The monetary policy committee provided policy parameters at the first meeting for the 2019 fiscal year, held on 21st and 22nd January, 20191. As presumed, all parameters were left unchanged at their current levels: MPR at 14 percent, CRR at 22.5 percent, liquidity ratio at 30 percent, and asymmetric corridor of +200/-500 basis points around the MPR. This is the 14th consecutive time the MPC will retain all parameters, and the apex bank is justifying its stance by insisting that the economy has remained on a noteworthy track based on prevailing positive macroeconomic performances2. The committee’s optimistic outlook is likely hinged on, among other laudable achievements, the acclaimed return of foreign investors’ confidence and convergence of the foreign exchange market – the CBN has relentlessly upheld the value of the Naira despite perceptions of election risks on exchange rates. In the coming months, changes in monetary policy parameters will, however, depend on the macroeconomic performance after the elections as well as the objective to hit the CBN’s inflation target of 6 to 9 percent.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Available data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates a decline in oil and other petroleum production between 2015 and 2016. Crude oil production fell by 16 percent, from 777.5 million barrels in 2015 to 656.8 million barrels in 2016. This is also indicative of the number of exploratory rig count that fell from 15 rigs to 8 rigs in 2016. Similarly, Gas production declined by 10 percent to 2,711 million one thousand standard cubic feet (mscf) in 2016. The significant decline in crude oil and petroleum production, brings to perspective the extent of the damage caused on production pipelines by militants in the Niger Delta region in 2016. It is therefore important to invest national resources in maintaining domestic peace and security, especially in resource-rich regions of the country.
Recently released survey report by the CBN shows an improvement in the availability of secured and unsecured banks credit and loans to households, corporate and small businesses in 2017Q3, and an optimistic outlook in 2017Q4. Among other indices, availability of overall secured and unsecured lending to households improved from -6.2 and -19.2 to -0.9 and -15.0 index points respectively; although still in the negative territory. Index for availability of credit to small businesses improved from -20.1 to -6.7. Lenders and respondents noted that anticipation of a brighter economic outlook, favorable liquidity positions, market share objectives and higher appetite for risk were major factors behind the increase.
The paper examines the determinants of current accounts balance in Nigeria with emphasis on oil-related variables.