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Naira appreciates to N1,339.33/$1 on official market, best in 2 months

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The exchange rate between the Naira and the Dollar at the official window saw a significant appreciation of 10.71% on Monday, closing the day at N1,339.33/$1. 

This appreciation marks the highest closing rate since April 26, when the exchange rate was N1,339.23/$1, based on data from FMDQ. 

On Friday, May 24, 2024, the exchange rate was N1,482.81/$1, with a minor increase of 0.19%. The FX turnover on this day was significantly higher at $556.25 million, which represented a dramatic increase of 231.99%.

In contrast, on May 27, 2024, the Naira appreciated notably by 10.71%, bringing the exchange rate down to N1,339.33/$1. However, the FX turnover decreased sharply by 67.50%, amounting to $180.8 million. 

The substantial drop in FX turnover suggests a lower demand for dollars, which is a plausible factor contributing to the appreciation of the Naira. 

When fewer dollars are being bought, the demand decreases, leading to a stronger Naira against the Dollar.  

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Econony

Elon Musk threatens to ban Apple products over Open AI integration

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Billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk said on Monday that if Apple integrates OpenAI into its operating system, he will prohibit the use of Apple products across his companies.

Musk, who owns Tesla and other ventures, declared that anyone visiting his companies would be required to store their Apple devices in a Faraday cage, effectively blocking electromagnetic transmissions.

Musk’s statement comes as Apple announced its partnership with OpenAI, which includes the integration of ChatGPT powered by GPT-4 into some of its software, including the new and improved Siri.

“If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies,” Musk wrote. “That is an unacceptable security violation,” the rocket maker’s owner, SpaceX, said on X (formerly Twitter).

Earlier on Monday at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference, Apple revealed that it will incorporate its new AI software, Apple Intelligence, into the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

It also announced a collaboration with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT, powered by GPT-4o, into some of its applications, including the upgraded Siri.

According to Apple, the ChatGPT integration will be accessible for free without an account in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia later this year.

Apple said, “When a user grants permission, Siri can tap into ChatGPT’s broad world knowledge and present an answer directly.”

The billionaire denounced the partnership, saying he is concerned about the iPhone maker partnering with a third-party AI that it “doesn’t understand” and “can’t themselves create.”

“It’s patently absurd that Apple isn’t smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security and privacy,” Musk further tweeted.

In early March, Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, a company he co-founded in 2015, and its CEO, Sam Altman, alleging that they had strayed from the original mission of developing AI for the benefit of humanity rather than for profit.

Musk has also launched his startup, xAI, aiming to rival OpenAI and create an alternative to the popular chatbot.

Last month, The PUNCH reported that xAI secured $6bn in a Series B funding round, with backing from investors such as Valor Equity Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia Capital, among others.

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Econony

NNPCL denies N3.3trn inflated fuel subsidy allegation

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, has debunked allegations that it inflated subsidy claims by N3.3 trillion.

NNPLC spokesperson Olufemi Soneye disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

This comes amid an allegation that a forensic audit by KPMG, a global accounting firm, has uncovered an N3.3 trillion discrepancy in the fuel subsidy claims made by NNPCL during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

However, Soneye said all previous subsidy claims are verifiable, and NNPCL never inflated subsidy claims to the federal government.

He explained that it is not aware of any audit, as alleged by media reports and that the company will not be drawn into the politics of fuel subsidy as it currently operates as a commercial entity under the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

Soneye said in the statement: “NNPC Ltd. conducts its businesses accountably and transparently in keeping with international best practices and has, at no time, inflated its subsidy claims with the Federal Government. All previous subsidy claims by the company are verifiable, as relevant records and documents have been sent to relevant authorities and agencies.

“NNPC Ltd. is neither aware of any audit of its subsidy claims nor the probe ensuing therefrom and wishes to state categorically that both ridiculous claims are products of the febrile imagination of the reporters and their respective media houses.”

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Econony

Currency outside banks declined to N3.61tn in April

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Latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria has indicated that currency outside of bank vaults declined by 0.62 per cent to N3.61tn in April from N3.63tn in the previous month.

This bucks the pattern of steady increase observed since the beginning of the year.

Despite the decline, over 90 per cent of the currency in circulation was still outside bank vaults.

As of April, the currency in circulation stood at N3.92tn, higher than N3.87tn in March.

The currency in circulation has been increasing month-on-month despite the CBN monetary policy tightening, which has seen the benchmark interest rate set at 26.65 per cent.

Also, the latest money and credit statistics data from the CBN showed that Nigeria’s money supply rose to a historic high of N96.97tn in April 2024, reflecting year-on-year growth of 73 per cent from N56.05tn in the same period of the previous year.

On a month-on-month basis, it was a five per cent increase from the previous decline recorded in March at N92.33tn.

This growth comes in the face of the Monetary Policy Committee’s hawkish stance aimed at controlling inflation.

In their statements, one of the members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN at the March meeting, Muhammad Abdullahi, posited that the apex bank had identified high currency outside banks as one of the monetary drivers of the country’s inflation.

He said, “From available data, prices of domestic food items remain the major driver of headline inflation because of supply shortages and high cost of logistics and distribution.

“While this cannot be directly influenced using monetary policy tools, the bank’s response to the drivers of headline inflation is targeted at addressing identified monetary drivers such as money supply growth, exchange rate depreciation and Currency-Outside-Banks, the combined impact of which will dampen inflationary pressure significantly.”

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