Market Overview

First Day of Challenging News Weighs on Nigeria ETF

First Day of Challenging News Weighs on Nigeria ETF

Shares of the newly minted Global X Nigeria Index ETF (NYSE: NGE) are off 1.7 percent today, a move that arguably highlights some of the profit/peril potential associated with this frontier market.

There are two obvious reasons why the Global X Nigeria Index ETF is coming under some pressure Tuesday, though it should be noted that volume in the ETF is light. Additionally, neither of the headlines that are impacting the new ETF pertain to Nigeria's often volatile industry, which is frequently affected by kidnappings and rebel attacks on pipelines and other oil assets.

One reason NGE is getting hit Tuesday is news from Diamond Bank, merely NGE's number 24 holding with a weight of 1.79 percent, according to Global X data. Earlier Tuesday, Diamond reported a pretax 2012 profit compared with a 2011 loss, but the bank said it will not pay a dividend and that sent the shares sliding 10 percent, the maximum loss allowed, according to Business Day.

Again, Diamond is a small holding in NGE, but the ETF devotes over 41 percent of its weight to financial services names and that could be stoking some overreaction to the Diamond news today.

The headline that is arguably weighing on NGE more than Diamond news is a report that Nigeria will delay rebasing its GDP calculations until next year. On Monday, Nigeria's statistics bureau said it will postpone rebasing the country's GDP until next year after missing several deadlines to make necessary changes.

The rebasing is expected to add about 40 percent to Nigeria's GDP, which would increase the economy's size to around $350 billion from $250 billion, according to Reuters. That would put Nigeria not far from South Africa for the crown of Africa's largest economy.

Most governments implement GDP rebasing every five years to reflect changes in consumption and output trends, but Nigeria has not done so since 1990, Reuters reported. Market participants are understandably disappointed by the news because Nigeria's rebased GDP is expected to show dwindling influence of agriculture while highlighting growth in the construction and telecommunications industries.

Growth in non-oil and non-agriculture sectors is expected to increase foreign direct investment in Nigeria and could serve as important catalysts for NGE going forward. The energy sector accounts for about 80 percent of Nigeria's government revenue, not surprising given that the country is Africa's largest oil producer and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

If recent trends continue, NGE offers plenty of promise to risk-tolerant investors. Not only is Nigeria's GDP expected to grow six percent this year, double that of South Africa's expected growth, but Nigeria equities have been stellar performers. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index (NGSEINDX) is up more than 21 percent year-to-date and nearly 63 percent in the past year, according to Bloomberg data.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index (JALSH) is down 1.81 percent this year while the Egyptian EGX 30 Price Return Index (CASE) is off 5.6 percent, according to Bloomberg data, indicating that Nigeria might be prove to be one of the stronger ways to gain exposure to Africa.

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