Nigeria capital imports sink 79% in second quarter as economy shrinks

PUBLISHED: Sun, 30 Aug 2020 14:45:22 GMT

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s capital imports plunged 78.6% in the second quarter year-on-year to $1.295 billion, the statistics office said, as lower oil prices push Africa’s largest economy towards recession.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil exporter, has suffered its worst crisis in decades as low oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic caused the economy to shrink in the second quarter, slashing government revenues and weakening the naira currency.

The government expects further GDP contractions in the third and fourth quarters.

Nigeria has seen an exodus of foreign money in its equity and debt market, though foreign investors have been caught up by a shortage of dollars on the currency market as global oil prices collapsed.

“The largest amount of capital importation by type was received through other investment… followed by portfolio investment… and foreign direct investment in Q2,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report.

Nigeria’s capital imports fell from a peak of $21.32 billion seven years ago to $5.12 billion in 2016 as investment dried up in the wake of a recession, and have barely recovered since then.

A foreign exchange shortage has seen the naira drop to record lows on the black market in recent months after two devaluations and central bank moves to unify the country’s multiple exchange rates.

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