FSDH Urges MPC to Ease Monetary Policy to Stimulate Growth

March 31, 2018
FSDH Urges MPC to Ease Monetary Policy to Stimulate Growth

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prepares to hold its first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of 2018 next week, one of the leading investment firms in the country, FSDH Research, has advised the committee to consider cutting its rates so as to “boost credit creation and stimulate economic growth.”

In a report released on Thursday, analysts at FSDH said they would expect the MPC to consider a drop in either the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which is currently at 14 percent, or the Cash Reserve Ration (CRR), presently at 22.50 percent.

The investment company noted that although the GDP growth rate in Nigeria improved further in Q4 2017 at 1.92 percent from 1.40 percent in Q3 2017, the recovery was still very fragile, emphasising that additional monetary policies were required to stimulate a broad-based growth.

“FSDH Research’s analysis of the growth pattern in 2017 shows that two sectors; agriculture and, mining and quarrying were the major drivers of growth. They were the two sectors out of the six largest sectors of the Nigerian economy that recorded growth in 2017. Other leading sectors which are trade, information and communication, manufacturing, and real estate all contracted. Thus, the need for monetary policy easing,” it said.

FSDH Research said looking at the developments in the international market; the economic outlook in the major advanced countries is strong in the short-term to medium-term, necessitating monetary policy normalisation.

It said the outlook of the GDP growth rate remains strong, the unemployment rate is low in most regions and should remain low in the short-term, while inflation rate is trending up.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the United States (U.S) Federal Reserve (The Fed) increased the Federal Funds Rate (Fed Rate) at its March 2018 meeting. The Fed increased the Fed Rate to 1.50 percent – 1.75 percent from 1.25 percent -1.50 percent.

“FSDH Research expects that the FOMC will increase the Fed Rate to 2.25 percent – 2.50 percent by year end. The increase in the interest rate should lead to increase in the yields on the fixed income securities in the advanced markets, with the attendant possible increase in capital flights from the emerging markets,” the report said.

According to FSDH, the increase in the crude oil price and favourable crude oil production in Nigeria have increased capital inflows and also led to favourable trade balance. Consequently, the country’s external reserves (30-Day Moving Average) increased substantially in the last five months, growing to $46.04 billion as at March 26, 2018.

It said this provides additional short-term stability for the value of Naira.

However, FSDH Research recognised the vulnerabilities of the Nigerian economy to the adverse movements in the crude oil prices. Thus the need to stimulate other non-oil sectors to reduce these vulnerabilities, it said.

Continuing, FSDH Research noted that the current strategies of the Debt Management Office (DMO) to reduce the interest expense on the debt of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) were working.

It pointed out that the latest debt figures show that the interest expense on the local debt has dropped in the last few months.

The investment firm also observed a relative increase in the revenue accrued to the FGN from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). These two factors have led to a drop in the ratio of the interest expense to the FGN FAAC revenue which stood at 20% in December 2017. Thus the yields on the fixed income securities in the market have dropped substantially in the last six months, it said.

Although FSDH Research said it believes the yields on the NTBs may drop further, it is of the view that the yields on the FGN Bonds may move up gradually from the current level as the FGN starts to borrow to fund the 2018 budget.

It said despite the drop in the yields on fixed income securities in Q4 2017, Nigeria recorded the highest Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPIs) inflows in 2017 during the last quarter.

This, it explained, implies improving confidence on the short-term outlook of the Nigeria economy.

FSDH Research also noted that the growth in money supply as at December 2017 was lower than the CBN’s target for the year.

The broad money (M2) grew by 2.62 percent, lower than the target of 10.29 percent, while the net domestic credit contracted by 2.95 percent as against the target of 17.93 percent. The net credit to the private sector grew marginally by 1.40 percent, lower than the target of 14.88 percent.

It pointed out that the need to curb high inflation rate and maintain stability in the foreign exchange market were the main reasons for the contractionary monetary policy.

FSDH Research said it believes the inflation rate may drop to single digit mid-year, while the exchange rate should remain stable in the short-term.

“Therefore, there is a need for monetary policy easing to boost credit creation and stimulate economic growth,” it averred.

Concluding, FSDH Research said looking at the short-term outlook of the Nigerian economy, it believes the MPC should begin monetary policy easing to signal the end of its monetary policy tightening cycle.

The CBN will hold its first MPC meeting on Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

At its last meeting in November 2017, the committee maintained the MPR at 14 percent, with the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR; and the CRR and Liquidity Ratio (LR) left at 22.50 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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