By Adedapo Adesanya
Bitcoin crossed the N13 million mark on Sunday, December 27 as it traded at N13,250,101.40, according to Quidax, a cryptocurrency trading platform in Nigeria.
This is another milestone after it touched N11,000,000 on December 25 and N12,000,000 on December 26.
With this surge, Bitcoin’s market value has exceeded $500 billion and the world’s most popular cryptocurrency has seen an unprecedented rise this year, with its value witnessing a 240 per cent jump in 2020 alone.
The upward rally is expected to continue as Bitcoin has seen a speedy rise since it first crossed the N10 million mark for first time in early December.
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin became the first cryptocurrency to adopt a decentralised network for transactions based on blockchain. This system exempts the currency from central bank policies and regulations, thereby deriving its value through a process called mining.
Bitcoins can be transferred using peer-to-peer transactions, the data record-keeping of which are done by blockchains. As of today, Bitcoin is responsible for about 66 per cent of the global cryptocurrency market.
Recently, the cryptocurrency market had faced a potential threat when the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) swooped down on Ripple (XRP).
XRP had seen its share of rally this year but those gains were all erased last week when it was announced that the SEC was planning to file a sweeping lawsuit against the company during the current administration’s final days.
The SEC argued that XRP had always been a security and that it should have been registered with the commission from the beginning more than seven years ago.
Traders reacted negatively to the news as XRP instantly started giving back large chunks of its gains from the previous month.
This equally drove fear across other digital tokens but that has slowly receded in recent days. The currency is currently down 3.8 per cent trading at N136.27.
But other currencies are up with Ethereum (ETH) rising by 5 per cent to trade at N310,801.05, Litecoin (LTC) up by 2.4 per cent to N62,970.08, Dash (DASH) is 0.6 per cent up to sell for N50,101.66, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) has gained one per cent to trade at N478.74, while Tron (TRX) is up by 0.1 per cent to quote at N13.22.
Market analysts believe that with the recent rally in the value of digital coins, 2021 will see an increase in regulations.
Brent Crude Sells at $74 Amid Tight Supplies Forecasts
By Adedapo Adesanya
The price of the Brent crude finished higher by 31 cents or 0.42 per cent on Friday to sell at $74.10 per barrel as expectations remained that supply will continue to be tight through the year.
On its part, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude grew by 16 cents or 0.22 per cent to trade at $72.07 per barrel.
For the week, Brent gained 0.7 per cent after declining for three consecutive weeks, while WTI rose 0.4 per cent after falling for two weeks.
Both benchmarks slumped about 7 per cent on Monday but pared those losses, with investors expecting demand to stay strong and the market to receive support from falling oil stockpiles and rising vaccination rates.
Market analysts noted that despite the expansion in oil supply, the market will remain slightly undersupplied until the end of the year.
This is expected to happen after the deal between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, collectively known as OPEC+ to add back 400,000 barrels per day each month from August till December.
The market is counting on the fact that the OPEC+ increase will not be enough to keep the market balanced and inventories in the United States and across some developed countries would continue to fall.
Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released Wednesday revealed a weekly increase in US crude supplies, following eight straight weeks of declines.
Meanwhile, there are concerns that rising global Delta variant infection rates of the coronavirus could undermine the current economic rebound.
Also, oil rigs rose by seven to 387 this week, their highest since April 2020 and for the fourth week in a row, implying a production increase ahead.
Meanwhile, the Bank of America has joined other analysts to give a bullish outcome for crude, noting that Brent will hit $100 per barrel next year.
“We still think the OPEC+ driven dip in crude and distillate prices is a buying opportunity and project Brent will hit $100 a barrel next year, with distillates tagging along for the ride,” it said in a note.
Morgan Stanley had forecast that global benchmark Brent will trade in the mid to high-$70s per barrel for the remainder of 2021 while Barclays raised its 2021 oil price forecast by $3 to $5 to average $69 a barrel.
Africa Prudential Suffers Decline in H1 2021 Revenue, Profits
By Dipo Olowookere
The first half of 2021 was not good for Africa Prudential, the company’s financial statements released on Friday and analysed by Business Post has shown.
