Nigeria’s manufacturing activity slumped to a year-low of 46.5 reading in the month of April, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the investment and securities trading firm, FBN Quest.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index, designed to track manufacturing in big and small companies in Nigeria, was at a healthy 54.5 reading in March but falls sharply on the back of biting foreign exchange shortage, petrol scarcity and higher pump price as well as the delay in the release of the 2016 budget.
The report says manufacturers see no near-term optimism that new hiring will occur as the economy battles a slowdown.
Output reading at 42.0 was the lowest on the table since the FBN Quest PMI was launched a few years ago.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has appointed managers to divest its 100% interest in Keystone Bank.
In a public notice issued by AMCON on Monday, the corporation announced the appointment of Citibank’s local unit and FBN capital as financial advisers to manage the process.
AMCON is asking prospective investors to submit bids, showing evidence of credibility and eligibility for the transaction by March 4, 2016.
Based on its audited account as at June 2015, Keystone Bank has a total assets of about 317.6 billion naira, equity of 18.9 billion naira and a loan portfolio of about 98.2 billion naira.
By December 31 2015, Keystone Bank had 156 branches across the country with four subsidiaries.
Nigeria has reported its worst Purchasing Manufacturing Index since April 2013.
The research firm, FBN Quest, in its latest PMI report, describes the reading of 44.6 in the month of January 2016 against 54.2 in December 2015.
The analysts attribute the PMI fall to the drop in seasonal demand after the festive period in December as well as the challenge of accessing foreign exchange by manufacturers.
The report shows GDP growth picked up from 2.4% year-on-year to 2.8% in the 3rd quarter of 2015, while the manufacturing sector contracted by -1.8%, compared with a negative 3.8% in the second quarter.
FBN Quest says further poor readings is on the horizon due to lack of substantive remedy for the foreign exchange shortage.
Nigeria’s headline inflation rate, sitting between six per cent and nine per cent at the end of last month presents a challenge for the Central Banks’ Monetary Policy Committee when it meets again in July.
In an investment research report released on Monday by the FBN Capital, the firm said the combination of fuel shortages, higher imported food prices and Naira devaluations in November 2014 and in February this year, would be critical at the next July meeting.
As the Nigerian economy grinds to a four per cent growth in the first quarter, the lowest in three years, some analysts say there are grounds for interest rate easing to stimulate the economy.
The statistics office’s ‘May 2015 Report’ shows the negative impact of both the crunching petrol shortages and the late start of rains on domestic food production on national inflation levels.
Nigeria is set to maintain positive macro-economic indices in 2013 and that’s according to some economic analysts.
They expect to see higher growth, higher equity valuations, robust reserves accretion, firm oil prices and slightly lower inflation next year.
The nation’s GDP growth is expected to recover moderately to above 7.0 per cent in 2013 from 6.6 per cent in 2012, with FBN Capital forecasting 7.3 per cent real GDP growth next year.
Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows Nigeria’s foreign reserves which has moved in tandem with higher oil prices up to 34.9 per cent, reaching $44.4 billion on December 17.
FBN Capital forecasts foreign reserves to close 2013 at $48 billion, up by 9 per cent from its current levels.
Renaissance Capital, Sub-Sahara Africa economist, Yvonne Mhango forecasts the Naira to close slightly down at N161 per dollar at year end 2013.
Inflation is expected to reach single digit in the first quarter of 2013, on the back of high base effects in the data time series, but to drift higher later in the year and average 11.4 per cent in 2013, from a twelve month average change of 12.1 per cent as at November 2012.