Oil Market Ends Last Weekday in Turbulent Year 2022 2% Higher
By Adedapo Adesanya
The oil market ended the turbulent 2022 positively amid tight supplies following the war in Ukraine, weakening demand from the world’s top crude importer China and fears over the global economy.
Brent crude on Friday rose by $2.45 or 2.94 per cent to $85.91 a barrel, with the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gaining 91 cents or 1.2 per cent to $80.44 per barrel.
For the year, Brent gained 8 per cent, after jumping 50 per cent in 2021, while US crude was set to rise about 5 per cent following last year’s gain of 55 per cent. Both benchmarks fell in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic slashed fuel demand.
The year started on a very strong foot as prices surged in March, with international benchmark Brent reaching $139.13 a barrel, the highest price since 2008, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affected crude flows.
Oil, however, declined in the second half of 2022, largely on rising interest rates to fight inflation, which boosted the US Dollar that made dollar-denominated commodities like crude a more costly investment for holders of other currencies.
Market analysts said while an increase in year-end holiday travel and Russia’s ban on crude and oil product sales supported crude, supply tightness will be offset by declining fuel consumption due to a deteriorating economic environment next year.
They also warned that investors in 2023 will likely continue to take a cautious approach, with rate increases and recession concerns dampening their outlooks.
China’s zero-COVID restrictions, which were eased only this month, also squashed demand recovery hopes. The world’s top oil importer and second-biggest consumer in 2022 posted its first drop in oil demand for years.
Although China is expected to recover in 2023, a recent surge in COVID-19 cases has dimmed hopes of an immediate boost in barrel buying. Countries like the US, Japan, and India, among others, have also placed renewed restrictions on travel from the country.
The Keystone pipeline that was shut down earlier this month after a spill has returned to operation TC Energy, its operator, said. The pipeline, which is a vital conduit for Canadian oil to the US, was shut down after a leak was reported in Nebraska into a creek. It took several days to contain the leak, and then the company proceeded to repair the damaged piece of infrastructure.
An unexpected build in US crude oil inventories also served to weigh on prices, even though it was a modest one, at 700,000 barrels.
As a whole, the oil price outlook remains highly uncertain, according to analysts.
Participants Learn Money Management, Sustainable Investing Skills
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Over the weekend, more than 3,000 Nigerians joined a public forum organised by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited to educate them on money management and sustainable investing skills.
The programme, moderated by US-based financial planner and author, Mr Kalu Aja, was held via a Twitter Spaces session, with the different products available on the exchange, including equities, fixed income, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), mutual funds and Exchange Traded Derivatives (ETDs) explained to them by the Head of Product Development at NGX, Ms Chidinma Chukwueke-Okolo.
She spoke about ETFs and mutual funds, which give investors options to diversify their investments and reduce risk in the market, listing examples on NGX.
“ETFs are low-cost passive investment schemes that track the performance of listed indices on the Exchange and help to diversify while Mutual Funds are portfolios of different investor funds pooled by a fund manager to invest actively in the market,” Ms Chukwueke-Okolo added.
She also spoke on responsible investing in accordance with the theme of Global Money Week, explaining to the participants how to access sustainable investment products on NGX.
The capital market expert informed prospective investors to watch out for the recently approved NGX Technology Board, which will feature listings from tech companies who wish to gain access to the capital market, urging investors to take advantage of NGX’s website to do their research on the market and improve their knowledge.
Also speaking, the chief executive of MoneyAfrica and Ladda.ng, Ms Tosin Olaseinde, gave practical investing tips to listeners and stressed the importance of long-term investing, budgeting and saving on financial security.
“You have to be intentional about cultivating good financial habits. Also, understand your risk appetite and diversify between low, medium and high-risk investments,” she posited.
AM Best Affirms AXA Mansard Insurance Credit Ratings
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The credit ratings of a leading underwriting company in Nigeria, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, have been affirmed by a reputable rating agency, AM Best.
The ratings affirmed were the Financial Strength Rating of B+ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb-” (Good), with the outlook stable.
