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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?

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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How Untrained Pilot Killed 157 on Ethiopian Airways-Report

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The captain of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people when the plane crashed shortly after take-off in Ethiopia, did not practise on a new simulator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a colleague said.

 

Yared Getachew, 29, was due for refresher training at the end of March, his colleague told Reuters, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received one of the first such simulators being distributed.

 

The March 10 disaster, following another MAX 8 crash in Indonesia in October, has set off one of the biggest inquiries in aviation history, focused on the safety of a new automated system and whether crews understood it properly.

 

In both cases, the pilots lost control soon after take-off and fought a losing battle to stop their jets plunging down.

 

The MAX, which came into service two years ago, has a new automated system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). It is meant to prevent loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

 

“Boeing did not send manuals on MCAS,” the Ethiopian Airlines pilot told Reuters in a hotel lobby, declining to give his name as staff have been told not to speak in public.

 

“Actually we know more about the MCAS system from the media than from Boeing.”

 

Under unprecedented scrutiny and with its MAX fleet grounded worldwide, the world’s largest planemaker has said airlines were given guidance on how to respond to the activation of MCAS software. It is also promising a swift update.

 

Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday its pilots had completed training recommended by Boeing and approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on differences between the previous 737 NG aircraft and the 737 MAX version.

 

They were also briefed on an emergency directive after the Indonesia crash, which was incorporated into manuals and procedures, it said in a tweet. The 737 MAX simulator was not designed to replicate the MCAS system problems, it added.

 

“We urge all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation,” it said.

 

TRAINING QUESTIONS

Globally, most commercial airline pilots refresh training in simulators every six months. In the Ethiopian crash, it was not clear if Yared’s colleague – First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed, 25, who also died in the crash – had used the new simulator.

 

It was also not clear if Yared or Ahmednur would have been trained on that simulator or an older one for 737s that their airline also owned.

 

“I think that the differences between the 737 NG and the MAX were underplayed by Boeing,” said John Cox, an aviation safety consultant, former U.S. Airways pilot and former air safety chairman of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

 

“Consequently the simulator manufacturers were not pushing it either. The operators didn’t realize the magnitude of the differences,” he told Reuters in a communication over the Ethiopian pilot’s remarks.

 

The 737 MAX 8 was introduced into commercial service in 2017, but pilots of older 737s were only required to have computer-based training to switch, according to Boeing, airlines, unions and regulators.

 

By December, two months after the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people off Jakarta, the main simulator producer CAE Inc of Canada said it had delivered just four MAX simulators to airlines.

 

At that time, CAE had orders from airlines globally for 30 MAX simulators, which cost between $6 million and $15 million each depending on customization.

 

The world’s largest 737 operator, Southwest Airlines Co, will not have its first MAX simulator ready for use until October, its pilot union said on Wednesday.

 

“It is still very disturbing to us that Boeing did not disclose MCAS to the operators and pilots,” the association told members in a memo seen by Reuters.

 

Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Writing by Jamie Freed and Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne.

 

 

 

 

 

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ACSIS Urges President Buhari to Sign Digital Rights Bill

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The African Civil Society for the Information Society (ACSIS), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give presidential assent to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill.

Mr Peter Akinyemi, ACSIS West Africa Regional Coordinator, made the appeal in an interview in Abuja on Friday.

The bill was transmitted to the president on Feb. 5, by the National Assembly.

Akinyemi said timely assent to the bill would protect rights of every Nigerian on the internet and strengthen the security within the nation’s cyber space.

According to him, this digital rights and freedom bill will effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the internet and in the digital environment.

“It will also attract investments when the investors see that the environment is safe.

“The bill will provide a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet.

“This is very necessary in consistence with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments,’’ he said.

Akinyemi also called on the Federal Government “to priotise ICT, come up with workable and inclusive framework and policies and strive for more PPP engagements.”

According to the regional coordinator, this will create enabling environment for the technology sector and ensure that government services are driven in a digital economy.

He said ACSIS, which was established in 2003 as a Pan-African civil society organisation, has membership of over 500 around the world.

It would be recalled that the bill, which has been in the National Assembly since 2016, was passed by both Senate and House of Representatives in 2018.

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Heineken Makes Dream Come True For Football Fans

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World’s most international beer brand, Heineken®, has revealed that it will be delighting football fans across Nigeria with unique, premium viewing experiences for the rest of the UEFA Champions League Campaign, while also giving consumers an opportunity to watch the semi-finals and finals matches live in Europe.

The announcement of these exciting new plans by Heineken was made on Tuesday, the 5th of March 2019 during one of the premium viewing experiences hosted at Farm City Lounge, Lekki, Lagos.

The UEFA Champions League is one of the most followed sports competition in the world with with an audience of about 1.1Billion.

With the 2018/2019 season approaching the final stage in the next few months, Heineken is set to back up its 25-year sponsorship of the prestigious tournament by providing fans with exciting and entertaining ways to enjoy the football matches.

As part of this commitment to providing fans and consumers with the most remarkable and unmissable moments from this year’s Champions League, Heineken has partnered with hundreds of outlets across Nigeria to deliver premium viewing experiences to consumers nationwide.

The premium viewing experiences have kicked off as the UEFA Champions League resumes the second leg matches of the second round fixtures. These viewing experiences will see fans in across Nigeria experience the UEFA Champions League in a new and exciting way as Heineken seeks to give fans a truly premium and unmissable experience.

Speaking on the announcement of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Emmanuel Oriakhi had this to say; “The UEFA Champions League is the most coveted trophy in club football competition, and one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world.

“Heineken’s rich history with UEFA has brought us some of the most iconic and unmissable moments in the history of football.

“From the unforgettable volley by Zidane to seal the 2001 Champions League final to the miracle of Athens where Liverpool overturned a 3-goal deficit.

“These are the moments that make football such a passionate sport and we want to share these moments and experiences with fans across Nigeria.

“This campaign will see Heineken provide hundreds of experience centers where fans can view the Champions League matches in a premium ambiance that only Heineken can deliver.

We also plan to reward lucky fans with opportunities to watch the UEFA Champions League Semi-finals and finals. We’ve had a tremendous relationship with our consumers and we want to share in the passion for the game.”

Heineken has been proud sponsors of the UEFA Champions League since 1994. This illustrious relationship with UEFA has seen Heineken become one of the most recognizable brands in sports, particularly in European football.

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