11 August 2017

Nigeria: Report - Nigeria's Creditworthiness Improves On Positive Economic Outlook

Photo: The Guardian

The UBS Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office in a report has affirmed that with a stronger economic outlook, Nigeria creditworthiness has improved.

The firm said in a statement that after years of deterioration, the credit outlook of many African sovereign issuers was stabilisng or improving and that Nigeria was expected to recover from recession this year. But it pointed out that growth rates was unlikely to return to previous highs.

It stated that Africa's sovereigns have been hit by a range of issues in recent years, including the end of the commodity super cycle, depreciating exchange rates and mounting public debt ratios. Energy exporters, such as Nigeria, were particularly affected.

"Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, has seen several credit rating downgrades in recent quarters, but the recent recovery in energy prices and the potential for further moderate upside should bode well for the sovereign's creditworthiness", the report said, noting that macroeconomic prospects in the region was beginning to improve.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts real GDP growth to almost double this year in Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching 2.6 percent, while fiscal and current account deficits are expected to have peaked at 4.5 percent and 4 percent last year, respectively. Key drivers supporting the outlook include rising global growth and trade, a modest recovery in energy and base metal prices, more competitive exchange rates for African currencies, and structural reforms in a range of countries.

Commenting further, the Head of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, France and Belgium International at UBS Wealth Management, Mr. Ali Janoudi said: "The modest energy price recovery over the past 18 months has supported the growth potential of many African economies, but especially Nigeria. The more optimistic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa should also affect Nigeria's economy going forward as the region embarks on a new phase of development."

Also adding, the Head of Emerging Market Asset Allocation at UBS Wealth Management's CIO, Mr. Michael Bolliger, said: "We expect Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, to recover from recession this year although it is unlikely that growth rates will return to previous highs. A determining factor for the country's growth outlook will be a successful continuation of the Naira's exchange rate liberalisation."

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