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Kenya Retains Interest Rates At 10% To Boost Economy

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Kenya Retains Interest Rates At 10% To Boost Economy

kenya-interest-rates-cbk

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.

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.

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Economy

Nigerian Exchange Rises 0.23% as Investors Mop up Bank Stocks

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Nigerian Exchange 1

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited extended its gains on Friday with a 0.23 per cent growth on the back of a sustained interest in bank stocks.

Business Post observed that investors mopped up equities of tier-one lenders yesterday and this buying pressure further lifted the All-Share Index (ASI) of the exchange by 88.15 points to 38,962.28 points from the previous day’s 38,874.13 and pushed the market capitalisation higher by N46 billion to N20.300 trillion from N20.254 trillion.

The market breadth was positive during the session as there were 25 price gainers and 11 price losers, indicating a positive investor sentiment.

Pharma Deko topped the gainers’ chart after its equity price went up by 9.74 per cent to N2.14. Sovereign Trust Insurance grew by 8.70 per cent to 25 kobo, Okomu Oil rose by 5.77 per cent to N110.00, Eterna appreciated by 4.95 per cent to N7.00, while Champion Breweries moved up by 4.71 per cent to N2.00.

On the reverse side, SCOA Nigeria topped the log with a price decline of 9.38 per cent to settle at 87 kobo. Presco went down by 8.18 per cent to N73.00, Regency Alliance fell by 6.38 per cent to 44 kobo, Total Energies depreciated by 3.61 per cent to N192.00, while Sterling Bank depleted by 1.34 per cent to N1.47.

A look at the performance of the five key sectors of the market showed that the banking space closed 1.86 per cent higher, the insurance sector rose by 0.27 per cent, the consumer goods counter appreciated by 0.06 per cent, while the energy index grew by 0.04 per cent, with the industrial goods sector closing flat.

The most traded stock on Friday was FBN Holdings as investors exchanged 481.5 million units valued at N3.6 billion.

Ecobank traded 16.6 million units worth N87.8 million, Zenith Bank transacted 12.0 million units valued at N279.0 million, Access Bank exchanged 11.6 million units worth N100.9 million, while Transcorp sold 9.4 million units for N8.7 million.

At the close of business, a total of 633.5 million shares worth N6.5 billion were traded in 3,228 deals as against the 125.8 million shares worth N1.3 billion transacted in 2,990 deals on Thursday, indicating a 403.61 per cent rise in the trading volume, a 409.36 per cent growth in the trading value and a 7.96 per cent jump in the number of deals.

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Economy

FX Demand Pressure Crashes Naira by N1.22 at I&E

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Nigerian Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira came under immense pressure on Friday against the United States Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market as more customers approach the banks for their forex needs.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had informed FX users to stop patronising traders at the unregulated segment of the market and use the I&E window for their forex transactions.

But it seems the traders at the official window are battling with FX supply as the demand pressure is taking its toll on the local currency, according to its performance yesterday.

Business Post reports that the domestic currency depreciated against the greenback on Friday by N1.22 or 0.30 per cent to close at N414.90/$1 compared with N413.68/$1 it was traded on Thursday.

It was observed that during the session, the value of trades increased by 10.1 per cent or $17.71 million to $193.59 million from the previous day’s $175.86 million.

At the interbank segment of the market, the value of the indigenous currency also depreciated by 3 kobo to settle at N410.70/$1 in contrast to N410.67/$1 it traded at the preceding session.

As for the digital currency market, there was a downward movement in eight of the 10 tokens monitored by this newspaper yesterday as only the duo of Cardano (ADA) and the United States Dollar Tether (USDT) appreciated at the market by 1.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively to settle at N1,374.04 and N576.01 apiece.

On the other hand, Ethereum (ETH) went down by 7.6 per cent to sell at N1,713,900.99, Litecoin (LTC) dipped by 6.6 per cent to trade at N86,848.72, while Dash (DASH) fell by 5.8 per cent to N97,992.14.

Also, Tron (TRX) declined by 3.9 per cent to finish at N53.39, Ripple (XRP) lost 3 per cent to trade at N559.99 Dogecoin (DOGE) depreciated by 2.4 per cent to trade N125.90, while Bitcoin (BTC) reduced by 1.9 per cent to close at N24,809,058.00.

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Economy

Brent Climbs Above $78 as Supply Tightens

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Brent Price

By Adedapo Adesanya

Brent crude oil rose above $78 a barrel on Friday, precisely to $78.09 per barrel after it appreciated by 1.09 per cent or 84 cents as global output disruptions forced energy companies to pull out large amounts of crude inventories.

Also during the session, the price of the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures improved by 0.63 per cent or 93 cents to finish at $73.98 per barrel.

The Brent posted its highest value since October 2018, while the WTI since July 2021.

It was also the third week of gains for Brent and the fifth for WTI mostly due to US Gulf Coast output disruptions from Hurricane Ida in late August.

The market has been bullish since news of US crude stocks dropped to their lowest since October 2018 and the broader market received more clarity about the US Federal Reserve next policy moves.

After the US Fed signalled that it could begin tapering asset purchases as soon as November and potentially start raising interest rates as soon as next year, oil market participants turned their focus to global oil inventories, especially those in the United States.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ida is still curtailing oil production in the world’s largest producer, with 16 per cent of crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico still offline, according to the latest data from the country’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The market also gained as US oil refiners were hunting to replace Gulf crude, turning to Iraqi and Canadian oil while Asian buyers have been pursuing Middle Eastern and Russian grades, analysts and traders said.

Positives from one of the world’s biggest exporters, India helped the market as crude imports rose to a three-month peak in August, rebounding from July’s near one-year low.

And the fact that some members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) have struggled to raise output due to under-investment or maintenance delays during the pandemic also added to the bullish sentiment.

Iran, which wants to export more oil, said it will return to talks on resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal very soon, but gave no specific date. The return of Iranian oil may be damaging to the market since it is exempted from OPEC cuts.

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