Naira Hits N420/$ At Parallel Market As CBN’s Interventions Eat Up Reserves

The value of the naira at the parallel market continued to decline hitting N420 to the dollar, as dollar sales by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) boosted liquidity at the interbank market where the naira closed at N306 to the dollar.

At the parallel market, the naira had weakened from N407 which it closed on Friday last week, indicating a 3.2 per cent decline within three days. Traders said dollar sales by the apex bank to some banks supported the currency at the official market.

The currency closed at  N306 to the dollar, reversing losses in early traded which saw it quoted at 317.09 to the dollar, but fell compared to the 305.50 naira closed the previous day. Bureaux de change operators however raised hope of a gradual appreciation of the local currency in the near term as the central bank licensed 11 new international money transfer operators to address the dollar supply side.

According to the president of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) Aminu Gwadabe, “Depending on the effective implementation of the central bank’s policy, the appointment of new international money transfer operators will ensure that banks will have more dollar to sell to bureaux de change and provide the needed liquidity in the market.”

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Obama Visits World’s Largest Marine Reserve

President Barack Obama goes off the beaten track Thursday — way off — to a marine reserve in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Obama will take Air Force One three hours west from his native Honolulu, to Midway Atoll on the far northwestern tip of the Hawaiian island chain.

Until recently, the area was perhaps best known to military history buffs.

Seventy-four years ago, the Battle of Midway was a decisive naval fight in World War II that turned the tide of the war against Japan.

More recently, Midway has become a cause celebre for conservationists.

The atoll is situated at the heart of Papahanaumokuakea, a vast Pacific marine reserve.

Around 40 people live and work on Midway, mostly US Fish and Wildlife Service staff.

But the shores and waters are home to more than 7,000 species, including black coral, which can live for 4,500 years.

In 2006, President George W. Bush gave the area protected status, creating what was then the world’s largest marine reserve.

That foreshadowed something of a trend, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which lobbies for the establishment of more protected maritime areas.

Since Bush’s decision “more than a dozen large-scale highly protected marine reserves have been created around the globe, including nine larger than the original Hawaiian monument,” the foundation said.

Obama recently announced his decision to quadruple the size of Papahanaumokuakea and make it the world’s largest marine reserve again.

“This is an area twice the since of Texas, that’s going to be protected and allows us to save and study the fragile ecosystem threatened by climate change,” he said.

“Teddy Roosevelt gets the credit for starting the national park system, but when you include a big chunk of the Pacific Ocean, we now have actually done more acreage.”

– Into the blue –

Obama will begin his half-day visit by meeting the humans of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

He will then tour the island and give a statement to imported reporters on Turtle Beach.

The White House has coyly stated that Obama may “interact directly with the wildlife,” likely code for trading his business suit for a wet suit and jumping in the water.

“Ancient islanders believe it contained a boundary between this life and the next,” Obama said of the atoll. “Hundreds of brave Americans gave their lives there in defense of the world’s freedom.”

For the outgoing president, the visit is part of an eight-year effort to put the environment and tackling climate change higher on the political agenda.

While Bush created Papahanaumokuakea, he also earned international scorn by rejecting the global climate deal reached at Kyoto.

Obama, in contrast, has led the charge to secure the recently struck Paris climate agreement.

After a brief stop back in Hawaii, Obama is expected to announce the joint formal joining of that accord with President Xi Jinping during a visit to China.

External Reserves Rise by $595m as Offshore Investors Stake $327m on Bonds

Nigeria’s external reserves, which have plummeted for about two months, pared some of the losses in recent weeks when they rose by $595 million in just five days to $26.196 billion Monday.

The marginal accretion represented an increase of 2.26 per cent, compared with $25.601 billion as of August 24.

The development was attributed to the inflow of funds into the country’s fixed income market. It was reported yesterday that there had been renewed interest by both foreign and local investors in the fixed income market given the attractive yields.

