COVAX concerns, momentum at Eskom, Zambian mines

Reports this week pointing to the multilateral COVAX facility’s high risk of failure underline that the roll-out of vaccines for many African countries is likely to be slow, delaying the ensuing economic benefits. In South Africa, policymakers are coalescing around a plan to help reduce the debts of state electricity firm Eskom, but it will not single-handedly solve the company’s problems. It will continue to burden the government and the economy. Elsewhere, the push by Zambia to take a bigger role in the mining sector promises to reignite concerns among investors and the IMF.
Virag Forizs Emerging Markets Economist
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Africa Data Response

South Africa Consumer Prices (Sep.)

Although South Africa’s headline inflation rate picked up to 5.0% y/y in September, soft underlying price pressures and a fragile economic recovery mean that policymakers will only normalise monetary policy gradually. By contrast, investors currently appear to expect a relatively aggressive tightening cycle.

20 October 2021

Africa Economics Weekly

FX orthodoxy in Nigeria? Strikes in SA, Ethiopia’s conflict

Comments by Nigeria’s vice president endorsing a more market-based exchange rate regime reflect growing concern about the distortionary effects of the current FX system, but there is no evidence that key officials backing the existing currency arrangements are also shifting tack. In South Africa, ongoing industrial action in the steel industry will probably dampen manufacturing output in Q4, in another hit to the recovery in the sector and the wider economy. Finally, escalating tensions in Ethiopia raise the spectre of more severe strains in the balance of payments.

15 October 2021

Africa Data Response

Nigeria Consumer Prices (Sep.)

The drop in the headline inflation rate in Nigeria, to 16.6% y/y in September, will ease pressure on the central bank to raise rates and allow policymakers to focus on supporting the economic recovery.

15 October 2021

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Africa Data Response

Nigeria Consumer Prices (May)

The second consecutive drop in Nigeria’s headline inflation rate, to 17.9% y/y in May, will probably go some way towards easing policymakers’ recent concerns about high and rising inflation. While we expect inflation to remain well above the central bank’s target for the foreseeable future, the MPC is likely to keep interest rates unchanged over the coming years.

15 June 2021

Africa Economics Focus

The perils of deficit monetisation in Nigeria

Nigeria’s government has turned to the central bank to plug ever larger budget deficits in recent years and policymakers are unlikely to kick their deficit monetisation habit, particularly if the fiscal position worsens next year (as we expect). This will deepen some of Nigeria’s existing economic woes, including high inflation, downward pressure on the naira and weak economic growth.

14 June 2021

Africa Economics Weekly

Filling gaps: vaccine supply in SSA & electricity in SA

Leaders of G7 nations meeting this week are ramping up efforts to provide more vaccines to the developing world, which – along with the prospect of larger supplies from China – could give a lift to struggling inoculation campaigns and economic recoveries in Africa. Meanwhile, South Africa announced further steps to address its chronic electricity supply problem that has long weighed on the economy, but the measures will probably take some time to bear fruit.

11 June 2021
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