Nigerian $1 Trillion Market-Value Target Sunk by Selloff

The Nigeria Stock Exchange said its target to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization by 2016 was scuppered by the world’s biggest equities decline this year.

The objective is no longer possible because of the “current realities” facing the bourse, Chief Executive Officer Oscar Onyema told reporters in Lagos, the commercial capital, today. “Challenges to the naira, the fall in oil price and uncertainties due to an election year has caused a selloff in the market.”

The NSE All Share Index dropped 3.8 percent to 28,740.61 by the close, its lowest in two years. That extended its decline in 2015 to 17 percent, the most among 93 primary global indexes tracked by Bloomberg, after sliding 16 percent in 2014. The naira weakened 10 percent over the past three months, the worst performer among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The bourse will pursue an increase in the number of initial public offerings and share listings in 2015, while also targeting Nigerians living abroad to boost their participation in the market, Onyema said. Oil slumped almost 50 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, and is trading at 5 1/2-year lows, pressuring Africa’s largest crude producer which relies on the commodity for more than 90 percent of exports.

The market’s capitalization fell by a third since the end of June to 10.1 trillion naira ($55 billion). Five companies were removed from the bourse last year and five added for a total of 189 stocks, he said. The number of all products listed was 253, according to Onyema.

“Our market development strategy up to 2019 will help us achieve reasonable market growth,” Onyema said. “Despite the downturn in 2015, we expect that as the year progresses, with a successful election, better outlook for oil and the naira, the stock market outlook will improve. Recent economic expansion in the country is expected to continue in the foreseeable future despite the challenges.”

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