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Nigeria’s Foreign Trade Bill Hits N23.2tn – NBS

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The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade from January to date is to N23.2 trillion, while trade in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) stood at N8.37 trillion.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said this in its “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics Q3, 2020” published on its website on Monday.

According to the report, the Q3 figure represents an increase of 34.15 per cent, compared to Q2, but a decline of 8.85 per cent, compared to Q3 2019.

Giving details, the NBS said that the import component was valued at N5.38 trillion, representing an increase of 33.77 per cent in Q3, against the level recorded in Q2 and 38.02 per cent compared to Q3 2019.

The value of imports in Q3 2020 represented the highest level for any quarter since 2017, it said.

On the other hand, export component accounted for N2.99 trillion of the total trade in Q3, indicating an increase of 34.85 per cent compared to the value recorded in Q2, but a decrease of 43.43 per cent compared to Q3 2019.

Aside from Q2 2020, the value of exports in Q3 2020 represented the lowest level of any quarter since 2017, it added.

“Due to lower exports and higher imports compared to 2019, the trade balance recorded a deficit of N2.38 trillion during the third quarter.

“This also represents the widest merchandise trade deficit since 2017. When compared to the deficit of N1.8 trillion recorded in Q2, the Q3 deficit rose by 32.45 per cent.”

The report, however stated that the predominant export, remained crude oil, which was valued at N2.42 trillion, representing 81.02 per cent of total exports.

It said that non-crude oil was valued at N568.2 billion, or 18.98 per cent of total export during the period under review.

Categorising the imported goods, the report said that imported agricultural goods, increased in value by 21.13 per cent in Q3, compared to Q2 and 109.82 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019.

“The value of raw material imports increased by 24.47 per cent in Q3, compared to Q2 and 114.95 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019.

“Solid minerals imports increased in value by 21.57 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 and 77.23 per cent compared to Q3, 2019.

“Manufactured goods imports increased in value by 23.18 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 and 23.47 per cent year-on-year.”

The NBS said that the value of energy goods imports decreased by 53.69 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 and a considerable decline of 69.06 per cent year-on-year.

It added that other oil products imports, grew by 216.28 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 and 32.38 per cent when compared to Q3 2019.

As for exports, agricultural goods export dropped in value by 22.6 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 but increased 43.7 per cent year-on-year.

It added that the value of raw material goods export recorded a decline of 24.6 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2 and a decline of 61.9 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019.

“The value of solid minerals exports registered an increase of 253 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2, but a decrease of 12.2 per cent compared to Q3 2019.

“Manufactured goods export decreased in value by 47.7 per cent in Q3 against the level recorded in Q2 and a considerable decline of 86.7 per cent compared with the corresponding quarter in 2019.”

Meanwhile crude oil exports grew in value by 56 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2, but decreased in value by 35.3 per cent year-on-year.

Also, energy goods increased in value by 3.9 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2, but decreased by 20 per cent year –on-year.

It added that other oil products increased in value by 13.1 per cent in the quarter under review compared to Q2, but decreased by 23.2 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019.

According to the NBS, Nigeria’s imports by country of origin shows goods were imported mainly from China (N1.64 trillion worth or 30.51 per cent), United States (N482.3 billion or 8.96 per cent), the Netherlands (N443.5 billion or 8.24 per cent) and India (N354.1 billion or 6.58 per cent).

For exports by country of destination, Nigeria exported goods valued at N500.6 billion or 16.73 per cent to India, Spain N328.5 billion or 10.97 per cent, the Netherlands N227.8 billion or 7.61 per cent and South Africa N203.9 billion or 6.81 per cent.

By continent, during the quarter, Nigeria imported goods mainly from Asia, valued at N2.58 trillion.

Other major imports originated from Europe, valued at N1.8 trillion while imports from America amounted to N746.4billion and Africa N175.4 billion.

Imports from Oceania stood at N532.4 billion while goods valued at N12.5 billion originated from ECOWAS, the report said.

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China to Help Kenya Deal with Debts as Covid-19 Rages

Under the G20 framework, 15 other African countries have also received waivers of matured interest-free loan.

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China has put on hold, debt repayments to Kenya, over Covid-19 pandemic pressure.

Kenya is one of 12 countries in Africa that has received the suspension according to a statement from the Chinese embassy.

Under the G20 framework, 15 other African countries have also received waivers of matured interest-free loan.

According to the embassy, the China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China have implemented all eligible debt suspension requests of the developing nations.

“China attaches great importance to debt suspension and alleviation in African countries including Kenya and is committed to fully implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative,” the embassy noted.

” We stand ready to strengthen coordination with Kenya and assist Kenya in its efforts to address debt challenges. “

The embassy however made no mention of whether Kenya will get relief through the same initiative.

The East African nation is listed among the countries that are likely to default on external loans in the next five years, risking strategic assets used as collaterals.

IHS Markit’s published report titled ‘Investors fret over sovereign bankruptcies in coming years’ compiled by the Financial Times, shows Kenya’s probability of defaulting has grown to 35 per cent.

Top of the list is Argentina with a probability of 55 per cent, Angola 52 per cent, Pakistan 48 per cent, Iraq 45 per cent and Cameroon 42 per cent.

In the past ten years, Kenya’s public debt has been on the rise, with the International Debt Statistics 2021 by the World Bank showing that the country’s external debt has grown four folds in the past decade.

The total external debt grew to $34.2 billion (Sh3.48 trillion) last year from $8.55 (Sh872.1 billion) in 2009, a huge chunk of it from Chinese lenders. This was according to the published report.

