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Recession: Moody’s Warns of Dire Economic Consequences For Nigeria

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Global rating agency, Moody’s, yesterday, warned of a further contraction of the Nigeria, while it disclosed that the declining value of the naira would engender a marginal increase in Nigeria’s external debt to 5.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by end of 2016 from 3.3 per cent in 2015.

This came as expert blamed the long awaited passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, and lack of good governance to reasons for poor returns expected to cushion the effect of the downturn in the price of crude at the international market.

Moody’s, in a Global Credit Research report released in Dubai, cautioned that while the Federal Government of Nigeria should comfortably meet its financing gap over the next 12 to 18 months, increasing liquidity pressures, rising inflation and stagnant growth pose key challenges.

In the report titled, ‘Government of Nigeria: FAQ on Credit Impications of Naira Depreciation, Low Oil Price and Broader Economic Challenges,’ Moody’s said, “The Government of Nigeria (B1 stable) continues to face low oil prices, volatile oil production, a spike in inflation that has eroded purchasing power, foreign exchange scarcity and an economy that has entered technical recession.

“Moody’s projects stagnation in real GDP in 2016 and only subdued growth at 2.5 per cent in 2017.”

The rating agency projected a deficit of around 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2016 for Nigeria, compared to a deficit of 3.8 per cent deficit in 2015. Commenting on the development, Aurelien Mali, Vice President and Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s, said, “We expect that Nigeria will contain pressures on its public finances in the short term.

“However, there is greater doubt about the severity of the impact of these challenges, particularly on government liquidity and economic growth, over the medium term.”

Moody’s, however, noted that it views the recent devaluation of the naira as credit positive, stating that the new system should enable the naira to better absorb external shocks over time, while dollar availability should gradually increase.

“Moreover, the fiscal benefit of the depreciation and the current oil price, which is above the budgeted oil price, exceeds the loss in oil output,” it said.

Moody’s disclosed, however, that the depreciation implies a material loss in purchasing power given import-price inflation, adding that it expects inflation to accelerate to 18 per cent by year’s end, before falling to an average of 12.5 per cent in 2017, based on the recent two percentage point hike in the Central Bank’s policy rate to 14 per cent.

Moody’s said, “States and local governments will benefit from the naira depreciation, offsetting the negative impact on oil production from the recent attacks in the Niger Delta. Moody’s expects authorities to reduce spending if revenues under perform.

“Moody’s notes that attacks on pipelines and key energy infrastructure in the Niger Delta have cut oil production to historic lows. If oil production stagnates at its current, or lower level during the rest of the year, the expansionary spending envisioned by the current budget will be at risk, which would hurt growth.

“However, the Central Bank of Nigeria has sent strong signals to the market that it will prioritize stemming inflation over promoting growth, as well as supporting the return of foreign capital.”

Meanwhile, a renowned Petroleum Economist and President, Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, NAEE, Professor Wumi Iledare, has attributed non-passage of Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, poor governance among others as reasons for the country’s recession.
According to the University don, “The uncertainty in the Petroleum industry, has brought about zero activities in the petroleum industry, which has in turn resulted to zero revenues that should have supported the economy in a time as this.

“There is no money because of the low crude price, production level is down; and there is no activity ongoing in the oil and gas business. It is a recipe of disaster.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya

Investment

Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies

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Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies

Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.

According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.

The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.

It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.

“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”

Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.

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Economy

Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension

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  • Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.

OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.

In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.

Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.

While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.

Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.

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Economy

Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

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  • Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report

Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.

The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.

The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.

“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.

Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.

The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.

Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.

Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.

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