Global Food Prices Jump 11th Consecutive Month in April
By Adedapo Adesanya
The prices of food commodity globally rose for the 11th consecutive month in April 2021, led by sugar, oil, and meat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has said.
The FAO said this in its Food Price Index report released on Thursday. The index tracks international prices of most commonly traded food commodities.
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 120.9 points in April, 1.7 per cent higher than March 2021 and 30.8 per cent higher than the same period of last year.
“The increase marked the 11th conservative monthly rise in the value of the FAO Food Price Index to its highest level since May 2014.
“And in nominal terms is 12 per cent below its all-time peak in February 2011,” it said.
The FAO Sugar Price Index increased 39 per cent from March and reached levels nearly 60 per cent above those registered in the corresponding month last year.
“The April rebound in international sugar price quotations was prompted by strong buying amid heightened concerns over tighter global supplies in 2020/21, due to the slow harvest progress in Brazil and frost damage in France.
“Further support was provided by the strengthening of the Brazilian Real against the US Dollar, which tends to affect shipments from Brazil, the world’s largest sugar exporter.
According to the report, the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 162.0 points in April, up 1.8 per cent month-on-month, driven by rising soy, rapeseed and palm oil quotations more than offsetting lower sunflower oil values.
“International palm oil prices continued to rise in April on concerns over slower-than-expected production growth in major exporting countries.
“Soy and rapeseed oil values climbed further too, underpinned by respectively, firm global demand, including from biodiesel producers and protracted global supply tightness.
“By contrast, international prices of sunflower oil contracted moderately on-demand rationing,” it said.
In the report, the FAO Meat Price Index averaged 101.8 points in April, up 1.7 per cent from the slightly revised value for March, marking a seventh consecutive monthly increase and raising the index by 5.1 per cent above the corresponding month last year.
“In April, bovine and ovine meat quotations rose, underpinned by solid demand from East Asia, amidst tight supplies from Oceania due to ongoing herd rebuilding and low inventories.
“Elevated internal sales in some producing regions also supported bovine and ovine meat prices.
“Pig meat quotations firmed on continued high purchases by East Asia, despite increased overall shipments from the European Union, while Germany continued with no access to the Chinese market over African swine fever concerns.
“Meanwhile, poultry meat prices remained steady, reflecting generally balanced global markets,” the report said.
The report said the FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 125.1 points in April, up 1.2 per cent from March, resuming its climb after a short-lived one-month respite in March, and stood 26 per cent above its April 2020 level.
“Maize prices rose 5.7 per cent in April.
“With overall tightening maize supplies, on top of continued strong demand, maize prices stood 66.7 per cent above their values one year earlier and remain at their highest level since mid-2013.
“Among other coarse grains, international barley and sorghum prices continued to soften, falling 1.2 and 1.0 per cent in April but remained 26.8 and 86.5 per cent above their respective values in the corresponding month last year,” it said.
International wheat prices were generally steady in April, remaining over 17 per cent above their April 2020 values.
“By contrast, international rice prices decreased again in April, mainly reflecting currency movements and slow trading activities, with persistent logistical constraints and freight costs continuing to hinder fresh deals,” it said.
The report said the FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 118.9 points in April, up 1.2 per cent from March, rising for the eleventh consecutive month and lifting the index 24.1 per cent above its value a year ago.
“In April, butter quotations rose, underpinned by solid import demand from Asia, notwithstanding weaker internal demand in Europe.
“Skim milk powder prices increased due to high import demand from East Asia, induced partly by concerns over potential shipping delays amid limited spot supplies from Europe and Oceania.
“Cheese prices also increased due to high demand from Asia, amid lower-than-expected production in Europe and seasonally declining supplies from Oceania.
“By contrast, quotations for whole milk powder declined slightly, reflecting lower import demand for the available supplies, following significantly high volumes traded recently,” it said.
Participants Learn Money Management, Sustainable Investing Skills
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Over the weekend, more than 3,000 Nigerians joined a public forum organised by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited to educate them on money management and sustainable investing skills.
The programme, moderated by US-based financial planner and author, Mr Kalu Aja, was held via a Twitter Spaces session, with the different products available on the exchange, including equities, fixed income, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), mutual funds and Exchange Traded Derivatives (ETDs) explained to them by the Head of Product Development at NGX, Ms Chidinma Chukwueke-Okolo.
She spoke about ETFs and mutual funds, which give investors options to diversify their investments and reduce risk in the market, listing examples on NGX.
“ETFs are low-cost passive investment schemes that track the performance of listed indices on the Exchange and help to diversify while Mutual Funds are portfolios of different investor funds pooled by a fund manager to invest actively in the market,” Ms Chukwueke-Okolo added.
She also spoke on responsible investing in accordance with the theme of Global Money Week, explaining to the participants how to access sustainable investment products on NGX.
