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Fitch Says Nigeria’s Recovery to Remain Sluggish

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Fitch Ratings
  • Fitch Says Nigeria’s Recovery to Remain Sluggish

Fitch Ratings, a global ratings agency, said Nigeria’s economic recovery will remain sluggish due to the high unemployment and inflation rate in the country.

The agency predicted that the economy will grow at an average of 2.2 per cent in 2019 and 2020, about 50 percent below its 10-year average of 4.2 per cent and 35.3 percent below its current ‘B’ median of 3.4 per cent.

It projected that rising unemployment and inflation rate would weigh on consumer consumption, while investment in Nigeria will struggle because of tight credit supply, regulatory uncertainty in the oil sector and a weak business climate.

“A large infrastructure deficit, which is illustrated by acute power supply shortages and security challenges, also dampen the medium-term growth outlook,” it added.

Fitch affirmed the nation’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at ‘B+’ with a stable outlook.

It said, “Nigeria’s ratings are supported by the large size of its economy, a track record of current account surpluses and a relatively low general government debt-to-GDP. This is balanced against poor governance and development indicators, structurally low fiscal revenues and high dependence on hydrocarbons. The rating is also weighed down by subdued GDP growth and inflation that is higher than in rating peers.”

The agency said the country’s fiscal performance is a function of its oil revenues.

“However, the implicit subsidy of petrol prices (around 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2018), the gradual clearance of joint-venture cash call arrears (outstanding stock of one per cent of GDP at end-2018) and the conversion of government oil proceeds to naira at a below-market exchange rate continue to constrain budget receipts from hydrocarbon extraction,” it said.

It stated that government ability to finance capital projects is limited by disruptions to oil output caused by recurrent acts of vandalism or other force majeure affecting the country’s ageing oil infrastructure.

It said, “Nigeria’s particularly low non-oil fiscal revenues, averaging only 3.7 per cent of GDP over 2016-2018, are a key rating weakness, reducing the fiscal space and resulting in a high fiscal Brent breakeven price of $129 per barrel in 2019 and $149 in 2020, according to Fitch’s estimates.

“A two-thirds rise in the minimum wage entered into force in April and could cause pressures on public finances, particularly for cash-strapped state and local governments, although there is high uncertainty regarding its effective implementation date and fiscal cost. The government is contemplating offsetting measures, including a VAT rate increase, which faces strong opposition across the political spectrum.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

Federal Government Set to Seal $3.8bn Brass Methanol Project Deal in May 2024

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Gas-Pipeline

The Federal Government of Nigeria is on the brink of achieving a significant milestone as it prepares to finalize the Gas Supply and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) for the $3.8 billion Brass Methanol Project.

The agreement to be signed in May 2024 marks a pivotal step in the country’s journey toward industrialization and self-sufficiency in methanol production.

The Brass Methanol Project, located in Bayelsa State, is a flagship industrial endeavor aimed at harnessing Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources to produce methanol, a vital chemical used in various industrial processes.

With Nigeria currently reliant on imported methanol, this project holds immense promise for reducing dependency on foreign supplies and stimulating economic growth.

Upon completion, the Brass Methanol Project is expected to have a daily production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of methanol, positioning Nigeria as a major player in the global methanol market.

Furthermore, the project is projected to create up to 15,000 jobs during its construction phase, providing a significant boost to employment opportunities in the country.

The successful execution of the GSPA is essential to ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to the Brass Methanol Project.

Key stakeholders, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, are working closely to finalize the agreement and pave the way for the project’s advancement.

Speaking on the significance of the project, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s keen interest in expediting the Brass Methanol Project.

Ekpo reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitating the project’s success and harnessing its potential to attract foreign direct investment and drive economic development.

The Brass Methanol Project represents a major stride toward achieving Nigeria’s industrialization goals and unlocking the full potential of its natural resources.

As the country prepares to seal the deal in May 2024, anticipation grows for the transformative impact that this landmark project will have on Nigeria’s economy and industrial landscape.

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IMF Report: Nigeria’s Inflation to Dip to 26.3% in 2024, Growth Expected at 3.3%

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IMF global - Investors King

Nigeria’s economic outlook for 2024 appears cautiously optimistic with projections indicating a potential decrease in the country’s inflation rate alongside moderate economic growth.

The IMF’s revised Global Economic Outlook for 2024 highlights key forecasts for Nigeria’s economic landscape and gave insights into both inflationary trends and GDP expansion.

According to the IMF report, Nigeria’s inflation rate is projected to decline to 26.3% by the end of 2024.

This projection aligns with expectations of a gradual easing of inflationary pressures within the country, although challenges such as fuel subsidy removal and exchange rate fluctuations continue to pose significant hurdles to price stability.

In tandem with the inflation forecast, the IMF also predicts a modest economic growth rate of 3.3% for Nigeria in 2024.

This growth projection reflects a cautious optimism regarding the country’s economic recovery and resilience in the face of various internal and external challenges.

Despite the ongoing efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange market and address macroeconomic imbalances, the IMF underscores the need for continued policy reforms and prudent fiscal management to sustain growth momentum.

The IMF report provides valuable insights into Nigeria’s economic trajectory, offering policymakers, investors, and stakeholders a comprehensive understanding of the country’s macroeconomic dynamics.

While the projected decline in inflation and modest growth outlook offer reasons for cautious optimism, it remains essential for Nigerian authorities to remain vigilant and proactive in addressing underlying structural vulnerabilities and promoting inclusive economic development.

As the country navigates through a challenging economic landscape, concerted efforts towards policy coordination, investment promotion, and structural reforms will be crucial in unlocking Nigeria’s full growth potential and fostering long-term prosperity.

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South Africa’s March Inflation Hits Two-Month Low Amid Economic Uncertainty

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South Africa's economy - Investors King

South Africa’s inflation rate declined to a two-month low, according to data released by Statistics South Africa.

Consumer prices rose by 5.3% year-on-year, down from 5.6% in February. While this decline may initially suggest a positive trend, analysts caution against premature optimism due to various economic factors at play.

The weakening of the South African rand against the dollar, coupled with drought conditions affecting staple crops like white corn and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East leading to rising oil prices, poses significant challenges.

These factors are expected to keep inflation relatively high and stubborn in the coming months, making policymakers hesitant to adjust borrowing costs.

Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, reiterated the bank’s cautious stance on inflation pressures.

Despite the recent easing, inflation has consistently remained above the midpoint of the central bank’s target range of 3-6% since May 2021. Consequently, the bank has maintained the benchmark interest rate at 8.25% for nearly a year, aiming to anchor inflation expectations.

While some traders speculate on potential interest rate hikes, forward-rate agreements indicate a low likelihood of such a move at the upcoming monetary policy committee meeting.

The yield on 10-year bonds also saw a marginal decline following the release of the inflation data.

March’s inflation decline was mainly attributed to lower prices in miscellaneous goods and services, education, health, and housing and utilities.

However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, remained relatively steady at 4.9%.

Overall, South Africa’s inflation trajectory underscores the delicate balance between economic recovery and inflation containment amid ongoing global uncertainties.

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