The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema, yesterday projected that uncertainty in crude prices and Nigeria’s forthcoming general elections will define investors’ sentiments in the first half of 2019.

In other words, there will be volatility in the market, a situation that is expected to improve by the second quarter. A quick implementation of the 2019 budget will also encourage companies to earn more, Onyema said.

“Accordingly, we anticipate volatility in equities markets first half of 2019, with enhanced stability post-elections. We believe the swift approval and implementation of the 2019 budget will have a positive impact on companies’ earnings as well as consumer spending. Therefore, we expect an uptick in market activity during the second half of 2019.”  – Onyema

The NSE CEO made these projections while speaking during the 2018 Market Recap and Outlook for 2019 which took place at the Stock Exchange House in Marina, Lagos.

Bua group

2018 in retrospect

According to Mr Onyema, year 2018, the Nigerian economy witnessed a slight recovery, which grew “by 1.81% year on year in real terms as at the third quarter of 2018.”

He attributed the growth to macroeconomic stability and demonstrated effort by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to control inflation.

Speaking further, Mr Onyema recounted how the market started out 2018 on a positive note, only to become negatively influenced by the decline in oil prices, political risks and rising global yields.

Reviewing the performance of the market in 2018, Mr Onyema noted that:

“NSE equity market started the year on a high, with the All Share Index (ASI) reaching a ten-year peak of 45,092.83 in January. This was largely driven by the positive performance of the ASI in 2017 which emerged the best in Africa. As we approached the second quarter, political risks, oil price volatility and rising global yields resulted in bearish sentiments that saw the ASI and equity market capitalization fall by 17.81% and 13.87% to close at 31,430.50 and N11.73trillion respectively.”

He also stated that equity turnover remained relatively stable in 2018 despite the fact that four companies were delisted, only one listing, and a marginal 5.45% decline to N1.20 trillion.
On a positive note, market capitalisation increased by 11.75% to N11.17 trillion up from N9.10 trillion.
Meanwhile, as the new year begins in earnest, the Nigerian bourse is preparing for improved performance. Mr Onyema said, “we have strengthened our government engagement efforts on privatisation and listing of state-owned enterprises, and we expect to take advantage of opportunities within this space during the year.”
He also said the NSE will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the public and private sector.
The Market Recap and Outlook event is an annual one which serves as a forum for the NSE boss to brief stockbrokers, financial analysts, business news reporters and other stakeholders in the market.

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