By Dipo Olowookere
Some days ago, the Abuja Electric Distribution Company (AEDC) informed the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that it was owed a huge amount of money by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Mr Fashola had promised to look into the matter with a view to resolving the issue and making sure the debts were paid by the affected MDAs.
This has now been echoed by the Acting Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr Vincent Akpotaire, who assured power companies that the debts owed by Federal Government agencies would be paid.
Dr Akpotaire, in a statement issued by the Head, Public Communications, Mr Alex Okoh, in Abuja on Wednesday, disclosed that the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; and Mr Fashola were working to ensure that MDAs pay up.
He, however, enjoined DISCOS to work to improve power efficiency in view of the effort the government was making to get power to the people and also make them pay for it.
Dr Akpotaire was quoted to have made this known during the commencement of the bureau’s periodic post privatisation monitoring exercise at the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) in Oyo State.
He tasked owners of the successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to make long-term investments to improve their plants’ network and infrastructure.
According to him, DISCOS could still make an impact in spite of the seeming unfavourable operating environment in the country, urging the investors to approach local and international funding sources to improve on their operations such that when the environment stabilises they would not be caught unawares.
“If the network is not improved and metering not aggressively pursued, you cannot reduce technical and collection losses,” he said.
Naira Falls at Official Market, Gains at Unofficial FX Windows
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira continued its roller coaster ride at the foreign exchange (FX) segments in Nigeria on Thursday, depreciating at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window and appreciating at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and parallel market windows.
In the official market, the Naira lost 53 Kobo or 0.12 per cent against the United States Dollar to settle at N445.83/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N445.83/$1.
The local currency reported the fall despite the value of FX transactions going down during the session. Data showed that the turnover for the day stood at $99.50 million, 43.9 per cent or $77.94 million lower than the $177.44 million published on Wednesday.
In the interbank segment of the forex market, the domestic currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro yesterday at N534.67/£1 and N461.79/€1, respectively.
However, in the P2P window, the Nigerian currency appreciated against its American counterpart by N4 to close at N762/$1, in contrast to the N766/$1 it was traded on Wednesday.
In the black market, which is an unofficial FX segment just like the P2P, the Nigerian Naira appreciated against the US Dollar yesterday by N5 to trade at N745/$1.
As for the digital currency market, there was a negative movement across the 10 tokens tracked by Business Post, with Dogecoin (DOGE) recording the heaviest fall, 4.1 per cent, to sell at $0.0990.
Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.9 per cent slump to trade at $13.56, Ripple (XRP) dipped by 2.6 per cent to quote at $0.3892, and Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 2.5 per cent to settle at $288.59.
Further, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 0.9 per cent to close at $16,941.89, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 0.7 per cent to finish at $0.3135, Ethereum (ETH) saw a 0.6 per cent depreciation to trade at $1,273.75, and Litecoin (LTC) went down by 0.4 per cent to close at $76.50.
However, the value of the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and the Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged during the session at $1.00 each.
Oil Trades Mixed on Weaker Dollar, China COVID-19 Curbs
By Adedapo Adesanya
The crude oil market traded mixed on Thursday, retreating from an early rally built on weakness in the US Dollar and hopes for improved fuel demand in China after COVID-19 curbs were eased in two major Chinese cities.
Brent crude futures settled 9 cents lower at $86.88 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled 67 cents higher at $81.22 a barrel.
The shift in China’s zero-COVID strategy raised optimism about a recovery in oil demand there. The cities of Guangzhou and Chongqing announced an easing of COVID curbs on Wednesday.
Demonstrations in the world’s largest oil importer, which spread over the weekend to Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere, have become a show of public defiance unprecedented since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
The southwestern city of Chongqing will allow close contact with people with COVID-19 who meet certain conditions to quarantine at home.
Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, also announced an easing of curbs, but with record numbers of cases nationwide, there seems little prospect of a major reversal in the zero-COVID policy.
Oil was however supported through most of Thursday’s session by a slump in the dollar index to its lowest since August after the US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said rate hikes could slow this month.
A weaker dollar makes oil cheaper for other currency holders.
The greenback dipped to 16-week lows against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after data showed that US consumer spending increased solidly in October while inflation moderated, adding to expectations that the Federal Reserve is closer to reaching a peak in interest rates.
Mr Powell said on Wednesday that it was time to slow rate hikes, noting that slowing down at this point is a good way to balance the risks.
The prospect of a lower price cap on Russian oil is also lending support, analysts said. European Union governments tentatively agreed on Thursday on a $60 cap on Russian sea-borne oil.
Meanwhile, the market will await what the meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, OPEC+, will bring come December 4, although a policy change is seen as unlikely.
“OPEC+ would rather sit on the bench at this time and assess the outcome of what happens on Monday,” an unnamed source told the news agency, Reuters, this week.
OPEC also made a meeting of its ministers planned for Saturday a virtual gathering, and OPEC+ cancelled a meeting of oil market experts, the Joint Technical Committee, that had been scheduled for Friday.
Honeywell Flour, MTN, Others Pull Market Back by 0.01%
By Dipo Olowookere
The depreciation printed by the shares of Honeywell Flour, MTN Nigeria, Ecobank and 10 others pulled back the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited from the bulls’ territory into the danger zone by 0.01 per cent on Thursday.
It was the first trading session in December, and the stock market could not sustain the positive moment it recorded on the last day of the previous month due to the selling pressure on the equities mentioned above, though investor sentiment remained strong.
According to data from the bourse, the market breadth was positive yesterday as there were 15 price advancers and 13 price decliners led by Honeywell Flour, which dropped 7.89 per cent to trade at N2.10. RT Briscoe went down by 7.41 per cent to 25 Kobo, Wema Bank declined by 5.45 per cent to N3.12, FCMB contracted by 4.18 per cent to N3.21, and Cutix retreated by 2.84 per cent to N2.05.
On top of the gainers’ log was UPDC REIT, which improved its share value by 9.09 per cent to N3.00, McNichols rose by 8.93 per cent to 61 Kobo, Japaul jumped by 7.41 per cent to 29 Kobo, Nigerian Breweries 7.14 per cent to N45.00, and Royal Exchange grew by 4.76 per cent to 66 Kobo.
Yesterday, investors transacted 172.9 million shares valued at N2.8 billion in 3,073 deals compared with the 107.0 million shares valued at N1.3 billion traded in 3,227 deals in the midweek session, representing a decline in the number of deals by 4.77 per cent, an increase in the trading volume by 61.55 per cent, and a surge in the trading value by 115.63 per cent.
The increase in the market turnover was driven by the 49.8 million shares of FCMB traded by investors during the session. Courteville traded 16.9 million stocks, Access Holdings sold 12.0 million equities, UBA traded 10.8 million shares, and Zenith Bank exchanged 9.8 million shares.
Business Post reports that the insurance and energy counters went down by 0.12 per cent and 0.08 per cent, respectively, while the banking and consumer goods sectors went up by 2.16 per cent and 0.77 per cent apiece, with the industrial goods space closing flat.
At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) receded by 3.40 points to 47,656.64 points from 47,660.04 points, and the market capitalisation retreated by N2 billion to N25.957 trillion from N25.959 trillion.
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