Media highlights suggest that leading manufacturers quoted in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, which operate across sectors have recorded significant upsurge of 20.2 percent in their operating expenses, OPEX, in the first half of 2018. Specifically, compared to the corresponding half-year in 2017, costs incurred rose from N194.6 billion to N233.9 billion in 2018H11. The firms also operated on short term borrowings of N101 billion, up by 1.8 percent in 2017. The rising expenses may be at the backdrop of general rise in cost of: products distribution, running campaigns and innovations, and brand marketing in a bid to increase sales volume. To reduce operating expenses and support non-oil sector growth which is yet to pick up, there is need for the government to quickly implement Focus Lab projects.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
This study examines the hedging effectiveness of portfolio investment diversification between developed and developing economies; with focus on the Nigerian stock asset vis--vis the stock assets of the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK). Its main contribution is in the analysis of optimal portfolio diversification using optimal portfolio weight (OPW) and optimal hedging ratio (OHR). Empirical findings show that the OPW and OHR are low, which indicates impressive potential gains from combining Nigerian stock assets in an investment portfolio with US and UK stock assets. In addition, exchange rate volatility is found to pose stern limitation on the potential benefits of this portfolio diversification arrangement. It is therefore recommended that the monetary authority in Nigeria should pursue policies towards reducing exchange rate volatility to the barest minimum. This will possibly attract more investors from developed economies who might be willing to combine Nigerian stock in their investment portfolio to minimize portfolio risk.
The Naira sustained its appreciation trajectory at the parallel market in the review week. Precisely, naira gained 13.3 percent (Week-on-Week) to exchange at N390/$ on March 24, 2017. Reduced pressure on the naira followed moderation in speculative activities as a result of increased forex sales and intervention by the CBN (daily intervention of $1.5 million at the interbank market.) The aim of CBN interventions (narrowing the gap between interbank and parallel market rates) seems to be on course with the continued appreciation of the naira at alternative markets. While current approach of the apex bank proves effective in improving international value of naira in the short term, however, it is expedient that the bank articulates clear and credible flexible exchange rate policy to sustain the momentum and enhance confidence in the forex market in the medium term. Nonetheless, the sustainability of the exchange rate gains is partly dependent on the prospect of crude oil price and production which is outside the purview of the monetary authorities.