This was largely buoyed by a single $270 million transaction at N345 per dollar by Citibank Nigeria which bought 11-months treasury bills on behalf of offshore investors.
But other transactions were carried out at between N314.50 to N317.34 to the dollar.
The FX market registered $327 million worth of trades yesterday, about six times more than its usual volume, the Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, Mr. Bola Onadele, disclosed.

Average trading is around $50 million a day on normal days, but might reach $100 million on days the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervenes in the currency market.
Traders told Reuters that the central bank sold an undisclosed amount of dollars close to the end of market session, to help prop up the naira.

Yesterday’s surge in trading came after the central bank said on Friday that it planned to offer N212.85 billion treasury bills maturing between 91-days and 1-year this week.
The central bank said it would sell N45.85 billion worth of the 91-day bills, N62 billion of the 182-day paper and N105 billion of the 1-year debt. Payment for the purchase will be effected on Thursday.

The CBN has been selling short-dated open market bills at yields as high as 18 per cent in an effort to attract offshore funds, most of whom fled Nigeria’s bond and equity markets during a financial crisis that began when oil prices plunged.

The crisis ultimately led the central bank to let the naira’s value float in June.
Yet, despite the intervention by the banking sector regulator, the spot rate of the naira fell to N318.83 to the dollar on the interbank forex market yesterday, down from the N314.95 last Friday.
On the parallel market, the naira also fell to N413 to the dollar Monday, down from the N412 to the dollar last Friday.

Read More: thisdaylive

Court Reserves Judgment On Appeals Seeking To Overturn Ruling On Ikpeazu’s Removal

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved final judgment in multiple appeals filed by the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other interested parties seeking to overturn the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja which sacked Ikpeazu as governor.

A five-man panel of justices of the court led by Justice Morenike Ogunwumiju adjourned the matter for judgment after it heard six separate appeals.

 The hearing of the appeal which lasted till 5p.m., witnessed several drama including the attempt by the Ali Modu Sherrif’s faction of the PDP to come in but was rebuffed by the court.

Justice Ogunwumiju had drawn the   attention of the court to a letter from the Sheriff-led faction of the PDP that sought to withdraw the appeal.
The said letter was signed by the Deputy National Legal Adviser of the party, Bashir Maidugu.

After hearing from the parties, including Mr. Olagoke Fakunle (SAN) who said he appeared for the PDP, the court decided that the Sheriff’s group had no business in the appeal.
“Fakunle what exactly have you said? There are six appeals before this court which we must hear today. And we are going ahead with the appeals already filed. Do not disrupt this court again. You can go on appeal if you so wish,” the judge told the lawyer who was from Sheriff’s camp of the PDP.

Read More: Thisday


Appeal Court Reserves Judgment On Taraba Speaker

The Court of Appeal sitting in Yola, on Monday reserved judgment on the appeal filed by the Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly Hon. Peter Abel Diah.

Diah had approached the Appeal Court to set aside the judgement of the Elections Petitions Tribunal which nullified his election victory under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The 3-man panel of judges of the Yola Appeal Court – Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey, Justice U. Onyemenem, Justice Saidu Tanko Hussaini, called on the counsel to the Speaker and APC to deliberate and inform the court on the day they agree for judgement.

Speaking to reporters briefly after the court sitting, the counsel to the PDP, Barrister Solo Akuma (SAN) said that he was confident that the Appeal Court judgement would favour the embattled Speaker.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Weak Naira, Reserves Threaten Capital Market Recovery

Sustained pressure on the naira and the country’s diminished foreign reserves as well as declining earnings are the major obstacles to the return of foreign portfolio investors to Nigeria, a development that is hampering the recovery of the capital market recovery following the conclusion of the general elections, experts have said.

A combination of factors, including the declining fortunes of the naira, spurred by the oil slump, and uncertainty about corporate future of the country ahead of the general elections, had caused several foreign portfolio investors to trade cautiously with many others exiting the Nigerian capital market.

In 2014, foreign portfolio investors pulled out over N700bn from the stock market, forcing the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index to close the year with a negative return of 16.14 per cent. Between January 1 and February 28 this year, they pulled out additional N132.53bn and brought in N100.38bn.

Read More: punchng