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Global Stocks Under Pressure, Bitcoin Hits Another Record

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By Lukman Otunuga,

Research Analyst at FXTM, comments on the global stocks being under pressure as Bitcoin hits another record.

Global equity bulls were nowhere to be found during Tuesday’s trading session as market players evaluated the possible impact of proposed US tax cuts. World stocks were mostly lower amid a global technology selloff, with the lack of appetite for riskier assets punishing European shares and Wall Street.

Asian markets stumbled lower during early trading on Wednesday, following Wall Street’s overnight decline. With the renewed Brexit uncertainty likely to tarnish risk sentiment further, European stocks remain vulnerable to further downside.

American shares are still at risk of extending losses this afternoon, if concerns heighten over a potential US government shutdown on Friday if a spending bill is not approved.

US ADP NFP report in focus

The Greenback edged slightly lower against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, ahead of the US ADP private sector jobs data for November.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Dollar remains highly sensitive to the progress on tax reform legislation and this is reflected in price action.

Although, Senate passed its version of the tax bill over the weekend, investors remain cautious as the Senate and the House of Representatives still need to reconcile their differences and agree on a final bill to send to Donald Trump.

Focusing on today, the ADP NFP will be in the spotlight with economists forecasting a 189k rise in the month of November. Dollar bulls seem to be in need of fresh inspiration and this could come in the form of a solid ADP print this afternoon.

Technical traders will continue to observe how the Dollar Index behaves below 93.50. A breakout above 93.50 may encourage a further incline higher towards 93.80. Alternatively, a failure for prices to break above 93.50 could open a path back towards 93.00.

Bitcoin does it again…

Bitcoin displayed its brawn and unyielding resilience to financial market volatility on Wednesday as prices marched to fresh record highs above $12300.

The CBOE Global Markets and CME group have fuelled investor attraction and legitimised Bitcoin’s investment profile by planning to launch futures that track the cryptocurrency.

The explosively bullish price action is likely to continue attracting investors from all directions and as such this has the ability to support further upside. Although Bitcoin has appreciated by a mind-bending 1100% since the beginning of the year, bulls seem far from tired with the next technical level of interest at $12500.

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Court Jails Union Bank Head of Ops over N450m Fraud

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Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc

Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc in Marina, Lagos, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for his involvement in fraud to the tune of N450 million.

 

Mr Onwughalu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2014 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a four-count charge bordering on failure to conduct due diligence in financial transactions.

 

Ruling on the matter in March 2018, Justice Ogunsanya found the accused guilty of the offence and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.

One of the counts read, “That you, Paul Onwughalu, on or about the 9th of January, 2013, at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, whilst being an employee of Union Bank Plc, failed to exercise due diligence in relation to the conduct of financial transactions with one DanKawu Bureau De Change by confirming and authorizing payment of the sum of N450 million fraudulently transferred by hacking into Union Bank database (flexcube) and transferring the said sum to Union Bank Plc account of one DanKawu Bureau De Change domiciled in Union Bank, Head Office Branch, Marina, Lagos and thereby facilitated the crediting and withdrawal of the said sum by one DanKawu Bureau De Change to various accounts in Ecobank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and Dankawu Bureau De Change.”

 

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.

 

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Fadeke Giwa, presented a number of witnesses and tendered various documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

 

However, counsel to the convict, O. Fagbemi, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.

 

 

 

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African Development Bank Delivers Strong Operational Results

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The African Development Bank is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) (link is external), which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.

“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”

This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”

In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvement: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.

“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.

The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.

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EMVCo Creates Royalty-free Mark to Promote Use of QR codes

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EMVCo, the global technical body that manages EMV specifications, has introduced a QR payment trademark designed to promote the global interoperability and use of EMV QR code payments.

EMVCo has released reproduction requirements for the mark and a licensing structure that allows any organization that uses an EMV QR code solution to also use the mark at no cost, a press release said.

According to EMVCo, QR codes are increasingly being used to facilitate mobile payments at the point of sale. Last year, the organization published specifications to address two QR code payment use-cases:

–  Consumer-presented — consumers display the QR code on their mobile device and the merchant uses an optical scanner to read the code.

–  Merchant-presented — the merchant displays the QR code and consumers use their mobile device to scan the code.

The QR payment mark can be used to inform consumers that a merchant accepts these types of payment solutions.

The QR payment mark can also be used as an application indicator on a consumer mobile device when initiating a consumer-presented transaction.

A royalty-free trademark license agreement and reproduction requirements are available in EMVCo’s Trademark Centre.

“The development of a uniform, recognizable QR payment mark that can be used on a royalty-free basis is an important step towards providing a universally consistent experience for both merchants and consumers,” EMVCo executive Committee Chair Jack Pan said in the release.

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