It is the season of clearance or percentage discount promotion sales, where selected products are sold at ridiculously low prices both online and offline, often referred to as Black Friday. Nigerians, especially retail traders, are always eager for opportunities like this, especially when it is close to the yuletide season. It is a period when one can get as much as 99 percent off selected goods.
Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Black Friday has been regarded as the beginning of America’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term “Black Friday” didn’t become widely used until more recent decades. This culture of Black Friday has since spread to different parts of the world.
Nigeria is no exception, and on this year’s Black Friday, shoppers rushed to the malls looking for great discounts on products that are usually more expensive. Local traders were present to seize this opportunity as well.
At the Ikeja City Mall (ICM), retail traders jostled with consumers for products which they would be selling later at their shops, as the profit margins realised from these heavily discounted goods were too good to miss.
Queues of distributors’ vehicles (like Indomie instant noodles) took almost half the parking space in the mall, as car owners struggled for the remaining space. This they did to meet the demand for discounted products that sold the most.
Sales Sales Sales
A visit to the popular Ikeja City Mall (ICM), revealed that South African retail brand, Shoprite, had its Black Friday sales ongoing, last Friday. Prices of popular instant noodles, Indomie, and malt drink, Malta Guinness, were crashed to the point where Malta Guinness that normally sold for N150, was sold for N85.
A conversation with a member of the staff revealed that most of the shoppers were retailers as they bought in bulk. The staff who preferred to be anonymous, also said shoppers were literally fighting each other for the available products on display. He said, “If you were here yesterday, you wouldn’t be able to get in, as the shopping hall was jam-packed with shoppers. They were fighting to get their share of the products with discounts. Products like Malta Guinness and Indomie sold the most.”
Club owners were not left out, as they headed to the liquor spot, where Red and Black Label were offered at a 60% discount. These club owners sell liquor such as Red Label at much higher prices.
“If you look at the stands for Red and Black Label whiskies, you will notice it is currently empty. Most of the people who cleaned them out are majorly club and bar owners and they will sell them for nothing less than N15,000,” a staff at ICM confirmed.
Other brands still in the mood for Black Friday
Maybrands, at the ICM is offering a 40 percent discount on all its wrist watches. Twice As Nice is also offering as much as 90 percent off its shirts. A visit to Mr P shop in ICM revealed that selected products, ranging from lingerie to footwear, were offered for 50 percent off.
Spar’s Black Friday 8 Sale which started on November 22nd, shows that the Indian retailer is offering mostly electronics with as much as 43 percent discounts. A visit to the Opebi outlet of Spar revealed that the usually sparse mall had a huge number of shoppers with shopping carts so filled up, that one would think there was a free giveaway ongoing.
Jumia is also having it Black Friday sales tagged, Black Fridays, which started November 2, 2018. Asides the regular discounts on products, Jumia is offering ridiculous discounts of 99 percent on selected products for each Friday in the month of November. The online shop has also selected products put up for crash sales at selected times of the day which can only be accessed via their mobile application.
Zinox Konga is not left out, as the ecommerce platform is currently having its Yakata Sales tagged ‘The Final Jara’, with products on display having as much as 94 percent discounts on their website. The sales run from November 8 to 30, 2018.
If you are yet to partake of the goodies from these shops, you might want to hurry while their offers last.
Why there is a massive sell-off of US stocks
The United States 10-year Treasury yields rose to a new one-year high of 1.5% on Thursday sending the equities market on a bearish run. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.5% as of 7.30 pm on Thursday falling by a whopping 500 points. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ were both down 2% and 2.75% respectively ad the sell-offs intensified.
Global bond prices also fell lower on Thursday and investors around the world sold off massively as they feared higher inflation could erode bond yields.
What is going on?
Investors are worried that massive injection of stimulus in the US and in most European countries could trigger higher inflation which will erode profits on bond yields assuming their fears materializes.
US inflation rate for the month of January 2021 was 1.4% the same as the month of December 2020. US inflation was as high as 2.3% a year ago yet investors remain worried. In response to this fear, bond yields have hit multiple one-year highs. This fear is has now spread to the US equities market.
US President Joe Biden is seeking a $1.9 trillion stimulus package which many had hoped will please the market. However, it appears investors are rather afraid that it could trigger a “reflation” eroding whatever positive jolt it could have had on the wider economy.
