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South African economy falls into second recession in two years

Nigeria’s economy is now the largest in Africa after South Africa went into recession yesterday.

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The South African economy has fallen into its second recession in two years, as the country’s economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019. This was disclosed by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

The fourth-quarter decline had occurred following a revised 0.8% contraction in the third quarter, pushing South Africa into its second recession in two years. This places Nigeria’s economy at the top of the continent after much debate about, which economy is the largest.

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Is there trouble in paradise for the South African economy, International Monetary Fund

Cyril Ramaphosa, South African President

The debate began due to differences in Nigeria’s exchange rate – with the official naira rate of N306 per dollar and weaker market exchange rate of around N360 – but with South Africa sliding into recession, either of the exchange rates makes Nigeria’s economy the largest, posting $476 billion or $402 billion, depending on the rate used, Bloomberg reports.

[READ MORE: Nigeria’s economy can’t survive without diaspora inputs, says PwC Chief Economist)

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This is because while South Africa’s economy underperformed in the fourth quarter last year, Nigeria experienced growth in its economy, surpassing forecasts due to oil output increased and the central bank took steps to boost credit growth.

But South Africa’s economy was the opposite, contracting more than projected in the fourth quarter as power cuts negatively affected output and business confidence. It was disclosed that South Africa recorded 0.2% expansion for the full year, making it the least since the global financial crisis.

The expansion was, however, reported to be less than the South African central bank and government projected estimation. Based on an average rand-dollar exchange rate of 14.43 for the year, the GDP was $352 billion.

READ MORE: Is there trouble in paradise for the South African economy?

But while International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for Nigeria’s 2020 growth from 2.5% to 2%, last month, Nigeria’s economy is expected to continue growing, even faster, but South Africa’s GDP is projected to expand only by 0.8%.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

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Business News

IMF advises banks to suspend dividend payment

However, halting dividend payments may not go down well for many retail and institutional investors, who rely on bank dividends for regular income.

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In an article published on its website, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, advised banks to halt dividend payment for now. According to her, with the expectation of a deep recession in 2020 and partial recovery in 2021, banks’ resilience will be tested. Therefore, having in place strong capital and liquidity positions to support fresh credit will be essential.

According to the article, one of the steps needed to reinforce bank buffers is retaining earnings from ongoing operations which are not insignificant.

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IMF staff calculate that the 30 global systemically important banks distributed about US$250bn in dividends and share buybacks last year.

READ MORE: State Governments: Another cycle of non-payment of salaries to begin soon

In a circular dated January 31, 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stipulated new conditions for eligibility of Nigerian banks to pay dividend and the quantum of dividend to be paid out by banks who are eligible. Prior to the release of the circular, dividend payout policy for Nigerian banks had been spelt out in Section 16(1) of BOFIA 2004 (as amended) and Prudential Guidelines for DMBs of 2010. The circular provided guidelines and restrictions around divdidend payout for banks based on NPL ratio, CRR levels, and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR).

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However, there were no regulatory restriction on dividend payout for banks that meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio, have a CRR of “low” or “moderate” and an NPL ratio of not more than 5%. However, it is expected that the Board of such institutions will recommend payouts based on effective risk assessment and economic realities. Indeed, current economic realities demand caution.

Current economic realities mean that banks face asset quality threats, further devaluation threat which may impact capital in some cases, and lower profits which in turn affects the quantum of capital retained. Ideally, these should reflect in NPL ratio and CAR ratio and should immediately restrict banks’ ability to pay dividend. However, there is usually a time lag before these ratios begin to reflect the new economic realities. Therefore, IMF’s advise may come in handy for many banks.

(READ MORE: Software security limitations cited as major reason for Covid-19 bank rush)

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That said, halting dividend payments may not go down well for many retail and institutional investors, who rely on bank dividends for regular income. Banks like Zenith and Guaranty Trust have a good history of consistent dividend payment with attractive yields which is a major attraction for many shareholders.

IMF advises banks to suspend dividend payment

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Economy & Politics

CBN reduces MPR to 12.50%, holds other metrics

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.50% to 12.50% and retains CRR at 27.5%, Liquidity ratio at 30%.

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The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.50% to 12.50%.

Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while reading the communique at the end of the MPC meeting on Thursday in Abuja.  Meanwhile, other parameters such as the Cash Reserve Ratio  (CRR) remained at 27.5%, Liquidity ratio at 30%.

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Highlights of the Committee’s decision

  • MPC cuts MPR by 100 basis points to 12.50%
  • CRR stood at 27.5%
  • The Liquidity Ratio was also kept at 30%

According to Emefiele, the decision of the MPC to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate  was informed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, increased inflationary pressure, restrictions in international trade and more.

He highlighted the decline in the nation’s GDP as well as the decline in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing purchasing index which were attributable to slower growth in production, rate of unemployment, amongst others.

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Economy & Politics

Just in: Buhari seeks approval from green chamber to borrow fresh $5.5billion

FG also seek approval for the revised 2020-2022 mid-term expenditure framework (MTEF) which became necessary as a result of the crash in crude oil prices and the cut in the production output.

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President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking the approval of the House of Representatives to borrow fund to finance capital projects at the federal and state (to support state governors) levels in the 2020 budget.

This request was disclosed via the official twitter handle of the House of Representatives.

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The president’s letter, which indicated that the fund would be sourced locally and internationally, was read on the floor of the House of Representatives by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary on Thursday, May 28, 2020.

In the letter to the lower chamber, Buhari, is also seeking the approval for the revised 2020-2022 mid-term expenditure framework (MTEF) which became necessary as a result of the crash in crude oil prices and the cut in the production output.

Although the tweet did not contain the total amount of loan that is being requested, reports suggests that the President is seeking approval to borrow the sum of $5.513 billion from external sources to finance 2020 budget deficit and support state governments to meet challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Details shortly…

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