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Nigeria Sees Better Business Conditions amid Strengthening Demand

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Better Business Conditions

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Business conditions in Nigeria recorded an improvement in the month October 2020 amid strengthening demand, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has revealed.

The financial institution said in the data it collected between October 12 and 28, it discovered that there were sharp and accelerated rises in output and new orders in the Nigerian private sector in the start to the final quarter of the year.

Firms continued to expand purchasing activity and employment in line with higher levels of new work. Sufficient capacity and higher staffing numbers led to another decline in the level of incomplete work. Companies remained optimistic about output in the year ahead, with many firms hoping to expand operations.

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On the price front, input costs rose, with higher wage and material costs linked to the latest uptick. Cost burdens were passed on to customers which led to a robust rise in selling prices.

In the month under review, the headline PMI registered at 53.5, up from 52.5 in September, signalling a solid expansion in business activity at Nigerian private sector firms.

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

Higher customer numbers and easing restrictions associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) were widely reported by panellists, helping lead to stronger growth of both output and new orders. In both cases, continuous expansion has been recorded for four consecutive months, the report said.

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Employment continued to rise modestly, with the rate of job creation in line with that seen in the previous survey period. Efforts to keep on top of workloads were largely successful as outstanding business decreased at one of the fastest rates since the start of the survey almost seven years ago.

Purchasing activity also rose sharply in line with higher output levels, contributing to a substantial accumulation of inventories. Despite rising demand for inputs and political unrest, competition among suppliers and prompt payments meant delivery times shortened to the greatest extent in 30 months.

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The rate of purchase cost inflation slowed slightly from the previous survey period but remained solid overall. Respondents often linked the latest rise to unfavourable exchange rate conditions and rising raw material prices. Meanwhile, staff costs increased modestly. Firms reportedly passed on higher costs to customers resulting in an accelerated rise in selling prices.

Looking ahead, businesses continue to foresee a rise in output levels over the year ahead with plans to expand operations and implement marketing strategies. That said, the sentiment was below the series average as a number of firms mentioned uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 developments.

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

SEC Introduces Regulatory Incubation Program for Fintechs

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fintechs

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A regulatory incubation (RI) program for financial technology (fintech) companies operating or seeking to operate in Nigeria has been introduced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A circular issued by SEC disclosed that this framework would be officially launched in the third quarter of 2021 and will operate by admitting identified Fintech business models and processes in cohorts for a one-year period.

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Participation in the RI program will encompass an Initial Assessment Phase and the Regulatory Incubation Phase.

The categories to be admitted into each cohort will be determined based on submissions received through the Fintech Assessment Form and communicated ahead of each take-off date.

SEC explained that the scheme was designed to address the needs of new business models and processes that require regulatory authorisation to continue carrying out full or ancillary technology-driven capital market activities.

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The RI Program has thus been conceived as an interim measure to aid the evolution of effective regulation which accommodates the innovation by fintechs without compromising market integrity and within limits that ensure investor protection.

It was disclosed that review of completed Fintech Assessment Forms will continue on an ongoing basis and those who consider that there is no specific regulation governing their business models or who require clarity on the appropriate regulatory regime for seeking the authorisation of the commission, are encouraged to complete the Fintech Assessment Form.

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Economy

NGX Suspends Trading on GTBank Shares Ahead of Delisting

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GTBank Branch

By Dipo Olowookere

In preparation for the eventual delisting of shares of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc from its trading platform, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Friday, June 18, 2021, placed the banking stock on a full suspension.

GTBank, a tier-one lender trading its equities on the exchange, intends to transform into a financial holding company (Holdco) so as to offer a wide range of services it is restricted to do.

Some years ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks in the country to offload their subsidiaries not performing core lending services.

This was after many deposit money banks (DMBs) were delving into different business ventures, including insurance, stockbroking, asset management, amongst others.

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For the CBN, which regulates the banking industry in Nigeria, most of these banks were losing focus and were not supporting businesses that need funds to grow and then stimulate the economy in the process.

To address this issue, the apex bank asked banks to sell off their non-banking assets and this forced many of them to offload their companies not offering core banking services.

However, there was an opening for banks to still delve into other sectors within the financial and capital markets and this was by operating as a Holdco.

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A few of them towed this path, including FBN Holdings, Stanbic IBTC Holdings and FCMB Group.

Not wanting to be left out, GTBank is joining the party and to achieve this, it is delisting its banking arm, which is the popular GTBank from the stock exchange.

GTBank will now operate as a private company, while the new Holdco, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, will now be a public company. The shares of this new firm will be listed on the NGX after the delisting of GTBank.

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Last Friday, the stock exchange informed the investing community of the latest development, announcing the suspension of trading on GTBank shares.

In the circular sighted by Business Post, the NGX explained that the rationale behind placing GTBank stocks on full suspension is to “prevent trading in the shares of the bank” in preparation of its “eventual delisting”

Before trading on its stocks was suspended on Friday, GTBank closed at N28.55 on Thursday after appreciating by 50 kobo or 1.78 per cent.

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Economy

DLM Capital Remains Best Structured Finance & Securitization Team in West Africa

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DLM Capital

A prominent developmental investment bank, DLM Capital Group, has emerged winner at the Capital Finance International (CFI) 2021 awards as the best-structured finance and securitization team in West Africa.

This award has been won consecutively in three years and affirms the group’s strong performance as a leading investment institution and asset manager.

CFI awards seek to identify the contributions of individuals and organizations that contribute significantly to the advancement of economies and truly add value for all stakeholders.

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DLM Capital Group creates bespoke business solutions for alternative financing and harnessing funds for growth.

The group focuses on four key sectors — consumer credit, agriculture, microfinance, and education with a mandate to reduce poverty and improve living conditions for Africans while mobilizing resources for the continent’s economic and social development.

“In the past three years, our portfolio management team’s performance has remained consistent, and our clients have benefited immensely from exposure to our solutions, including the NMRC securitization deal and the DLM Primero BRT Securitization,” said Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing, DLM Capital Group, Ms Chinwendu Ohakpougwu.

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“We are positioned to provide services to an expansive client base of retail, high net-worth and institutional customers.

“DLM Capital Group remains committed to constantly providing financial solutions that will enable our clients to make a difference, and we are honoured to be recognized once again as a reflection of the quality of support offered to our clients,” she added.

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DLM has won recognition in West African capital markets, acting as a sole arranger to over 80 per cent of structured finance transactions in Nigeria — and all the securitization transactions. It provides deal structuring, advisory execution and capital raising services across the Nigerian capital market.

The institution recently launched an asset financing scheme and is preparing a venture into digital banking under its subsidiary, Sofri.

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