BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Five things to know to start your Tuesday

UK to legislate against Brexit deal within three weeks

The United Kingdom has indicated its readiness to introduce a ‘controversial bill’ within the next three weeks, that will override earlier agreed-upon trade deals with the EU that is affected trade and commerce in Northern Ireland following the Brexit deal.

According to Bloomberg, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, said that Parliament will sit on the matter from June 20, 2022, during which there will be a six-week window for the bill to pass the lower House of Commons before the summer vacation, planned for July 20, 2022.

In an interview held yesterday, Lewis said that legislation for this week will not be held. “We are doing some work to see that we cover all the key issues.” This is something we want to put out there as soon as possible, but not in the next couple of days. ”

The very controversial issue definitely requires some high-level diplomacy to avoid a trade war between the UK and the European Union as the situation in Northern Ireland becomes very dicey.

“We will see over the next few weeks. We are very open to having those conversations,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, when we publish the legislation, people will see that it is actually very sensible, very logical, quite common-sense,” Lewis said.

“Maybe the EU will see the logic and show the flexibility to come to an agreement around that,” he said. “This legislation will allow us to ratify any agreement with the EU as well, if we need to do that.”

According to Bloomberg, the British Prime Minister is worried that the deal it signed with the EU gave an unfair advantage to the EU, an outcome that has not only affected the trading rights between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK but has also played a huge role in the collapse of the regional devolved government.

There are fears that a full-blown trading war could begin following counter threats by the EU to punish the UK if the ‘controversial bill’ is implemented. With the absence of a majority in the upper House of Lords, the UK government may have to force the measure through, dampening the consequences.

Tunisian labour union calls for national strike, rejects president’s dialogue

The labour union in Tunisia has voiced its decision to go on a national strike over wages and the failing economy on Monday after refusing to take part in a government-proposed dialogue. Despite assurances from President Kais Saied over promises to rewrite the constitution, the Union still insists on embarking on the strike.

Many believe that the call for a strike by the most powerful labour union in the country, with over a million registered members, is a way to arrest the ambition of the president after his ‘seizure of broad powers and moves to one-man rule.’

The controversial president, who witnessed the power of the people to override any dictatorial ambitions of presidents in the past, still went ahead to make amends to the country’s democratic constitution, brushing aside the parliament, preferring instead to rule by decree.

Political analysts accuse President Saied of undermining the willpower of the people and throwing away the gains of the 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab spring. A gain that he is currently benefitting from but has decided to jettison the constitution under the pretense of economic and political rescue.

One of the conditions given by the union to President Saied was a call for a national dialogue on both political and economic reforms.

The union had earlier, fearing political manoeuvring from Saied, rejected calls to join a small advisory group of other civil society organisations that could submit reform ideas.

According to Reuters, Saied said last week that political parties would be barred from a role in forming the new constitution, which would replace the 2014 document that emerged from an inclusive debate among Tunisia’s main political factions and social organisations.

The spokesman for the Labour Union, Sami Tahri, said, “We reject any formal dialogue in which roles are determined unilaterally and from which civil and political forces are excluded.”

Meanwhile, all the major political parties have pledged to fight Saied’s decision to exclude them from the political reform debate and accused him of trying to bring back the dark days of dictatorship.

Read also: Nigeria’s GDP growth eludes businesses, households

EU plans first joint gas buying before winter

The European Union has decided to stock up its gas reserves through a joint purchase as it plans to build up its buffer ahead of the winter and against any further energy supply shocks.

Last week, the European Commission proposed increased investments in renewable energy, energy savings, and finding alternative markets for gas supply to replace Russian gas by 2027.

Last month, Russia, which supplies 40 percent of the EU’s gas, cut off Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland after they failed to pay for gas in roubles.

In an interview with Reuters, “EU energy policy chief Kadri Simson said the bloc intended to start jointly buying gas this year, supported by an EU platform launched last month that would pool countries’ demand and coordinate use of infrastructure to import non-Russian supplies.”

Reuters believes that many people are not sure about this move by the European Commission, fearing that it will be a serious challenge for some of the countries “to secure significant volumes from the tightly supplied global market or to launch quickly given the complexity of coordinating between companies, governments, and Brussels to make the purchases.”

Simson believes that the togetherness of European countries could help them gain access to supplies that would have been difficult if they acted individually.

“There are limited gas volumes available in the global market for this year.” “And some of them are coming to the market only because of political decisions,” she said, pointing to a U.S.-EU deal from March for the United States to supply an extra 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquefied natural gas to Europe this year.

Despite the EU’s move, which is viewed as a medium-to-long-term move, countries have been advised to switch to renewable energy usage and to fill their gas storage to 80 percent ahead of winter, as this will help to protect against supply shocks in the global gas market.

Equities market records first loss this week

Nigeria’s equities market recorded its first loss this week as the performance indicators tilted south on Monday May, 23.

“We anticipate continued market interest in the domestic equities space despite ongoing profit-taking,” analysts at United Capital said in their note to investors.

The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) and Market Capitalisation decreased by 0.13percent or N37billion to 52,911.51 points and N28.525trillion respectively as against day-open highs of 52,979.96 points and N28.562trillion. The market’s positive return year-to-date (YtD) decreased to 23.87percent.

“We do not rule out bargain hunting on stocks that present significant upside potential to investors. However, we expect that profit-taking activities will dictate market direction. Hence, we expect the market to close in the negative region this week,” Meristem analysts said in their stock recommendation this week.

Presco led the stocks that drove the market’s new low after its price decreased by N20, from N200 to N180, down by 10percent. Global Spectrum Energy Services also decreased by 9.97percent, from day-open high of N3.41 to N3.07, losing 34kobo.

“Market picked up from Friday’s negative close as price swings in large-cap names continue to dictate market direction,” Vetiva analysts said. They anticipate another tepid trading session on Tuesday “amid bargain hunting activities across board”.

Also, Neimeth made the league of top laggards after its share price decreased by 17kobo or 9.66percent, from N1.76 or N1.59. UAC or Nigeria decreased from N14.40 to N13.20, losing N1.20 or 8.33percent, while NEM Insurance dipped from a high of N4.39 to N4.05, losing 34kobo or 7.74percent.

Jaiz Bank, GTCO, Transcorp, Access Holdings and Zenith Bank were most traded stocks on the Exchange. In 4,856 deals, investors exchanged 263,338,835 shares valued at N3.549billion.

Wall street closes higher on Monday

The stock markets in the US closed higher on Monday, following buy pressure on tech stocks. A result that arrested a nearly seven-week decline.

The Dow Jones gained 618.34 basis points or 2 percent to close at 31, 880.24 basis points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained 72.39 basis points and 180.66 basis points or 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent, to close at 3,973.75 basis points and 11,535.27 basis points respectively.

This follows news of President Biden’s move to reduce tariffs imposed on imported goods from China by the Trump administration and the lower valuations that occurred in the market.

Despite the growth in the market, traders are still unsure about the direction as we await the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting of the US Federal Reserve Bank.

However, the verdict is out: interest rates will be raised, but the market is unsure by how much.

Tradingeconomics is of the opinion that rates will be much tighter to curb the impact of the higher cost of living on the economy.

“Market participants await Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech scheduled for tomorrow, as well as the FOMC minutes later on Wednesday, for clues on the central bank’s rate-hike path.”

The banking index led the gainers chart with JP Morgan picking up 6.1 percent in the process. This follows some good news on their financial forecast. While Citi and Bank of America also gained 6%, benefitting from investors’ goodwill on the banking index.

Meanwhile, VMware rose 25 percent on news that US chipmaker Broadcom is in talks to acquire the software company.

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