The recent movements in the dollar-naira exchange rate, following the removal of the currency peg, has stimulated ongoing debate in the media that South Africa has regained its position as the largest economy in Africa. The prevailing notion is that the depreciation of the naira and simultaneous appreciation of the rand against the US dollar implies that South Africa’s GDP has surpassed that of Nigeria. However, this argument needs some re-examination, given that the value of the GDP (in current US$) is sensitive to the choice of exchange rate and GDP figures used for its computation. This piece situates the present argument in the context of recent commodity market crisis and its implications for the two largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa
Policy Brief & Alerts
Nigerias external reserve fell marginally by from $25.36 billion to $25.16 billion. The decline likely reflects the continued sales of dollar by CBN amid fall in oil revenue. Similarly, the naira/dollar exchange rate depreciated marginally by 0.5 percent to N424/$ at the parallel segmentas also seen in preceding weeks. The continued depreciation likely points to banks low level compliance to CBNs dollar sales directive made in August, 2016, thus creating artificial dollar scarcity in the parallel market.
Recent Data on Nigerias Real GDP growth rate (Year-on-Year) declined by 2.47 percentage points, from 2.11 per cent in 2015Q4 to -0.36 percent in 2016Q11. This is the lowest GDP growth rate since 2004Q2 (-0.81 percent). The Oil sector continued to contract, as -1.89 percent growth was recorded in 2016Q1. The negative growth witnessed in the oil sector was likely driven by the fall in global oil prices by $9.732 and decline in domestic crude oil production, relative to preceding quarter. Similarly, the Non-oil sector witnessed a negative growth as it declined by 3.32 percentage points from 3.14 percent in 2015 Q4 to -0.18 percent in 2016Q1. The underperformance in the non-oil sector was driven by significant contractions in financial (by 17.69 percent), manufacturing (by 8.77 percent), and real estate (by 5.48 percent) sub-sectors. Given that the present economic fundamentals point to a likely recession in 2016Q2, the government can stir economic activities by speeding up the budget implementation process to spur growth in the non-oil sector and the economy at large. More so, the domestic production shock in the oil sector needs to be addressed to effectively leverage on the present marginal rise in crude oil prices.
Tax Collected: Tax revenue which has relatively maintained an upward trend, fell considerably in 2015 and dipped significantly in early 2016 on the account of economic downturn, as many businesses sev
Available data shows that headline inflation reduced in most countries in the region in May 2017 relative to preceding months. Notably, headline inflation decreased in Nigeria (16.25 percent), Ghana (12.26 percent), Tanzania (6.1 percent), Senegal (1.8 percent), Namibia (6.3 percent) and Rwanda (11.7 percent), while it grew in South Africa (5.4 percent), Kenya (11.7 percent), Ethiopia (8.7 percent) and Uganda (7.2 percent). Cote dIvoire (-0.4 percent) recorded consumer price deflation. The decrease in consumer price in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana can be attributed to decreases in both food and non-food components of inflation. Regionally, all countries in Southern Africa recorded single digits inflation, however consumer price marginally increased in South Africa, for the first time in 2017 owing to spike in food prices6, and Botswana (both by 0.1 percent).