Covid-19: AstraZeneca second phase vaccination set to conclude in the week ahead
The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (NPHCDA), has announced the dates for the second phase of AstraZeneca vaccinations in Nigeria as thousands wait for the second jab of the vaccine.
The NPHCDA boss, Faisal Shuaib revealed at a media briefing on the progress of phase 2 Covid-19 vaccinations held in Abuja on Tuesday that the scheme will commence on the 25th of August till the 5th of September.
Shuaib stated that the vaccines will be mainly used as a second dose option for those who already received the first batch.
“The AstraZeneca vaccine will be used as the second dose for those who received their first dose during the first phase, to ensure they are fully vaccinated. Consequently, the administration of AstraZeneca Vaccine will commence on the 25th of August and will close on the 5th of September”, he stated.
“ I, therefore, urge all those who received their first dose prior to July 8th to visit a designated vaccination site from 25th August to 5th September to receive their second dose and become fully protected against COVID-19. As we receive more supplies, we will then open it up for those who may wish to take their first doses,” he said.
“This means that when you visit a health facility for your COVID-19 vaccination, you will be given health talks to improve your knowledge of the vaccine and vaccination, and if you are 40 years and above, you will have the opportunity to check your blood pressure and be assessed for the risk of diabetes,” he added.
NBS and UNICEF to launch national survey on immunisation from the week ahead.
The Federal Government, through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), will commence the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS6) and National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) 2021, alongside the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from Wednesday, 13th August 2021 till mid-November.
This was disclosed by Yemi Kale, the former statistician-general of the Federation, and chief of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at a media conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
Kale added that the MICS had grown to become the most reliable source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide, with the last round exercised in 2016/17 as stakeholders prepared to combine both the MICS and the NICS surveys.
He added that changes would be made to improve the diversity of data, including the addition of new modules to the questionnaires, new questions, measurements and application of technology in collecting and analysing the data.
He revealed that the FG wanted to reassure Nigerians that the result of the survey would be used to improve the health of Nigerians.
NBS economy data release calendar for the week ahead
The NBS release calendar for the coming week indicates the following:
- Monday 30th August 2021: Job Creation and Labor Force Survey (Q1 and Q2) 2021.
- Thursday 2nd September 2021: Sectoral Distribution of Value Added Tax (Q2 2021).
Gold hits 3 weeks high as US Fed kills Taper talk
In response to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s failure to provide a clear timeline for tapering U.S. stimulus spending at the much-anticipated Jackson Hole monetary policy symposium, gold hit 3-week highs on Friday, notching its best weekly gains since May.
Stocks, commodities, including oil, and the dollar tumbled as risk assets rocketed higher. The yellow metal has also been riding high since inflation is a major driver of the yellow metal’s price.
Comex gold closed at $1,819.50 an ounce, up $24.30, or 1.4%, after reaching $1,821.55 a three-week high. The week-to-week increase was around 2%, which is its highest rate since mid-May.
The gold rally came after Powell said the United States was on solid footing, but still vulnerable to threats from the Coronavirus pandemic.
During his opening speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium, the Fed chair said that although he initially intends to taper by the end of the year, the spread of the Delta variant of the pandemic has caused him to think differently.
“Compared to 2009, inflation has shown ‘substantial further advances.’ In addition to progress in the Fed’s twin goals, the job market has become more balanced,” he said.
But Powell also hedged the central bank’s position on the taper by saying it will be “carefully assessing incoming data and the evolving risks.”
“Our elevated holdings of longer-term securities will continue to support accommodative financial conditions even after our asset purchases end,” he added.
As part of its efforts to protect the U.S. economy from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Fed has been buying at least 80 billion dollars in Treasury bonds and 40 billion dollars in agency mortgage-backed securities each month since March 2020. Likewise, the Fed keeps interest rates between 0 and 0.25 percent, a record low. Gold appreciated by 1.76% while Silver also gained by 3.62% W-o-W.