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Nigeria’s State Oil Firm, NNPC, Posts ₦28.38Bn Trading Surplus in September

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it recorded a trading surplus of ₦28.38 billion in September 2020.

The Corporation disclosed this in its Monthly Financial and Operation Report (MFOR) for the month of September, released in Abuja, on Sunday.

It said that the amount was slightly lower than the ₦29.60 billion surplus in August 2020.

The marginal reduction in surplus, according to the report, was as a result of lower contribution from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) which recorded zero crude oil lifting from the Okono Okpoho facility during the month under review.

The situation, it further attributed to ongoing repairs in the facility.

“However, other NNPC subsidiaries namely the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO), Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and NNPC Retail posted impressive trading results.

” They recorded 268, 234, 21, 422 and 41 per cent trading surpluses respectively over their previous month’s performance.”

The report further noted that the corporation also recorded a total export revenue for crude oil and gas valued at 120.49 million dollars for the month of September.

“The 120.49 million dollars crude oil and gas export revenue is a 16.28 per cent improvement on the 100.88 million dollars posted in August 2020.

“Out of the figure, proceeds from crude oil amounted to 85.40 million dollars while gas and miscellaneous receipts stood at 25.31 million dollars and 9.78 million dollars respectively,” it revealed.

In the gas sector, a total of 223.82billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas was produced in the month under review translating to an average daily production of 7,460.80million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).

For the period September 2019 to September 2020, a total of 3,039.05bcf of gas was produced representing an average daily production of 7,730.35mmscfd during the period.

“Period-to-date production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and NPDC contributed about 69.10, 20.29 and 10.61 per cent respectively to the total national gas production.

“Out of the 221.91bcf of gas supplied in September 2020, a total of 140.45bcf was commercialised, consisting of 36.37bcf and 104.08bcf for the domestic and export markets respectively,” it said .

It further noted that the supply translated to a total supply of 1,212.17mmscfd of gas to the domestic market and 3,469.45mmscfd of gas supplied to the export market for the month.

This, it said implied that 63.29 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 36.71 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.

It noted that gas flare rate was 6.66 per cent for the month under review (i.e. 492.93mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 5.84% i.e. 439.90 mmscfd for the period of September 2019 to September 2020).

To ensure effective supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the country, a total of 0.59bn litres of PMS translating to 19.59mn liters/day was supplied for the month in the downstream sector.

During the period under review, 21 pipeline points were vandalised representing about 43 per cent decrease from the 37 points recorded in August 2020.

Of this figure, it said that Mosimi Area accounted for 90 per cent of the vandalised points, while Port Harcourt Area accounted for the remaining 10 per cent.

It assured that the NNPC, in collaboration with the local communities and other stakeholders, continuously strive to reduce and eventually eliminate this menace.

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Bahrain’s Bank ABC Acquires 99.4% Stake in Blom Bank Egypt

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Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corporation (Bank ABC) has entered into an agreement with Blom Bank, Lebanon to acquire its 99.4% stake of Blom Bank Egypt for $427 million.

Bank ABC, a leading financial institution in the Middle East, is expected to to complete the acquisition in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.

The acquisition is subject to regulations in Bahrain, Egypt and Lebanon.

A statement from Bank ABC said the acquisition is expected to “reposition Bank ABC’s Egyptian franchise amongst the top 20 banks in Egypt, delivering significantly greater scale and a more efficient platform; provide the Bank ABC Group with a highly profitable franchise with significant future growth potential in one of the most fundamentally attractive markets in Mena; build new capabilities, particularly in Retail, Corporate and SME lending leveraging Bank ABC’s strong digital and mobile banking capabilities and its Group centres of excellence; provide customers with an enhanced product offering, with a more capable and expansive branch network through the addition of 41 branches; and help facilitate greater international connectivity for the enhanced customer base and a stronger platform for access to Egypt for Bank ABC’s broader client base.”

HSBC Bank Middle East is acting as the sole financial advisor to Bank ABC, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Zulficar & Partners acting as legal advisors. Blom Bank Lebanon was advised by CI Capital, while Baker McKenzie acted as legal counsel.

Dr Khaled Kawan, Group CEO of Bank ABC said “the acquisition of Blom Bank Egypt is a unique opportunity for Bank ABC to fulfil its longstanding strategic commitment to inorganically expand its core business, giving us a significantly enhanced platform for future growth, in one of the most attractive markets in the region.

“We have an active relationship with our regulators and will be working to secure their approvals to complete the deal as swiftly as possible. We will then look forward to working with our new Blom Bank Egypt team to combine Bank ABC Egypt and Blom Bank Egypt thereby creating a new powerhouse in the Egyptian banking sector. We also thank the management teams of Blom Bank Lebanon, Blom Bank Egypt and their advisors for the seamless execution process that has led to this agreement.”

Saad Azhari, Chairman and General Manager of Blom Bank Lebanon, commented: “This transaction demonstrates our continuous commitment to our stakeholders and dedication to our strategy. It will allow Blom Bank Lebanon to comply with the latest regulations issued by the Central Bank of Lebanon, which stipulate that all Lebanese banks must increase their equity by 20%.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our team in Blom Bank Egypt for their dedication and perseverance that have made our operation in Egypt successful. I would also like to thank the management and transaction team at Bank ABC for their cooperation and professionalism during the entire transaction process as well as the CI Capital Investment Banking and Baker McKenzie teams for their commitment and dynamism,” he added.

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