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Nigeria on Bumpy Road to Recovery; Foreign Exchange Reserves in Focus

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

The Nigerian economy still remains on a rocky road to recovery in the face of depressed oil prices, US-China trade uncertainty and fears over decelerating global growth.

Although the nation’s GDP expanded 1.94% during the second quarter of 2019, it is unlikely to meet the government’s 3% growth targets this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Nigeria’s growth to expand 2.3% this year and 2.5% in 2020. Despite the ongoing push for economic diversification, 90% of foreign exchange earnings and 70% of government revenues are still attained from oil sales.

While the Central Bank of Nigeria can be commended on its effort to promote Naira stability, this has come at the expense of falling reserves which decreased to $42.1 billion in September. Much attention will be directed towards the pending foreign exchange reserves data for October scheduled for release on Wednesday. Further signs of reserves declining amid weak oil prices and intervention by the CBN is likely to weigh on the Naira.

Market mood brightens on trade deal optimism

The mood across financial markets continues to brighten after President Donald Trump said that Washington “was ahead of schedule” on a trade deal with China.

This encouraging news has certainly injected global equity bulls with a renewed sense of confidence as optimism increases that the two largest economies in the world will sign “phase one ” of the trade agreement soon. Shares across Asia are pushing higher on Tuesday amid the risk-on sentiment, after the S&P 500 hit an all time record high overnight on the back of trade hopes and prospects of lower interest rates by the Fed. The positive vibe from Asian markets should also support European stocks and potentially Wall Street later this afternoon.

Fourth time lucky? Johnson seeks snap election again

There was little to cheer about on Monday in Brexit news despite the European Union granting Britain a flexible three-month extension to the Brexit process until 31 January 2020.

Although this has prevented the UK from leaving the European Union on October 31 without a deal, it is simply kicking the can down the road. This sentiment is clearly being reflected in the British Pound which offered a fairly muted reaction to the third Brexit extension. With British lawmakers rejecting Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for an early election in December, where do we go from here? While Johnson is expected to try again for an early election on Tuesday, history could repeat itself for the fourth time in two months. Until investors are offered proper direction and clarity on Brexit, Sterling’s rise may be capped below 1.30.

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Dollar waits for FOMC meeting

The Dollar held steady against a basket of major currencies on Tuesday ahead of the FOMC meeting on Wednesday. With markets widely expecting the Fed to dish out another insurance rate cut in face of trade uncertainty and global growth concerns, much attention will be directed towards Jerome Powell’s press conference. Should Powell sound less dovish than expected, investors are likely to revaluate whether the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in December.

Gold in the spotlight

Gold has stumbled into the trading week under pressure thanks to the improving market mood and risk-on sentiment. Given how prices are trading below the $1500 level, further downside could be on the cards in the short term.

However, investor expectations over the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates in October coupled with Brexit uncertainty should stimulate appetite towards the precious metal in the medium term. The longer-term outlook will remain influenced by US-China trade developments and global growth concerns. Although most remain cautiously optimistic over the two largest economies in the world signing a “phase one” trade deal, there is still room for disappointment as talks have fallen apart in the past. Focusing on the technical picture, Gold is tracking sideways on the daily charts but  the breakdown below $1500 should open a path towards $1485.

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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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E-Financial

Nigerian Manufacturing Sector Contracts for 5th Consecutive Month – CBN

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The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in September stood at 46.9 index points, indicating a contraction in the Nigerian manufacturing sector for the fifth month.

This was disclosed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its September PMI report released last week.

According to the report, four out of the 14 sub-sectors surveyed reported expansion (above the 50 per cent threshold) in September.

It listed the expansion order as electrical equipment; transportation equipment; cement and nonmetallic mineral products.

It said the remaining sub-sectors reported contractions in the following order: petroleum & coal products; primary metal; furniture & related products; printing & related support activities; food, beverage & tobacco products; textile, apparel, leather & footwear; chemical & pharmaceutical products; fabricated metal products and plastics & rubber products; while the paper product sub-sector was stable.