Gold prices are expected to be mixed in the coming week, pressured by the Federal Reserve’s Tapering policy and COVID-19 concerns in the market.
Oil prices expected to rise ahead of hurricane expectations in the week ahead
Oil prices increased on Friday, on track to post big gains for the week, on worries about supply disruptions as energy companies began shutting their operation in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a potential hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend.
Oil prices rose on Monday, recovering from a seven-day losing band with support from a weaker dollar, while concern about surging cases of the Delta coronavirus variant led to cautious trading. Prices increased further on Tuesday as the U.S. drug regulator granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine, fueling hopes that higher fuel demand would follow U.S. coronavirus vaccination rates.
The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday said it would sell up to 20 million barrels of crude from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in compliance with legislation passed in recent years.
US President Biden administration on Tuesday stated that it would take steps to restart the federal oil and gas leasing program in the forthcoming week and plans to hold a Gulf of Mexico auction as soon as October this year. Brent had a weekly growth of 10.09%.
In the coming week, oil prices are expected to rise as energy firms began shutting production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico ahead of a major hurricane expected to hit early next week.
The Naira depreciated against major currencies last week, both at the BDC market and I & E FX window which is majorly attributed to the scarcity of FX.
At the I & E FX window, the domestic currency depreciated by +0.08% on a week-on-week (W-o-W) basis to N412/US$ at the close of trading on Friday.
At the BDC market, it closed at US$/N520 depreciating by +0.58% against the US dollar, against the British pound it also fell by +0.71% to close at £1/N713, and against the Euro it appreciated by -0.16% to close at €1/N606.
The Naira closed the week at $/N4112 at the I&E FX window, at the NAFEX (spot market) it closed at $/N411.25.
More of the same is expected in the week ahead as the Naira is anticipated to continue to hover around N406/$1-N412/$1 threshold in the NAFEX window.
Interbank rates fell last week, as liquidity levels were elevated causing rates to close in single digits.
At the close of the session on Friday, funding rates dipped significantly. Open Buyback (OBB) closed at 8.33% while Overnight (O/N) rates closed at 8.50% indicating a W-o-W decline of -64.29% for OBB and -64.33% for O/N rates.
Funding rates are expected to trade in double digits trend in the coming week in the absence of any maturity.
Treasury Bills Market
The bills market was bearish last week, with average benchmark yields edging upward at the close of trading this week.
At the close of the market last week, average benchmark yields for T-bills rose by +5.61% to 4.95%, OMO bills was up by +1.53% W-o-W to close at 6.04%.
The CBN sold N307.33 billion worth of notes against N157.21 billion offered at its NTB auction last week. The 91-day, 182-day & 364-day notes were allotted at 2.50%, 3.50%, and 6.80% respectively. Compared to the previous auction, rates on the 91-day & 182-day were unchanged while the 364-day paper fell by 55bps.
We expect activity next week to be dictated by the market liquidity situation.
FGN BOND and EUROBOND market
The FGN bond market last week was bullish despite the PMA held in the treasury market last week; we saw selling interest across the board.
The overall average benchmark yields closed at 8.38% for the week which fell W-o-W by -2.04%.
The FGN Eurobond market closed the week on a bullish note which was supported by profit-taking activities by investors and the uptick in crude oil prices.
Market sentiment is expected to remain soft as inflation concerns continue to linger.
Nigerian Capital Market
The Nigerian bourse closed the week on a positive note as the performance was mildly bullish. The NGXASI closed the week with a growth of +0.01%. The Nigerian Stock Exchange gained N1.41bn, year-to-date return moderated to -1.95%, while the market capitalization settled at N20.52 trillion.
The volume and value of stocks traded on the exchange last week advanced by +24.97% and +3.18% respectively.
Sectoral performance across sectors tracked was broadly positive last week as the NGX Insurance was the highest gainer for the week with +1.06% while NGX Consumer Goods closed negative with -0.43%.
NGX Banking and NGX Oil & Gas closed with +0.08% respectively while NGX-IND declined by -0.19%.