 25 Kobo, and Japaul improved by 3.57 per cent to 29 Kobo.
Analysis of the market data indicated losses reported by BUA Cement (1.60 per cent), Nigerian Breweries (0.55 per cent), GTCO (0.25 per cent), and Zenith Bank (0.15 per cent) caused the downfall of the exchange on Friday.
Again, NASD OTC Exchange Valuation Crosses N1 trillion
By Adedapo Adesanya
The market capitalisation of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange recorded a 5.3 per cent appreciation at the final session for the week, Friday, March 24, to close at N1.01 trillion from N959.06 billion on Thursday.
Business Post reports that this is the second time the value of the NASD OTC exchange would cross the N1 trillion mark.
The first was when Access Bank Plc was admitted to the alternative stock exchange in March 2022 and about a year later, it again crossed the same mark after Purple Real Estate Income Plc joined the platform on Thursday and began trading the next day.
Meanwhile, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) grew by 0.5 points or 0.07 per cent yesterday to wrap the session at 730.37 points compared with 729.87 points recorded in the previous session.
The day’s single price gainer was Geo-Fluids Plc, which improved its value by 16 Kobo to close at N1.80 per share versus Thursday’s closing price of N1.64 per share.
The volume of securities traded by investors depreciated on Friday by 67.3 per cent to 1.7 million units from 5.2 million units, the value of transactions slumped by 87.2 per cent to N3.1 million from N24.3 million, while the number of deals decreased by 78.6 per cent to three deals from the 14 deals carried out in the previous trading day.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 365.8 units valued at N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
In terms of the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis, VFD Group Plc was on top of the chart for exchanging 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, followed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, and UBN Property Plc with 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
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