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Dollar Drops Against EuroAt Dec Rally

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The dollar declined against the euro on speculation that its biggest December rally since the European currency’s 1999 debut may be hard to sustain.

South Africa’s rand was the best performer versus the dollar among the 16 most-traded currencies as gold and other precious metals rallied as the dollar dropped.

“The market has got too far in terms of buying dollars, looking for higher rates”, said Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers Group In. in Greenwhich, Connecticut.

The dollar shot 0.1 per cent to $1.4357 per euro in New York from $1.4337.

The US Currency appreciated to $.4218 on December 22, its strongest level since September 4. The dollar dropped 0.2 per cent to 91.45 yen, from 91.64. It touched 91.87 matching the highest since October 27. the euro traded at 131.34 yen, compared with 131.38.

The US currency has gained 4.4 per cent versus the euro in December, pairing its 2009 drop to 2.8 per cent as signs that the US economic recovery is gaining momentum prompted investors to take off bets against the currency.

“Most of the dollar shorts that were vulnerable have been cleared out over the last four weeks, which has given a more balanced feel to markets”, Camilla Sutton, a Bank of Nova Scotia currency strategist in Toronto, wrote in a research note to clients recently. A short position is a bet an underlying security will decline.

Hedge funds and larger speculators almost halved this months bets that the dollar will drop against its major rivals according to data compiled by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington.

Wagers that the dollar will depreciate against eight currencies, including the euro, yen, and pound, outnumbered those on its gain by 136,363 contracts as of December 15, compared with about 250,000 at the end of November.

The rand gained as much as 1.8 per cent to 7.4732 versus the dollar, the strongest level in a week, as a rally in gold and platinum boosted earnings prospects for South Africa, the World biggest producer of precious metals.

Bullion futures increased 1 per cent to $1.104.80 an ounce as the drop in dollar encourage investors to buy precious metals as an alternative investment platinum climbed 2.9 per cent to $1.474 an ounce.

The Franc traded at almost a nine-month high against the euro on speculation the Swiss National Bank will refrain from trying to limit its currency’s gains.

The Swiss currency fetched 1.4914 per euro after reaching 1.4850 three days ago, the strongest level since March 12. On that day, the central bank bought foreign currency to limit the Franc’s appreciation and support Switzerland’s economy.

Goldman Sachs  Group Inc. strategists said they were “stopped out” of a bet that the franc would fall against the Swedish Krona Investors who followed Goldman Sachs’s recommendation initiated in July would have lost about 3.7 per cent, the strategists wrote in an e-mail message recently.

Traders typically place stop losses at levels to protect themselves when a bet moves in the opposite direction.

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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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