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Emerging market currencies pressured, but Naira stable

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by Hussein Sayed

The Naira has entered the trading week on a firm footing despite a stabilizing Dollar and global trade tensions pressuring emerging market currencies. There is a suspicion that the Naira’s stability could be based on continual intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria. June was certainly a cruel trading month for emerging market currencies and this negativity could roll over into July if escalating trade tensions weigh on sentiment and erode risk appetite. It will be interesting to see if the Naira is able to maintain its stability at a time where trade war fears and prospects of higher US interest rates have triggered capital outflows from emerging markets.

Recession fears escalate as trade war heats up

It has been an interesting first half for2018. Economic fundamentals and politics took center stage as both fought for market influence. The Federal Reserve is in tightening mode as growth and inflation trended higher, while the trade war between the US and the rest of the world particularly with China and the EU intensified further. In parallel to these events the US administration provided massive stimulus to an economy that is already near full employment which led to further strengthening of the USDollar.

 

Looking at the big picture, strong economic growth in the US, despite signs of softening elsewhere, provided support for equities. However, geopolitical uncertainty and protectionism remained the key downside risk. We think that we’re in the late stage of the current economic cycle, but there are no signs of a recession yet. In such economic conditions equity investors should be more cautious when investing. A more selective approach is needed as valuations are likely to be further challenged in the months ahead as volatility is further elevated.

 

Given that inflation will be a key factor driving monetary policies in the second half of 2018, investors need to keep a close eye on Oil prices. The decision by OPEC and non-OPEC members to raise crude supplies by about one million barrels starting from 1 July was considered a negative factor for Oil prices. However, the rise in supply from some OPEC and non-OPEC members will be met by a decline from others; doing the math here will be complicated for investors betting on the direction of prices.

 

Iran currently faces the re-imposition of US sanctions on its Oil exports after the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Venezuela is also on investors’ radars as there are further signs that its Oil industry is entering a dangerous new phase. Meanwhile, Libyan Oil supply is also at risk with the current political mess. These three countries together may contribute to a fall of more than two million barrels a day by the end of 2018, which is likely to keep Oil prices elevated in the second half of 2018.

 

Investors and traders should also keep a close eye on the US Treasury yields. The gap between short- and long-term US bond yields fell to its narrowest levels since 2007, and as we get closer to the inversion, the probability of a recession becomes higher.

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E-Financial

Spray Naira, Go to Jail- CBN

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued warning against spraying, selling and mutilation of naira notes, a criminal offence, which the bank said attracts five years’ imprisonment.

 

Expressing worry over the act, which it said is becoming common practice among Nigerians, the apex bank said anyone caught would henceforth be made to face the full wrath of the law.

 

It assured marketers, merchants, shopping malls and supermarkets of the bank’s continuous injection of huge volumes of banknotes into the circulation.

 

The development, according to Mrs. Priscilla Eleje, acting director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, was to preserve the pride of the country and ease difficulties being encountered by the traders and customers occasioned by the inadequate circulation of the lower denomination banknotes like N200, N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5.

 

Mrs. Eleje, who was represented at the public sensitsation and enlightenment campaign at Alesinloye market by Mrs. Olufolake Ogundero, deputy director of the bank, added that the bank recognises the important role markets play in economic transaction, hence the need for ease accessibility of the lower denominations to carry out economic transactions.

 

She said: “It is a criminal offence punishable by six months’ imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both to sell, spray or mutilate the banknotes. It is also a criminal offence which attracts five years’ imprisonment without an option of fine for anybody to counterfeit the naira. Naira is our pride as a country. So, respect it.”

 

Mrs. Labake Lawal, leader of the market women, assured the CBN of the cooperation of her members, stressing that “we will comply strictly with the agreed guidelines and utilise the banknotes for the intended purpose”.

 

 

 

 

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E-Financial

Customers Experience Banking Fraud, Worry About Online Security Measures- Poll

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Researchers of analytics software firm FICO found that majority of Internet users are annoyed with web and phone security measures. Out of 2,000 polled adults, 81% don’t see the need for what they call unnecessary security procedures.

