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Economy

S&P Cuts Nigeria’s 2020 GDP Growth Forecast to 1.5%

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GDP growth forecast

By Dipo Olowookere

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast for Nigeria in 2020 has been revised downward to 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent by Standard and Poors (S&P).

In a press statement issued on Thursday, the rating agency also announced lowering its long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Nigeria to ‘B-’ from ‘B’.

In addition, the renowned company said it has affirmed its ‘B’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on Nigeria, while downgrading its long-term Nigeria national scale rating to ‘ngBBB’ from ‘ngA-’ and affirming the ‘ngA-2’ short-term Nigeria national scale rating.

S&P explained that the economic growth projection was reduced to 1.5 percent “since the effects of lower oil revenue will filter through to the non-oil real sector” of the country.

“We forecast real GDP will expand by a modest 2 percent over 2020-2023.

“In per capita terms, this translates into economic contraction over our forecast horizon through 2023. Nigeria’s per capita GDP remains below that of several peers, with income levels below $2,000 in 2020,” it said in the statement.

Early this month, the Organisation for the Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to agree to a proposed reduction of 1.5 million barrels per day (mmbbl/d) to address an expected significant drop in global demand partly due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Shortly after the meetings, Saudi Arabia announced that it was immediately slashing its official selling price and would increase its production to over 12 mmbbl/d in April after the current production cut expires next Tuesday.

These actions possibly signal that, despite a collapse in global demand and shrinking physical markets, Russia and Saudi Arabia may engage in a price war to try and maintain market share and market relevance.

Oil markets are now heading into a period of severe supply-demand imbalance in second-quarter 2020.

Given that Nigeria’s reliance on oil revenue is still high, over 85 percent of goods exports and about half of fiscal revenues, lower oil prices in 2020 will significantly hurt its external and fiscal positions, S&P said.

“We estimate the economy will grow about 1.5 percent in 2020 (our previous estimate was 2.2 percent) and average 2.0 percent in 2020-2023.

“Our forecast for a sharp decline in oil prices, and consequent lower export revenues, are likely to result in the current account deficit increasing to 3.3 percent of GDP this year before moderating over the medium term and averaging -1.1 percent in 2020-2023,” the agency said.

S&P had said in February 2020 that the Brent oil prices were expected to average $60 per barrel (/bbl) in 2020 and to gradually decline to $55/bbl from 2021.

However, based on recent development, it has now projected price of the Brent oil at $30/bbl in 2020, $50/bbl in 2021, and $55/bbl from 2022.

In the 2020 budget, Nigeria pegged the crude oil benchmark at $57/bbl, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a downward review recently to $30/bbl, with the size of the budget cut by N1.5 trillion from just over N10 trillion.

In its statement yesterday, S&P said on the fiscal side, lower oil-related revenue will keep general government in Nigeria (federal and state government combined) fiscal deficits elevated at about 5 percent of GDP this year, delaying planned gradual consolidation, before averaging 4.2 percent in 2020-2023.

The federal government has and will continue to make efforts to increase non-oil revenue, including the increase in value-added tax to 7.5 percent from 5.0 percent, reducing fuel subsidies, and raising electricity tariffs among other administrative measures, it said.

“In addition, adjustments to the exchange rate should also yield the federal government higher Naira revenues. Nevertheless, these measures are not expected to be enough to compensate for the forecast reduction in oil revenue. In addition, COVID-19-related spending is likely to affect expenditure,” the statement said.

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

Economy

Access Holdings Merges Sigma, FGPL for Formidable PFA Business

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Sigma Pensions

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

To create a formidable pension funds administration (PFA) business in Nigeria, Access Holdings Plc has merged its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), with Sigma Pensions Limited.

The marriage between the two PFAs was made possible after Access Holdings acquired an indirect equity stake in Sigma.

Recall that in October, the company announced that it was buying a stake in Sigma to revolutionise the PFA sector.

On Thursday, a court approved the merger between the firm and FGPL, giving room for the organisations to become one and offer innovative products to customers.

A notice signed by the group company secretary of Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, confirmed the development.

“Sequel to our announcement on October 25, 2022, Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation, today announces the completion of its acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, FGPL, with Sigma.

“Following the sanction of the scheme of merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up, leaving Sigma as the surviving entity,” a part of the statement dated Friday, December 2, 2022.

“Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business,” the group chief executive of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated.

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Economy

FrieslandCampina Buoys Unlisted Securities Market by 1.11%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive zone on Friday, December 2, as it appreciated by 1.11 per cent at the close of business.

This was driven by a gain in the stock price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. The company appreciated by N5.29 price to close at N66.63 per share versus the previous day’s price of N61.34 per share.

This outweighed the 1 Kobo loss recorded by UBN Property Plc during the session as the price of the property investment company went down to 91 Kobo per unit from the preceding session’s 92 Kobo.

When the market closed for the day, the total value of the unlisted securities market increased by N10.27 billion to N933.71 billion from N923.44 billion.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) stretched by 7.82 basis points to 710.58 basis points from the 702.76 basis points in the previous session.

During the session, there was a surge in the volume of securities by 140,993.7 per cent as investors exchanged 2.2 million units, in contrast to the previous day’s 14,508 units.

Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session ballooned by 1,526.6 per cent to N10.7 million from the N657,534.75 recorded a day earlier, while the number of deals improved by 400 per cent to 20 deals from four deals.

When the market closed for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc occupied second place with 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financials Services Plc was in third place with 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.

Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) by trading 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 29.1 billion units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc was in third place after selling 16.8 million units worth N1.9 billion.

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Economy

Naira Sells N730/$1 in Black Market, N748/$1 at P2P, N445.33/$1 at I&E

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redesign Naira Notes

By Adedapo Adesanya

Normalcy seems to have returned to the currency market in Nigeria as the Naira further appreciated against the United States Dollar at the various segments of the ecosystem.

In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market, the Nigerian currency gained 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to quote at N445.33/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s rate of N445.83/$1.

It was observed that domestic currency withstood significant FX demand pressure during the trading session as forex traders completed transactions worth $159.02 million compared with the $99.50 million executed a day earlier, indicating a 59.1 per cent or $59.52 million increase in FX turnover.

Also, in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window, the local currency appreciated against the greenback by N14 or 1.8 per cent to trade at N748/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N762/$1.

In the same vein, the value of the Nigerian currency to its American counterpart improved by N10 yesterday to sell for N735/$1 against N745/$1 of the preceding trading session.

However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost N3.19 against the Euro on Friday as it closed at N464.98/€1 versus Thursday’s exchange rate of N461.79/€1, and against the Pound Sterling, it depreciated by N7.66 to quote at N542.33/£1 compared with the previous day’s N534.67/£1.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market rebounded yesterday as investors showed renewed interest in digital assets, causing the value of Dogecoin (DOGE) to rise by 2.6 per cent to $0.1016.

Further, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.8 per cent increase to sell at $0.3189, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.3 per cent to close at $1,289.56, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.4 per cent to trade at $13.65.

In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) grew by 1.1 per cent to settle at $291.72, Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 1.0 per cent to trade at $77.23, Ripple (XRP) made a 0.9 per cent rise to finish at $0.3924, and Bitcoin (BTC) rose by 0.5 per cent to $17,030.33.

However, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 on Friday.

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