Three exchanges suspend trading of Bitcoin following slump

As Bitcoin took a nosedive on Friday, reaching below $11,000 at a point, three Bitcoin-related exchanges suspended trading.

The value of Bitcoin fell from an all-time high of $20,000 to $11,000, though later recovering to about $12,000.

Bitcoin has had a bullish run in 2017, beginning the year at about $1,000 before surging exponentially in November, which caused a scramble by investors and speculators, prompting a media frenzy.

Financial analysts have warned that such changes as recently occurred with the slump should be expected.

“This is exactly how this asset trades and has done since the beginning,” said Nick Colas, co-founder of New York-based DataTrek Research. “It has a lot of volatility and it will for the foreseeable future.”

The market remains driven by sentiment, according to Charles Hayter, founder and chief executive of industry website Cryptocompare.

“A manic upward swing led by the herd will be followed by a downturn as the emotional sentiment changes,” he said.

Some traders would have been cashing in on the spectacular gains made over the year, he added.

This week’s plunge led to a flood of trades that swamped one of Bitcoin’s major exchanges, Coinbase, on Friday. A technical slowdown prompted the firm to halt buying and selling twice.

FOREX: CBN injects $246.2m for wholesale, SMEs, invisibles  


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday, April 24, 2017, offered the sum of $246.2 million to authorized dealers at the forex auction in the interbank wholesale window, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segments.

A breakdown of the total offer indicates that the sum of $150 million was auctioned at the wholesale window while SMEs and invisibles got $52 million and $44.2 million respectively.

The Bank’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the offer and sales on Monday, disclosing that the forwards sales would be concluded in the days to come. He, however, added that the CBN will continue its weekly sale to dealers in the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment this week in order to guarantee onward sale to end users.

According to him, the Bank’s continued interventions in the different segments had guaranteed availability to individuals and business concerns.  He disclosed that the Bank was satisfied with the feedback it received concerning the response of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access forex from the new CBN window.

He said the CBN was particularly determined to ease the challenges hitherto encountered by small manufacturers hence the move to provide them with easy access to forex.

“SME operators no longer have to patronize or source foreign through unofficial windows and no more pressure on either the BDCs or any other unofficial source with the opening of the special window,” he added.

It will be recalled that the CBN, also last week, created a Forex window for investors and exporters, which it named: “Investors’ & Exporters’ FX Window”. The CBN circular, which announced the creation of the new window, disclosed that the purpose of the window was to boost liquidity in the forex market and ensure timely execution and settlement for eligible transactions.


Naira strengthens against dollar, trades at N380/$1

The Naira closed the week stronger on Friday at the parallel market, as it consolidated its position against the US dollar.

The Naira was traded at N380 to $1 on Friday afternoon, with prices hovering between N380 (buying rate) and N390 (selling rate) – which was an improvement in comparison to the N400 it traded the previous day.

The pound sterling and Euro closed the week on Friday at N490 and N430 respectively.

Bureau De Change rates had the Naira at N399 to $1, while pound sterling and the Euro exchanged for N500 and N400.

At the interbank market, the Naira also made gains, closing at N307 in comparison to N308 on Thursday.

Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, said that the liquidity boost by the Central Bank of Nigeria at the interbank market plunged prices down, noting that BDC operators licensed by the apex bank are expected to incur about N130 million in regulatory losses as a result.

Atedo Peterside resigns from Stanbic IBTC board

Atedo Peterside has resigned as chairman of the board from Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

Peterside was Chief Executive Officer of the bank from 1989 when it began operations to 2007 during its merger. He served as chairman from 2007 until his resignation in 2017.

“I believe this is the ideal time for me to resign from the board of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc with effect from the close of business on March 31, 2017 and to move on,” Peterside said in a letter addressed to Stanbic IBTC board on Tuesday.

“We have a strong tradition of careful succession planning at both Stanbic IBTC and the Standard Bank Group. I look forward to a new chapter where my interactions with Stanbic IBTC will be exclusively from the outside and/or from Johannesburg, that is, looking in from the outside like every other parent company non-executive does when looking at all the group subsidiary operations across the Africa regions.”

Peterside explained that he was due for retirement much earlier, in 2015, but the unending dispute with the Financial Reporting Council influenced his decision to stay much longer as chairman of the Stanbic IBTC group.

“However several directors advised that there should be no change of guard at the top in Stanbic IBTC in the midst of such a dispute. Thankfully, the FRC matter is now behind us and our Stanbic IBTC Holdings audited accounts for 2015 were approved late last year, while our audited accounts for 2016 have already been approved by the authorities this week.

“I would like to seize this opportunity to thank all the directors of Stanbic IBTC for the support through the years. From April 1, 2017, I will not be available to discuss our Nigerian operations unless required to do so by the parent board. In business terms in Nigeria, I would like to be able to concentrate largely on ANAP Business Jets Limited, which I founded a couple of years ago and where I am Chairman.”

Etisalat’s N42 billion debt to GTBank to be restructured – GTBank Boss

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc is currently exposed to a financial risk of N42 billion ($138 million) loan to Etisalat Nigeria.

According to Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of GTBank, the debt will be restructured.

In a bid to renegotiate terms of the $1.2 billion loan it took four years ago after missing a payment, Etisalat Nigeria has opened discussion with 13 Nigerian banks. Presently, the loan is estimated at N377 billion minus interest.

Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, said that Etisalat missed payments on the loan due to the dwindling economic situation in Nigeria, the currency devaluation as well as dollar scarcity at the interbank market.

By virtue of its 40 percent stake in the Nigerian affiliate, the Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat), was responsible for 3.7 percent revenue of Etisalat Nigeria in 2013. Etisalat Nigeria signed a $1.2 billion medium-term facility with 13 Nigerian banks, also in 2013, which it used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and fund a modernisation of its network.

Dikko explained that Etisalat Nigeria performed well in 2016 with the company yielding profit at the level of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, while loan repayments had been up to date “until recently.”