Production

At 47.3 points, the production level index for the manufacturing sector indicated contraction in September for the fifth consecutive month.

Of the 14 sub-sectors surveyed, five recorded increased production level, one reported same level of production, while eight recorded declines in production.

New Orders

At 46.4 points, the new orders index also contracted in September for the fifth consecutive month. Six sub-sectors reported expansion in new orders, while the remaining eight recorded contraction in the month.

Supplier Delivery Time

The manufacturing supplier delivery time index stood at 53.5 points in the month, indicating a faster supplier delivery time for the fifth time.

Six of the 14 sub-sectors recorded improved suppliers’ delivery time, five reported same level, while three recorded slower delivery time

Employment Level

The employment level index stood at 44.1 points, indicating contraction in employment level for the sixth consecutive month.

Of the 14 sub-sectors, two recorded growth in employment, three recorded same level of employment, while the remaining nine recorded lower employment level in the review month.

Raw material Inventories

The manufacturing sector inventories index also contracted for the sixth consecutive time in September to 43.0 points. Four of the 14 sub-sectors recorded growth in inventories, while the remaining 10 recorded lower raw material inventories.


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FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

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Mrs Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, has said the Federal Government sacked some past members of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) as they indulged in corruption.

FG Sacked IST Members over Fraud- Ahmed

Inaugurating the new members, the minister charged the new members to eschew corruption and be forthright.

Bar. Azi Amos Isaac was appointed as Chairman for a five year term and Bar. Nosa Smart Osemwengie, was re-appointed as member for a second term of four years.

“The problem with the tribunal has been infighting amongst members, lack of industrial harmony and series of complaints bordering on maladministration.

“This has been the bane of the tribunal and a source of embarrassment not only for the Ministry of Finance but for the government in general,” Ahmed said.

The new chairman, Azi, assured the finance minister that, “the teething issue of restiveness has been addressed since he assumed duty,” adding that, “The place is calm and the staff have become very supportive.”

Azi said since 2003, the tribunal has “given judgment in the value of assets worth over N844 billion and that from 2017 to date, they have given decisions in monetary value totalling over N28bn.

“It has not failed in its adjudicatory responsibility.

“It has carried out its assignment with candour and integrity and intends to improve on what has been on ground.”

 


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CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned transfer of foreign exchange (forex) from one customer to another.

CBN Bans Customer-to-Customer Forex Transfer

According to the apex bank, forex cash lodgements into domiciliary accounts can only be done by the account owners henceforth.

An internal memo available in the media space explains that the new guidelines are necessary to review the utilisation of inflows into customers domiciliary accounts.

The circular states: “Forex inflows cannot be credited to customers until the legitimacy of funds is established.

“They can have unfettered access by telegraphic transfers up to a limit of $40,000 monthly for payment of medical bills, school fees, subscription to professional bodies subject to existing CBN guidelines.

“Transfers from one customer to another is prohibited. Transfer within related companies is allowed subject to a limit of $50,000 per month.”

It recommended that proceeds from non-oil exports should be sold to banks, used for repayment of dollar term loans, and self-utilisation for trade transactions for LC, bills and Form A.

Also oil export proceeds from E&P companies are to be used to pay contractors and service providers employed by the oil companies in addition to the recommended uses for non-oil FX proceeds.

Offshore forex inflows from other Nigerian banks and internal account to forex transfers sourced from offshore inflows are to be used for trade transactions subject to eligibility for E-Form M.

“Upon confirmation of the legitimacy of the inflows, customers can have unfettered access, subject to a maximum of $50,000,” the document read.

“Utilisation for trade transactions subject to processing of eligible trade transactions using E-Form M. Payment for services must be backed with demand note from offshore beneficiary and other regulatory documents.

“Related party transfers are allowed to the maximum of the inflow received. The transfer request should be backed by a signed instruction from the account holder.” Payment of government fees and levies are also allowed to the maritime, oil and gas, aviation. government parastatals and export processing zones.

 


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