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Investors On Edge Ahead of NFP



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FXTM Research Analyst Lukman Otunuga comments on Gold charged to a fresh 5 month high at $1269 during early trading on Friday after reports were released that the U.S military launched an airstrike on Syria which soured risk appetite.

A strong sense of unease infiltrated the financial markets during trading on Friday with investors staying clear of riskier assets after reports were released that the U.S military launched an airstrike on Syria.

The possible threat of geopolitical tensions heightening from the airstrikes has created a risk-off trading atmosphere which left Asian shares mixed.

The lack of upside momentum from Asian markets has already contaminated European equities with the diminishing appetite for risk potentially limiting gains on Wall Street this afternoon. It must be kept in mind that participants were already jittery ahead of the Trump-Xi summit and this fresh development may compound to the horrible cocktail of uncertainty.

Trump-Xi summit round 2
Although the Trump-Xi summit has been somewhat overshadowed by the US strike on Syria, investors may still pay very close attention to how the meeting between these two world leaders progresses.

While Donald Trump has said that he has developed a friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, this may be tested today as the two leaders discuss trade, North Korea, and other important market moving issues.

A situation where the outcome of the meeting seems unfavorable and unsuccessful could intensify the risk aversion ultimately boosting Gold.

NFP in the Spotlight
The solid ADP report and hawkish Fed minutes this week have allowed the Greenback to regain its attitude with the Dollar Index trading around 100.78 as of writing. With short-term bulls simply looking beyond the Trump uncertainties and focusing on positive economic data, the Dollar could be poised for further upside.

Investors may direct their attention towards the pending NFP report this afternoon which could offer some insight to how the US labor force fared in March.

A blockbuster NFP figure that exceeds expectations coupled with a surprise rise in average hourly earnings could boost the Dollar further. From a technical standpoint, the breakout above 100.75 could open a path higher towards 102.00.

Gold Breaks Above $1260
Gold charged to a fresh 5 month high at $1269 during early trading on Friday after reports were released that the U.S military launched an airstrike on Syria which soured risk appetite. With risk aversion set to heighten as markets ponder over the ramifications of the U.S airstrike, Gold and other safe-haven assets may receive a solid boost.

While there is a possibility of a positive NFP report pressuring Gold prices, the downside shocks may be limited by the jitters.

From a technical standpoint, bulls need a solid daily close above $1260 for a further incline higher towards $1300.

Commodity spotlight – WTI
WTI Crude was propelled towards $52.90 on Friday after the U.S airstrikes on Syria sparked speculations of a threat to supplies. Although the sharp upsurge in prices has turned oil somewhat bullish on the daily charts, the bearish fundamentals remain intact. With the oversupply concerns still a dominant theme in the oil markets, extreme upside gains may be limited.

From a technical standpoint, bulls have won the battle this week with prices breaking above $52. For the upside to continue and display sustainability, a solid breakout and daily close above $53 will be needed. In an alternative scenario, bears have a chance to reclaiming control back below $51.

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Customers to Sue Banks over Stamp Duty Collections




Stakeholders have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw its circular mandating banks to collect stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts, stressing that such directive and practice is unconstitutional, according to the Tribune.

According to them, if the practice of deducting stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts is not suspended, it is expected that other stakeholders would challenge the banks in court, on a case by case basis.

Thus, the impending legal suits that would emanate as a result are likely to disrupt the activities of banks and result to additional legal costs, they warned.

Stakeholders at various occasions have also charged deposit money banks to suspend the practice of collecting stamp duties on receipts for deposits and transfers by customers.

The Stamp Duties Act (SDA), Chapter S8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 (SDA) provides the legal basis for the imposition and collection of stamp duties in Nigeria.

A tax audit and financial advisory services firm, Deloitte, in a document titled: “Stamp Duties on Bank Deposits and Transfers: Are There Unresolved Issues?” and obtained by Tribune stated that, stamp duties are chargeable on all instruments relating to matters executed between a company and individual, group or body of individuals and those executed between persons or individuals. The instruments the firm noted, upon which stamp duties are chargeable include bond, bill of exchange, promissory note, covenant, conveyance on sale, lease, mortgage, among others.

