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World Bank: Nigeria, South Africa, Angola still largest economies on the continent



Despite impressive growth in seven countries across Africa, the World Bank says Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, remain the largest economies on the continent.

In its new Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis on the state of African economies, conducted by the World Bank, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa rebounded in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016.

“The region is showing signs of recovery, and regional growth is projected to reach 2.6% in 2017. However, the recovery remains weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty,” World Bank said.

“Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, are seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016, but the recovery has been slow due to insufficient adjustment to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty.

“The latest data reveal that seven countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania) continue to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand, posting annual growth rates above 5.4% in 2015-2017.

“These countries house nearly 27% of the region’s population and account for 13% of the region’s total GDP. The global economic outlook is improving and should support the recovery in the region.”

Africa’s Pulse notes that the continent’s aggregate growth is expected to rise to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019, reflecting a recovery in the largest economies.

It will remain subdued for oil exporters, while metal exporters are projected to see a moderate uptick. GDP growth in countries whose economies depend less on extractive commodities should remain robust, underpinned by infrastructure investments, resilient services sectors, and the recovery of agricultural production.

“This is especially the case for Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania,” the bank said.

“As countries move towards fiscal adjustment, we need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery,” Albert Zeufack, World Bank chief economist for the Africa region, said.

“We need to implement reforms that increase the productivity of African workers and create a stable macroeconomic environment. Better and more productive jobs are instrumental to tackling poverty on the continent.”

The region experienced a slowdown in investment growth from nearly eight percent in 2014 to 0.6 percent in 2015.

“With poverty rates still high, regaining the growth momentum is imperative,” Punam Chuhan-Pole, World Bank lead economist and the author of the report, said.

“Growth needs to be more inclusive and will involve tackling the slowdown in investment and the high trade logistics that stand in the way of competitiveness.”

The report calls for the urgent implementation of reforms to improve institutions that foster private sector growth, develop local capital markets, improve infrastructure, and strengthen domestic resource mobilisation.

© 2017, . All rights reserved.


Stocks end three-day gains, shed N103bn



The Nigerian-equities market three-day gains were reversed at the close of trade on Tuesday as the Nigerian Stock exchange market capitalisation dropped by N103bn in one session.

The NSE All-Share Index fell 82 basis points to close at 36,669.61 basis points – implying a moderation in the year-to-date return to 36.4 per cent.

A total of 211.873 million shares valued at N4.742bn exchanged hands in 3,890 deals.

Accordingly, investors lost over N103bn as market capitalisation settled at N12.6tn primarily due to losses in Dangote Cement Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, which plummeted by 1.8 per cent, 3.3 per cent and one per cent, respectively.

Despite the 1.4 per cent drop in volume to 211.9 million units, total value of trades increased dramatically, rising by 73.6 per cent from N2.7bn to N4.7bn.

Sector performance was negative across board as all indices declined. On the back of drops in Dangote Cement and Nestle, the industrial and consumer goods indices were the major losers, both down 0.9 per cent from previous close.

Similarly, the oil/gas index fell by 0.5 per cent owing to a loss in 11 Plc, which declined by five per cent. The insurance index declined by 0.4 per cent following a depreciation in AxaMansard Insurance Plc by 4.6 per cent; whereas the banking index reversed on Monday’s top position to marginally fall 0.1 per cent as against one per cent increase on Monday owing to the drop in GTBANK shares by one per cent.

Despite the decline in performance, market breadth remained positive as 21 stocks advanced against 21 decliners. The best performers were International Breweries Plc, NEN Insurance Nigeria Plc and First Aluminum Plc, which respectively advanced by 5.8 per cent, 4.5 per cent and four per cent.

On the other hand, Red Star Express Plc, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Plc and champion Breweries Plc lost 9.2 per cent, 8.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent to emerge as the worst performing stocks of the day.

