Kenya Retains Interest Rates At 10% To Boost Economy
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced that it is retaining its Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 10 percent.
This decision was reached after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held on Monday, November 28, 2016, to review the outcome of its previous policy decisions and the recent economic developments.
Business Post gathered that the MPC meeting took place against the backdrop of increased uncertainties in the domestic and global economies.
It explained that it retained the rates due to the prevailing domestic and global economic uncertainties and the need for more conclusive information on these developments.
According to Chairman of the MPC, Dr Patrick Njoroge, it was noted that the country’s month-on-month overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose to 6.5 percent in October 2016 from 6.3 percent in September.
This, it was learnt, was caused largely due to changes in the prices of food items such as tomatoes and sugar.
However, the overall inflation remained within the government target range.
Also, the month-on-month non-food-non-fuel (NFNF) increased to 5.4 percent in October from 5.1 percent in September, reflecting increases in the prices of items in the clothing and footwear CPI category and the impact of the excise tax introduced in December 2015.
The 3 month annualized NFNF inflation rose slightly in October, an indication of mild demand pressures in the economy.
The MPC further observed that the foreign exchange market has been relatively stable despite the volatility in the global financial market following the US elections and the seasonal increase in demand for foreign exchange by corporate to finance dividend payments.
It said the foreign exchange market continues to be supported by the narrowing of the current account deficit mainly due to lower imported petroleum prices, lower imports of machinery and equipment, and resilient diaspora remittances. Tourism earnings and export receipts from tea and horticulture have stabilized.
The MPC said the CBK’s foreign exchange reserves which currently stand at $7,305 million (4.8 months of import cover) together with the Precautionary Arrangements with the international Monetary Fund (equivalent to $1.5 billion) have continued to provide adequate buffers against short-term shocks.
But the CBK said it was working closely with the National Treasury to ensure coordination of monetary and fiscal policies. Execution of the government’s domestic borrowing plan for FY2016/17 continues to support stability in the market.
It was disclosed that banking system liquidity and its distribution have stabilized. The average commercial banks’ liquidity ratio increased to 43.6 percent in October from 41.9 percent in August 2016 and the average capital adequacy ratio stood at 19.1 percent in October.
The CBK continues to closely monitor credit and liquidity risks in the sector. Continued interest of foreign banks to enter the local market indicates confidence in the banking sector.
Following the introduction of interest rate caps on back lending and deposits, the Committee noted that the available data were inadequate to facilitate a conclusive analysis of their impact on monetary policy and the overall economy. The CBK will continue to closely monitor developments in this respect.
The MPC also observed that private sector credit growth had stabilized at 4.6 percent in October. The slower growth witnessed over the last several months was found to be largely an outcome of structural factors in the banking sector rather than monetary policy.
However, there is no evidence that this is having a negative impact on economic growth.
The performance of the economy in the second quarter of 2016 was strong, growing by 6.2 percent compared to 5.9 percent in a similar period of 2015.
The MPC Market Perception Survey conducted in November 2016 showed mixed expectations. While the non-bank private sector remains optimistic for higher growth in 2016, banks were cautious as they continue to monitor the potential impact of the capping of interest rates.
Also, global growth prospects remain fragile on account of uncertainties in part due to the impact of Brexit and political developments in the U.S. Uncertainty relating to the tightening of US monetary policy and its implications for global capital flows remain a concern.
The Committee concluded that inflationary pressures were mild and inflation will remain within the Government target range in the short term.
Unlisted Securities Market Closes Flat at Midweek
By Adedapo Adesanya
Trading activities ended in a stalemate on the floor of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange on Wednesday, with no single price gainer or a price loser at the close of business.
As a result of this development, the market capitalisation of the bourse remained intact at N1.03 trillion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) also remained unchanged at 743.15 points.
The unlisted securities market closed flat in the midweek session amid low investor appetite for the market, as attention shifted to the fixed-income market, where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold treasury bills at the primary market, with the stop rate over 14 per cent.
Data from the bourse showed that the volume of securities traded yesterday was abysmally low as it went down by 99.9 per cent to 8,299 units from the 20.1 million units transacted a day earlier.
Likewise, the value of shares traded during the session dropped to N1.2 million, 97.3 per cent lower than the N44.5 million posted in the preceding trading day.
