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STOCK MARKET-NSE upgrades data portal to improve access to the market

The revamped portal which was announced on Monday, June 22, 2020 via a press release is expected to provide provides a more efficient, user-friendly experience for subscribers. According to the release, the new features include data products, subscription management, payment gateway integration and a lot more. First introduced in 2013, the X-Data Portal is an online application that serves as a repository for real-time, delayed, end of day and historical data for all financial instruments listed on the NSE. It is a consolidated, streamlined platform for market participants to access affordable quality and timely data, the NSE said. The NSE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema who expressed optimism about the portal said the upgrade is in line with the desire of the NSE to leverage on technology to become more accessible. “The newly enhanced X-DataPortal has, therefore, been equipped with market-focused features that will complement the NSE website and other NSE portals in response to stakeholders’ increased demand for easy access to data. Given the importance of Market Data in investment decisions, we remain resolute in our commitment to provide capital market participants with more channels to access relevant market information required for making investment decisions,” Onyema stated.

Oil Matter - Amid Oil Price Collapse, Nigeria Is Running out of Foreign Exchange

The fall in international oil prices is having a devastating impact on Nigeria’s formal economy. Oil, the property of the Nigerian government, provides more than 60 percent of government revenue. Further, sales, denominated in U.S. dollars, account for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange. The oil price drop, while made worse by the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, began thanks to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Oil closed at about $60 per barrel in December 2019, but has since fallen. It plunged to about $18 per barrel in April, and recovered in May to about $25 per barrel. Even with the recovery, the Nigerian government's revenue, and its access to U.S. dollars through oil exports, is less than half of what it was at the start of the year. The governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele, says that foreign exchange (mostly U.S. dollars) must be devoted to "strategic imports." That would include medical supplies made necessary by the coronavirus. He also says that there will be an "orderly process" by which foreign investors will be able to repatriate their funds. But, for now, they must be "patient." The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria estimates that the backlog of unmet U.S. dollar demand in Nigeria is $1 billion. Without access to dollars, manufacturers cannot import the raw materials or components they need.

Economic state of the Nation

Our Economic fundamentals looks strong because the Buhari administration has been moving energetically to respond to the coronavirus and the collapse of international oil prices. The finance ministry has moved quickly to recalculate the national budget to account for an estimated price of oil of $20 per barrel, down from a previous estimate of $57. It has also reduced the estimated daily production of oil from 2.1 million barrels to 1.7 million. The oil shock cannot be overstated. Oil has provided more than 60 percent of the Nigerian state's revenue and more than 90 percent of its foreign exchange. But to meet short-term liquidity issues, the federal government has secured a loan of $3.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund. Finally, the central bank has devalued the national currency, the naira, from 305 to 360 per U.S. dollar. With respect to the coronavirus, the Buhari administration moved quickly to implement the now-standard protocols. Airports and borders were closed; Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun—early hotspots of the virus—were put on lockdown; and a small, hardship payment was authorized for the very poor. Separately, governors imposed lockdowns on their states and inter-state travel was restricted. But there is only so much that good leadership in a time of crisis can do. Because up to half of the population is unbanked, the distribution of emergency payments has proved difficult to do. There are also complaints about failures of delivery of other assistance, especially food, or that the food delivered was expired. Further, it is estimated that the informal economy in Nigeria accounts for 65 percent of GDP. For those in the informal sector, if they don't work, they don't eat. Given these realities, the Buhari administration has eased lockdown restrictions in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun state, even though cases are still rising. Though with much of the urban population packed into slums, "social distancing" had been all but impossible. Governors are following suit.