Africa

Nigeria

Oil woes to hold back recoveries in Angola & Nigeria

Falling oil production has weighed on the Nigerian and Angolan economies, with the latter likely to suffer its sixth consecutive annual decline in GDP this year. While output should rise next year, we doubt that either will be able to meet its OPEC+ quota, preventing faster recoveries from taking hold in 2022.

21 October 2021

FX orthodoxy in Nigeria? Strikes in SA, Ethiopia’s conflict

Comments by Nigeria’s vice president endorsing a more market-based exchange rate regime reflect growing concern about the distortionary effects of the current FX system, but there is no evidence that key officials backing the existing currency arrangements are also shifting tack. In South Africa, ongoing industrial action in the steel industry will probably dampen manufacturing output in Q4, in another hit to the recovery in the sector and the wider economy. Finally, escalating tensions in Ethiopia raise the spectre of more severe strains in the balance of payments.

15 October 2021

Nigeria Consumer Prices (Sep.)

The drop in the headline inflation rate in Nigeria, to 16.6% y/y in September, will ease pressure on the central bank to raise rates and allow policymakers to focus on supporting the economic recovery.

15 October 2021
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Signals from the SARB, Nigeria’s humdrum budget

The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) Monetary Policy Review published this week put monetary policy normalisation back in the centre of attention, and it now seems that policymakers are unlikely to stand pat for much longer. We now expect the first rate hike in January, but we still think that the tightening cycle will be slower than investors are pricing in. Meanwhile in Nigeria, budget plans for 2022 suggest that the country’s fiscal problems will persist.

Debt restructuring talks inching forward

The threat of messy outcomes to Sub-Saharan Africa’s debt problems seems to have diminished recently. In Zambia, the new administration vowed to tackle debt problems and press on with restructuring talks under the G20’s Common Framework. And Ethiopia, another participant in the programme, held its first creditor meeting as a political crisis reignited debt concerns. Even so, debt restructuring negotiations will not be smooth sailing, especially following recent revelations that Zambia’s debt owed to China may be substantially larger than officially reported. And elsewhere, debt problems may come back to bite down the line. While immediate risks in South Africa and Ghana are low, policymakers will need to undertake large fiscal consolidation to stabilise public debt-to-GDP ratios.

Have emerging markets vanquished inflation?

Low inflation is here to stay in much of the emerging world. However, there is a significant risk that inflation rises, albeit moderately, over the medium term in several countries. This risk isn’t limited to the usual suspects like Turkey and Argentina. But it also includes other major emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia and, to a lesser extent, Mexico and India.

‘BIG’ push in SA, FX distortions in Nigeria, tourism woes

Momentum behind proposals for a basic income grant (BIG) in South Africa appear to be building, suggesting that the authorities are leaning towards providing more fiscal support. Elsewhere, Nigeria’s unorthodox foreign exchange policy seems to be disrupting activity but the chances of policymakers reversing course are very low. Finally, a recent virus wave in the highly-vaccinated island nation of Mauritius has dampened its recovery prospects, but other tourism-dependent economies in Africa will probably fare even worse.

CBN maintains interest rates and disruptive FX rules

Policymakers in Nigeria kept their benchmark rate on hold at 11.50% at today’s MPC meeting and will probably continue to do so over 2021-23. And the central bank’s insistence on maintaining a strong currency using disruptive foreign exchange rules is likely to come at an increasingly high economic cost.

17 September 2021
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