Five Things to Start Your Day
Stock markets up over US stimulus deal in sight
Asians stocks gained grounds Wednesday morning as investors took a cue from earlier Wall Street rally which followed positive news that the Congress may soon approve a $2trn fiscal stimulus package to support coronavirus-hit US economy. US FEDs had on Monday announced unlimited Quantitative Easing.
The broad measure of stock performance in the Asian and Pacific region excluding Japan, MSCI ASIA APEX 50 jumped 2.59% in the day, benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 6.38% as all trackers in the Japanese market closed in the green. China’s main equity gauge Shanghai composite index gained 1.41% in a solid day for Chinese stocks and Australia’s S&P/200 index surged 5.54%.
All markets in the region except lockdown-India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia were bullish; A performance which mirrored gains in US benchmark S&P 500 which closed up 9.4 per cent at its high for the day, according to Financial Times data. Nasdaq was up 8 per cent while an 11.4 per cent increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average of US blue-chip stocks was its biggest since 1933 during the Great Depression, the US-based news outlet noted.
Coronavirus Update: Nigeria’s total now 46 as country confirms 2 new cases
Nigeria early Wednesday confirmed two more cases of Coronavirus, taking the country’s confirmed cases to 46.
“Two new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: 1 in Lagos and 1 in Osun,” the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) tweeted.
According to the NCDC, both cases are returning travellers to Nigeria in the last 7 days, with travel history to Germany and the UK.
These statistics should include Abba Kyari, Nigeria’s Chief of Staff, who was confirmed as a carrier of the virus by the Nigerian Center for Disease and Control (NCDC) after returning on the 14th of March from Germany where he went for a meeting to discuss a power deal with Siemens.
As at 07:00 am on 25th March, there are 46 confirmed cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria. 2 have been discharged with 1 death
Lagos has 30 confirmed cases, FCT has 8, Ogun has 3 while Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Bauchi, Osun have one each.
GTB joins Zenith Bank in pegging international withdrawal on naira cards amid dollar crunch
GTBank will limit monthly spending on customer Naira Mastercard from $3,000 to $1,500 for international online and POS transactions effective today, March 25 2020, according to a notice seen by BusinessDay.
The 50% cut in spending limit is a move reminiscent of the strategy adopted by several banks in 2015 in the wake crude oil crash leading to an economic recession.
Already Zenith has set an international spending limit on the bank’s Naira card to $1,000 per month daily limits for withdrawals outside Nigeria and said daily limits for withdrawals outside Nigeria have been set at $300.
This comes after moves by the Central Bank Friday to quote the naira at 380 naira per dollar from 365 naira on the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window, and adjust the official exchange rate to 360 naira per dollar from 307 naira, was seen by analysts as insufficient to encourage dollar inflow.
Naira on the parallel Market on Wednesday morning was quoted at N400/$. The non-deliverable forwards (NDF) market in London priced the naira at 515 to the dollar in a year while naira futures contracts of the same tenor were quoted at 385, Reuters reported Monday signalling pressure on the naira.
House of Reps pass Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill
The Federal House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced and passed for third reading, a bill, seeking to cushion the economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerian households and companies.
The Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020, was titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for Relief on Corporate Tax Liability, Suspension of Import Duty on Selected Goods and Deferral of Residential Mortgage Obligations to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for Fixed Term to Protect Jobs and Alleviate the Financial Burden on Citizens in Response to the Economic Downturn Occasioned by the Outbreak of COVID–19 Disease.’
The bill seeks to stimulate the economy to cushion the impact of the spread of the coronavirus. Furthermore, the bill aims to protect the employment status of Nigerian and provide a moratorium for mortgage payments during the period of the outbreak. The draft bill is also targeted at eliminating fiscal bottlenecks around the importation of medical equipment to combat the spread of the virus
After a third reading, typically there is an examination by the relevant committee where amendments may be made, and then-presidential assent.
Lagos markets for non-essentials to shut down from Tomorrow
Markets in Lagos state selling non-expected commodities are expected to shut down from Thursday to allow for monitoring and control of the spread of the Coronavirus in Nigeria’s worst-hit state, State government said Tuesday.
All markets and stores that are not involved in the sales of essential commodities like food, water, medical equipment and related life-saving products will be closed, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State said.
The shutdown would initially be for 7 days.
Measures by the state follow suasion from the Federal Government for residents of Lagos State and Abuja to stay at home, avoid large public gatherings and non-essential outings.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State has asked religious centres to limit the number of the worshippers at their centres at a time, while state commissioner for transportation restricted the number of passengers allowed on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) bus operations to 50 persons, prohibiting passengers from standing.
As of early morning Wednesday, two new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Nigeria; one in Lagos state and the other in Osun State.