JP Morgan, yesterday, announced that it will remove Nigeria from its Government Bond Index (GBI-EM) by the end of October.
The bank had warned Nigeria that to stay in the index, it would have to restore liquidity to its currency market in a way that allowed foreign investors tracking the index to conduct transactions with minimal hurdles.
It says Nigeria’s currency controls were making transactions too complicated.
The removal will force funds to sell Nigerian bonds, triggering potentially significant capital outflows and raising borrowing costs for the government.
Nigeria’s Finance Ministry, central bank and Debt Management Office said in a statement they “strongly” disagreed with the index expulsion, saying that market liquidity was improving.
“While we would continue to ensure that there is liquidity and transparency in the market, we would like to note that the market for (government) bonds remains strong and active due … to diversity of the domestic investor base,” the statement said.
Nigeria became the second African country after South Africa to be listed in JP Morgan’s emerging government bond index, in October 2012, after the central bank removed a requirement that foreign investors hold government bonds for a minimum of one year before exiting. Reuters