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FG Plans N710B Oil Asset Equity Restructuring

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Federal government plans to raise 710 billion naira ($2.26 bln) via restructuring its equity in joint venture oil assets and increasing private sector participation, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Thursday.

Oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil, operate in Nigeria through joint ventures with NNPC. The government has considered selling stakes in these joint ventures for more than a decade.

The current plan was captured in the 2018 budget proposals and is aimed at providing revenue to the government to be used to create new assets, the DMO said in a statement, responding to Moody’s downgrade of Nigeria’s bonds.

In March, the government said it expected to earn 35 billion naira from the sale of some assets, including oil joint ventures, and reducing stakes in other oil and non-oil assets.

Ratings agency Moody’s on Tuesday cut Nigeria’s long-term foreign-currency bond to B1 from Ba3 and kept its outlook stable, saying Nigerian efforts to broaden non-oil revenue had been unsuccessful. The local-currency rating was unchanged at Ba1.

The debt office said Nigeria’s economy had improved since Moody’s last rating a year ago and that it expects improvement in revenues this year to continue into 2018.

Nigeria’s sovereign bonds traded flat on Wednesday after the downgrade as investors had already factored in issues that triggered the rating change and were buying debt at a discount to book profits, traders said.

However, Moody’s move could make Nigeria’s forthcoming dollar bond issues more expensive, analysts say.

The country issued $1.5 billion worth of eurobonds in the first quarter to fund its 2017 budget and plans to sell a further $2.5 billion worth this year in addition to refinancing a $3 billion treasury bill portfolio to lower its borrowing costs.

Nigeria has been holding talks with oil companies regarding new financing agreements for joint ventures since last year as it struggled to fund its portion of such partnerships through cash calls which have often been delayed in parliament.

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E-Financial

AfDB Expects Nigeria’s Economy to Grow at 2.1% in 2018

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has predicted a positive outlook for Nigeria’s economic in 2018.

The bank in its 2018 African Economic Outlook projected that Nigeria’s economy would grow at 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 2.5 per cent in 2019.

According to AfDB, this outlook is anchored on higher oil prices and production, as well as stronger agricultural performance.

Notwithstanding this positive outlook for the country, the AfDB said Nigeria still faces significant challenges, including foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country.

“In addition, revenue mobilization efforts are insufficient; at 5 per cent, value added tax rates are among the lowest in the world, and revenue administration is inefficient. Poverty is unacceptably high; nearly 80 per cent of Nigeria’s 190 million people live on less than $2 a day,” the bank said in its report.

Looking into the future, the AfDB economic prediction on Nigeria noted that “oil prices rebounded to an average of $52 per barrel (Brent crude) in 2017 and are projected to reach $54 in 2018, up from $43 per barrel in 2016.”

“Oil production also increased from 1.45 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2017 to 2.03 million in the third quarter of 2017 following de-escalation of hostilities in the Niger Delta region and is expected to remain at the same level in 2018 and 2019, in tandem with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production restrictions,” AfDB added.

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Bitcoin Deeps Less Than $10,000 For The First Time Since December

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Bitcoin, the dominant digital currency, witnessed a slump on Wednesday following a recent surge to trade below $10,000 for the first time since the start of December.

 

Market analysis suggests that the price could shift in either direction and recent regulatory developments – out of South Korea and China in particular – could roil markets further, according to some observers.

 

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst Oanda trading group, said of bitcoin’s drop below $10,000 “There was clearly a significant speculative component to the rally late last year and the drop will be very discouraging to those that previously thought there was easy money to be made”.

 

Bitcoin is down from record highs approaching $20,000 in the week before Christmas, having rocketed 25-fold last year, before being hit by concerns about a bubble and worries about crackdowns on trading it.

 

David Cheetham, chief market analyst XTB noted that, “The panic-selling seen across all the major cryptocurrencies could be attributed to a possible regulatory clampdown in South Korea with authorities threatening to place an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading,”

 

“Having said that, this narrative has been around for many weeks now and isn’t really new but it has once more raised the spectre of tighter regulation on this market.”

 

 

 

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NSE Awaits Signing of Bill to be Publicly Listed

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Oscar Onyema, chief executive officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) expects a bill that will allow the exchange to be publicly listed signed into law this year.

The second-biggest exchange in sub-Saharan Africa after Johannesburg and a main entry point for investors in Africa, the Nigerian bourse last year got a green light from its members, mostly stockbrokers and some institutional investors, to become a publicly listed company.

Oscar Onyema, NSE, CEO, said yesterday, he expects the public listing, a process known as demutualisation, to generate profits that will boost its business and product development capacity.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the continent’s most developed stock market, has been a listed company since 2006.

“In 2017, we amplified our efforts to establish West Africa’s first derivatives market,” Onyema told analysts discussing the outlook for 2018.

“We also worked to create and enhance legal and regulatory frameworks which support derivative instruments, and have made significant progress towards securing approvals to operationalize these frameworks.”

The equities market in Nigeria was the third best-performing market in the world in 2017 after the central bank liberalised the naira for foreign investors, a move which lured back funds that been pulled out at the peak of a currency crisis.

Onyema attributed last year’s performance partly to central bank policies that helped increased currency market liquidity.

He added that he expected corporate earnings to lift equities this year, despite currency and political risks, after stocks crossed 44,000 points to hit a nine-year high on Tuesday.

Stocks gained 42 percent last year and have continued to rally this year, rising 13 percent in the first 11 days of trading.

Onyema said the market for initial public offerings remained inactive, noting that there are plans to revive new issues.

Nigeria’s bourse has around 200 listed companies and plans to launch exchange-traded derivatives securities this year.

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