AM Best explained that the ratings reflect the strength of AXA Mansard’s balance sheet, which it said was strong.
“The ratings also reflect rating enhancement, in the form of lift, from AXA Mansard’s ultimate parent, AXA S.A,” a statement from AM Best said.
“AXA Mansard’s balance sheet strength is underpinned by risk-adjusted capitalisation at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR).
“Capital consumption is primarily driven by asset risk, which incorporates the company’s substantial real estate investments,” it added.
The rating firm said it expects prospective operating performance to be supported by corrective underwriting measures in the health portfolio, as well as positive contributions from the company’s life book, affirming that the insurance company has a solid foothold in its domestic market where it ranks among the largest non-life companies, and it enjoys a leading market position in the health segment.
“With good long-term growth prospects, AXA Mansard is expected to further strengthen its competitive market position over the coming years,” a part of the statement noted.
Commenting on the ratings, the Chief Financial Officer of Axa Mansard, Ms Ngozi Ola-Israel, said “the affirmation of our ratings by an agency like AM Best lends credence to the significant improvement in our internal capital generation abilities with a strong focus on continuously improving our underwriting performance through technical excellence.”
Also speaking on the ratings, the Chief Executive Officer of Axa Mansard, Mr Kunle Ahmed, said the efforts put in place by the team to build a world-class insurance company were yielding positive results.
“The affirmation of our ratings as stable and the retention of our FSR and ICR ratings despite the exposure to the high levels of economic, political and financial system risks further testify to our strong leading position and capacity to provide security for our stakeholders and ability to protect what truly matters to them,” he stated.
AM Best Company is a global credit rating agency with over 100 years of history of providing quantitative and qualitative assessments for Insurance companies, with its Best’s Credit Rating Methodology used to determine the financial strength and creditworthiness of insurance companies.
AM Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.
Over-the-Counter Stock Market Swells by N49.17bn in Week 12
By Adedapo Adesanya
The value of the NASD over-the-counter Securities Exchange increased in the 12th week of trading last week for the fifth straight week by N49.17 billion or 5.1 per cent to N1.01 trillion from N961.12 billion in the previous week.
This was influenced by the admission of Purple Real Estate Income Plc into the OTC stock market and it made it the second time the bourse was hitting the N1 trillion mark after Access Bank Plc pushed the market to that region last year.
Business Post observed that the inclusion of Purple Real Estate Income into the platform caused the expansion, but the market on its own closed weaker as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) fell by 0.15 per cent or 1.07 points to settle at 730.37 points compared with 731.44 points recorded in the previous week.
In the week, 11 Plc lost 6.7 per cent to close at N140.00 per unit versus N150.00 per unit, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) depreciated by 1.4 per cent to N14.00 per share compared with N14.02 per share, First Trust Microfinance Bank Plc declined by 9.6 per cent to close at 47 Kobo per share from 52 Kobo per share, and Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc shed 12.5 per cent to end at 7 Kobo per unit, in contrast to the preceding week’s 8 Kobo per unit.
On the flip side, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc appreciated by 1.2 per cent to N76.00 per share from N75.11 per share, and Geo-Fluids jumped by 32.4 per cent to N1.8 per unit from N1.36 per unit.
On the activity chart, IGI Plc was the most traded stock by volume last week with 45.96 million units, Geo-Fluids Plc traded 36.90 million units, and First Trust Microfinance Bank Plc transacted 4.89 million.
Conversely, Geo-Fluids Plc was the most active stock by value with N56 million, Nipco Plc followed with N9 million, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc posted N9 million, and 11 Plc raked in N4 million.
At the close of transactions, there was a 61.1 per cent decrease in the trading value to N88.8 million from N228.5 million, while the trading volume rose by 109.3 per cent to 88.2 million units from 42.1 million units, with the number of deals declining by 4.3 per cent to 45 deals from 47 deals.
In the year, the alternative stock exchange has recorded a turnover of 700.3 million units of securities valued at N2.60 billion traded in 735 deals.
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