A quarterly survey report titled Inflation Attitudes Survey Report for Q3 2019 released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown that Nigerians would rather have a lower interest rates than lower inflation.

The Survey report which was released on Tuesday, measured Households’ perception/expectations of price changes in the past one year/next one year, Households’ perception/expectations of interest rate changes in the past one year/next one year, Households’ opinions on the impact of interest rate changes in households and on the Nigerian economy, Households’ perception of the impact of interest rate changes on prices in the short and medium-term, and Households’ assessment of CBN’s role in controlling inflation.

The survey was conducted in 2,070 households that were randomly selected across Nigeria, with a response rate of 98.3%.

Inflation

When respondents were asked what would happen to the Nigerian economy if prices started to rise faster than they are now, 52.9% believed that economy will grow weaker, 6.4% said it will grow stronger, while 19.5% thinks there will be little difference. 21.2% did not respond.

This suggests that Nigerians prefer stability in prices. This supported the notion that inflation constrains economic growth.

On price changes over the next one, majority of the respondents think inflation will rise by 2.7%.

Interest Rates

The survey showed that 47.6% of the surveyed households knew nothing about interest rates.

Out of the remaining 52.4%, 28.2% believed interest had risen in the last 12 months.

On expected change on interest rates for bank loans and savings, 21.4% think rates will rise, while 14.7% believed that rates will fall. However, 63.9% of the respondents were indifferent or had no idea.

On whether if it would be best for the economy if interest rates fall or rise, 37.9% indicated that a fall in interest rates will favour the economy. 6.5% opted for a rise in rates, 14.6% were indifferent. However, a large percentage (40.6%) had no idea.

This indicates that while some Nigerians would prefer a fall in interest rate, the majority have no idea on interest rates.

Interest rates vs inflation

When asked whether they will prefer a high-interest rate or high inflation, 33.7% preferred a rise in prices (high inflation), 22.5% preferred higher interest rates, while 43.4% had no idea.

This suggests, when given a trade-off, Nigerians will prefer higher interest rates to higher inflation. This is also suggestive of support for bank’s price stability objective.

Oct 24, 2019

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has released its Q3 2019 interim consolidated financial statements for the 9 months period ended September 30, 2019.

The results show that interest income increased by 10.77% from N268.9 billion in 2018 to N297.9 billion in 2019.

Profit before tax stood at N98.2 billion in 2019, compared to N79.1 billion in 2018. This represents an increase of 24.17%.

Profit after tax recorded for the period was N81.6 billion as against N61.7 billion in 2018, representing a 32.3% increase.

The bank made N86.5 billion from fees and commissions; and N35.7 billion from trading forex. These represent 25.85% and 10.24% increases when compared to N68.8 billion and N32.4 billion in 2018.

Earnings per share increased from N1.72 in 2018 to N2.32.

UBA is currently trading at N5.85 on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Year to date the stock is down 26.92%.

Oct 23, 2019

Going by its Q3 2019 unaudited consolidated financial statements for the 9 months period ended September 30, 2019, tier 1 bank group, FBN Holdings Plc has recorded a 2.99% drop in interest income.

Interest income recorded was N327.5 billion as against N337.6 billion in the same period of 2018.

The bank, however, recorded a 16.92% increase in profit before tax from N51.3 billion in 2018 to N60 billion in 2019.

Profit after tax stood at 51.8 billion in 2019, marking a 15.33% increase from N44.9 billion in Q3 2018.

The bank made N76.8 billion from fees and commissions; N5.6 billion trading forex; and N15.5 billion from insurance premium. These represent 22.58% and 25.90% increase in fees and commissions, and insurance premium from N62.7 billion and N12.4 billion in 2018 respectively.

Revenue from forex trading, however, dipped by 76.58% from N23.9 billion in 2018.

Earnings per share increased to N1.38 in 2019 from N1.22 in 2018.

FBN Holdings is currently trading at N5.30 on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The stock is down by 33.75%.

Oct 23, 2019
Tunisia’s elected president Kais Saied takes the oath of office at the Assembly of People’s Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo via Reuters
 
Kais Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, was sworn in as Tunisian president on Wednesday after he won a landslide victory in this month’s election.
 
Saied’s win delivered a heavy blow to a governing elite accused of failing to improve living standards or end corruption since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy after years of authoritarian rule.
 
Even with a large mandate, the new president has less direct control of policy than the prime minister and both will quickly face a series of tough challenges including high unemployment rates and fighting corruption.
 
“There will be no tolerance in wasting any millime (cent) of the money of our people,” Saied said in a speech.
 
He vowed to protect freedoms, saying: “Those who have nostalgia to go back to the old years only pursue illusions and mirages,” he added.
 
Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.
 
But Saied said he envisaged a bigger state role in the economy.
 
“We are moving from frustration to construction and work,” he added.
Oct 23, 2019
Chief executive of Facebook Inc, Mark Zuckerberg will be grilled by lawmakers over the company’s plan to launch a digital currency and efforts to prevent foreign election interference when he appears before a Congressional panel on Wednesday.
 
Libra, Facebook’s digital currency project, has faltered in recent weeks amid sustained criticism from lawmakers and regulators over fears it may aid money laundering and upend the global financial system.
 
That political heat has led several of its key financial partners including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and eBay to abandon the project.
 
Zuckerberg will try to reassure skeptical lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee that the project will meet strict regulatory standards, poses no threat to sovereign currencies, and will steer well clear of the monetary policy arena, according to prepared testimony released Tuesday.
 
He is also likely to be quizzed on the company’s steps to combat misinformation and voter suppression ahead of the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.
 
