Agricultural sector exports increased at a remarkable pace in 2017. Total earnings from agricultural export goods grew by 181 percent to N170.4 billion1, compared to the N60.7 billion earned in 2016. The remarkable improvements in exports and export earnings reflect improvements in agricultural production and supply, at the backdrop of the provision of farm mechanization services2 and a likely boost in harvest periods during the year under review
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
The Naira continued to depreciate in the review week. At the parallel market, naira exchanged for N498/$ on January 27, 2017 and N500/$ on February 3, 2017. Despite the weekly sales of forex to BDCs and the significant improvements in the external reserves, the naira has continued to lose value to other currencies. The pressure on the naira has been triggered by escalating scarcity of forex in the spot market, likely due to forex hoarding. However, in the preceding week, the CBN sold $660 million in forwards contract in an attempt to manage liquidity and stabilize the naira. In the face of growing speculation in the parallel market, the monetary authority should institute mechanisms that would discourage excessive forex hoarding among licensed BDC operators. An initiative that monitors transaction dealings in the parallel market would go a long way in detecting erring BDC operators.
Recently released inflation rate report by the NBS shows a further decline in consumer price index in December 2017. At 15.37 percent, the CPI was 0.53 percentage points lower than the 15.90 percent recorded in November 2017. The food sub-index decreased to 19.42 percent from 20.21 percent, indicating reduced pressure on food prices in the review period. Core sub-index fell slightly to 12.1 percent from 12.21 percent in the preceding month. Going forward, the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to control inflation in 2018 may be hampered by monetary injections by the government and politicians towards budgetary expenditure and election campaigns, respectively.