The Week Ahead

BioNTech to seek approval for 5-11-year-olds  COVID-19 vaccine from the week ahead

From the week ahead, BioNTech will seek approval across the world to permit the use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as five and preparations for a launch are in motion. This is according to the biotech firm’s two top executives.

According to the chief medical officer, Oezlem Tuereci, over the next few weeks, the firm will file the results of its trial in five to 11-year-olds with regulators across the world and will request approval of the vaccine in this age group.

Tuereci also mentioned that the final production steps to bottle a lower-dose pediatric version of its Comirnaty vaccine is underway which is currently approved for adults and youngsters at least 12 years of age.

The firm has said it intends to file its regulatory dossier on the 5- to 11-year-olds this September and also laid out plans to seek approval in children aged 6 months to 2 years later this year.

Moderna, however, has said that a trial testing its shot in children between six and 11 years has now been fully enrolled. The Pharmaceutical firm also assured that it was working on the best dosage in another study involving infants as young as six months.

Chile, as well, which has relied heavily on Sinovac’s shot, this month approved the use of the vaccine in children over 6 years of age.

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Oil price market outlook

Oil prices dropped by about $1 on Monday, extending previous losses after the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia slashed crude contract prices for Asia over the week ending September 11, reflecting well-supplied global markets and concerns over the outlook for demand.

Iraq and Total Energies have signed a $27billion contract to deepen oil, gas, and solar investment in Iraq. The Iraqi oil minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, said the deal was also to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The head of Russia’s Lukoil Company said oil prices at $65-$75 were comfortable for the market and OPEC+ is striving to maintain that price range by regulating output.

OPEC+ at the first Ministerial Roundtable on Energy, Climate, and Sustainable Development canvassed for a different approach in tackling climate change in developing countries.

Oil prices grew towards $73 a barrel on Friday, supported by growing signs of supply tightness in the United States as a result of Hurricane Ida and as U.S.-China trade hopes gave riskier assets a boost.

Both Brent and WTI benchmarks had weekly declines of -0.16% and -0.03% WoW respectively.

In the coming week, oil prices are expected to gain slightly as the US Gulf of Mexico production comes on stream and President Biden’s vaccine mandate strengthens economic recovery. Oil prices may also be supported by the Chinese oil auction which was aimed at stabilising oil prices.

The oil market in the coming week will be looking out for OPEC and the International Energy Agency’s oil demand outlook for 2022 against the spread or containment of the Delta variant of COVID-19.


Gold prices drifted lower amid rising dollar

Yellow metal prices fell at the start of the week, but they remained below a two-and-a-half-month high.

A disappointing U.S. jobs report raised the possibility that the Federal Reserve might delay asset tapering, which boosted the price of gold.

During the previous session, gold futures reached $1,833.80, their highest level since Jun. 16, before declining 0.30% to $1,828.25 early Monday.

Despite Friday’s non-farm payroll report showing 235,000 jobs gained in August, investors are still digesting Friday’s report. Investors now expect the Fed to take a bit longer to begin asset tapering, given the economy’s smallest gains in 7 months and the demand for assets.

The Dollar Index, which moves inversely to gold, also fell after the report. The dollar rose on Monday.

As part of their respective policy decisions, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the European Central Bank will make announcements on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

As gold prices bounced back in the previous week, physical gold demand was comparatively muted in Asian hubs. There are, however, tentative hopes that Indian festivals will boost demand this year.

Data provided by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed that COMEX gold and silver net long positions were increased by speculators in the week ended Aug. 31.

A steady price for silver was maintained at $24.69 per ounce. In the previous session, the price increased 3.4%, the largest percentage rise since early May. The platinum price fell 0.6%, while palladium gained 0.2%.

Gold depreciated by -1.96% while Silver also dropped by -3.31% W-o-W.


National Bureau of Statistics data release calendar for the week ahead 

The NBS release calendar for the coming week indicates the following:

· Monday 13th September 2021: Q2, 2021 Terms of Trade Report & Social Statistics Report 2020

· Tuesday 14th September 2021: Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt (Q2, 2021) & Rail Transportation Data (Q1 & Q2, 2021)

· Wednesday 15th September 2021: CPI and Inflation Report August 2021

· Thursday 16th September 2021: Automative Gas Oil (DIESEL) Price watch August 2021, National Household Kerosene Watch, August 2021 & Premium Motor Spirit (PETROL) Price watch August 2021.

· Friday 17th September 2021: Liquefied Petroleum Gas (COOKING GAS) Price watch August 2021, Selected Food Prices August 2021 & Transport Fare watch August 2021.


Currency market

The Naira continued its fall against major currencies last week, both at the BDC market and I & E FX Window.

At the I & E FX window, the domestic currency fell slightly by +0.12% on a week-on-week (W-o-W) basis to N412.00/US$ at the close of trading on Friday.

At the BDC market, it closed at US$/N547 depreciating by +3.60% against the US dollar, against the British pound it also fell by +3.47% to close at Pound/N745, and against the Euro by+2.58% to close at Euro/N635.

The Naira closed the week at $/N412.00 at the I&E FX window, at the NAFEX (spot market) it closed at $/N411.29.

More of the same is expected in the week ahead as the Naira is anticipated to continue to hover around N406/$1-N412/$1 threshold in the NAFEX window.


Money market

For most of the trading session last week, money market rates were in single digit, this was supported by robust system liquidity.

At the close of the session on Friday, funding rates increased which was propelled by PMA. Open Buyback (OBB) closed at 14.00% while Overnight (O/N) rates closed at 14.50% indicating a W-o-W rise of +7.69%for OBB and +7.14% for O/N rates.

Funding rates are expected to trade in double digits trend in the coming week in the absence of any inflow.


Treasury bills market

The bills market was largely bearish last week, with attention skewed towards the PMA that held in the week.

At the close of the market last week, average benchmark yields for T-bills rose by +6.54% to 4.91%, OMO bills were up by +1.64% W-o-W to close at 6.12% while CBN’s special bills dipped by -2.23%.

Activity next week is expected to be dictated by the market liquidity situation.


FGN bond and Eurobond Market

The FGN bond market sustained its mixed trend last week, with buying interest seen at the short and long-dated instruments, while investors went long for the mid-tenor notes. The overall average benchmark yields closed at 8.26% for the week which fell slightly by W-o-W by -0.66%.

The Eurobond market was relatively bearish for the entire week, with buying interests seen across the board. Access Bank is set to issue a 5-year Fixed Rate USD Senior Unsecured Note. The bank currently has a 5-year Eurobond which was issued on the 19th of October 2016.

Market sentiment is expected to remain soft as inflation concerns continue to linger.


Nigerian Capital Market

The Nigerian bourse closed the week on a negative note as the performance was bearish. The NGXASI closed the week with a decline of -0.86%. The Nigerian Stock Exchange lost N176.75 bn, year-to-date return moderated to -3.35%, while the market capitalization settled at N20.28trillion.

The volume and value of stocks traded on the exchange this week grew by +6.55% and +51.14% respectively.

Sectoral performance across sectors tracked was mixed last week as the NGX Oil and Gas was the highest gainer for the week with +2.28% while NGX Insurance was the highest loser with -3.39%. NGX Consumer Goods closed positive with +0.18%, NGX-IND remained flat while NGX Banking closed negative with -0.19.

Market breadth for the week closed negative with 25 gainers led by OANDO and FTNCOCOA as against 34 losers led by CORNERST and UPDC

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