• Crude oil prices reached $65 on Monday after a drop in prices earlier in the year. Brent crude had opened 2018 at $64.73. By January 9, it hit $68 before falling to $61.64 by February 1. Traders attributed the recent increase to a drop in the number of US drilling rigs for production and the reported job increase in the US which is expected to push fuel demand higher. Brent sweet crude traded at $65.70 per barrel on Monday, an increase of 21 cents or 0.3 percent from its previous close. According to Baker Hughes energy services firm, US energy companies cut oil rigs for the first time in almost two months, with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796.
  • Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania are to benefit from the World Bank Group’s Livestock and Micro Reforms in Agribusiness programme. L-MIRA’s objective is to improve the competitiveness of the dairy and poultry sectors in the agribusiness value chain in the selected countries. The International Finance Corporation recently signed the cooperation agreement with the FG to implement the $2 million initiative focusing on regulatory and institutional reforms that could strengthen the country’s agribusiness sector, also creating jobs and economic growth. Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, Practice Manager for the World Bank Group’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation global practice, noted that dairy and poultry are important livestock sectors that contribute significantly to agribusiness, which is a key growth sector in Nigeria and by introducing harmonised and simplified regulations related to animal feed, drugs and vaccines, it will help boost socio-economic development in the country. This four-year partnership also has stakeholders such as Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, NAFDAC, SON and the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science as key partners.
  • Zenith Bank has released its financial statements for the 12 months ended December 2017. Gross Earnings increased from ₦507 billion in 2016 to ₦745 billion in 2017. Profit before tax increased from ₦156 billion in 2016 to ₦203 billion in 2017. Profit after tax increased from ₦129 billion in 2016 to ₦177 billion in 2017. Earnings per share also increased from ₦4.12 in 2016 to ₦5.66 in 2017. The bank declared a final dividend of ₦2.45 per share.
  • The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has announced the acquisition of a fully integrated maize and soya beans farm in Panda, Nasarawa State to expand its investment portfolio in agriculture. Chief Executive of the NSIA, Uche Orji, said that the investment would promote income-generating opportunities for small holder famers under an out-grower scheme and related services. The acquisition under the UFF-NAIC Agriculture Fund jointly owned by NSIA and UFF Agri Investment, an Old Mutual Specialist Fund, is a farm comprising large acreage of farms integrated into a system of feed mills and storage silos.
  • The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria wants a special market to be created to enable it to sell the stockpile of assets tied to it. Eberechukwu Uneze, an executive director at AMCON made the request at a forum for AMCON’s valuers & receiver managers open in Lagos. “AMCON has a stockpile of assets, which it is finding difficult to dispose of in the regular open market. The assets cut across critical sectors of the economy such as real estate, energy, transportation and aviation, maritime, agriculture and manufacturing just to mention a few.” Uneze said the creation of the proposed AMCON market would help address a lot of irregularities that affect the outcome of valuation in the country.