Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday said global risks jumped just two months later amid heightened inflation and global uncertainty.
In its Global Financial Stability Report, IMF said changes in a series of key economic fundamentals after Russia attacked Ukraine have increased global risks in recent months, stated Tobias Adrian, IMF’s Financial Counsellor.
Amid the highest inflation in decades and extraordinary uncertainty about the outlook, markets have been extremely volatile.
“We have high inflation and the deteriorating global economic outlook. At the same time, we have geopolitical risks with economic spillovers from the war in Ukraine. On top of all of this, global financial conditions have tightened as central banks continue to raise interest rates. Our latest Global Financial Stability Report shows that financial stability risks have increased since our last report, with the balance of risks tilted to the downside. Looking at the global banking sector, we can see that it has withstood the pressures up to now, helped by high levels of capital and ample liquidity.
“However, the IMF’s global bank stress test shows that these buffers may not be enough for some banks. For example, if we were to have a situation in 2023 with an abrupt and sharp tightening of global financial conditions enough to send the economy into recession coupled with high inflation, then up to 29% of bank assets in emerging markets would breach capital requirements. At the same time, most banks in advanced economies would pull through,” said Adrian.
Confronting the specter of stubbornly high inflation, central banks in advanced economies and many emerging markets have had to move to an accelerated path of monetary policy normalization to prevent inflationary pressures from becoming entrenched. As an intended consequence of monetary tightening, global financial conditions have tightened in most regions.
“We see that rising interest rates have brought on additional stress. Both governments facing high debt levels, as well as non-bank financial institutions such as insurance companies, pension funds, and asset managers dealing with stretched balance sheets. We also see European financial markets showing signs of strain. The recent volatility in the UK and China’s sharper than expected slowdown also raised concerns. Emerging markets more broadly are confronting multiple risks. These stemmed from high borrowing costs, high inflation, volatile commodity markets and heightened uncertainty about the global economic outlook. The strains are particularly severe for smaller developing economies,” added Adrian.
According to the IMF’s Integrated Policy Framework, where appropriate, some emerging market economies managing the global tightening cycle could consider using some combination of targeted foreign exchange interventions, capital flow measures, and/or other actions to help smooth exchange rate adjustments to reduce financial stability risks and maintain appropriate monetary policy transmission.
“Central banks must act resolutely to bring inflation back to target and avoid the anchoring of inflation expectations, which could damage their credibility. They need to ensure clear communication in three areas. On their policy decisions, on their commitment to the price stability objectives, and on the need to further normalize monetary policy.
“In managing the global tightening cycle, emerging markets could consider targeted foreign exchange interventions and capital flow measures. Both of these would help smooth exchange rate adjustments and reduce financial stability risks. Emerging and frontier markets should reduce the risk from debt vulnerabilities, including through early contact with creditors and support from the international community.
“Finally, for countries near debt distress, bilateral and private sector creditors should find ways to coordinate on preemptive restructuring to avoid costly and hard defaults,” said Adrian.
Experts Urge Swift Government Action on Nigeria’s Untapped N3 Trillion Logistics Sector
Experts at the Courier and Logistics Management Institute conference in Lagos have emphasized the critical importance of the overlooked logistics, courier, and transport sector in Nigeria, valued at over N3 trillion.
During the event themed “Logistics Solutions and National Infrastructure Development,” the CLMI Executive Chairman, Prof. Simon Emeje, highlighted the urgent need for the federal government to prioritize this sector, which remains relatively untapped on a global scale.
Emeje underscored the sector’s significance, stating, “Any country that does not pay attention to logistics, courier, and the transport sector cannot survive.
The government must not ignore this sector because it is the bedrock of any economy.”
The logistics, courier, transport, and management industry boasts an average asset worth over N3 trillion, offering substantial potential for job creation.
Emeje emphasized that commerce is crippled without effective logistics, illustrating the importance of the sector in facilitating trade, enhancing the supply chain, creating jobs, and propelling economic growth.
Despite its undeniable importance, the Nigerian logistics sector faces hindrances such as infrastructural deficits and weak government policies, preventing it from reaching its full potential.
Emeje called for immediate attention to address these challenges and unlock the sector’s capacity to create millions of employment opportunities for Nigerian youth.
Former Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, urged the institute to draft a comprehensive proposal for government adoption, offering assistance in facilitating engagement.
Both Shittu and Prof. Emeje called on the Federal Government to establish a dedicated ministry to foster an enabling environment for Courier and Logistics Management, drawing parallels to the recognition given to the entertainment industry.
President Tinubu Seeks Senate Approval for $8.6 Billion and €100 Million Borrowing Plan
President Bola Tinubu’s administration has formally requested the approval of the Nigerian Senate for a borrowing plan totaling $8.6 billion and €100 million.
The request was presented to the Senate through a letter read during the plenary by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio.
According to the letter, the proposed funds are integral to the federal government’s 2022-2024 external borrowing plan, previously sanctioned by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu clarified that the projects earmarked for funding through this loan cut across diverse sectors, emphasizing their selection based on rigorous economic evaluations and their anticipated contributions to national development.
The letter highlighted, “The projects and programs in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.”
The specified sectors earmarked for development include infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation, along with financial management reforms.
The borrowing plan’s comprehensive approach aims to address critical needs and propel the nation’s progress.
President Tinubu emphasized the urgency of the Senate’s approval, stating, “Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government to deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
This appeal follows previous successful requests, including the National Assembly’s approval of an over $800 million loan for the National Social Safety Network Programme in August.
Also, the assembly greenlighted the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act of N819 million to provide palliatives to Nigerians, mitigating the impact of fuel subsidy removal.
As the deliberations unfold, the Senate’s decision on this substantial borrowing plan will play a pivotal role in shaping Nigeria’s economic trajectory.
Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Construction Set for 2024
Nigeria’s Gas Minister, Ekperikpe Ekpo, announced the scheduled commencement of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline construction in 2024.
The revelation came during a meeting with a delegation from Morocco, led by Ambassador Moha Ou Ali Tagma, on Monday in Abuja.
The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline, a colossal undertaking covering 5,600 kilometers and traversing 13 African countries, is poised to transform the energy landscape of the region.
Spanning nations from Nigeria to Morocco and reaching Europe, the pipeline aims to facilitate gas transportation, enhance economic integration, combat desertification, and contribute significantly to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Ekpo, expressing Nigeria’s readiness for the project, stated, “I believe by 2024, we will conclude on it.”
He emphasized the importance of natural gas in the context of climate change, highlighting its role in ensuring low carbon emissions and fostering prosperity.
The pipeline, originating at Brass Island in Nigeria and reaching the northern region of Morocco, will interlink with the existing Maghreb European Pipeline, connecting Algeria to Spain.
Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), underscored the commitment to a consistent gas supply and the provision of necessary infrastructure.
Despite the ambitious vision, some analysts have raised concerns about the viability of the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline. Notably, the project has encountered delays, with a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 and 2018, followed by another in 2022.
Analysts, including oil and gas expert Dan D Kunle, have stressed the need for comprehensive studies to assess economic impact, financial returns, and agreements with transit countries.
While challenges and skepticism persist, Kyari has expressed confidence in securing funding for the project.
However, alternative perspectives suggest exploring investments in LNG plants, regasification facilities in Moroccan ports, and LNG vessel carriers for a more flexible and globally accessible energy solution.
As Nigeria and Morocco navigate this ambitious venture, meticulous planning and strategic considerations will be crucial for ensuring its success.
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