World Bank Slashes Nigeria and South Africa 2016 Growth Forecast

LAGOS, Nigeria, Capital Markets in Africa: The World Bank cut Nigeria’s economic growth forecast for this year, citing weakness from oil-output disruptions and low prices.

The lender, in its semi-annual Global Economic Prospects report, said Africa’s biggest economy is expected to grow 0.8 percent, down from an estimate of 4.6 percent in January. Growth is projected to pick up to 3.5 percent in 2017, it said.

Furthermore, forecast South Africa’s economy to expand 1.1% in 2017, 2% in 2018, Washington-based lender says in semiannual Global Economic Prospects report. 2016 forecast reduced from 0.8% in Feb. country outlook.  Low business confidence, political tensions are slowing investment growth. However, The 2016 forecast in line with IMF and South African Reserve Bank predictions.

In respect of Nigeria, foreign-exchange restrictions, fuel shortages and a plunge in oil production and prices have hit the economy, the bank said in the report.

Nigeria’s economy contracted for the first time since 2004 in the first quarter and central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele warned in May that a recession was imminent after a four-month delay in the nation’s budget stalled economic stimulus programs.

Faced with the price-slump for oil, the key source of government revenue, the central bank has restricted access to foreign exchange. Nigeria has held its currency, the naira, at 197-199 per dollar since March 2015, unlike some other oil producers that have let their currencies weaken.

The country also has supply woes. A resurgence of attacks by militants on oil and gas facilities in the key producing region, the Niger River delta, have driven crude output to its lowest level in nearly three decades.

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