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South Sudan Inflation Drops to 370% in January—IMF

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South Sudan Inflation Drops to 370% in January—IMF

South Sudan Inflation Drops to 370% in January—IMF

By Dipo Olowookere

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the annual inflation rate of South Sudan rose to about 550 percent in September 2016 before declining to 370 percent in January 2017.

On March 15, 2017, the Executive Board of the world body concluded the Article IV consultation with the youngest country in the world.

The IMF affirmed that South Sudan faces enormous economic and humanitarian challenges in the aftermath of internal conflict and external shocks.

It noted that the relapse into violence a few months after forming a transitional government of national unity in April 2016 compounded the humanitarian crisis and derailed the peace process, observing that the conflict has contributed to the deaths of thousands and led to severe food insecurity for nearly half of the population, as well as a substantial flight of refugees to neighbouring countries.

It pointed out that economic conditions have deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of the civil conflict in late 2013, adding that real GDP growth declined by nearly 20 percent in the two years through 2015/16.

The IMF said conflict and the collapse of oil prices led to a decline in oil production and export proceeds, stressing that falling government revenue and rising security-related spending caused the fiscal deficit to rise rapidly, which exacerbated the economic instability.

Monetization of the fiscal deficit led to strong money growth, high inflation and precipitous exchange rate depreciation. Since December 2015, the South Sudanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value against the US Dollar, it said.

The IMF said authorities shifted economic policy course in late 2016 with the passing of a new budget for 2016/17, which incorporates bold fiscal measures that could go a long way to restore macroeconomic stability and strengthen public financial management.

Preliminary information indicates a substantial reduction in the fiscal deficit for the first half of the fiscal year and significant moderation in money growth, the global financial institution said.

The medium-term outlook faces challenges and significant downside risks. Without significant progress toward peace and economic stabilization, the economic trajectory for South Sudan is highly unstable, and the country risks falling into a spiraling trap of deteriorating economic performance and worsening security conditions with continued high humanitarian costs, it noted, adding that a sustainable medium-term outlook is predicated on achieving progress on normalization of the political and security situation, sustained economic adjustment and reforms, and renewed access to external financing.

It observed that assuming that peace was achieved, the fiscal deficit could fall to 2–3 percent of GDP in the coming years consistent with a return to single digit inflation and exchange rate stability. In the next five years, annual GDP growth could increase to 5-6 percent, reflecting a recovery in oil production and in non-oil GDP.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Unlisted Stocks Languish in Red Zone after 0.25% Fall Wednesday

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange extended its stay in the bearish zone on Wednesday, December 8 as the trio of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, NASD Plc, and Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc compounded its woes by 0.25 per cent.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc depreciated by N1 or 0.9 per cent at the midweek session to settle at N110.80 per share in contrast to the preceding day’s value of N111.80 per share.

It was followed by NASD Plc, which closed at N27.00 per unit compared with the previous day’s N27.15 per unit, indicating a decline of 15 kobo or 0.6 per cent.

On its part, CSCS Plc declined yesterday by 9 kobo or 0.5 per cent to close the session at N16.91 per share in contrast to N17 per share of the previous session.

The losses posted by these unlisted stocks chopped off N1.49 billion from the market capitalisation of the bourse during the session to close the day at N602.96 billion versus N604.45 billion it ended on Tuesday.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) closed lower by 1.8 points to wrap the session at 729.82 points compared with 731.62 points of the previous session.

At the market on Wednesday, there was an increase in the volume of securities traded by investors and this was by 168.9 per cent as 1.9 million units of stocks exchanged hands compared with the earlier day’s 694,849 units of securities.

In the same vein, the value of shares traded at the midweek amounted to N37.9 million, which by evaluation is 72.5 per cent higher than the N22.0 million posted on Tuesday.

All these transactions were executed in 14 deals, according to data from the exchange, 12.5 per cent lower than the 16 deals carried out at the preceding day.

Food Concepts Plc closed the day as the most active stock by volume (year-to-date) for selling 11.4 billion units for N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Services Plc has traded 1.1 billion for N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc has sold 1.0 billion units for N700.1 million.

