by Taofik Salako,
MSCI, the global provider of research-based indexes and analytics, has decided to continue to retain Nigeria in its benchmark indexes for frontier markets in acknowledgment of government efforts at easing access to foreign exchange (forex) and improving liquidity in the market.
But the MSCI added the MSCI Nigeria Indexes to the review list for potential reclassification to standalone status as part of the 2017 annual market classification review. Results of annual market classification reviews are usually announced in June.
Also, MSCI stated that it would continue to apply the special treatment on Nigeria announced on April 29, 2016 until further notice. With this, MSCI will not implement selected changes for any securities classified in Nigeria in the MSCI Nigeria Indexes or indexes which Nigeria is a component of including the MSCI Factor, Thematic, ESG or other derived indexes as part of the upcoming index reviews as well as corporate event treatments.
Nigerian equities appeared to heave a sigh of relief yesterday and broke a two-day downtrend at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with a gain of N4 billion. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the NSE rode on the back of widespread gains to close at N9.703 trillion as against its opening value of N9.699 trillion. With 25 gainers to 18 losers, the benchmark index of the Nigerian stock market, the All Share Index (ASI), inched up from 28,236.23 points to close at 28,247.56 points. Foreign investors, who use the global indexes as indicators, account for more than one-thirds of turnover at the Nigerian stock market.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of its consultation on the potential market reclassification for the MSCI Nigeria Indexes, the global analytics firm noted the positive efforts by the Nigerian authorities and the Central Bank of Nigeria to enhance the liquidity in the foreign exchange market through a number of initiatives, such as the adoption of a more flexible exchange rate. It however pointed out that the situation still remains challenging and it will continue to monitor and welcome feedback on the level of accessibility in Nigeria.
“The consultation discussions revealed that despite low level of accessibility of the Nigerian market, the investment community recognizes that more time may be needed for Nigerian authorities to improve liquidity of the foreign exchange market. Hence, MSCI will actively monitor the developments on the Nigerian market over the following months and reassess the market classification of the MSCI Nigeria Index as part of the 2017 Annual Market Classification Review,” MSCI stated.
MSCI however warned that introduction of restrictive measures, such as capital or foreign exchange controls, which can lead to material deterioration of equity market accessibility, may result in the exclusion of the Nigerian market from the MSCI Frontier Markets Indexes and a reclassification to standalone status.