06 Oct

Daily Watch – Blackrock, Erisco upbeat on macroeconomic conditions, MPC to get fresh faces

  • Lawmakers have set up a committee to investigate allegations of corruption at the state oil company contained in a letter from the minister of state for petroleum. In the letter from Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated 30 August and confirmed by the oil ministry, the minister said the conduct of the head of the NNPC lacked transparency. An NNPC spokesman on 5 October said the state oil company was awaiting written confirmation of the motion from the Senate. The Senate, on Wednesday, passed a motion to set up a committee to investigate the allegations. “The motion highlighted the fact that Duke Oil, one of the outfits that make up NNPC Trading was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and does not pay tax in Nigeria,” said a statement issued by Senate president Bukola Saraki.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Aisha Ahmad as a CBN deputy governor. According to a statement on Thursday by spokesman Femi Adesina, the President had presented Ahmad to the Senate for confirmation. Adesina said Ahmad would replace Sarah Alade at the apex bank, who retired early this year. Adesina added that Buhari had written the Senate, seeking the confirmation of the appointment of members of the regulator’s Monetary Policy Committee. He said the appointees were to replace four members, whose tenure expires at the end of this year.
  • Nigeria lowered the yields it offered at a treasury bill auction on Wednesday to raise ₦130 billion ($425.3 million) after investors submitted bids four times in excess of the amount it wanted to sell, according to traders. The Debt Management Office (DMO) sold ₦129.77 billion in 91-day, 182-day and 364-day bills at the auction but received bids totalling ₦526.36 billion. Traders said the DMO sold the one-year paper at 15.72 percent to fetch ₦106 billion, lower than 17 percent it paid at the last auction. It also reduced the rate it paid for the 182-day bill to 15.49 percent. Investors bid as much as 18 percent for one-year debt and as low as the 13.25 percent it paid for the three-month note. The DMO has said it wanted to lower how much it pays to issue bonds at home and switch to offshore debt to cut its funding costs. The debt office is planning a series of Eurobonds, part of which it intends to use to repay some of its local treasury bill holding already worth ₦2.7 trillion ($8.8 billion).
  • Expectations for improved economic stability in Nigeria and globally have encouraged BlackRock to move into the country’s local currency bonds as part of efforts to raise performance in its bond offerings, the firm’s head of emerging markets fixed income said on Thursday. BlackRock favours Nigeria, as well as oil producers such as Russia, Colombia and Kazakhstan, the company’s Sergio Trigo Paz told Reuters, highlighting the country’s as one where he is planning to enter local markets. “We are moving into some countries even deeper because we feel that the macro environment is much more stable than it was and likely to improve going forward,” Trigo Paz said. Investors have been piling into Nigerian bonds due to high yields and a stable currency for investors especially as an improving inflation outlook may mean that yields could start to decline. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with $5.7 trillion in assets under management as of July 2017.
  • Erisco Foods has announced that it will collaborate with some Asian firms to build a tomato factory to be used as a base for exportation of tomato paste to all African countries. CEO Eric Umeofia, in a press briefing, said the ban on tomato paste by the federal government had achieved two things: it caused his company’s sales to increase by 20 percent and made some Asian firms hitherto importing the product into Nigeria to come together to build a tomato mega factory in Katsina with a view to the African export market. Umeofia complained that the government’s manufacturing policy was still frustrated by the CBN allocating huge amounts of forex to importers of fish heads, frozen fish, corn, tomato paste in retail packs and others despite the ban.