By Adedapo Adesanya
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said it is pausing withdrawals of the stablecoin USDC while it carries out a “token swap.”
The move comes as investor concerns grow about Binance’s stability following the collapse of rival exchange FTX as well as a report of a potential criminal investigation from the United States government.
In a statement on Tuesday, Binance said that it has “temporarily paused” USDC withdrawals while it does a “token swap.” This involves swapping one cryptocurrency for another without the need for fiat currency.
Mr Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, tweeted on Tuesday that the exchange is seeing an increase in withdrawals of USDC, a cryptocurrency known as a stablecoin because it is pegged one-to-one with the US Dollar.
USDC is used by investors to trade in and out of different cryptocurrencies without the need to move money back into U.S. dollars. If traders are withdrawing USDC from Binance, it could be to move it onto another platform.
Mr Zhao said that any transfers into USDC from the stablecoin known as PAX, as well as Binance’s own token Binance USD, BUSD, require routing through a bank based in New York, which is not yet open. The suggestion from Zhao is that users are looking to convert their PAX and BUSD into USDC in order to withdraw their funds from Binance.
A token swap could be a way for Binance to get more USDC quickly while the banks are closed in order to resume withdrawals for customers.
Binance Coin (BNB) is down by 5.3 per cent to $286 while the BUSD has shed 0.04 per cent to sell at $0.0996.
The collapse of FTX and the arrest of its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, has crypto investors on edge with fears of further impact across the industry.
Binance has been in the spotlight since its decision to sell its stake in FTX’s self-issued FTT digital tokens, which preceded the failure of the rival exchange. It has also faced worries about reports that the US Department of Justice prosecutors are delaying the conclusion of a criminal investigation into Binance.
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.
Unlisted Securities Investors Gain N18.29bn in Five Days
By Dipo Olowookere
It was another positive week for unlisted securities investors in Nigeria as they smiled home with N18.29 billion last week on the floor of the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange.
This was buoyed by the 1.98 per cent week-on-week growth recorded by the alternative bourse in the country during the five-day trading week, which had five stocks closing on the gainers’ chart, with none on the opposite table.
Data harvested by Business Post indicated that FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria appreciated by 10.44 per cent to settle at N69.00 per unit. UBN Property Gain 7.14 per cent to trade at 75 Kobo per share, Niger Delta Exploration and Production improved by 6.95 per cent to N200.00 per unit, Geo-Fluids rose by 6.12 per cent to N1.04 per share, and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) increased by 3.85 per cent to N13.50 per unit.
In the week, the volume of trades declined by 35.51 per cent to 24.5 million units from 62.6 million units, the number of deals went down by 12.82 per cent to 66 deals from the preceding week’s 71 deals, while the value of transactions increased by 122.48 per cent to N96.6 million from N87.6 million.
The most active security for the week by volume was Geo-Fluids, with the sale of 20.0 million units, followed by UBN Property with 3.4 million units. FrieslandCampina traded 581,021 units, CSCS transacted 375,512 units, and VFD Group exchanged 111,104 units.
However, the most active equity by value for the week was FrieslandCampina, with a sale of N38.5 million. VFD Group recorded N27.2 million, Geo-Fluids traded N20.7 million, CSCS transacted 5.1 million, and UBN Property traded N2.6 million.
Data showed that the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) increased in the week by 13.92 points to 717.15 points from 703.23 points, as the market capitalisation grew by N18.29 billion to N942.35 billion from N924.06 billion.
Nigeria’s External Reserves Shed 0.14% to $37.020bn
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
In one week, Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by a marginal 0.14 per cent to $37.020 billion from $37.070 billion in the preceding week.
Data obtained by Business Post from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that the balance in the coffers was as of Thursday, February 2, 2023.
The FX balance in the country’s purse was supposed to expand during this period when prices of crude oil were relatively stable, but this has not been the case because of low production.
Nigeria relies heavily on the sale of crude oil to earn forex, which is currently scarce in the country, putting the Naira under pressure.
The federal government has blamed low crude oil output on the theft of the commodity and has promised to make efforts to address the issue.
Recall that in August 2022, Nigeria’s crude oil production plunged below one million barrels per day (972,394 bpd), the lowest ever in several years.
However, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the output improved by 171,000 barrels per day in November to 1.186mbpd, though about 700,000 barrels per day less than its quota for the month.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the federal government plans to improve the country’s crude oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day by the first quarter of 2023.
It is believed that this would boost the FX earnings of the nation and bolster the reserves and the local currency in the foreign exchange market.
Last week, the Nigerian Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar on a week-on-week basis by 25 Kobo or 0.05 per cent to N461.50/$1 compared with the preceding week’s N461.75/$1.
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