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Naira Struggles to Benefit from US-China Trade Truce

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By Lukman Otunuga, FXTM Research Analyst
Optimism over the temporary trade truce announced between the two largest economies in the world after the G-20 Summit in Argentina last weekend has played a leading role in uplifting global risk sentiment today.
The combination of Dollar weakness and improving risk appetite is a welcome development for most major emerging market currencies. However, the Nigerian Naira has yet again struggled to benefit from such welcome market conditions with prices hovering around 365 on the parallel exchange.
It is becoming clear that the Naira’s stability against the Dollar was the product of repeated intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria. With falling oil prices weighing on the Naira’s peg against the Dollar on the official exchange and complicating the CBN’s effort to defend the Naira on the parallel, further weakness seems to be on the cards. While fading trade tensions and Dollar weakness is seen limiting capital outflows, falling oil prices are poised to negatively impact government revenues and the implementation of the 2019 budget. While the short-term outlook for the Nigerian economy may look discouraging, confidence in the nation will most likely receive a boost in the medium to longer term if increased government spending ahead of the elections next year stimulates economic growth.
Away from Nigeria, all of the currencies in the APAC region are trending higher against the Dollar, with the exception of the Indian Rupee that has declined 1.03% at time of writing as a result of local data missing expectations.  The South Korean Won, which is often measured as the Asian currency proxy for investor appetite towards risk is higher by more than 0.91% while the Chinese Yuan is stronger by as much as 1.09%.
This rally has filtered through to other regional emerging markets and asset classes, including the South African Rand and Mexican Peso that are both more than 1% stronger on trade truce optimism. The rally that we are experiencing goes to show that in spite of the trade tensions between United States and China being seen as bilateral issues between themselves, being two major global economic powers means this does have huge ramifications for global market optimism. WTI Oil is higher by over 5% in the early hours of Monday trading, which goes a long way towards explaining how global market optimism and previous concerns about trade tensions can impact commodity markets.
In recent weeks Oil has suffered severely from global economic health concerns stemming from trade tensions leading to lower demand for Oil, and if there is further progression with this issue it would be seen as a potential “buy” for the Oil markets.
If there is further progression over trade tensions between the United States and China then this has the potential to create a heavy market rally before trading wraps up for 2018. The main question that investors now need answers for is how long can this trade truce rally really last, and is it also possible for further progress in trade talks between the United States and China from this trade truce?

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How to Overcome the Challenge of Scaling Your Startup

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke|

The difference between a small business or startup and a successful and profitable company typically boils down to time and experience. But, there are certain factors that play a big part in how those companies grew to be successful — things like timing, having the right people, focus, and intensely hard work. Remember that every big company was a startup at some point.

Even though, statistics and researchers tell you that the odds are stacked against you and the probability of failing is high, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed.

The story of how Jumia started as a startup in Nigeria, conquer the many challenges in the most populous country in the world, expanded to other African countries to the extent that it has been tagged by many as ‘The Alibaba of Africa’ is one that should inspire every entrepreneur.

The eCommerce company has empowered, employed and contributed to the African economy since it birthed in Nigeria.

So, for entrepreneurs who are looking at scaling and taking their business to the next level, here are some of the ways to overcome these challenges.

Keep processes as simple as possible

Complexity slows businesses down and inhibits growth. It requires more meetings, more explanation, more refined communication with the customer, more people in the workflow, and more cogs in the machine. As businesses grow and scale, the key dynamic that slows progress and, at the extreme, impairs a business, is the effect of complexity. Complexity rears its head as products evolve, organisations grow, and business strategies change. Therefore, the bosses in charge of growing companies need to be aware of the impacts of growing complexity and take actions to continuously simplify the operations and strategy of the organization.

Win the love of your customers

While customer acquisition is important in any business, you need to focus on the customers you have so that you can win their love. Customer perceptions can make or break a business. If you deliver quality experiences, products, and service, and you make every effort to delight your customers, then they’ll sing your praises. When you delight your customers, and they share that delight, your business will grow.  Winning the love of your customers doesn’t have to be a time-intensive operation and you don’t have to completely restructure your business model. You just need to operate in a way that anticipates their needs and stays with them beyond the point where they make that first purchase.

Stay tuned in to your business

As you grow your business, one of your goals should be hiring smart, talented people to handle various tasks. As a business owner, you can’t be involved in everything, so it’s important to delegate and let other, better-suited people handle the work. But that doesn’t mean you should step back and tune out. Just because it’s being handled, doesn’t mean you’re not involved. When you stay tuned to your business and are aware of your surroundings, you’ll better anticipate the need for change and adjustment and be able to quickly pivot and adapt when the time comes.

There are no shortcuts in scaling

As your business begins to grow, you may be tempted to make cuts and take shortcuts in order to reach your next goal faster. There’s no more surefire way to cripple your business than to cut corners and try to take the easy path to success. Every action you take now has repercussions later. When you take shortcuts, you make compromises. You compromise your ethics, your values, and the integrity of your business — often at the expense of the customer and your employees. The rule of thumb is for you to do the job.

Ask for help

Too often, entrepreneurs view asking for help as a sign of weakness. They think that asking for help means they’re somehow exposing their vulnerability. The most successful entrepreneurs didn’t become effective leaders because they were good at bossing people around or because they had all of the answers all of the time.

 

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December Travel: Deciding a Destination For the Yuletide

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

During the yuletide, Lagos will definitely be empty that you can walk on a major highway without the fear of being knocked down by an oncoming vehicle in the centre of excellence. The city will be devoid of its signature traffic and its constant hurry. This is because some residents of the city have either travelled to their hometown or gone on either a local or international vacation.

