For the 12th consecutive period, the Monetary Policy Committee voted to retain all rates at the end of the policy meeting held on July 23-24, 2018 – MPR at 14 percent, CRR at 22.5 percent, Liquidity ratio at 30 percent and asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 around the MPR1. A review of laudable developments in key macroeconomic indicators and positive economic growth in the first half of 2018 informed the committee’s stance to hold all rates. However, the committee noted constraints to economic growth outlook in the second half of 2018, especially slow and irregular implementation of the 2018 expansionary fiscal budget that would derail its liquidity impact, as well as possible external shocks. Going forward, there is need for a standardized budgetary calendar that should be adhered to mandatorily in order to guide public and private sector investment plan and foster economic stability
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Naira appreciated in the week under review. At the parallel market, naira gained 0.54 percent to exchange at N368/$ on June 23, 20175. This is at the backdrop of injections into the forex market by the CBN to the tune of $195 million at the beginning of the review week, to meet various forex demands. This is amid a slight week-on-week increase in the external reserves (by 0.1 percent to $30.23 billion). Despite the recent naira appreciation, the long-term prospects seem bleak given that the ongoing intervention that seeks to stabilize naira by depleting reserves is unsustainable.
The naira continued its downward trajectory this week. Specifically, naira depreciated at the interbank segment by 3.45 percent to N300/$; and by 3.56 percent to 378/$ at the parallel segment. Despite the CBNs effort to support the naira with Forwards and FOREX futures, the excess demand for dollar continues to put pressure on the naira. Looking forward, the stabilization of exchange rate depends on the ability of the CBN and government to attract capital inflows; particularly by raising interest rate, tackling inflation and supporting economy recovery.