Five things to know to start your Thursday

Stocks see slight gain of N2bn as positive sentiment fades

Nigeria’s equities market witnessed slight increase by 0.01percent or N2billion on Wednesday as record positive sentiment on the Bourse begins to fade.

At the close of trading session, the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) and Market Capitalisation increased from 48,568.57 points and N26.183trillion respectively to 48,571.75 points and N26.185trillion.

Academy Press Plc led the advancers’ league after its share price increased from N1.21 to N1.33, up by 12kobo or 9.92percent, followed by Wema Bank Plc which rose from N3.34 to N3.67, after adding 33kobo or 9.88percent.

Also, Cadbury Nigeria Plc rose from N7.75 to N8.50, up 75kobo or 9.68percent; UPDC Plc moved up from 88kobo to 96kobo, gaining 8kobo or 9.09percent; while Presco Plc was up from N132 to N143.85, adding N11.85 or 8.98percent.

In 5,033 deals, investors exchanged 246,703,657 units valued at N2.320billion. Actively traded stocks include Multiverse Mining And Exploration Plc, Transcorp Plc, Lafarge Africa, Fidelity Bank Plc and GTCO Plc.

Nigeria dominates crypto space in Africa with $760m transaction in 2021- Paxful

Paxful, a cryptocurrency trading platform, said that Nigeria’s dominance in the cryptocurrency space in Africa continued in 2021 as the country recorded a trading volume worth over $760 million.

In a statement made available on Wednesday, the company said that in the year 2021, the country registered over 16,000 completed trades.

The company used the opportunity to praise the tenacity of the Nigerian people, saying that despite the difficult economic situation, cryptocurrency adoption and growth ranked among the fastest in the world.

The firm recognised the impact the country’s young population played in driving cryptocurrency growth, as Bitcoin flourished as a store of value and a decent hedge against the loss of wealth amongst them.

Thus, according to the company’s statement, “Nigeria is Paxful’s largest country in terms of trade volume, with over $760 million traded just last year. Breaking it down, in 2021, over 16,000 trades were completed across Nigeria each day, an impressive number that speaks to the high adoption rates in the country. ”

“At Paxful, we are seeing the growth across the continent first-hand. With over nine million users and nearing 10 million globally, much of the growth we have experienced has largely been driven by Africa, specifically the people of Nigeria.

The company recognises the impact the continent has made in the cryptocurrency space, as a report showed that the market grew by over 1,200 percent last year.

“Africa is leading the way for global Bitcoin adoption, and the rest of the world is getting a front-row seat. In the last year, reports show that the market in Africa has grown over 1,200 percent, with countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria ranking among the highest in grassroots adoption in the world. ” The statement revealed.

The recognition that not only bitcoin has grown as a cryptocurrency to make good returns, but using it as a means to buy goods and services grew last year.

According to the company, “Its widespread popularity is clear as Bitcoin fulfils both personal finance needs and entrepreneurial ventures, including remittance, e-commerce, payments, wealth preservation, and social good.”

“But at the source of this widespread adoption of Bitcoin is the youth of Nigeria. Nigeria has one of the youngest populations in the world, with over 75 percent of its population under the age of 35.

“Highly entrepreneurial and resourceful, it is no surprise that Bitcoin has flourished in the country. There is an incredible amount of potential that exists in Nigeria that can help the economic success of not only the country but of the continent as a whole.

“By providing resources and education on the use cases of Bitcoin, we can be a part of the solution and empower individuals to achieve financial freedom.”

Read also: Flour Mills gets regulatory nod for N82bn acquisition of Honeywell Flour

Facebook return to user growth drives Meta shares higher

Shares of Meta Platform Inc. rose higher following reports that Facebook gained more new users than initially projected.

This news was widely celebrated as earlier concerns over the social media company’s losing ground to newer competition like TikTok had made many wonder if the company had the capability to attract younger users to its site.

The shares rose by more than 19% in late trading after it reported 1.96 billion daily users for its flagship platform-Facebook, which returned to growth after the first-ever decline in the December quarter.

This result represented a 2 million user increase over what analysts had predicted.

Consequently, the report showed that the company’s revenue grew to $27.9 billion, which signified a growth of 6.6 percent for the period under review. An amount that would have been even greater if not for the war in Ukraine, the company said.

By this time last year, the company’s stock had fallen more than 45 percent as investors were worried over declining revenue following advertisers’ choosing rival companies over them.

With Facebook adding more than 31 million new daily active users for Q1, 2022, concerns over falling revenue due to advertisers choosing rival companies have been temporarily put to rest.

Bloomberg reported that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, had acknowledged that China’s ByteDance Ltd, owner of TikTok, was providing stiff competition for the company.

Added to the changes to data-collection rules on Apple Inc, iPhones, making it impossible to serve targeted ads. Those are some of the challenges the company is trying to overcome to make it more profitable.

Ethiopia, others to get $670m in emergency food aid from U.S


Recognizing the impact of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on the global food supply, President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing $670 million in emergency food aid to address the food crisis.

The president, plans to use emergency funding powers not used since 2014 as an effort to prevent a food crisis that could create political turmoil in some poor countries.

According to Bloomberg, a statement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will use $282 million from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to purchase U.S. food commodities to assist existing food operations in six countries facing “severe food insecurity” – Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen.

Further investigation revealed that Russia’s war in Ukraine is making it difficult to ship in grains relied upon by countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, threatening to drive an additional 40 million people into poverty, the USDA revealed.

The war has caused a rise in the cost of petrol, fertilizer, and food items, the highest ever recorded.

Most leaders are concerned about how to avoid a major food crisis, as further price increases caused by Ukraine’s ongoing war could spark political unrest similar to the 2011 Arab Spring.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power said, “In Ukraine, which provides 10 percent of the world’s wheat, farmers are struggling to plant and harvest their crops for fear of shelling and Russian landmines, and their path to exporting these vital commodities is severely restricted by Russia’s invasion,”


Ukraine to get more intelligence sharing from U.S.


In an effort to turn the tide in favour of the U.S., its allies, and Ukraine, the U.S. has decided to remove restrictions on intelligence sharing with Ukraine.

This decision comes following a renewed Russian military assault in the east and south of the country, especially in Donbas.

Bloomberg said Representative Mike Turner and Senator Marco Rubio, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had asked the director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, to remove the restrictions on intelligence sharing with the Ukrainian government.

According to the information gathered, the sharing is to help the Ukrainian government reorganise its defences, defend territories and plan a counter attack to claim lost territories, especially in the east and south of the country.

According to a report from Bloomberg, an official who pleaded anonymity said that the country was already sharing timely intelligence with the Ukrainians, including about areas held by Russia before the Donbas invasion.

Capturing the city after failed attempts at the capital, Kyiv, resulted in massive losses for Putin’s administration.


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