Recession is not likely, says Marcus

Central bank governor Gill Marcus did not see the economy going into recession, despite a contraction in gross domestic product of 0.6 percent in the first quarter. She said yesterday: “It would have to be a very dramatic decrease on the numbers that are already there for us to go into a recession, so we don’t see that happening.” Domestic monetary policy was in a rising interest rate cycle but that would be applied within a flexible framework sensitive to the fragility of the economy, the bank said yesterday. Inflation was projected to be above target for an extended period of time, with risks tilted to the upside. – Reuters

Naira in focus for Nigeria bank head

Godwin Emefiele took over yesterday as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, with his prime challenges being to ward off pressure to devalue the currency and keep inflation under control. Emefiele, 52, replaced Lamido Sanusi. A former chief executive of Zenith Bank, Emefiele has pledged to maintain stability in the naira even as a slump in foreign currency reserves limits his ability to uphold the currency peg. While he has said devaluation would “devastate” the economy, investors have increased bets the bank will lift the midpoint of the currency peg from 155 a dollar. Reserves have slumped 15 percent this year to $37 billion (R392bn) as Nigeria struggles to meet oil output targets. – Bloomberg