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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s foreign reserves inch towards six month high

Nigeria’s foreign reserves are a few millions away from a six month high of $45 billion, due to an uptick in crude oil prices and positive foreign portfolio investor sentiments.

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Foreign reserves, Nigeria’s External reserves

Nigeria’s external reserves have once again continued its bullish run, edging towards $45 billion thresholds which it last recorded six months ago.

According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) web page, Nigeria’s gross external reserves hit $44.7 billion as at Wednesday this week.

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The break down shows that out of the gross external reserves of $44.14bn,  external reserves liquid rose to $43.67bn, while blocked external reserves stood at $1.03 bn which represents as 2.13 per cent of the total gross reserves.

External Reserves gained $567 million in 2 weeks

External Reserves official statistics from the CBN shows that within the last two weeks, external reserves gained momentum and inched up by  $567 million.

Two weeks earlier, Nairametrics reported that external reserves stood at $44.14 billion. Hence, the external reserves have recorded a 1% increase within the last two weeks.

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Reserves may hit $45bn mark as Oil price rallies

Crude oil prices reportedly rallied to $70.43 last week Friday, ending the week bullish for the first time since November 2018. Also, the report has also shown as at the time of filing this report, Brent oil price has rallied to $71.63 per barrel. The rising crude oil prices amidst the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Cartel cut, Nigeria revenue in the short run is expected to record a windfall.

By extension, with over 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earning generated from oil export, surging oil prices will likely push the external to break the $45bn mark before the month ends.

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Why robust reserves matter 

The foreign reserve could be held to Safeguard the value of the domestic currency and also to make a timely meeting of international payment transactions. Also, building reserves represent a form of wealth accumulation portfolio for future consumption purposes. Further, the periodical intervention by CBN to manage the exchange rate is achieved with the aid of Foreign exchange reserves.

Nairametrics had earlier reported the $US39.9 billion CBN injection into FOREX market in 2018, and the relative stability of the exchange rate is traceable to the periodic intervention by the CBN. Hence, the rising external reserve has been a buffer to stabilise the naira.

It can, therefore, be argued that an increase in foreign exchange reserves improves the current account, and consequently enhances economic growth.

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Patricia

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Macro-Economic News

FPI and FDI drop to $68 million and $18 million respectively in April, lowest since 2016

The Covid-19 economic lockdown impacted negatively on investor inflow into Nigeria.

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FDI, foreign direct investment, Covid-19: Nigerian government explains how it will fund proposed N2.3 trillion stimulus

Nigeria attracted just $67.9 million in Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) inflow for the month of April 2020, the lowest inflow recorded this year. This is contained in the latest capital importation data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  

A cursory look at the Central Bank data shows that FPI sharply reversed from $2.30 billion at the beginning of the year (January) to just $67.9 million inflow in April 2020. Nigeria like most emerging markets relies heavily on foreign portfolio investments to shore up its external reserves and manage its exchange rate position.  

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Nigeria shut down its economy in the whole of April as part of its measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

READ MORE: UPDATED: Inflation rate jumps to 12.40%, highest in over 2 years

FPI and FDI hit 2016 recession low 

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global economy with emerging markets like Nigeria feeling the full brunt from a fiscal and monetary perspective  

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With the pandemic projected to spread recession across major countries including G20 nations, investors are wary of pumping money into poorer countries like Nigeria. This is despite trillions of dollars in stimulus packages injected by the likes of Japan, the US, Europe, and Canada. Foreign investor apathy is also due to the global lockdown which is still in full force in many sub-Saharan countries like Nigeria.  

In total, Nigeria attracted only $316.8 million capital inflow in April, a 113.5% drop representing a significant decline when compared to the $2.30 billion capital inflow received in January 2020. Total capital importation was $2.4 billion and $615 million in February and March respectively. The majority of the inflows recorded in January and February flowed into Money Market Instruments.

The breakdown of capital inflow shows that the main components of capital inflow (FPI and Foreign Direct Investment) plunged significantly.  

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READ MORE: Nigeria receives $17.5 billion diaspora remittances in 2019 

Source: CBN

As at the end of April 2020, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received was estimated at $18.5 million, down from $110.9 million received earlier in January 2020. FPI, on the other hand, recorded a 3,297% decline from $2.30 billion in January to $67.9 million inflow in April 2020.  

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This is the lowest capital inflow received in the Nigerian economy in a single month since the 2016 recession. In 2016 December, Nigeria recorded $76.15 million FPI and $67.9 million in January 2017 respectively.  

READ ALSO: Nigeria received $96 billion diaspora remittances inflow in 6-years

According to the recent report released by the World Bank on the Nigerian economy, in the first quarter of 2020, the total FPI flows into Nigeria declined by 54%, and this is due to increased risk aversion in global capital markets.  

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While FPI and FDI both declined, the Central Bank continues to offer high yield to foreign investors, causing the share of FPI in total capital inflows to rise to over 50 percent in 2019. The shift from FDI to FPI represents an increase in Nigeria’s reliance on “hot money” to finance the Balance of payment, which exacerbates the vulnerability of the current account.  

Although, the foreign reserves have improved in recent weeks, averaging $36 billion in June 2020. Meanwhile, a sustained reversal in capital flow may further expose the country’s foreign reserves, a situation which may necessitate another round of exchange rate unification (Naira devaluation). 

