Friday, 26 January 2018

AFRINVEST DISAGREES WITH IMF ON NIGERIA’S FOREX OUTLOOK

Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited has disagreed with a report credited to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which said that the nation’s foreign exchange market is still deep in uncertainty.

The company said such assessment of a market that has undergone series of reforms, with notable results, particularly the establishment of the Investors’ and Exporters’ Window that attracted $29billion in less than 10 months is contestable.

The Group Managing Director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, while unveiling the 2018 Outlook for the Nigerian economy and financial market in Lagos, said even at the moment, the fundamentals still favour the economy. According to him, what the country needs is taking advantage of the favourable times now, and sustaining its policy implementations in the foreign exchange market.

While discussing the report entitled: “The Virtuous Cycle… Again!”, Chioke pointed out that the exchange rate could be determined now, unlike one year ago, with reserves above $40billion; oil price at over $70 per barrel; and a steady production at record level.

The report offered an assessment of growth prospects in 2018, in light of the notable recovery of the Nigerian economy in 2017. He said that with the upturn in commodity prices, impressive performance in the oil sector and adoption of pro-market forex reforms by the apex bank, the financial market has clearly become more attractive to foreign and local investors.

The financial expert said: “2017 was indeed a year of recovery for the Nigerian economy. Through deliberate efforts from the government, we saw a rebound in economic activity, as well as strengthened investor confidence and business sentiments.

“It is against the backdrop of these improving macroeconomic conditions that we have taken a positive outlook for 2018, as we expect the economy to continue on its positive trajectory since its recovery.

“Akin to our last two-year bull run in 2012 and 2013, we have been ushered into a “virtuous cycle” marked by stability in external sector indicators and fiscal balance, declining inflationary pressures, improving growth profile, increasingly accommodative monetary policy and strong capital market returns.

“In these early days, we have seen market capitalisation and the All-Share Index at record highs, and we advocate a cautious, active trading strategy in the current bull market.”

Further analyses of the report showed the slow recovery of the non-oil sector, while it listed strong prospects for growth in anticipation of expansion in fiscal spending, deceleration of inflation rate and increase in private investments.

“Furthermore, it emphasises our two-year long theme calling for structural reforms from policymakers to build long term macroeconomic resilience to mitigate fault lines that could break the cycle and plunge the economy back into a vicious cycle of macroeconomic instability and weak capital market returns,” he added.

Afrinvest is a wealth advisory firm involved in investment banking, securities trading, asset management and investment research with a focus on West Africa. (Guardian)

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