By Dipo Olowookere
Speakers at the 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have stressed the importance of regional integration to develop the continent’s economy.
The 24th AGM of the lender opened on Wednesday in Kigali, Rwanda, and over 100 speakers, including academics, African and global trade development experts are scheduled to speak during the four days of the event with a focus on unlocking Africa’s trade potential.
Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Claver Gatete, emphasised the need to create regional value chains which have the potential to generate enormous benefits for African economies.
In his opening address during the seminars of the Afreximbank Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa, the Minister said, “The creation of regional value chains in Africa along several product lines could ease the integration of African economies into global value chains.”
“In this context, ongoing efforts to deepen regional economic blocks within Africa offers tremendous opportunities to draw on economies of scale to transcend the natural and environmental constraints imposed by geography,” he continued.
Mr Gatete remarked that although African trade had witnessed remarkable growth, especially over the last two decades, rising from $210 billion in 1996 to $1.2 trillion in 2015, its share of global trade had barely changed, remaining at about 15 percent, compared to 67 percent in Europe, 53 percent in Developing Asia and about 37 percent in America.
He commended Afreximbank’s support to Rwanda’s economic transformation, noting that the Bank had provided direct financing amounting to $155 million in support of development projects in Rwanda.
Also speaking, Mr Denys Denya, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President in charge of Finance, Administration and Banking Services, said that the resounding success achieved by some countries in Asia, in particular China and Korea, and the critical role played by intra-regional trade in their development, presented Africa with valuable lessons for positioning intra-African trade as a key pillar for economic growth, and sustainable development.
Noting the challenge posed to Africa by small size of economies and market fragmentation; to Mr Denya argued that connecting the host of small and disconnected markets through deepening of intra-African trade and economic integration would create an environment where firms gained access to hitherto non-existent larger markets.
He said that Africa’s progress toward economic development and structural transformation had been hindered by over-reliance on export of natural resources and primary commodities and a deficit of export diversification which limited the ability of countries to effectively develop regional value chains to enhance their integration into global value chains.
In a presentation, Dr Hippolyte Fofack, Afreximbank’s Chief Economist, said that the Bank’s, Fifth Strategic Plan, known as “Impact 2021: Africa Transformed”, had been designed to address the challenges facing African countries on their path to development.
Its first two pillars, Promoting Intra-African Trade, and Industrialisation and Export Development, would support the economic diversification and trade openness, which had been identified as the key to attaining and sustaining growth, he said.
Naira Tumbles at I&E, P2P, Stable at Parallel Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira weakened against the American Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segments of the foreign exchange market (FX) on Monday, February 6, as the country continues to face a cash crunch but maintained stability in the parallel market window.
At the P2P arm of the forex market, the Nigerian currency tumbled against the greenback by N1 yesterday to close at N761/$1 versus the N760/$1 it was sold last Friday.
Also, at the I&E wing of the FX market, the local currency lost 67 Kobo or 0.15 per cent against the US currency to end the first session of the week at N462.17/$1, in contrast to the preceding session’s value of N461.50/$1.
The weakening of the Nigerian Naira happened despite the value of FX transactions going down by $3.00 million or 2.51 per cent to $122.43 million from N119.43 million.
However, in the interbank segment, the Naira appreciated against the Pound Sterling by N12.92 to close at N555.40£1 compared with N568.32/£1 as the Bank of England and the European Central Bank raised interest rates last Thursday and provided guidance suggesting it was nearing the end of its rate hiking cycle.
In the same vein, the domestic currency gained N12.92 N10.82 on the Euro to settle at N496.32/€1 compared with the previous trading session’s value of N507.14/€1.
In the black market, the Naira maintained stability against the United States Dollar, remaining unchanged at N753/$1.
Meanwhile, the crypto space was bearish yesterday as the bullish momentum witnessed last week begin to wear off after last Friday’s stronger-than-expected US non-farm payrolls report, which made investors question the US Federal Reserve’s view that inflation has peaked.
