11 Nov

Daily Watch – DSS raids BDCs in ‘naira saving’ mission, Inflation set to rise even higher

  • The State Security Service and the police raided the offices of black market currency dealers on Thursday, detaining some dealers and ordering others to sell US dollars at a lower rate in a bid to break the fall of the currency. A dealer told Reuters that “the police and state security service officials are raiding black marketers in Lagos and Abuja to compel an appreciation of the naira.” Another trader said security agents visiting bureau de change operators told dealers not to sell dollars for more than ₦395. Dealers who trade at an exchange rate weaker than ₦400 per dollar face arrest and prosecution from the State Security Service, according to Aminu Gwadabe, president of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria. Foreign exchange bureaus agreed to “to control the market so we will have sanity” and they have the “backing” of the central bank on the new rates, he told Bloomberg. The police and central bank had no immediate comment.
  • Ahead of the NBS’ release of Nigeria’s inflation rate for October 2016 on November 17, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited’s research unit has projected the nation’s October 2016 inflation rate (year-on-year) to increase to 18.17 percent from 17.85 percent in September. According to a research note, the expected increase in the inflation rate will be driven by higher prices within the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division, as well as increases in the energy and energy-related prices. The analysts note that “Our analysis indicates that the value of the Naira appreciated at both the interbank and parallel market by 0.91% and 2.35% respectively in October 2016. The Naira gained ₦2.81 and ₦11 to close at US$/₦308.81 and US$/₦468 at the interbank and parallel market respectively. The appreciation recorded in the exchange rate in both markets between the two months under review should lower the pass through effect of imported inflation on domestic prices.”
  • Retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme will from early next year enjoy a minimum pension payment irrespective of the balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts, according to the Chairman of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Eguarekhide Longe. “The minimum pension is going to take up early next year. We (operators) are supposed to pay three per cent of our management fees to set up the fund, the National Pension Commission is supposed to pay another fee and they have already given us a notice that we must ensure that we put that money in our budget in 2017 and that it will take up next year,” he said in a Punch interview. Operators of the scheme proposed a minimum stipend of ₦14,400 for each retiree in the draft guideline on the commencement of the minimum pension for retirees under the CPS in 2015. Longe, however, did not confirm if the minimum pension would remain the same amount.
  • The CBN has fined Standard Chartered Bank ₦2 billion for foreign exchange infraction, Thisday quotes a source as saying. The bank, according to the source, drew the regulator’s ire by buying $25 million at the official rate and selling same far above the inter-bank market rate. Apart from the hefty fine, the commercial bank’s treasurer is also said to have been suspended by the apex bank that has been battling to rein in unwholesome banking industry practices that have engendered a huge differential between the interbank and parallel market rates.