05 Dec

Daily Watch – Car sales plunge 50 percent in 2017, Naira rates headed for convergence

  • The CBN on Monday weakened the naira marginally, selling dollars at ₦307 each for the first time on the official interbank market, in what traders say could signal a gradual move to merge its multiple exchange rates. There is at least five exchange rate including the official one which the regulator used to mask pressure on the currency. In April it allowed foreign investors to trade the naira at a market determined rate, which has weakened the currency to around ₦360. Earlier this month the bank sold dollars at ₦306 for the second time after maintaining a level of around ₦305 on the spot market for two months.
  • The NNPC says it has no plans to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot and the pump price ahead of the busy holiday season. The state oil company, in a statement on Monday, said the ex-depot petrol price of ₦133.38 per litre and the pump price of ₦143/₦145 per litre remain unchanged, adding that it has enough fuel stock to ensure a seamless supply and distribution of products across the country. Some online news platforms had indicated that there was an impending fuel price hike, resulting in some panic buying in several parts of the country, including parts of the Lagos metropolitan area and Sokoto. The NNPC said it had the full commitment of all downstream stakeholders including petroleum marketers and industry unions to cooperate in achieving zero fuel scarcity. The NPA says 22 laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods are expected to arrive Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos from 22-30 December.
  • The management of 9mobile says Barclays has not withdrawn as financial adviser of the 9mobile investment process. According to a statement on its website, the company said the bank is committed to a speedy conclusion of the process. “Following recent press reports relating to Barclays Africa’s role as financial advisor on the sale of 9Mobile, the board of directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (trading as 9Mobile) wishes to clearly state that these reports are inaccurate,” the statement read. The online news site, The Cable had reported that the NCC and CBN had expressed concerns at how the bank was handling the process. Etisalat, Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile network with more than 20 million subscribers, became 9mobile after a consortium of banks took over the company for defaulting on a loan payment.
  • SEC DG Mounir Gwarzo was suspended by Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, for refusing to halt the forensic probe of Oando, according to a Thisday report. The minister’s office has denied the allegation, maintaining that Gwarzo was suspended on 29 November following allegations that he was carting away documents to undermine a petition against him. Gwarzo has insisted on a forensic audit of Oando over allegations of irregularities, notably the increased trading in the company’s shares before it declared a ₦183 billion loss — the biggest in Nigerian corporate history. However, while these and other allegations were being probed, a petition was filed against Gwarzo for paying himself a severance package as a former SEC executive commissioner, the position from where he was made DG. On Sunday, Abdul Zubair, the SEC director in charge of external relations was announced as acting DG.
  • About 7,000 brand new vehicles were sold in the first three quarters of 2017 by the country’s auto companies, a 48 percent drop from the 14,500 units sold in the corresponding period in 2016. The Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria, Kunle Adeojo, who gave the figure during his quarterly briefing in Lagos, said Toyota’s share of the market has reached 22 percent with a target of 24 percent before year’s end. Adeojo also said that the country’s auto industry is forecast to grow by five percent in 2018.