- The global benchmark for crude oil, Brent crude, has risen above the proposed benchmark oil price of $38 per barrel for the 2016 budget. Brent had consistently traded below the $38 per barrel mark since mid-December 2015, and actually fell below $30 per barrel in January, its lowest price in more than a decade. Following the sustained decline in the price of oil, there have been several calls for a downward review of the benchmark. The increase in the oil price followed talk that some OPEC members planned to meet other oil producers in Russia around March 20 for new talks on an oil output freeze. Brent finished Monday’s trading at $40.30 per barrel.
- Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe, has said that Nigeria will not experience any industry wide banking crisis, despite the slump in oil prices. Speaking at the Economist Summit in Lagos, Wigwe said not all banks financed oil and gas deals at the peak of oil prices. Banks also have the ability to restructure oil loans, are more capitalised, and are healthier after the last crises of 2008, although they will not record the level of profitabilities they are used to in the past. Wigwe also said that non performing loans for the sector will also increase.
- Kwara State has started the construction of 1,000 housing units. Speaking after laying the foundation, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed explained that efforts to meet the housing needs of the people have not yielded fruitful results. Ahmed stressed that Nigeria housing deficits was about 17 million units with Kwara State having at least 500,000 housing deficits as well.
- According to the NBS’s Economic Outlook for 2016, despite an expected increase of 2.1 percent this year, Nigeria’s total trade value is expected to slow. The NBS said that, “beyond 2016, both import and exports are expected to increase and Total Merchandise trade is expected to Average 15.61 per cent growth during the period.” In recent quarters, economic growth had been significantly less than in previous years, but growth in the third quarter of 2015 was 2.84 percent, slightly higher than in the second quarter but still well below the average growth rate of 5.32 achieved between 2011 and 2014.