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Fitch Affirms AfDB’s Triple ‘A’ Rating With Stable Outlook

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Renowned global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AAA’ with a Stable Outlook and its Short-Term IDR at ‘F1+’ (best quality grade, indicating exceptionally strong capacity to meet its financial commitments).

Fitch, in a recent statement, disclosed that the ‘AAA’ rating primarily reflects extraordinary support from AfDB’s shareholders which provides a three-notch uplift over the Bank’s intrinsic rating.

It specifically said, “AfDB enjoys strong support from its 80 member states, which include 26 non-African countries with high average ratings.

“Callable capital subscribed by member states rated ‘AAA’, the largest of which are the US, Germany and Canada, accounts for 21 percent of the total.

“This fully covered the Bank’s net debt at end-2016, underpinning the ‘aaa’ assessment of shareholders’ capacity to support.”

The report underscores the strong propensity of member states to support the Bank in case of need as illustrated by previous capital increases and the Bank’s important role in the region’s financing.

In the assessment, Fitch maintains that fast growth in AfDB’s lending in the last two years has translated into a rapid increase in its indebtedness, noting that the bank’s management has indicated that if there is no clear evidence of a capital increase within the next two years, it will have no choice but to curb lending growth to preserve the Bank’s solvency metrics.

The report added that if no capital increase is approved by 2019, debt will not be fully covered by callable capital from ‘AAA’ rated countries, adding that this would place substantial pressure on Fitch’s assessment of extraordinary support and, hence on AfDB’s IDR.

Fitch asserts that the relatively high risk profile of borrowers is mitigated by the preferred creditor status (PCS) that the Bank enjoys on its sovereign exposures.

Fitch assesses AfDB’s liquidity at ‘AAA’, which reflects excellent coverage of short-term debt by liquid assets (2.9x).

However, Fitch notes that the share of the portfolio invested in securities or bank placements rated ‘AA-‘ or above (83 percent in 2016) is declining, although their quality is still assessed at excellent.

Fitch understands that management intends to rebalance the treasury assets portfolio in order to increase the proportion of assets rated ‘AA-‘ or above.

This would help underpin Fitch’s assessment of the strength of extraordinary support, given the relevance of liquid assets’ quality to the net debt calculation.

“The -1 notch adjustment to AfDB’s solvency stemming from our assessment of its business environment reflects the high risk operating environment in which the bank operates,” the report says, noting that the majority of African countries are classified as low income by the World Bank.

The average income per capita and average rating of member states are the lowest of all regional MDBs, and they are subject to an overall high level of political risk.

Commenting on the rating, AfDB Acting Vice-President for Finance, Hassatou Diop N’Sele, said, “We welcome the confirmation of the AfDB’s AAA rating by Fitch, with a stable outlook. The Bank is dedicated to doing the most to make a marked positive difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans, while at the same time preserving its financial integrity.

“Our High 5 agenda is our response to the need to accelerate and scale up Africa’s development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the continent. The High 5 agenda, reflecting five identified priority areas (namely energy, agriculture, industrialization, integration and human capital development), enjoys strong support from our shareholders.

“The AfDB will continue to maintain a careful balance between maximizing its development effectiveness and assuring complete preservation of the interests of its stakeholders.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

Economy

Unlisted Securities Market Gets 0.34% Boost Thursday

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Unlisted Securities Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

Amid an increase in trading value and volume, the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange ended in the positive territory on Thursday, January 26, as it shot up by 0.34 per cent.

This was buoyed by the increase in the share price of Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc by 50 Kobo to N13.00 per unit from N12.50 per unit, and the surge in the price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc by 30 Kobo to N62.48 per unit from the preceding session’s N62.18 per unit.

This jerked the total value of the unlisted securities market by N3.09 billion to close at N923.76 billion versus N920.67 billion of the previous day, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) increased by 2.36 points to settle at 703.01 points, in contrast to the midweek’s 700.66 points.

During the session, market participants executed eight deals at the bourse, 68 per cent lower than the 25 deals executed a day earlier.

However, the value of transactions increased during the session by 41.3 per cent to N4.9 million from N3.5 million, and the volume of trades jumped by 52.4 per cent to 189,670 units from the 121,494 units published on Wednesday.

At the close of business, Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis, with the sale of 61.1 million units worth N49.2 million. UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 29.7 million units valued at N21.1 million, while NASD Plc was in third place with 944,112 units valued at N13.6 million.

