The CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) switched its policy stance to ‘easing’ at the last MPC held on March 25-26, 2019. While holding other policy parameters at previous levels, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) was cut by 50bps to 13.5%1 following a retaining policy stance of 14% that lasted for more than two years (since July 2016). The justification for the rate cut is linked to the following: the relative moderation in the exchange rate, continued deceleration of inflation rate, and the gradual renaissance of investment flows. Although the economy has welcomed improvements in economic indicators such as the GDP growth rate, the policy decision was primarily anchored on the need to further stimulate the economy. The rate cut could reduce the cost of borrowing while encouraging credit flows to productive sectors of the economy.2 In the coming months, we expect that the 13.5% MPR will be sustained as the transmission lags of the new rate on other economic variables will be expected to fully manifest before further changes are made.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
In the third quarter of 2017, NBS report show that Nigeria recorded a marginal quarter-overquarter and significant Year-on-Year increases in the value (in Naira terms) of merchandise (goods) foreign trade. At N5.92 trillion, total merchandise trade increased 3.9 percent over the preceding quarter and 23.9 percent over the corresponding quarter in 2016. Specifically, with exports rising QOQ by 15.2 percent to N3.57 trillion and imports shrinking by 9.4 percent to N2.35 trillion, trade balance amounted to a surplus of N1.22 trillion in 2017Q3- a substantial 142 percentage increase (QOQ) in trade surplus value.
Nigerian Naira depreciated by 1.2 percent at the parallel foreign exchange market between April 7, 2017 and April 14, 2017. The naira exchanged at N410/$ as against N405/$ the previous week. Despite the CBNs weekly dollar sales to BDCs ($20,000 to each BDC in the review week) and spot market sales of $100 million to SMEs, the nairas depreciated in the week. This may likely be attributable to speculative motives (on the basis that speculators likely anticipate that the CBN forex interventions may not be sustainable).
Recent ranking by the World Bank, portrayed Nigeria as having a poor business environment based on the ease of doing business in 2016. Although, Nigeria moved one position forward from previous (2015) ranking, to attain the 169th position out of the 190 global economies reviewed4. This poor rating is resultant of a myriad of factors, including: difficulties in starting a business, enforcing contracts, inaccessibility to credit, tax payment issues, as well as unreliable supply of energy, and labour market regulations. Going forward, improving the efficiency of tax administration by adopting the latest technology to facilitate the preparation, filling and payment of taxes will be beneficial for the business community.