Cardano (ADA) went down by 1.9 per cent to trade at $0.3865, Solana (SOL) depreciated by 1.6 per cent to $23.03, Dogecoin (DOGE) fell by 1.3 per cent to $0.0905, Ripple (XRP) lost 0.8 per cent to trade at $0.3947, Bitcoin (BTC) slid by 0.3 per cent to $22,865.03, and Ethereum (ETH) declined by 0.02 per cent to sell at $1,627.56.
But Litecoin (LTC) went up by 2.8 per cent to $98.69, as Binance Coin (BNB) climbed higher by 0.1 per cent to $326.28, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each.
Oil Prices Rise as Earthquakes Hit Turkey, Syria
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil prices rose on Monday, buoyed by supply concerns following earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Brent crude futures rose 46 cents or 0.6 per cent to $80.40 a barrel, as the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped by 20 cents or 0.3 per cent to $73.59 a barrel.
Massive earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday halted operations at Turkey’s major oil export hub in Ceyhan and stopped key crude oil flows from Iraq and Azerbaijan, officials said.
It has been regarded as the worst tremor to strike Turkey this century and was followed in the early afternoon by another large quake of magnitude 7.7.
The Tribeca shipping agency said in a notice that the BTC terminal at Ceyhan that exports Azeri crude oil will be closed through Wednesday pending damage assessments. Azerbaijan uses the Turkish port of Ceyhan as its main crude export hub, with a flow of about 650,000 barrels per day.
According to Reuters, following Monday’s earthquake, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also halted flows through the pipeline it operates that runs from Iraq’s northern Kirkuk fields to Ceyhan, the region’s ministry of natural resources (MNR) said.
The KRG had been pumping 400,000 barrels per day, and Iraq’s federal government was pumping 75,000 barrels per day through the pipeline.
It was also reported that oil exports would resume after a “careful inspection of the pipelines is finalised,” the MNR said in a statement.
Also supporting prices was the prospect for China’s recovery after the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions continued to drive the value of the commodity.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects half of this year’s global oil demand growth to come from China. The agency’s chief, Mr Fatih Birol, disclosed this on Sunday, adding that jet fuel demand was surging.
“If demand goes up very strongly, if the Chinese economy rebounds, then there will be a need, in my view, for the OPEC+ countries to look at their (output) policies,” Mr Birol said, referring to a call of action for the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, OPEC+.
The 23-man group decided to cut output by 2 million barrels a day from November through 2023 instead of pumping more to cut fuel prices and help the global economy, as the US advised.
Also, price caps on Russian products took effect on Sunday, with Group of Seven (G7) nations, the European Union and Australia agreeing on price limits of $100 a barrel on diesel and other products that trade at a premium to crude and $45 a barrel for products that trade at a discount, such as fuel oil.
The price ceilings, together with an EU ban on Russian oil product imports, are part of a broader agreement among the Group of Seven (G7) countries. It follows a $60 per barrel cap on Russian crude that G7 countries imposed on December 5 as the G7, the EU and Australia seek to limit the country’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine.
Both caps prohibit Western insurance, shipping and other companies from financing, insuring, trading, brokering or carrying cargoes of Russian crude and oil products unless they were bought at or below the set price caps.
NGX Upgrades Price Stock Group of Eterna
By Dipo Olowookere
The price stock group of Eterna Plc has been moved upward by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Business Post reports.
In a regulatory notice on Monday, the bourse noted that it upgraded the stock category of the energy company from a low-price stock group to a medium-price stock group.
This action, according to the exchange, was necessitated after the stability in the price of the company’s equities within four of the last six months in the new price category, in line with its price methodology framework.
“Equity securities of quoted companies on the exchange (NGX) are classified into three stock price groups or categories; high-priced, medium-priced, and low-priced stocks, based on their market price.
“In this regard, securities must have traded for at least four out of the most recent six-month period within a stock price group’s specified price band to be classified into the category.
“Accordingly, a review of Eternal Plc stock price and trade activities over the most recent six-month period provides the basis for reclassifying the security from the low-priced stock group to the medium-priced stock group.
“This reclassification also necessitates the attendant change in the tick size change from N0.01 kobo to N0.05 kobo, in line with Rule 15.29: Pricing Methodology, Rulebook of the exchange, 2015 (trading license holders’ rules),” the statement from the platform stated.
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