Also, VFD Group Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis, with 422,074 units sold for N103.0 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Group Plc was in second place with 899,657 units valued at N59.1 million, while Geo-Fluids Plc was in third place for trading 61.1 million units for N49.2 million.

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Economy

Naira Crashes at Parallel Market, Gains at Official Market

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira crashed against the United States Dollar at the parallel market on Thursday by N4 or 0.54 per cent to trade at N752/$1, in contrast to Wednesday’s rate of N748/$1.

However, in the official market, which is the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, the Nigerian currency appreciated against the greenback yesterday by 45 Kobo or 0.1 per cent to quote at N461.25/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N461.70/$1.

A 58.9 per cent or $64.66 million decrease in the value of forex turnover in the spot market helped the local currency close stronger during the session. Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that FX trades worth $45.16 million were carried out compared with the $109.82 million executed in the previous trading day.

Also, in the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX market, the domestic currency gained N2 against the American Dollar to sell at N764/$1 versus Wednesday’s N766/$1.

However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost 24 Kobo against the British Pound Sterling to close at N567.21/£1 compared with the previous N567.45/£1, and depreciated by 20 Kobo against the Euro to quote at N500.73/€1, in contrast to N500.53/€1.

Meanwhile, most of the tokens monitored by Business Post in the crypto market depreciated in value at the close of transactions on Thursday, with Litecoin (LTC) shedding 1.6 per cent to trade at $87.48.

Further, Ripple (XRP) depreciated by 1.4 per cent to sell at $0.4109, Binance Coin (BNB) lost 0.4 per cent to quote at $305.07, Dogecoin (DOGE) dropped 0.2 per cent to finish at $0.0862, and Bitcoin (BTC) declined by 0.01 per cent to sell at $23,044.70.

Conversely, Cardano (ADA) appreciated yesterday by 2.8 per cent to settle at $0.3808, Ethereum (ETH) rose by 0.6 per cent to sell at $1,604.89, and Solana added a 0.02 per cent to its value to close at $24.36.

but the prices of the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at the close of trades at $1.00, respectively.

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Economy

Stock Market Rebounds by 0.29% as GTCO, Others Enjoy Patronage

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By Dipo Olowookere

A 0.29 per cent growth was recorded by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Thursday on the back of renewed demand for stocks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aggressively cut down the stop rate of treasury bills on Wednesday.

The disappointment resulted in investors looking for alternative investment instruments, and equities were the next point of call.

In the previous two trading sessions, the stock market was down, but it rebounded yesterday on the back of a fresh bargain-hunting, which consequently pushed the All-Share Index (ASI) higher by 153.31 points to 52,752.96 points from 52,599.65 points, and the market capitalisation increased by N83 billion to N28.733 trillion from N28.650 trillion.

According to data from the NGX, the banking and energy sectors appreciated by 1.58 per cent each, the insurance space rose by 1.01 per cent, and the consumer goods counter grew by 0.05 per cent, while the industrial goods index depreciated by 0.01 per cent.

During the session, investors traded 139.7 million shares worth N2.0 billion in 3,549 deals compared with the 119.8 million shares valued at N2.7 billion traded in 3,552 deals, indicating an increase in the trading volume by 16.61 per cent, a decline in the trading value by 25.93 per cent, and a drop in the number of deals by 0.08 per cent.

GTCO emerged as the most traded equity yesterday with the sale of 17.8 million units, followed by Access Holdings, which transacted 15.4 million units. Fidelity Bank exchanged 11.9 million shares, Mutual Benefits sold 6.9 million equities, and Dangote Sugar traded 6.7 million stocks.

The market breadth was positive on Thursday, with 25 price gainers and seven price losers, indicating a very strong investor sentiment.

Geregu Power gained 10.00 per cent to trade at N147.40, Coronation Insurance appreciated by 9.76 per cent to 45 Kobo, Chellarams improved by 9.70 per cent to N1.81, International Energy Insurance grew by 9.43 per cent to 58 Kobo, and Tripple Gee jumped by 9.09 per cent to 96 Kobo.

On the flip side, RT Briscoe lost 9.09 per cent to settle at 30 Kobo, Royal Exchange dropped 8.24 per cent to sell at 78 Kobo, Courteville depreciated by 7.84 per cent to 47 Kobo, Linkage Assurance fell by 4.00 per cent to 48 Kobo, and Transcorp shed 0.82 per cent to N1.21.

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