The company disclosed on Monday it had removed a network of Russian accounts targeting U.S. voters on Instagram, which Facebook owns.
 
“If Mr. Zuckerberg wants to be king, he can be king of the social networks. But I don’t want him to have the additional arsenal of financial data on people,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat from Texas who sits on the committee told reporters on Tuesday.
 
She added: “We’re prepared for an interesting hearing tomorrow.”
 
Oct 22, 2019

Social media giants, Facebook, has concluded plans to launch a dedicated news tab that would enable its subscribers to source for news on the platform.

To that end, the Mark Zuckerberg- led social media platform has apparently struck a deal with news providers that would let it display headlines in a dedicated news tab.

That’s as per a report from the Wall Street Journal, which said licensing fees and other details have been worked out with the WSJ, the New York Post, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and Business Insider.

Reports said News Corp. and Facebook managed to reach this deal after overcoming a few obstacles along the way.
For example, the two companies had to work around difficulties presented by WSJ’s subscription business model.

Despite this, the two firms have agreed on a licensing fee that would be paid by Facebook in order to include news from the publications on the social media website.

Oct 22, 2019

Russian hackers have allegedly hid their efforts to attack organisations in the UK and other countries around the world by pretending to be a rival Iranian hacking group.

A Russian hacking group dubbed “Turla”, which has been linked to Russia’s FSB agency, hacked into Iranian servers to mask attacks against more than 35 different countries over the last 18 months, British and American security officials have said.

The hacking campaign was revealed on Monday by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) along with the American National Security Agency.

The Russian hacking group’s targets were not disclosed by the security services, but the NCSC said that the group has previously hacked into “government, military, technology, energy and commercial organisations.”

Most of the victims of the hacking campaign were in the Middle East, security officials said on Monday.

The security officials also added that hacked organisations included universities and scientific organisations.

Reports say disguising the origin of cyberattacks is a common tactic used by hacking groups to avoid political responses such as sanctions and to cause further confusion amongst their targets.

Oct 22, 2019

One of the most senior politicians in South Africa’s historically white main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Herman Mashaba,  has resigned his post and quit the party over how it handles race.

Mashaba was mayor of Johannesburg for three years.

The BBC reports that the election of a black mayor from the DA was seen as a sign that the party could potentially threaten the ruling African National Congress (ANC)’s grip on power at the national level.

But at a press conference on Monday, Mr. Masaba said: “I cannot reconcile myself with people who believe that race is not important in their discussion of inequalities.”


The Mayor said his decision was sparked by the re-admission of Helen Zille, a white politician who provoked widespread anger in 2017, when she praised aspects of colonialism, to the party’s high ranks:

“The election of [Helen] Zille as chair of the federal council is a victory for people who are opposed to my belief systems,” Mashaba added.

Oct 22, 2019

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) notified the general public on Sunday about a partial disconnection of Glomobile by Airtel Network Limited over non-settlement of interconnect charges.

A statement signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu, said partial disconnection would commence October 28.

The statement read: “The Commission has approved the partial disconnection of Glomobile by Airtel in accordance with Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and the Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Operators.

“At the expiration of 10 days from the date of this notice, subscribers on the network of Glomobile will no longer be able to make calls to Airtel but will be able to RECEIVE CALLS.

“The partial disconnection, however, will allow in-bound calls to the Glomobile network.”

The implication of this is that from October 28,  Glo subscribers won’t be able to call subscribers from Airtel but can receive calls from the network.

Airtel had dragged Glomobile to the NCC over non-payment of interconnect charges. Interconnect charge is a charge paid to a receiving network by the mobile network operator a call is coming from.

The NCC notified Glomobile of the Airtel’s application and was given the opportunity to state their case.

The NCC discovered that Glomobile had no sufficient reason for not paying the interconnect charges. As such the regulator approved the disconnection from Airtel in accordance with section 100 of the Nigeria Communications Act of 2003.

Oct 22, 2019

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) resumed its free fall in the first trading day of this week, closing the All Share Index at 26,390.08, down by 0.22%. Year to date the market is down by 16.04%.

Top 5 trades

245.9 million shares worth N1.4 billion exchanged hands in 2,514 deals during Monday’s trading session.

Omoluabi Mortgage Bank top the 5 most traded stocks by volume with 110 million shares valued at N60.5 million exchanged 1 deal. This might be as a result of an investor leaving or taking a position.

Fidelity Bank followed with 25.4 million shares worth N43.2 million traded in 97 deals. 14.4 million Transcorp shares valued at N14.7 million were traded in 63 deals.

FBN Holdings traded 14.4 million shares worth N75.3 million in 163 deals. GTBank rounds up the top 5 most traded stocks by volume with 13.6 million shares valued at N357.8 million traded in 234 deals.

Top 5 gainers

On the gainers’ chart, May & Baker Nigeria Plc led with a 9.50% gain to close at N2.19. Cornerstone Insurance followed with a 9.37% gain to close at N0.35.

Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services Plc Trans Nationwide Express Plc both gained 9.09% to close at N0.24 and N0.84 respectively.

Law Union and Rock Insurance rounds up the top 5 gainers closing at N0.51 to gain 8.51%.

Top 5 losers

On the flipside, NEM Insurance was the biggest loser. The stock lost 9.57% to close at N2.08. Wapic Insurance was next with an 8.57% loss to close at N0.32.

Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc closed at N0.37, losing 7.50%. Omoluabi Mortgage Bank Plc, one of the largely traded stocks for today, closed at N0.55, losing 5.17%.

United Capital Group closed the top 5 losers with a 1.96% loss to close at N2.

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