Also, Food Concepts Plc finished the day as the most active stock by value (year-to-date) with a turnover of 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, which is no longer on the platform maintained its second spot with 456.5 million units worth N9.2 billion, while the third spot was taken by VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.

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Economy

Naira Trades Flat at I&E as Bitcoin, Ethereum Fall at Crypto Market

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Ethereum

By Adedapo Adesanya

It was a stalemate between the Naira and the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Wednesday, December 8.

This was because, at the specialised window where investors source FX for approved needs, the local currency closed against the greenback at N415.07/$1, the same value it was sold at the previous session.

This happened despite a 51.7 per cent or $76.98 million rise in the demand for forex at the market window, as data obtained by Business Post from FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that yesterday, the turnover rose to $225.99 million from the previous day’s turnover of $149.01 million.

Also, the Naira recorded the same outcome at the interbank window of the forex market as the exchange rate of the domestic currency compared with its American counterpart remained unchanged at N411.74/$1 at the close of transactions at the midweek session.

However, the Nigerian Naira appreciated against the British Pound Sterling during the session by N2.68 to settle at N543.04/£1 versus Tuesday’s closing rate of N545.72/£1 and against the Euro, the local currency performed badly as it lost 53 kobo to trade at N474.07/€1 compared with N463.54/€1 it closed a day earlier.

Meanwhile, the scales tilted to the bullish side on aggregate at the crypto market yesterday as six of the 10 cryptocurrencies tracked by this newspaper closed on the green side.

The highest gainer was Tron (TRX) as it appreciated by 9.1 per cent to sell for N52.50, just as Dash (DASH) rose by 6.6 per cent to sell at N85,000.00, with Ripple (XRP) appreciating by 5.9 per cent to N487.19.

In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) gained 5.3 per cent to trade at N249,686.22, Litecoin (LTC) rose by 1.5 per cent to sell at N96,110.37, while Cardano (ADA) pointed north by making a 0.9 per cent gain to quote at N815.96.

On the losers’ side, Ethereum (ETH) made a 3.4 per cent slump to trade at N2,300,500.02, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 0.9 per cent to trade at N28,330,347.37, Dogecoin (DOGE) retreated by 0.6 per cent to sell at N103.74, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) depreciated by 0.5 per cent to sell for N571.85.

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Economy

Crude Oil Prices Rise on Small US Inventory Draw

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude oil prices continued to rise on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an inventory draw of 0.2 million barrels for the week to December 3.

This came a day after the American Petroleum Institute surprised markets with an estimated crude oil inventory draw of over 3 million barrels that helped push prices higher.

In EIA estimates, last week’s draw was in comparison with a modest decline of 900,000 barrels for the first week of December and at 432.9 million barrels, US crude oil inventories remain below the five-year seasonal average.

Consequently, the price of the Brent crude appreciated yesterday by 1.02 per cent or 77 cents to settle at $76.59 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 1.17 per cent or 85 cents to sell for $73.26 per barrel.

Prices have been on the rise since the start of the week as the initial fear that the new Omicron variant could prompt new lockdowns began to subside amid reports of mild symptoms that don’t require hospitalization.

According to reports, early studies suggest two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot may protect only partially against Omicron, but a third dose may improve that protection.

Market analysts also warned that some of the Omicron oil demand-related concerns might have been too pessimistic, and following some positive news related to the variant being released in recent days, oil prices recovered.

However, prices are still far below their October highs but have rebounded from below the $70 mark that they fell towards the end of November.

The outlook remains uncertain as researchers caution it is early days for Omicron and more data will become available as time passes.

Meanwhile, the market expects that supply will exceed demand by early 2022, due to rising US production and ongoing supply additions from the Middle East.

Also posing a bullish outlook was members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raising oil prices for Asian and US buyers, and Iraq’s oil minister noted that would oil reach $75 a barrel.

On the geopolitical front, tensions between Western powers and Russia over Ukraine also remained high after American President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West would impose strong economic and other measures on Russia if it invades Ukraine.

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