This general rule according to the tax experts did not include receipts for transfer to self, transfers from savings accounts and receipts in respect of salaries and wages, yet, further to a statement issued by CBN on 21 January 2016 banks have continued to deduct these duties.

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UBA Disrupts the Market, Delights Customers with Callback Technology




It would appear that the United Bank for Africa Plc has carved a niche for itself and gone way above its peers with its deployment of Al-powered Callback Technology.

The Al-Powered Callback Technology is one that enables the bank to call back customers instantly when they contact the bank for one reason or the other.

The UBA Group seems to have taken advantage of this high-powered system that even western banks are yet to fully implement as it has gone beyond the legacy banking systems, to omni channel marketing and social media lead generation.

This largely involves meeting its customers where they are – on websites, email, social networks, and cross-device platforms.

It is interesting to note that customers calling the bank for various reasons now have the option of requesting a call back to get on demand information. This has been implemented by using web to phone callback technology developed by Lucep.

Basically, the way it works is that customers can see the website widget deployed on the bank’s website for several financial services and products, wherein they can enter in their name and number, and select the reason for which they want a call back.

Thereafter, the Lucep AI takes the callback request, and distributes it to the right team, ensuring it goes to an authorized member of the team who has the app on their smartphone. This member can then connect back to the customer through the app itself.

Such instant response systems have huge benefits especially when it’s about following up on new customers who are inquiring about banking services.

If for example, a potential client is searching for the best mortgage rates and calls several banks including UBA.

UBA being the only bank that has implemented this Al -powered technology with an instant lead response system, is able to give the customer a call-back within one or two minutes.

This activity will naturally give the bank an edge over its competition as it will probably be the first to reach the customer back. The bank is therefore able to engage customers and offer their services faster than any other bank.

It is this kind of attention to detail, personalized service, and deft use of the latest technologies that has helped UBA stay ahead of its competitors in Africa, and ahead of the trends in the global banking industry.

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Five ‘Must’ Know Before Putting Your Money in Bitcoin




Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoin is now worth $4,317.

Due to this, many are encouraging others to invest in the cryptocurrency. Nigerians are slowly embracing Bitcoin.

In line with this, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency share things Nigerians must know before joining the Bitcoin train.

More People Are Using Bitcoin
Despite the fact that some Nigerians are struggling to accept Bitcoin, more people are embracing it after years of gradual growth.
Hence, whether we like it or not, Bitcoin is the future and we have no choice than to use it.

Retailers And Vendors Are Accepting Bitcoin
You can now pay for whatever you purchase online with Bitcoin as some retailers have made it possible to settle transactions with it. Some notable companies that accept Bitcoin include Expedia, Microsoft, Subway, Newegg, TigerDirect, Tesla and PayPal. So, do not be surprised when some Nigerian companies start to accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Transfers Are Fast And flexible
While many financial institutions charge you or take days to process transactions, Bitcoin allows transfers from one account to another almost for free. Of course, you must already have your money in Bitcoin form. There is no need for any middlemen. As a result, the transfer is seamless.

Extremely Volatile
Bitcoin is still growing like earlier mentioned and there are a number of market factors that influence it. It very dependent on the rules of demand and supply.
The more people are willing to buy Bitcoins, the more the Bitcoin value will increase. Conversely, if more people sell, the prices will decline.

Treat It As Speculating, Not An Investment
Cryptocurrencies have a bright future as a new way to conduct commerce and business. That is not the same thing as saying that their value right now is sustainable. It’s early days yet, and, while the number of businesses accepting cryptocurrencies are growing, it’s not big enough for most of the demand to be built on legitimate trade.
This means that buying cryptocurrencies is speculation, not investment. Hence, you should be willing to lose the money you invest in buying Bitcoin!




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