Nigeria’s stocks sustain gain, helped by Seplat oil output recovery

Nigerian stocks extended gains to hit a new 23-month high on Thursday as the reopening of the Forcados crude oil terminal helped to boost confidence in the country’s largest local oil exploration company.

Royal Dutch Shell lifted force majeure on exports of Nigeria’s Forcados crude oil on Wednesday, bringing all of the West African country’s oil exports fully online for the first time in 16 months. Shares in Seplat, the indigenous oil and gas company with the largest capitalisation, gained 10 percent on Thursday.

The company, in a statement to the Nigerian stock exchange, said the lifting of the force majeure helped it to successfully reinstate gross production at OMLs 4, 38 and 41, to levels last seen before the terminal’s closure. Gains in banking stocks and food sector also helped to sustain the rally in the market. The index rose 0.77 percent by the close of trading to 32,937 points. The bourse had gained more than 21.63 percent year-to-date. The banking index, which had fallen for the past two consecutive days, rebounded, rising 2.49 percent to outperform the overall market index.

Dangote Flour, chocolate maker Cadbury and fuel retailing firm Forte Oil all gained 10 percent each to help push up the index. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Tom Heneghan)