Tuesday, 27 August 2019

NIGERIA WEEK AHEAD

Lukman Otunuga  
FXTM Senior Research Analyst

Escalating trade tensions are set to dominate market sentiment in the week ahead following the explosive developments on the US-China trade front last Friday. Beijing announced it would apply additional tariffs of between 5% to 10% on $75 billion of US imports from September. US President Donald Trump wasted no time in counterpunching against retaliatory tariffs announced by Beijing, vowing to hike US tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports from 25% to 30% starting on 1 October. He also said planned tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods due to start on September 1 will now be 15% instead of 10%.

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This bombshell development will likely fuel concerns over escalating trade disputes between the world’s two largest economies threatening global growth and stability. Investors are seen maintaining a safe distance from world equities and riskier currencies while rushing to safe-haven assets such as bonds, Gold and the Japanese Yen as risk aversion intensifies.

Nigeria will unveil updates on key economic reports in the week ahead with the Balance of Trade figures and foreign exchange reserves under the spotlight. The Naira is set to witness further stability against the Dollar if Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves increase towards $45 billion in August.

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Rising foreign reserves should provide the extra ammunition needed for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to defend the Naira against external risks in the form of trade tensions. Nevertheless, the nation still remains exposed to oil price volatility given how crude exports account for over 90% of exports earnings and over 70% of government revenues. However, there is a threat of reserves falling given how oil prices have depreciated roughly 5% over the past month. Falling reserves have the potential to impact exchange rate stability, inflation and economic growth.

Outside of Nigeria, trade tensions, Brexit, global growth concerns, developments in Europe and falling oil prices will remain on investors radars. The Dollar is positioned to benefit from safe-haven flows as market uncertainty accelerates the flight to safety, while the Euro and Pound are seen pressured by political and economic risks.

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Gold is set to shine through the market chaos with prospects of lower interest rates across the globe and overall market uncertainty pushing the precious metal towards $1550 regions.

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