Commenting on the market stance, analysts at Afrinvest Securities, in a post, said, “We attribute the day’s negative close to profit taking on recent gains in the equities market, however we expect an upturn in following sessions due to Q3 2017 earnings releases.”

Meanwhile, at the close of trades, the open buy-back and overnight rates recorded respective declines of 47.50 per cent and 50.50 per cent. The average money market rate, on the other hand, settled at 27.67 per cent.

Sell pressures permeated the Treasury bonds space, as the average bond yield advanced by 0.05 per cent, to settle at 15.13 per cent.  Yield advancements were witnessed on 10 instruments, while the Oct-2019 instrument recorded a marginal decline of 0.01 per cent and five instruments traded flat.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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1,000 firms bid for 17 contracts at NRC



Over 1,000 companies bid for 17 categories of projects for the 2017 capital projects of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said on Tuesday.

He spoke through the Director of Operations, Mr. Niyi Ali, who represented him at the formal opening of bids for the projects in Lagos.

The event held at Ebute Meta head office of the NRC was witnessed by representatives of firms bidding for the contracts.

Okheria said the open bidding was done in order to get the best firms to execute the projects, which were meant for the 2017 fiscal year.

He said the open bidding process was in line with the Procurement Act of 2004, adding that it would be transparent and promised to be fair to all bidding firms.

He gave some of the projects as the procurement of tools, equipment and materials for emergency repairs and maintenance of tracks; renovation/upgrade of railway stations and other buildings together with associated facilities (nationwide); procurement of locomotives, coaches, wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes (narrow gauge and/or standard gauge); procurement/rehabilitation and installation of equipment for mechanical/electrical, security, printing, operations, civil and ICT facilities; and generation of alternative revenue for the corporation, insurance services, among others.

In a related development, the NRC said it had begun the process of easing traffic congestion at the Apapa area of Lagos with the evacuation of containers from the Apapa port by train to Ebute Meta Junction.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Inflation drops marginally to 15.98%



The National Bureau of Statistics has released the Consumer Price Index report, which measures inflation, with the rate dropping year-on-year from 16.01 per cent in August to 15.98 per cent in September.

In the report released on Tuesday in Abuja, the bureau explained that the drop in the nation’s inflation rate in September was the eighth consecutive month that the index would be declining since January this year.

On a month-on-month basis, the NBS stated that the headline index increased by 0.78 per cent in September, in contrast to the 0.97 per cent recorded in August this year.

 The national bureau in its report said, “Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, increased by 15.98 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2017. This was 0.03 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in August (16.01) per cent, making it the eighth consecutive decline in the rate of headline year-on-year inflation since January 2017.

“On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.78 per cent in September 2017, 0.19 per cent points lower from the rate of 0.97 per cent recorded in August.”

It stated that the urban index rose by 16.18 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2017, up by 0.05 per cent point from 16.13 per cent recorded in August, while the rural index increased by 15.81 per cent in September, down from 15.91 per cent in August.

“On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 0.84 per cent in September 2017, down from 0.99 per cent recorded in August, while the rural index rose by 0.74 per cent in September 2017, down from 0.95 per cent in August,” the report added.

Economists and financial analysts stated that the marginal drop in Nigeria’s inflation was attributable to the widespread ease in food commodity prices usually associated with early harvest.

Analysts at the Financial Derivatives Company Limited were, however, of the view that the threat of higher inflation was looming with the commencement of the electoral cycle.

“This is because the incumbent government will roll out a series of people-friendly disbursements and initiatives,” they said in their bulletin on inflation that was made available to our correspondent in Abuja.

They also said, “This sustained but marginal reduction (in inflation) can be partially attributed to the effect of tight liquidity in the system, evidenced by a contraction in money supply by 11.06 per cent to N21.85tn in August. We noticed a widespread ease in commodity prices, usually associated with early harvest.”

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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“Beautiful Ones (Acoustic)” from Beautiful Ones (Acoustic) – Single by Hurts. Released: 2017. Track 1 of 1. Genre: Pop.