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8th October, 2013 A Snap Shot of the Economy

As the nation’s stock market continues its steady recovery from the 2008/ 2009 correction, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in collaboration with ECL Assert Management Limited, a stock broking firm last weekend held a customers'/ investors’ forum in Aba, the Abia State commercial capital of Nigeria; with advocacy for domestic investors to increase their equities stake in the nation. Specifically, the SEC, NSE and ECL Asset Management took turns to educate hundreds of stocks investors and potential shares buyers that gathered at the Enitona Hotel, Aba, to move into the stock market now, by buying new stocks and increasing their shareholding stakes; especially in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline will seek marketing approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine next year after trial data showed the shot significantly cut cases of the disease in African children. The vaccine known as RTS was discovered, after 18 months of follow-up, to have almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children in the trial, and to have reduced by around a quarter the number of malaria cases in infants.

Procter and Gamble (P&G) has announced its partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, via the PACN (Pan Africa Chemistry Network) to help promote science in Africa. The aim of the partnership is to develop links between industry and academia that currently do not exist, and foster skills within academic communities.

Connect Nigeria, an information search portal, has announced it will host the business environment to the first ever e-business fair in the country.  In line with its mission to connect businesses to markets in a convenient, fast, and easy way, this year’s fair is themed “E-Business and the Growth of Your Enterprise”, which underscores the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the economy. The event which is scheduled to hold in October will host stakeholders drawn from different industries to discuss the prospects and challenges of conducting business electronically.

The US Federal Reserve has issued a new hi-tech $100 banknote comprising several new security features. It includes a blue 3D security ribbon and a bell and inkwell logo that authorities say are particularly difficult to replicate. These combine with traditional security features, such as a portrait watermark and an embedded security thread that glows pink under ultraviolet light.

Twitter’s $1 billion stock offering suggests a cautious Wall Street debut by the popular messaging platform, careful to avoid the mistakes made by its larger counterpart Facebook last year, say analysts. Twitter initial public offering (IPO) unveiled Thursday indicates the shares offered will be a relatively modest percentage of what Wedbush estimates as a valuation of around $15 billion. Twitter did not give a date for the IPO but said it would take place as “soon as practicable.” Pachter noted that the “relatively small initial public offering is intended to avoid the issues experienced by Facebook when it offered approximately $16 billion in stock, far more than the market appeared willing to absorb.” He added that Twitter and early investors appear to be “patient” and will wait before selling shares, to ensure the supply is limited.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO of Heritage Bank, has said concerted promotion and protection of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is the first step in building the next generation of African corporate. Studies, he noted, indicate that more than 70 percent of the SMEs lack access to medium-longer-term finance, creating an SME funding gap of more than $140 billion in Africa alone. “Using Nigeria as a case study, between 2003 and 2009, SME loans as a percentage of total credit, decreased from 7.45 percent to 0.18 percent. Yet by 2012, Nigeria had about 17.6 million MSMEs employing about 32.4 million people.  He further revealed that in Nigeria, most SMEs die within the first five years of existence while another smaller percentage goes into extinction between the sixth and tenth year, with only 5 to 10 percent surviving, thriving and growing into established corporate status.

A fresh wave of interest is blowing across the Nigerian retail market with more foreign retailers warming up for entry into the market to take a bite of the nation’s soaring household buying power. The past couple of years have seen growth in retail business in Nigeria due largely to the growing sophistication among the emerging middle class who have shifted from the traditional shopping culture in the open market to a more organised and convenient shopping experience which retail malls offer.

The State of Osun N10 billion sukuk, an Islamic bond, which closed last week, was oversubscribed by 20 percent. The Osun’s issue of up to N10 billion of seven-year sukuk denominated in local currency will pay investors a fixed return of between 14.25 percent and 14.75 percent.


The International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecasts for global output on Tuesday for the sixth time since early last year, saying stronger growth in most advanced economies would fail to make up for a more sluggish expansion in the developing world. Prospects for emerging markets, long the engine of the global recovery, have dimmed somewhat with both structural and cyclical factors at play. The United States is driving much of the global recovery and U.S. output should pick up further next year – as long as politics do not get in the way, the IMF said, referring to a looming standoff over the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. “A failure to promptly raise the debt ceiling, leading to a U.S. selective default, could seriously damage the global economy,” the IMF warned in its latest World Economic Outlook, released ahead of its twice-yearly meetings later this week.

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