Thursday, 8 October 2020

NIGERIA ECONOMY - A NEW QUARTER BUT SAME OLD STORY


Lukman Otunuga,

Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

 

Africa’s largest economy entered the new quarter with a strong likelihood of following the same old story, namely COVID-19 headwinds, recessionary trends and widespread local and global market uncertainty.

 

Fellow #Nigerians, are you aware that our #crude #oil will soon become useless? Yes, it will, in no distant time, become #valueless owing to the fact that the #countries that rely on it as their only source of #energy are developing more affordable #alternative sources of energy. When this finally happens, what will we do? How are we currently preparing for this imminent #economic doom? Which other sector will continue to stabilize our economy? Nigerians, the only #solution is developing the #agricultural sector. In fact, this is the only #solution. Very soon, the major source of revenue will become agriculture and #agro-exports. How are you positioning yourself to play big in agro-export #business? Why don’t you get a practical manual that explains the stages of export trade from #processing and #packaging of #commodities to receipt of #payment by the #foreign buyers? Yes, arm yourself with the #contemporary #trends in #export #trade. This manual explains export #operations, export #management, export #documentations and methods of #payment in export trade? Yes, it is a contemporary step-by-step guide to export trade. It tells all the contemporary dynamics in export trade. To get it, click on this link: http://www.tectono-business.com/2016/02/contemporary-step-by-step-guide-to.html   

 

What are the chances of a plot twist?

In a year full of twists and turns, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) surprised investors with a 100 basis point interest rate cut from 12.5 percent to 11.5 percent. The monetary policy signal is a green light for more affordable lending which could stimulate economic growth and temper recessionary pressures. However, the same green light could speed up the inflationary pressures which weigh on the economy. The currency markets may view the CBN’s rate cut as a sign that monetary policy no longer prioritises foreign investors seeking high returns on deposits.

 

Until now, the CBN’s hawkish monetary policy helped to maintain and grow the banking system’s foreign currency reserves, providing the Naira with a cushion against further weakness. The current weakening global and domestic economic outlook does not support a high-interest rate environment in the short term. Faced with a protracted recession or runaway inflation, the CBN appears to have chosen the lesser of two evils. The central bank’s latest statement indicates that high interest rates have not been successful in checking inflation, which the CBN blames on structural factors like rising fuel and electricity prices.

 

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This raises the question of why an Oil-producing country faces inflation in fuel and electricity prices when fossil fuels are locally produced and ought to be more affordable. The answer is the strange economic distortion created by COVID-19. In this case, Nigeria applied to borrow $3.4 Billion from the IMF in order to bail out the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will have to be repaid - cue a hike in electricity tariffs to increase government revenues from utilities and bolster its repayment capacity. This would be credit-positive as the last thing Nigeria needs in such extraordinary times are doubts over its creditworthiness.

 

Weaker global Oil prices make Nigeria’s creditworthiness even more of an important factor because the state is hard-pressed to cover its budgetary needs in the current climate of low demand for crude Oil. Now that the CBN has put checking inflation lower down in its priorities, does this signal further rate cuts in the near future?

 

Extra-smart #people deserve extra-smart #investment in #landed #properties at the new #Lagos, otherwise known as #Ibeju #Lekki. This is where great #developmental #projects are currently going on and in the next two years, it will surpass #Lekki Phase 1 Estate. Are you aware that #Lekki #Port will commence full operations in 2022? This implies #port #operations and #development are shifting from #Apapa to Ibeju-Lekki. Any plot of land you buy in Ibeju-Lekki now will appreciate by excess of 200% in 2022. Other notable attraction here include: Lekki #Free #Trade #Zone, #Dangote #Refineries, Eleko #Beach, Lekki, New #Epe #International #Airport, #Eleganza #Industrial #Estate, Pan #Atlantic #University etc. If you have not invested heavily in landed properties, you have not landed. Acquire genuine plots and hectares of land free from government encumbrance in our estates at Ibeju-Lekki. For details, click: http://www.tectono-business.com/2019/07/have-share-of-new-lagos-by-investing-in.html

 

The case for further pandemic-driven rate cuts appears to be strong. The COVID-19 outbreak shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, at the time of writing, the number of new cases in Nigeria is on the rise after lockdowns eased. Further monetary stimulus to the economy appears unavoidable. Of course, it all depends on what happens with inflation. If the inflation rate keeps rising in sectors like fuel, electricity and food it may drag on consumer spending, outstripping the economic benefits of lower interest rates. Medical costs have also risen because of COVID-19, according to the August inflation statistics.

 

The pandemic comes at a time when Nigeria is exposed to external and domestic risks. Locally, the drive to diversify the economy stayed stuck in first gear. Border clashes between herders and farmers led to border closures, further dampening economic activity. Externally, Oil prices remain in a slump, the US Dollar is appreciating and global sentiment struggles with the COVID-19 circumstances. Further elevating fears over a technical recession in Nigeria, the World Bank forecasts an economic contraction of 3.2 percent for the full-year 2020, a five percent drop from its previous projection.

 

Extra-smart #Nigerians are getting shares of the new #Lagos by acquiring #plots, acres and hectares of land at #Ibeju #Lekki . What are you waiting for? Click: http://www.tectono-business.com/2019/07/have-share-of-new-lagos-by-investing-in.html

 

Summing up, Nigeria’s outlook remains influenced by the same old themes. If Oil prices stay depressed, foreign currency reserves and government revenues will likely decline. Low Oil prices also impact the CBN’s capacity to defend the Naira. A falling Naira could accelerate inflation and further weigh on economic growth. Will the final quarter of 2020 see a continuation of these themes, or will the economy offer a positive surprise?

 

The banking sector remains a bright spot in the cloudy outlook. Easier borrowing terms might boost the banking sector’s income while encouraging economic activity. Another bright spot is that growth in China has returned, promising to hike demand in the Oil markets and further supporting Oil prices. After the year we’ve had so far, one thing’s sure: surprises are only to be expected.


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