These transactions were carried out yesterday in nine deals, 75 per cent lower than the 36 deals executed on Tuesday.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 482.1 million units valued at N544.1 million, UBN Property Plc occupied second place with the sale of 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc was in third place with the sale of 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
Also, VFD Group Plc ended the session as the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc was in second place with a turnover of 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with the sale of 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
Naira Sells N461.24/$1 at I&E, N764/$1 at P2P, N747/$1 at Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Naira appreciated against the US Dollar in the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) windows of the foreign exchange market on Wednesday, March 30, but depreciated in the black market.
In the P2P segment, it gained N3 against its American counterpart to quote at N764/$1, in contrast to the N767/$1 it was traded on Tuesday as the demand for cryptos, which most traders in this category use the funds to buy, was relatively mild.
In the I&E window or the spot market, the Naira appreciated against the greenback yesterday by 51 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to settle at N461.24/$1 compared with the previous day’s N461.75/$1, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange, with the forex turnover put at $74.31 million.
But in the parallel market, the domestic currency depreciated against the US Dollar in the midweek session by N4 to trade at N747/$1 versus Tuesday’s exchange rate of N743/$1.
Also, in the interbank window, the Naira lost N1.93 against the Pound Sterling to sell at N567.68/£1 versus Tuesday’s N565.52/£1, and against the Euro, it slid by N2.25 to at N499.21/€1 compared with the preceding day’s N496.66/€1.
Meanwhile, the digital currency market swayed to the bulls yesterday as most of the tokens tracked by Business Post ended in the green territory amid better-than-expected consumer confidence figures from the United States.
Data from the US Conference Board showed that its monthly survey rose to a reading of 104.2 basis points, better than the 101 mark expected, lifting Bitcoin (BTC) by 4.2 per cent to $28,519.76, as Ethereum (ETH) rose by 0.5 per cent to $1,788.52.
Solana (SOL) grew by 2.1 per cent to $21.08, Dogecoin (DOGE) gained 1.4 per cent to sell at $0.0751, Litecoin (LTC) increased by 0.6 per cent to $90.14, while Cardano (ADA) chalked up 0.5 per cent to quote at $0.3797.
However, Ripple (XRP) dropped 0.4 per cent to trade at $0.5336, Binance Coin (BNB) lost 0.2 per cent to settle at $313.02, and Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) traded flat at $1.00 apiece.
Oil Drops on Profit Taking Despite Supply Tightness
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil edged lower on Wednesday as investors took profits from two straight days of gains amid supply tightness, causing Brent crude to lose 37 cents or 0.5 per cent to trade at $78.28 a barrel, and the US West Texas Intermediate crude to shed 23 cents or 0.3 per cent to sell at $72.97 per barrel.
On the supply side, worries of tightness after an unexpected draw in US oil stockpiles and a halt to some Iraqi Kurdistan oil exports were partially offset by a smaller-than-expected output cut in Russia.
About 450,000 barrels per day of crude export were halted on Saturday from Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdistan region following an arbitration decision.
The shutdown followed an International Chamber of Commerce court ruling in favour of Iran in a case against Turkey that claimed that the latter should not have allowed for the flow of oil from Kurdistan to Ceyhan without the express approval of the Iraqi government.
Initially, Turkey said it would abide by the court’s decision, but this week, the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said in a statement that the court had in fact ruled that Iraq should compensate Turkey for violating an oil export deal the two countries had.
Also, it was reported that Russian oil production fell by around 300,000 barrels per day in the first three weeks of March, less than the targeted cuts of 500,000 barrels per day.
US crude oil stockpiles fell unexpectedly last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, as refineries ramped up operations after maintenance season and US imports fell to a two-year low.
The EIA reported a crude oil inventory draw of 7.5 million barrels for the week to March 21 compared with a relatively modest inventory build of 1.1 million barrels for the previous week.
At 473.7 million barrels, the EIA said, crude oil inventories are 6 per cent above the five-year average for this time of the year.
In fuels, meanwhile, the authority estimated a mixed inventory picture after last week’s major draws in both gasoline and middle distillates pushed oil prices higher.
Analysts also said that concerns over banking issues have subsided for now in temporarily relieving expectations for a recession.
Pressure came as the US Dollar edged higher against most major peers, pausing its recent declines. A stronger greenback hurts oil demand as crude becomes more expensive for buyers who hold foreign currencies.
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