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Warning Lights Flash Red for Nigeria as Oil Plunges into Bear Market

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By Lukman Otunuga, FXTMResearch Analyst

The taps are leaking dangerously on Oil prices and this is something no plumber can fix in the short to medium term.

Oil prices collapsed yesterday, sinking to levels not seen in six months, after stockpiles on US Crude unexpectedly jumped by the most in five weeks. The steep downside was fuelled by growing concerns over persistent US-China trade tensions negatively impacting growth and hitting demand for Crude Oil. Falling Oil remains a significant risk for Nigeria, especially when factoring in that a lion’s share of the nation’s export revenues is sourced from Oil sales. Should Oil prices remain depressed for prolonged periods, this has the potential to obstruct Nigeria’s economic recovery and threaten stability in the exchange rate.

USD buyers run into brick wall as speculation picks up Fed will accelerate car into reverse

Persistent expectations that the Federal Reserve will drive the car on interest rates into reverse and then accelerate at full speed in response to US-led trade disputes impacting economic sentiment have led to Dollar buyers hitting a brick wall.

Downbeat comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on how a rate cut “may be warranted soon” have dealt the Dollar a knockout punch.

Market pessimism over US-led trade disputes negatively impacting the US economy is now threatening the Dollar’s previous position as a safe-haven in times of market uncertainty, and this view continues to be highlighted in price action for the Greenback. 

The Dollar is very much on the ropes just one week after it reached a new milestone high for 2019; attention will now be drawn towards the US employment report scheduled for release at the end of the week. Dollar buyers need to see signs of resilient job growth in the United States to see some light at the end of the tunnel. 

European Central Bank to repeat pessimism on global economy

Today’s highlight and major risk event for the Euro will be the European Central Bank meeting. It is widely expected that the ECB will leave monetary policy unchanged, but what everyone wants to know is what is the ECB’s take is on the pessimistic views that are surrounding the global economy.  

The Eurozone remains bombarded by a storm of domestic and external headwinds and therefore, the likelihood is high that the ECB will deliver a downbeat assessment of its economy.

A sharp slowdown in EU inflation earlier this week, returning concerns over the Italian budget and Brexit, among many other risks, are pressuring the ECB to remain in a defensive position.

The risk factors that investors will be paying close attention to are the ECB’s economic projections.  Another potential slide lower in economic forecasts, in line with revisions elsewhere that have been downgraded in recent weeks will fuel speculation that the ECB will leave interest rates at record-low levels far beyond 2020.   

Gold continues to glitter as window-shoppers loom

Gold has stormed back into fashion throughout the week following the acceleration in Dollar weakness.

Vulnerability in the Dollar has played an influential role in Gold’s rapid sprint up the hill, with prices punching above levels not seen in over three months to above $1340.

Market speculation over the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates amid trade tensions, a weaker Dollar and geopolitical risks should ensure Gold remains in demand moving forward.

 

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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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E-Financial

Oluloye, 67-Year-Old Woman Accused of Hacking, Stealing N16m from First Bank

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Wuraola Folashade Oluloye, a businesswoman, has been arrested for allegedly hacking a First Bank Plc account and stealing a customer’s N16.2million.

 

Oluloye, 67, was Tuesday brought before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, by the Lion Building Police Division, Lagos on five counts of fraud and fraudulent diversion, according to a charge marked B/33/2019.

 

George Nwosu, prosecution counsel told the court that the defendant was arrested following a complaint by First Bank through Mr. Solomon Akhanolu, head of the Department of Forensic Auditors.

 

Nwosu told the court that the defendant committed the alleged offences between last October 16 and December 31, at First Bank’s Agidingbi Branch, Lagos.

 

The court heard that Oluloye allegedly hacked the account of Emefiele Ogbor, a First Bank customer with account No 3014419974.

 

She withdrew N16,200,000 and transferred same to her accounts in Stanbic IBTC, Union, Sterling and First banks.

 

The defendant subsequently withdrew the money from the four accounts and converted it to her use.

 

First Bank discovered the fraud during an audit and blocked the defendant’s bank account.

 

But when Oluloye showed up at the bank to make withdrawals, the police were waiting and she was arrested.