The capital market expert informed prospective investors to watch out for the recently approved NGX Technology Board, which will feature listings from tech companies who wish to gain access to the capital market, urging investors to take advantage of NGX’s website to do their research on the market and improve their knowledge.
Also speaking, the chief executive of MoneyAfrica and Ladda.ng, Ms Tosin Olaseinde, gave practical investing tips to listeners and stressed the importance of long-term investing, budgeting and saving on financial security.
“You have to be intentional about cultivating good financial habits. Also, understand your risk appetite and diversify between low, medium and high-risk investments,” she posited.
AM Best Affirms AXA Mansard Insurance Credit Ratings
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The credit ratings of a leading underwriting company in Nigeria, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, have been affirmed by a reputable rating agency, AM Best.
The ratings affirmed were the Financial Strength Rating of B+ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb-” (Good), with the outlook stable.
AM Best explained that the ratings reflect the strength of AXA Mansard’s balance sheet, which it said was strong.
“The ratings also reflect rating enhancement, in the form of lift, from AXA Mansard’s ultimate parent, AXA S.A,” a statement from AM Best said.
“AXA Mansard’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR).
“Capital consumption is primarily driven by asset risk, which incorporates the company’s substantial real estate investments,” it added.
The rating firm said it expects prospective operating performance to be supported by corrective underwriting measures in the health portfolio, as well as positive contributions from the company’s life book, affirming that the insurance company has a solid foothold in its domestic market where it ranks among the largest non-life companies, and it enjoys a leading market position in the health segment.
“With good long-term growth prospects, AXA Mansard is expected to further strengthen its competitive market position over the coming years,” a part of the statement noted.
Commenting on the ratings, the Chief Financial Officer of Axa Mansard, Ms Ngozi Ola-Israel, said “the affirmation of our ratings by an agency like AM Best lends credence to the significant improvement in our internal capital generation abilities with a strong focus on continuously improving our underwriting performance through technical excellence.”
Also speaking on the ratings, the Chief Executive Officer of Axa Mansard, Mr Kunle Ahmed, said the efforts put in place by the team to build a world-class insurance company were yielding positive results.
“The affirmation of our ratings as stable and the retention of our FSR and ICR ratings despite the exposure to the high levels of economic, political and financial system risks further testify to our strong leading position and capacity to provide security for our stakeholders and ability to protect what truly matters to them,” he stated.
AM Best Company is a global credit rating agency with over 100 years of history of providing quantitative and qualitative assessments for Insurance companies, with its Best’s Credit Rating Methodology used to determine the financial strength and creditworthiness of insurance companies.
AM Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.
Over-the-Counter Stock Market Swells by N49.17bn in Week 12
By Adedapo Adesanya
The value of the NASD over-the-counter Securities Exchange increased in the 12th week of trading last week for the fifth straight week by N49.17 billion or 5.1 per cent to N1.01 trillion from N961.12 billion in the previous week.
This was influenced by the admission of Purple Real Estate Income Plc into the OTC stock market and it made it the second time the bourse was hitting the N1 trillion mark after Access Bank Plc pushed the market to that region last year.
Business Post observed that the inclusion of Purple Real Estate Income into the platform caused the expansion, but the market on its own closed weaker as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) fell by 0.15 per cent or 1.07 points to settle at 730.37 points compared with 731.44 points recorded in the previous week.
In the week, 11 Plc lost 6.7 per cent to close at N140.00 per unit versus N150.00 per unit, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) depreciated by 1.4 per cent to N14.00 per share compared with N14.02 per share, First Trust Microfinance Bank Plc declined by 9.6 per cent to close at 47 Kobo per share from 52 Kobo per share, and Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc shed 12.5 per cent to end at 7 Kobo per unit, in contrast to the preceding week’s 8 Kobo per unit.
On the flip side, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc appreciated by 1.2 per cent to N76.00 per share from N75.11 per share, and Geo-Fluids jumped by 32.4 per cent to N1.8 per unit from N1.36 per unit.
On the activity chart, IGI Plc was the most traded stock by volume last week with 45.96 million units, Geo-Fluids Plc traded 36.90 million units, and First Trust Microfinance Bank Plc transacted 4.89 million.
Conversely, Geo-Fluids Plc was the most active stock by value with N56 million, Nipco Plc followed with N9 million, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc posted N9 million, and 11 Plc raked in N4 million.
At the close of transactions, there was a 61.1 per cent decrease in the trading value to N88.8 million from N228.5 million, while the trading volume rose by 109.3 per cent to 88.2 million units from 42.1 million units, with the number of deals declining by 4.3 per cent to 45 deals from 47 deals.
In the year, the alternative stock exchange has recorded a turnover of 700.3 million units of securities valued at N2.60 billion traded in 735 deals.
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