- OPEC oil output fell in March to an 11-month low due to declining Angolan exports, Libyan outages and a further slide in Venezuelan output, a Reuters survey of oil companies, OPEC and consulting firms found, sending compliance with a supply-cutting deal to another record. The bloc pumped 32.19 million barrels per day last month, according to the survey, down 90,000 bpd from February. The March total is the lowest since April 2017. OPEC is reducing output by about 1.2 million bpd as part of a 2017 deal with Russia and other non-OPEC producers to get rid of excess supply and runs until the end of 2018. Adherence by producers in the deal rose to 159 percent of agreed cuts from 154 percent in February. There was no sign that other producers had boosted output to cash in on higher prices or to compensate for the Venezuelan decline. Oil has topped $71 a barrel this year for the first time since 2014 and was trading above $67 on Wednesday.
- The CBN kept its main interest rate at 14 percent on Wednesday, Governor Godwin Emefiele said, after the first policy-setting meeting of the year. Most analysts had expected rates to be kept on hold with cuts seen later this year. The regulator cancelled its January meeting due to an inability to form a quorum after several departures reduced it to just five out of 12 members. The decision to raise the key interest rate to 14 percent was made in July 2016 and has been kept at the same level since then. At 14 percent, Nigeria’s MPR is currently at its highest in at least 12 years. Aisha Ahmad, Edward Adamu, and the two other newly confirmed members of the MPC voted for the first time.
- The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria says its members are burdened by taxes. The association said multiple taxes have been impacting negatively on their operations adding that the 2015 Amended Taxes and Levies Order has led to the imposition of arbitrary levies and charges on telecom firms by state governments. Addressing journalists on Tuesday, Gbenga Adebayo, ALTON chairman, said that item 3 (b) of the Amended Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act introduced new levies and taxes under items 12 to 25, a development which it said “negates the ease of doing business in Nigeria.” Adebayo requested that Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance, review the order and the federal government issue an executive order declaring telecom infrastructure as critical national security and economic infrastructure as prescribed in the 2015 Cybercrime Act.
- Equity transactions on the NSE in March recorded a total of 10.166 billion shares valued at ₦136.241 billion in 103,441 deals, representing a 14.88 percent drop in volume terms and a 28.49 percent rise in value when compared to the preceding month of February. The financial services sector accounted for 5.74 billion units worth ₦54.064 billion, buoyed by the 4.005 billion units of ₦50.264 billion in 29,981 deals. Despite its slide in recent weeks, the ASI in Q1 still gained 3,261.32 points to close at 41,504.51 points after beginning the year at 38,243.19 points, a 8.53 percent growth on a huge volume of 42.87 billion shares traded from previous quarter’s 23.26 billion shares traded in Q4 2017. Market capitalisation for the period was up by N1.38 trillion to close higher at ₦14.99 trillion from ₦13.61 trillion, a 10.14 percent value gain in an earnings season filled with mixed sentiments.
- Seplat has reached an out-of-court settlement between its subsidiary; Newton Energy and Crestar Natural Resources following a legal dispute over the acquisition of OML 25. Seplat said under the new terms of the settlement, the Escrow Monies will be split as follows: US$10 million to Seplat and US$10.5 million to Crestar. Early this year, Seplat had in a press release announced the commencement of legal proceedings in England against its subsidiary, Newton Energy by Crestar relating to the deposit of US$20.5 million held in an escrow account and related to the potential acquisition of an interest in OML 25, originally awarded to Shell by Crestar, which Newton has an option to invest into in July 2015. When the NNPC attempted to block the sale and acquire the interest for itself under a 30-day contractual right of first refusal that had expired months earlier, Crestar commenced injunction proceedings in January 2015 in Abuja to prevent the Shell from affecting the transfer to NNPC. OML 25 lies 50 kilometres southwest of Port Harcourt in the onshore eastern delta and is part of the NNPC/Shell Joint Venture. The block is located on the coastal mangrove swamp and extends slightly offshore.