 

Folashade Olukoya granted Oluloye, chief magistrate who pleaded not guilty, N500,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum, among other conditions.

 

She remanded the defendant in Kirikiri Prison, Apapa Lagos and adjourned till June 24.

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Africa’s FinTech Sector Grows by 60% in 2 years says Disrupt Africa

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Africa’s FinTech sector is growing at a fast pace, with the number of start-ups operating in the space growing by more than 60% in the last two years, while funding has hit new records.

This is according to Disrupt Africa’s Finnovating for Africa 2019: Reimagining the African financial services landscape report, which finds the number of active FinTech ventures across the continent has grown to 491 from 301 in 2017.

According to the report, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya remain the main three markets, with 141, 101 and 78 active ventures respectively, accounting for 65.2% of Africa’s FinTech start-ups.

“Yet the share of the overall total claimed by these three countries is in decline as the sector spreads across the continent, with FinTech start-ups tracked in 28 African nations. Though the big three markets are growing, the biggest developments are occurring in other markets, with countries like Uganda, Ghana and Egypt in particular seeing their local FinTech spaces explode,” according to Disrupt Africa.

A similar trend can be seen in terms of the type of platforms being rolled out by FinTech entrepreneurs, the company suggests.

Though start-ups in the payments and lending spaces remain the most prevalent, the fastest growth is occurring elsewhere, with the number of start-ups active in areas such as investtech and insurtech, for example, more than doubling in the last few years.

“Meanwhile, there is a marked increase in the amount of companies focusing on two or more distinct types of financial services, as African FinTechs begin to ‘rebundle’ and we see moves towards fully-fledged, all-service digital banks on the continent. This is a process that is quickening as the amount of funding coming into the sector grows. African FinTech companies have raised just shy of US$320-million in funding since January 2015, and last year’s total of US$132.8-million was the best year yet,” Disrupt Africa continues.

Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa, said: “The financial services landscape in Africa is following a very unique trajectory, as compared to other geographies. Most remarkable about this trajectory, is that is it being driven by entrepreneurs and their home-grown innovations. We hope this report affords our readers an interesting insight into the FinTech revolution taking place across Africa.”

Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa, added, “No space has quite the potential impact of the FinTech space when it comes to impact – and profits – in Africa, with start-ups operating such platforms able to significantly address the major issue of financial exclusion on the continent and thus promote development in all sorts of other areas. It is exciting to see the speed at which the sector is developing, therefore, but also heartening to see the signs of maturation and consolidation that will ensure its ultimate success and longevity.”

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Ecobank Emerged ‘Best Retail Bank in Africa’ @ African Banker Awards

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Ecobank has been named Best Retail Bank in Africa 2019 at the prestigious African Banker Awards. The judges were especially impressed by how Ecobank’s state-of-the-art products, services, functionality and constant innovations provide 24/7 convenience, accessibility and affordability to meet the evolving needs and expectations of its customers across 33 African countries, whilst also successfully driving financial inclusion. Ecobank was also nominated for African Bank of the Year in the Awards. The Award ceremony was held last night in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “We are honored to be recognized as Africa’s Best Retail Bank. This is testament to the success of our digital strategy and pan-African presence as we continue to drive financial integration, inclusive banking and playing a catalytic role in the transformation of Africa.”

“We are constantly innovating to meet the needs of Africans, from our multi-functional Ecobank Mobile App, which has changed banking in Africa, to our KYC-lite Xpress account opening for the unbanked and the under-banked, and our Rapidtransfer App, for cross-border remittances to Africa at minimal or no cost.

“Our Xpress Point agencies further deliver face-to-face banking to thousands in local communities. The traditional banking model is changing and Ecobank will continue to play a pivotal and pioneering role in meeting the banking needs of millions of Africans.”

Nana Araba Abban, Acting Group Executive, Consumer Bank said: “Ecobank is making banking accessible, convenient and affordable, and we are continuing to broaden our innovative range of best-in-class products, services and functionality to enrich our customers’ experience and stay a step ahead of their evolving needs and expectations. To win the prestigious ‘Best Retail Bank’ Award two years running strongly indicates that our strategy and service is working for ever increasing numbers of sub-Saharan Africans across our pan-African footprint.

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