**As Trade Balance Hits N719b
By Dipo Olowookere
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that in the first quarter of 2017, a total of N5.3 trillion was made by Nigeria from foreign trade.
Of the amount, the total exports for the period under review stood at N3 trillion, while for imports stood at N2.3 trillion.
NBS noted that the N5.3 trillion total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade represented a slight increase of 0.1 percent relative to the value of N5.286 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter.
It also said the marginal rise in exports, coupled with a slight decrease in imports brought the country’s trade balance to N719.4 billion during the period, up from N671.3 billion.
This, it explained, represents the second consecutive positive trade balance after 4 quarter of negative trade balance.
The value of exports increased by 0.9 percent compared to the previous quarter while imports in fell by 0.9 percent relative to the value recorded in the preceding quarter, the data showed.
On a sectoral/product basis, crude oil accounted for the largest share of total trade with 44.91 percent, followed by other oil products (23.37 percent), manufactured products (21.93 percent), raw materials (5.12 percent) and agricultural products (4.35 percent).
Naira Flat at Official Market as CBN Succumbs to Reps
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira recorded no movement against the American Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Tuesday, remaining at N461.50/$1.
This came as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, bowed to pressure from the House of Representatives to waive the deadline for the return of old currency notes to banks for the new ones.
The apex bank had said old N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes not returned to the bank on or before February 10, 2023, would lose their values, but the lawmakers argued otherwise, citing a part of the CBN Act, which says though such banknotes can lose their legal tender status, holders could still return them to the banks for a swap.
Yesterday, after dodging the lawmakers for a while, Mr Emefiele appeared before them and said Nigerians could still return their old notes after the deadline. This excited the lawmakers.
This development eased the tension in the system and brought stability to the local currency, coupled with a pullback in demand for forex in the official market.
During the session, FX trades valued at $85.04 million were recorded, 36.4 per cent or $65.45 million lower than the $150.49 million recorded in the previous session.
It was a similar situation at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) forex window as the Naira showed no movement against the United States Dollar, trading at N759/$1.
But in the parallel market, the Nigerian currency appreciated against the American Dollar by N2 to settle at N750/$1 compared with Monday’s value of N752/$1.
Sadly, in the interbank window, the domestic currency fell against the Pound Sterling by 88 Kobo to trade at N570.93/£1 versus the preceding day’s N570.05/£1 and against the Euro, it lost N1.09 to settle at N502.51/€1, in contrast to the previous day’s N501.42/€1.
At the cryptocurrency market, there was a major green swing as investors await the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday decision on a potential interest rate increase.
Cardano (ADA) appreciated by 4.4 per cent to trade at $0.3871, Ripple (XRP) gained 3.7 per cent to sell at $0.4056, Litecoin (LTC) rose by 2.5 per cent to $97.14, Bitcoin (BTC) improved by 1.2 per cent to $23,158.47, Dogecoin (DOGE) jumped by 0.9 per cent to $0.0925, and Ethereum (ETH) expanded by 0.8 per cent to $1,584.00.
However, Binance Coin (BNB) pointed downwards by 0.8 per cent to sell at $310.03, Solana (SOL) slumped by 0.6 per cent to $23.94, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) remained unchanged at $1.00 apiece.
Stock Exchange Rises 0.15% as Market Cap Nears N29trn
By Dipo Olowookere
Sustained bargain-hunting activity stretched the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited further by 0.15 per cent on Tuesday, following strong corporate earnings.
The 2022 fourth-quarter results of companies on the stock exchange gave investors an overview of what the full-year earnings would look like, resulting in buying stocks expected to pay good cash rewards in the coming months.
From an analysis of the market data, the insurance counter appreciated by 2.98 per cent, the industrial goods sector rose by 0.03 per cent, while the consumer goods and banking indices closed lower by 0.17 per cent and 0.03 per cent, respectively, with the energy space closing flat.
At the close of business, the All-Share Index (ASI) grew by 80.84 points to 53,238.67 points from 53,157.83 points, while the market capitalisation nudged closer to N29 trillion with a N44 billion increase to N28.998 trillion from N28.954 trillion.
The activity chart revealed that traders transacted 250.2 million shares worth N5.9 billion yesterday in 4,328 deals as against the 201.4 million shares worth N5.7 billion traded in 4,332 deals on Monday, indicating a decline in the number of deals by 0.09 per cent and an improvement in the trading volume and value by 24.23 per cent and 3.51 per cent, respectively.
Universal Insurance was the busiest stock on Tuesday as it transacted 48.6 million units, with GTCO trading 14.2 million units at the close of transactions. Zenith Bank sold 12.5 million shares, Access Holdings exchanged 11.6 million stocks, and Unity Bank traded 10.9 million equities.
The trio of Veritas Kapital, Living Trust Insurance and Geregu Power gained 10.00 per cent each during the session to settle at 22 Kobo, N1.98, and N193.60 apiece, as John Holt rose by 9.92 per cent to N1.33, while SCOA Nigeria increased by 9.78 per cent to N1.01.
On the flip side, the duo of Chams and NCR Nigeria lost 10.00 per cent each to close at 27 Kobo and N3.24, respectively. Unity Bank shed 9.09 per cent to sell at 50 Kobo, Royal Exchange depreciated by 8.97 per cent to 71 Kobo, and Japaul dropped 8.33 per cent to quote at 33 Kobo.
Analysis of the price movement chart indicated that the market breadth ended positive, with 29 price gainers and 18 price losers, representing a very strong investor sentiment.
Oil Prices Mixed Amid Weakening US Dollar
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday despite drawing support from a weakening US Dollar, with Brent futures contract down by 37 cents to $84.53 per barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude up by 92 cents or 1.2 per cent to $78.82 a barrel.
The US Dollar index turned negative after data showed labour costs increased at their slowest pace in a year in the fourth quarter. This occurred as wage growth slowed, bolstering expectations of the US Federal Reserve slowing its interest rate increases.
Investors expect the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, with increases of half a percentage point by the Bank of England and European Central Bank the following day.
The rate increase expected at the Federal Open Market Committee’s January 31- February 1 meeting would bring the policy rate to the 4.5 per cent – 4.75 per cent range; that’s two quarter-point rate hikes short of the level most Fed policymakers in December thought would be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation under control.
Economists at UBS expect the US Dollar to travel along a weaker path, with limited and short-lived bouts of strength.
“The Fed is getting closer to the end of its rate-hiking cycle. With markets growing comfortable with a terminal fed funds rate close to or at 5 per cent, and US inflation likely to quickly roll over in the first half of this year, downward pressure on the USD should continue to mount,” they said in a note.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) panel will likely recommend keeping the group’s output policy unchanged when it meets at 2 pm (Nigerian time) on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a Reuters survey showed 49 economists and analysts expect Brent crude to average more than $90 a barrel this year, the first upward revision since October, with gains likely driven by demand from the world’s second top consumer, China.
China has been easing stringent COVID-19 restrictions this month, with the country reopening borders for the first time in three years.
Analysts noted that China’s reopening is supporting demand prospects for oil.
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