LBS EXECUTIVE BREAKFAST SESSION – NOVEMBER 2021 (Re: Nigeria at crossroads!)

Dear Subscriber,

Karen Hawkins said “If you ever find yourself presented with a fork in the road of life and you do not know the correct direction close your eyes and listen to your heart”

“I have found more adventure, more happiness by listening to who I am”

As October rolled by, Nigerians were on tenterhooks, afraid of the violence that could accompany the Endsars anniversary.  They were apprehensive about the unfulfilled promise of lifting the Twitter ban and they were baffled as to why prices of goods in the market were rising rapidly and the official inflation figures were said to be declining.

Businesses and investors were nervous as to the direction of the Naira in the forex market.  The gap between the parallel market (N590/$) and the official market (N412/$) was N178.  It appeared nothing seemed to be going right.  Subsidies were rising and the fiscal deficit was projected at above N6trn.

On the flip side, the Eurobond of $3bn was four times oversubscribed and the FGN actually clawed in an extra $1bn bringing the total issue amount to $4bn at a relatively high coupon.  The gross external reserves have reached $42bn and the Naira as we had forecast has appreciated to N567/$ at the parallel market; bringing the gap down from N178 to N150 depending on the rate you use, multiple exchange rates persist but are converging.

The airlines are using a rate of N443 which makes your international ticket 7% more expensive than in October.  IATA is complaining that airline blocked funds are now up to $208m.  The undiscounted roundtrip ticket from Lagos to London return on the economy is now N1,760,000 or $3,900.

The stock market is witnessing a rally coming from 20% to a positive of 4% in 2 months.  Some corporates are making gangbusters profits and free cash flow.  Therefore, it’s a balanced scorecard where most people like in the words of Fela Kuti are shuffering and shmiling.

What Next

Official inflation numbers will be released on November 15 and the forecast is for a further slide in inflation towards 16.31%.  But in the meantime, the price of cooking gas which had spiked to N9,500.00 per 12.5kg cylinder will decline towards N8,000 again.  The forex market will be choppy even though we expect the Naira to appreciate marginally towards N560/$.

The political atmosphere will be interesting and charged as the talk of zoning, electronic transmission from polling stations will be tested in the mother of all elections in Anambra state which takes place in the next 48 hours.

In this edition of the LBS Breakfast, Bismarck Rewane carries out an incisive analysis of the rest of 2021 and the likely impact on your businesses and your wallet as jingle bells ring again.  Merry Christmas in advance

Enjoy your read…