This means that the hospitality industry will be very busy during this period. Hotels will be fully booked, favourite tourist destinations will be streaming with fun seekers, and festivals and thrilling street parties will be held to celebrate the yuletide.

For Nigerians who are yet to plan their holidays, they do not have to worry about where to go, sleep or have fun as Jumia’s hotel and flight marketplace has the most affordable and perfect local and international package for you. Some of the destination packages are to destinations like Gambia, Osun State, Maldives, Abeokuta, Mauritius, Calabar, Seychelles, and Whispering Palms among others.

Interestingly, booking on Jumia’s hotel and flight marketplace place will earn you some juicy rewards which are part of the platforms Christmas Sales that was recently launched. Customers will win tickets to Simi Live in Lagos, return ticket to Accra, Spa sessions at Le Paris Continental Hotel, 1-night stay at Eko Hotel and much more.

Hot December Destination Spots

Calabar

If you are not too given to travel out of the country this yuletide, then Calabar should be number one on your list of Nigerian destinations. Calabar bubbles during December due to the Calabar Carnival which is regarded as Africa’s biggest street party. The carnival has gotten so big that it attracts tourists from the across the world. The Carnival is scheduled for December 29th.

Lagos

Regardless of the fact that Lagos will be devoid of all its usual features, there won’t be a dull moment for anyone who decides to stay back! There are endless musical shows in the city headlined by top artists being held throughout the yuletide. Beyond this, you can visit the sandy beaches, Tarkwa Bay, Lekki Conservation Centre, Badagry and a host of other destinations.

Dubai

Dubai as position itself as a tourist destination for everyone no matter your beliefs, values and tradition. Hence, for this December, there is so much to do in the country. There will be merrymaking, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, winter carnivals and the festive food festivals plus the usual destination.

The Gambia

Though the Gambia (in West Africa) is small, it offers a wide variety of sites to tourists. There are numerous land-based tours, mixed excursions and river trips visitors can experience.

Tips for choosing a December destination

Pick five possible places you want to see.

These could be in Nigeria, such as Calabar, Lagos, Anambra, Kano, and Jos. Or they could be foreign destinations, such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid and Dubai. Then decide when you want to go, how long you want to stay and what you want to budget for flights and accommodations.

Compare flights to every city

The internet makes this easy to do. Check the prices and the times that flights are available. If you’re on a tight budget, this is when crucial differences might begin to emerge.

Check out potential accommodations

Some cities are more expensive than others. Look into all the options, such as hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and other possibilities. Could you save a substantial amount of money if you stayed just outside the city you want to visit??

Find out about surrounding cities or countries

You don’t want to stay in one place the whole time, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of time travelling. Research how to get from one place to another, such as a bus, train, ferry or rental car.

Stalk social media and the internet

Hashtags can help you find what others are saying about your destination choices on social media. Travel blogs are a great source, too. You can also just Google the places and find statistics, photographs and points of interest.

With the aforementioned knowledge, you can choose the destination best suited for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Will Nigeria Join OPEC in production cuts?

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By Lukman Otunuga

The past few weeks have certainly not been kind to Oil markets amid oversupply concerns and fears over slowing global growth negatively impacting demand.

Severely depressed Oil prices have hit Nigeria’s government revenues, weighed on official Naira pegged against the Dollar and fuelled concerns over the implementation of the 2019 budget which pegged Oil at $60 per barrel. With the nation still in the process of recovering from a recession, the government may think twice about joining OPEC in production cuts.

It must be kept in mind that Nigeria was exempted from the OPEC deal signed in November 2016 thanks to domestic risk factors. With the security situation in Nigeria still fragile, growth slowly picking up momentum and diversification plans in the process, this may not be the best of times for the nation to limit production.

The current environment certainly presents a strong argument for OPEC+ to take action in a bid to stop Oil prices sinking into 2019. While a cut is on the cards, the question on the minds of many investors will be how much will be cut and how it will be split among OPEC+ members. Markets are projecting OPEC to cut production by roughly over one million barrels per day from November’s level. A cut that is in line with market expectations will be supportive of Oil prices. However, if OPEC disappoints by leaving production unchanged, Oil prices are at threat of tumbling sharply.

Dollar on standby ahead of NFP

Away from Nigeria, the Dollar is likely to remain in a narrow range ahead of the US jobs reports scheduled for release on Friday. The Dollar was attacked from all directions earlier in the week after an inversion of the US Treasury yield curve stimulated fears over the US economy decelerating. Sentiment towards the Greenback could still swing in favour of the bulls this week if the US jobs report ticks all the boxes. A strong NFP figure coupled with signs of accelerating wage growth in November will reinforce expectations of higher US interest rates in 2019.

Sterling unsettled by Brexit uncertainty

Political drama in the United Kingdom has left the British pound quite unsettled. Theresa May’s repeated defeats in parliament are discouraging and likely to fuel pessimism over her Brexit deal being squarely rejected next week. Market fears over the UK crashing out of the European Union with no deal in place should keep Pound bears in the game for the rest of this week.

Focusing on the technical picture, the GBPUSD is certainly bearish on the weekly charts. Prices are trading below the 20 Simple Moving Average while the MACD has crossed to the downside. A solid breakdown below the 1.2700 should provide bears with enough encouragement to target 1.2590.

Commodity spotlight – Gold

Where Gold concludes this trading week will primarily depend on the pending US jobs report released on Friday.

A strong US jobs report for November will be Dollar positive as expectations heighten over the Fed raising rates in 2019 – an outcome that is seen negatively impacting zero-yielding Gold. Alternatively, a disappointing report will dilute speculation over higher US interest rates ultimately pushing Gold prices higher. In regards to the technical picture, Gold prices are bullish on the daily charts. A decisive breakout and daily close above the $1,240 resistance level, may pave a path towards $1,248 and $1,260 respectively.

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