The top and bottom lines of the results depreciated in the first six months of the year, with the revenue generated going down to N1.7 billion from N1.9 billion in the same period of 2020.
The results revealed that revenue from contracts with customers went down by 12 per cent to N517.7 million from N590.7 million due to a significant renegotiation of fees rate by customers along with its corporate actions revenue lines as well as slow sign off of contracts within the period in digital consultancy.
Also, the interest income decreased to N1.2 billion from N1.3 billion as a result of a decline in interest on loans and advances and a nil income on treasury bills relative to HY 2020.
However, the other income improved to N86.3 million from N23.8 million and this was largely buoyed by withholding tax credit notes recovered, which raked in N65.8 million for the company. In H1 2020, there was no provision for this item. Also, the dividend income recorded in the first half of this year waned to N9.3 million from N21.2 million last year.
In the period under review, Africa Prudential said personnel expenses gulped N287.6 million, lower than N318.2 million of last year and this was due to a slice in wages and salaries to N264.1 million from N291.0 million in the period.
However, the other operating costs rose to N450.4 million from N323.0 million as a result of an increase in professional fees, directors fees and other emoluments, legal and professional expenses, amongst others.
On the bottom line, the company posted a profit before tax of N972.3 million, lower than the N1.2 billion achieved in the first half of last year, while the profit after tax went down to N827.6 million from N1.1 billion on account of the business considerations around revenue and operating cost, with the Earnings Per Share (EPS) declining to 41 kobo from 54 kobo in H1 2020.
Market Rises 0.21% as Appetite for Total Nigeria Shares Persists
By Dipo Olowookere
The interim dividend proposed by the board of Total Nigeria and the news of the settlement of the dispute between Oando Plc and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is starting to drive appetite for the two energy stocks at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.
Business Post reports that appetite for Total Nigeria shares persisted on Friday and this helped the market to close 0.21 per cent higher when trading activities were ended during the session.
This buying pressure increased the All-Share Index (ASI) of the bourse by 82.38 points to 38,667.90 points from 38,585.52 points and expanded the market capitalisation by N43 billion to N20.147 trillion from N20.104 trillion.
Universal Insurance was the best-performing stock at the last trading session of this week, appreciating by 10.00 per cent to close at 22 kobo.
Oando gained 9.97 per cent to trade at N3.97, Total Nigeria grew by 9.96 per cent to N203.20, Cutix improved by 9.82 per cent to N4.81, while Guinness Nigeria appreciated by 9.14 per cent to N31.65.
However, University Press finished the session as the worst-performing equity with a price depreciation of 9.03 per cent to settle at N1.41.
Champion Breweries lost 8.89 per cent to sell for N2.05, Red Star Express declined by 3.03 per cent to N3.20, International Breweries went down by 2.80 per cent to N5.20, while NAHCO fell by 2.65 per cent to N2.20.
At the close of transactions, the market breadth remained strongly positive with 30 price gainers and 11 price losers.
On the activity chart, the trading volume rose by 13.36 per cent to 230.3 million shares from 203.1 million shares, the trading value appreciated by 34.04 per cent to N2.3 billion from N1.7 billion, while the number of deals increased by 4.18 per cent to 4,135 deals from 3,969 deals.
Fidelity Bank closed the day as the most traded stock for transacting 24.8 million shares valued at N59.4 million and was followed by Zenith Bank, which exchanged 24.3 million equities worth N604.1 million.
United Capital transacted 14.5 million shares worth N102.6 million, UBA traded 11.0 million shares valued at N85.3 million, while Sovereign Trust Insurance transacted 10.4 million stocks for N2.9 million.
In terms of the performance of the sectors, apart from the insurance counter, which depreciated marginally by 0.01 per cent, the four other major sectors closed positive.
The energy index maintained its strong position with an appreciation of 3.98 per cent, the banking counter rose by 0.51 per cent, the consumer goods space rose by 0.40 per cent, while the industrial goods sector appreciated by 0.04 per cent.
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