What this means for your stocks
A rise in interest rates is triggering a massive sell-off in US stocks ad investors fear a return to higher inflation could signal the market could be entering a bearish era. Stocks have hit multi-year highs since January as investors poured in billions of dollars into stocks. If this sell-off persists then investors in US stocks could see the value of their portfolio plummet.
Tech Stocks are particularly affected by the sell-offs with investors dumping heavyweights like Netflix, Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google all falling. Meme stocks, an acronym for stocks popular with Reddit and Twitter retail investors have also suffered losses.
Nairametrics SSN subscribers are advised to track their portfolios accordingly.
Buharinomics: In Stagflation we trust
We explain why President Buhari is synonymous with stagflation and what he can do to get us out of it.
Economists define stagflation as a period of slow economic growth, high unemployment rate and higher inflation. It is one of the worst kinds of economic state of affairs that often leads to poverty, insecurity and social-economic crisis. It is a sticky economic conundrum that is incredibly difficult to escape from.
The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveal Nigeria barely slipped out of a recession in the 4th quarter of 2020 with a 0.11% GDP Growth rate. Despite being a welcome news, it is the slowest GDP Growth rate on record at least since 2011.
Earlier on, in the same week, the Statistics Bureau also released inflation data for the month of January revealing an inflation rate of 16.47%, the highest since April 2017, and affirming Nigeria’s galloping inflation status.
Nigeria is in a protracted state of stagflation and has been in the state since the Buhari administration came into power in 2015. Nigeria’s Gross Domestic product per quarter has averaged 0.18% in the last 6 years since this administration got elected into power. The Buhari government has also presided over a consumer price index change of 108.6%, meaning that prices of nearly every measurable item have doubled in the last 6 years.
Flashback to the first installment of General Buhari and the story is all too familiar. Nigeria’s GDP Growth rate for 1983, 1984 was -10.92% and -1.12% respectively. Annual inflation rate in the same period was 17.2% and 23.8% respectively.
Buharinomics is synonymous with Stagflation.
How did we get here?
While it all started from the drop in oil prices in 2014, a cocktail of economic policies from the Buhari-led administration is largely blamed for Nigeria’s economic quagmire. Since it came into power, the government has adopted economic policies that are centered around defending the local currency, import substitution and social spending.
For all its good intentions, these policies are pregnant with side effects that potentially erase its positives, turning into cancer of cataclysmic proportions.
For example, while the policy of defending the exchange rate stabilized the naira between 2016 and 2019, it cost the CBN trillions in interest payments and high cost of borrowing.
The high cost of borrowing is associated with higher inflation and stunted economic growth as small businesses cannot secure the funding required to expand and even when they do it is expensive.
The policy of promoting locally made goods over their foreign alternatives has also led to multiple bans of access to forex to imports, higher customs duties and taxes on imports and a crushing border closure all of which have combined to send inflation off the roof.
Nigeria’s inflation rate conundrum can also be traced to supply-side challenges such as insecurity, logistic gridlocks, corruption and inefficiencies at the Nations ports and an overall bitter experience in the nation’s ease of doing business.
How to get out of Stagflation
There is no clear-cut set of rules that can end stagflation however a rethink of the government’s approach to policymaking and implementation could be a good first step to control it, especially if the target is one of the major causes of stagflation, supply-side inflation.
To address Nigeria’s challenges with Stagflation, the Buhari Government will have to swallow its pride and relinquish trust in moribund policies that have not worked. Wholesome of Nigeria’s economic challenges are out of its control (like fall in oil prices) a huge chunk of it is self-inflicted and as such within its control. For example, it must fix the spate of insecurity around the country by being more deliberate with dealing with bandits, militant herdsmen and terrorists.
It must declare a national emergency in the nation’s ports and reduce the lead time to clearing goods for import or export. It must address the logistics issues affecting the distribution of farm produce from a place of planting to the destination of consumption.
Monetary policy restrictions stifling trade must be loosened and replaced with a reward policy system that encourages exports as against imports without banning cheap substitutes that have no local production advantage. We need new regulations and laws that favour private sector investments, protect property and enable capital formation. A case in point is the perennial PIB Bill that gets debated year after year.
These are not novel ideas within economic circles and as such cannot be that difficult to conceive and concede to doing. The challenges have always been the will and courage to act in defiance of snags such as vested interests, political ideology, endemic bureaucracy, and corruption. This government has shown in the past that it can roll back on unpopular policies except that it does it too late with not enough time to create a positive impact.
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