By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
One of the biggest losers was Royal Exchange Plc which declined 10% to trade around 0.27 Naira as of writing. Given the ongoing uncertainty presented by COVID-19, and recent depreciation in Oil prices primarily fueled by signs of the coronavirus fallout weighing on the energy sector, appetite towards local stocks may remain muted.
South Africa publishes shocking GDP data
Words fail to describe South Africa’s shocking and surreal gross domestic product data for Q2.
Economic growth contracted by a heart-stopping 51% q/q during the second quarter of 2020 thanks to the impacts of lockdown restrictions since the end of March 2020. This is the steepest decline since 1990 and raises concerns over the outlook for Africa’s most industrialized nation. It must be kept in mind that South Africa was already in a vulnerable situation before the coronavirus menace sunk its poisonous fangs into core services and sectors. The negative impacts continue to be reflected in economic data, as the country struggles to nurse deep wounds inflicted from tough lockdowns and rising coronavirus cases.
Expectations are set to mount over the South African Central Bank cutting interest rates for the sixth time this year to jumpstart economic growth. Given how inflationary pressures remain muted with consumer prices around 3.2%, this offers the SARB enough breathing room pull the rate cut trigger potentially in September or November. The key question is whether lower interest will breathe life into an economy entangled in a fierce battle against multiple risks. As of now, South Africa is predicted to experience its worst economic contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Despite all of this negativity, the Rand is standing tall against the Dollar and other G10 currencies today. It has even appreciated across the board since the start of September and has offered a mixed performance across the FX space quarter-to-date.
The South African Rand remains influenced by external drivers in the form of COVID-19 developments, US-China trade and global sentiment. If the market mood improves this week and investors able to shake concerns over possible a delay in the COVID-19 vaccine, this may bode well for the Rand.
Dollar bulls stage a comeback
After being badly mistreated by G10, Asian and Emerging market currencies over the past few months, the Dollar has had enough.
The former king of the currency markets is on a mission to reclaim dominance, appreciating across the board after a sell-off in stock markets prompted investors to rush towards safe-haven destinations. Dollar bulls seem to be deriving strength from not only concerns over a possible delay in the Covid-19 vaccine but the recent U.S jobs report showing a decline in the U.S unemployment rate and jump in U.S Treasury yields.
With the Dollar Index trading at levels not seen in four weeks around 96.30 and appreciating over 1.5% since the start of September, are bulls back in the game?
Looking at the technical picture, a rebound may be on the cards on the weekly timeframe following the solid move above 93.00. A weekly close beyond this point could suggest an incline towards 94.00 and 96.00 in the medium term. If 94.00 proves to be reliable resistance, the DXY may find itself sinking back towards 93.00 and 91.15.
On the daily timeframe, prices remain in a wide range with support at 92.20 and resistance around 94.00. A daily close above 94.00 could inject bulls with enough inspiration to target 94.65 which then opens the doors towards 93.00 and beyond.
The question on the mind of many investors is whether the Dollar is able to maintain this current burst of confidence and majesty across the FX space. Although the currency is still considered as a safe-haven currency and the worlds reserve currency, it has weakened against every single G10 currency this quarter.
Negative themes in the form of rising coronavirus cases in the United States and political uncertainty ahead of Novembers presidential election may limit the Dollar’s upside gains. Given the fundamental forces influencing the Dollar’s longer-term outlook, prices still have the potential to decline with a move below 92.00 on the monthly timeframe acting as an early signal.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed
By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,
After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.
The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.
Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?
From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.
In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.
As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.
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