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Investment inflows drop to 9-year low – NBS

By The Citizen
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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday released the capital importation report for the first quarter of 2016 stating that the country recorded its lowest investment inflows in nine years.

The bureau, in the report made available to our correspondent, said the economy attracted a total investment of $710.97m (N140.07bn), noting that this represented a decline of 54.34 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2015.

The report stated that both the quarterly and year-on-year declines were also the lowest recorded since the series began in 2007.

The report stated, 'The total value of capital imported into Nigeria in the first quarter of 2016 was $710.97m, the lowest level since the series began in 2007.

'This represents a decline of 54.34 per cent in the final quarter of 2015, and a year-on-year decline of 73.79 per cent. Both the quarterly and year-on-year declines were also the lowest recorded since the series began.

'As a result of these changes, total capital importation has fallen by 89.13 per cent since its peak level in the third quarter of 2014.'

The report attributed the huge decline in capital importation to what it described as 'symptomatic of the challenging period that the Nigerian economy is going through following the fall in crude oil prices.'

It said although there were a number of reasons why the amount of capital imported in recent years might have been higher than usual, such as the inclusion of Nigerian in the JP Morgan Bond Index, and globally low interest rates triggering a search for higher yields over this period, the fact that the amount of capital imported dropped to a record low suggested that there were further reasons why Nigeria had attracted less foreign investments in recent quarters.

'Investors may be concerned about whether or not they will be able to repatriate the earnings from their investments, given the current controls on the exchange rate. In addition, as growth has slowed in recent quarters, there may be concerns about the profitability of such investments,' it added.

In terms of the composition of the investment inflows, the report stated that the largest component of capital importation in the first quarter was portfolio investment.

This, it said, accounted for $271.03m, or 38.12 per cent of all capital imported.

The largest subcomponent of portfolio investment was equity, which accounted for $201.69m, representing 74.41 per cent of portfolio investment and 28.37 per cent of total capital imported.

Equity, it noted, had been the largest part of portfolio investment in every quarter since 2007. - Punch.