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Economic Reopening still a longshot 

In the past weeks, major economies of the world have embarked on gradual easing of lockdown, a move targeted at restarting local trade and initiate the recovery process. However, there are new pushbacks on reopening plans as renewed concern about the possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe remains high    

Nigeria has also faced similar pushbacks on reopening the economy further prolonging a restart of full economic activities. Just recently, the federal government approved a N2.3 trillion stimulus package which they will fund from special accounts and a $3 billion loan from the World Bank. This is in addition to the $3.4 billion already drawn from the IMF.  Whilst, these are all geared towards stimulating the economy, the economic devastation from COVID-19 remains a huge concern. 

Both the IMF and World Bank have predicted the Nigerian economy to contract by 3.4% and 5.4% respectively in 2020. According to the World Bank, in 2020, the current account is expected to hold steady at about -3.1 percent of GDP in 2020, although imports and exports are both projected to contract considerably. 

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Also, the World Bank disclosed that Nigeria’s exports are expected to fall by US$40.3 billion, 9% of GDP, because of the drop in global oil prices, and imports are expected to fall by US$50.5 billion, 12% of GDP, due to sluggish demand and disruptions in global supply chains.  

Indeed, Nigeria is in a significantly weaker macroeconomic position than it was during the 2015/16 recession, and it has fewer policy instruments to cushion the shocks induced by the pandemic. 

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Macro-Economic News

EFG Hermes highlights sectors that will boom Post-COVID

Investors and executives will nevertheless have to navigate a changed landscape.

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EFG Hermes, Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on consumer packaged goods in Nigeria

EFG-Hermes Holding, a financial service corporation, has said that investments across certain sectors of the Nigerian economy would receive boosts when the COVID-19 pandemic ease by September, 2020.

The sectors, according to the experts, that would attract more investments and patrons  after the pandemic subsided are Agriculture, Digital payments, health, consumer goods and capitalised financial institutions among others.

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This was disclosed by experts during a virtual investors conference organised by EFG-Hermes and attended by Nairametrics.

READ MORE: FG to go ahead with Eurobond payment, seeks debt relief from china, multilateral agencies

Head, Frontier research, EFG-Hermes, Kato Mukuru, explained that the sectors will be investors delights post-COVID, as more investments would be attracted to them and they are essential products/services consumers can not do without. He said,

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The good thing about COVID-19 is that it has forced new sectors to come through. More local and foreign investors will be going into food cultivation, processing, storage and distribution to take advantage of the expansion in the industry.

Mukuru added that Nigeria’s biggest financial institutions would also attract new investments and customers as most lenders are deficient in capital and many will need capital to stabilise after the pandemic.

“There are clients that are looking at very good opportunities and we are discussing with them. I know a local investor who is looking to do hospitals post Covid-19. We have started that dialogue,” he added.

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READ ALSO: SEC expresses worry as banks’ credit to agriculture sector remains low

The lockdown introduced by the Federal Government created opportunities for some operators in the digital payment space, as many moved from cash to digital payments.

Also, a crash in the price of crude oil, the nation’s major revenue earner intensified effort by the government to diversify income sources by supporting investments in agriculture and processing industries.

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Despite current challenges facing the Frontier Emerging Markets (FEM), Mohamed Ebeid, co-CEO of the Investment Bank at EFG Hermes, explained that changes in the macro picture might create new opportunities for countries, markets and companies.

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He said, “We do see the prospect of some relief from immediate pressures, with an easing of FEM portfolio outflows expected as major central banks continuing to implement large expansionary programs.

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‘We could also see a floor put under commodity price drops as major oil producers solidify their commitment to large output cuts. Investors and executives will nevertheless have to navigate a changed landscape, where previously more-or-less hidden structural trends come to the fore and accelerate.”

Ebeid added that the main objective of the Virtual Investor Conference was to provide participants with first-hand insights from key international players, spurring further investment in FEMs.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigerian businesses are optimistic about July – CBN 

Regarding the currency outlook, respondent firms expect the Naira to depreciate in the current month.

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IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira

CBN survey revealed that Nigerian businesses have an optimistic outlook for the months of July, August, and December. The confidence index for the months stood at 31.8., 47.4 and 67.8 index points, respectively. This is following the largely pessimistic outlook towards the Nigerian economy for the month of June which had an overall confidence index (CI) of -24.3 index points. 

READ ALSO: CBN projects macroeconomy confidence to rise by 118.3% in November 

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The survey was conducted by the Statistics department of the Central Bank of Nigeria and it involved a sample of 1050 businesses that cut across small & medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as large corporations in NigeriaRespondent firms also included import-based and export-based businesses alike. It attained a response rate of 96% and the sample took cognisance of companies in the agricultural industryservices, manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, and construction.  

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The overall outlook of respondents on financial conditions like working capital, access to credit, and average capacity utilization was also negative. The only good expectation was from expected volume of business activities.  

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The Major Challenges 

The firms that took part of the survey highlighted issues like insufficient power supply, competition, high-interest rate, financial problems, unfavourable economic climate, unclear economic laws, insufficient demand, unfavourable political climate, access to credit and lack of equipment as the primary factors that constrain business activity.  

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases projected to top 240k as positivity tests approach 20% 

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Regarding the currency outlook, respondent firms expect the Naira to depreciate in the current month. Much like the overall outlook, they also expect it to appreciate in JulyAugust and December. Inflation level is also expected to rise and borrowing rate is equally expected to rise in the same months respectively.  

Patricia
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