 

64% of the respondents are not happy about the need for elaborate passwords featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and capital letters, and 71% would rather not deal with captcha codes, as they often have illegible words.

 

Overall, more than two-thirds of people (71%) think there are too many security measures nowadays, and 58% are irritated about having to remember email addresses to recover passwords. 78% said they struggle to keep track of all their passwords.

 

“It’s important to provide consumers with smooth, easy customer experience, but at the same time, people need to be educated that security measures are necessary,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN, a VPN service provider.

 

“Hacking, ransomware and phishing are on a historical rise all over the world. People need to use strong passwords and take precautions when going online. However, there are ways to make this easier – for example, by using a password manager.”

 

More than half of the respondents (55%) said they had been victims of banking fraud.

 

NordVPN offers easy online security tips to make it easier for consumers to deal with all the security measures while keeping them safe online.

 

  1. Use a password manager. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account setup is using strong passwords and choosing different passwords for different accounts. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into an account. A strong password has a minimum of 12 characters and includes a strong mix of letters, numbers and characters. In order to easily track all your passwords, it’s recommended to use a password manager, such as truekey.com, LastPass and 1Password.

 

  1. Don’t forget to install the latest security updates. Security updates often contain patches for recent vulnerabilities, which hackers are looking to exploit. It takes just a few minutes, and the update lasts more than a month.

 

  1. Don’t open anything suspicious you get through email. Delete dubious emails from your bank, ISP, credit card company, etc. Never click on any links or attachments in emails you’re not expecting. Never give your personal details if asked via email.

 

  1. Back up all data. Back up your data on an alternate device and keep it unplugged and stored away. Backing up data regularly is the best way to protect yourself from ransomware because only unique information is valuable. It’s an easy and fast process with a long term impact.

 

  1. Use a VPN for additional safety. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware that targets online access points. That’s especially relevant when using a public hotspot. However, keep in mind that a VPN cannot protect you from downloading malware. While a VPN encrypts your activity online, you should be careful when downloading and opening certain files or links.

 

  1. Close pop-up windows safely. Ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that warn you of some kind of malware. Don’t click on the window – instead, close it with a keyboard command or by clicking on your taskbar.

 

  1. Use anti-virus programs. Make sure you have installed one of the latest reputable anti-virus programs to make sure you are fully protected.

 

 

 

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E-Financial

AfDB, AfreximBank Sign Strategic Factoring Project to Support African SMEs

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The African Development Bank, through its Trade Finance operations, and Afreximbank yesterday signed a Grant Agreement to support the development of factoring (a form of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount) on the continent.

This is a big step towards both institutions’ unrelenting drive and commitment to continue enabling extra and intra-Africa Trade.

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) hosted by the African Development Bank will invest US$500,000 towards the total deal size of US$950,000.

This investment is intended to finance the capacity building of a number of identified emerging factoring firms, advisory support among established factoring firms and development of a sustainable knowledge and learning platform to support factoring on the African continent. Afreximbank will contribute US$450,000 towards the technical assistance project.

Representing the African Development Bank, Senior Director in charge of the Nigerian Country Department, Ebrima FAAL emphasized the need for DFIs like to continue playing their role as enablers in enhancing Africa’s ability to financially support its SMEs to meet the demands of regional and global importers/exporters that trade on open account terms.

“Given the multisectoral impact of factoring in supporting businesses within agriculture, manufacturing, telecoms, power generation, partnering with AfreximBank is consistent with our strategic focus as represented under the High 5s namely: Integrate Africa, Feed Africa, Light Up Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the standard of living of the people of Africa,” FAAL said.

Abuja holds a special place in the history of Afreximbank as this is where, together with other African governments and key private sector institutions, the Bank helped lay the foundation for the establishment of this institution in 1993.

Mandated to stimulate consistent expansion, diversification and development of African trade, Afreximbank continues to be a significant partner to the Bank in its endeavor to deliver on its commitment to improve the living standards of African people through strategic and impactful trade finance instruments like factoring.

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