THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE NIGERIAN STOCK MARKET

THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE NIGERIAN STOCK MARKET

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          CHAPTER ONE

         INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The current global economic meltdown which started in late 2007 was as a result of a liquidity shortfall in the United States banking system. The immediate cause or trigger of the current crisis was the bursting of the United States housing bubble which peaked in approximately 2005–2006. Already-rising default rates on "subprime" and adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) began to increase quickly thereafter. An increase in loan packaging, marketing and incentives such as easy initial terms, and a long-term trend of rising housing prices had encouraged borrowers to take on difficult mortgages in the belief they would be able to quickly refinance at more favorable terms. However, once interest rates began to rise and housing prices started to drop moderately in 2006–2007 in many parts of the U.S., refinancing became more difficult. Defaults and foreclosure activity increased dramatically as easy initial terms expired, home prices failed to go up as anticipated, and ARM interest rates reset higher.

Low interest rates and large inflows of foreign funds created easy credit conditions for a number of years prior to the crisis, fueling a housing construction boom and encouraging debt-financed consumption. The combination of easy credit and money inflow contributed to the United States housing bubble. Loans of various types (e.g., mortgage, credit card, and auto) were easy to obtain and consumers assumed an unprecedented debt load. As part of the housing and credit booms, the number of financial agreements called mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO), which derived their value from mortgage payments and housing prices, greatly increased. Such financial innovation enabled institutions and investors around the world to invest in the U.S. housing market.

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As housing prices declined, major global financial institutions that had borrowed and invested heavily in subprime MBS reported significant losses. Falling prices also resulted in homes worth less than the mortgage loan, providing a financial incentive to enter foreclosure. The ongoing foreclosure epidemic that began in late 2006 in the U.S. continues to drain wealth from consumers and erodes the financial strength of banking institutions. Defaults and losses on other loan types also increased significantly as the crisis expanded from the housing market to other parts of the economy. Total losses are estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars globally.

While the housing and credit bubbles built, a series of factors caused the financial system to both expand and become increasingly fragile, a process called financialisation. Policymakers did not recognize the increasingly important role played by financial institutions such as investment banks and hedge funds, also known as the shadow banking system. Some experts believe these institutions had become as important as commercial (depository) banks in providing credit to the U.S. economy, but they were not subject to the same regulations. These institutions as well as certain regulated banks had also assumed significant debt burdens while providing the loans described above and did not have a financial cushion sufficient to absorb large loan defaults or MBS losses. These losses impacted the ability of financial institutions to lend, slowing economic activity. Concerns regarding the stability of key financial institutions drove central banks to provide funds to encourage lending and restore faith in the commercial paper markets, which are integral to funding business operations. Governments also bailed out key financial institutions and implemented economic stimulus programs, assuming significant additional financial commitments.

Financial booms and busts are not a new phenomenon. What is disquieting about the current meltdown is that it is in the nature of a seismic tremor of earth-shaking proportions.

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Within a few months, some of the biggest financial giants have gone belly-up, while several more were in serious trouble. How indeed are the mighty fallen! Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merill Lynch.

The automobile giants are virtually on their deathbeds while a good number of industrials are surviving only by the skin of their teeth. A rather prosperous central European nation, Iceland, has virtually sued for bankruptcy, resorting to an IMF standby arrangement - the first since the British 'humiliation' of 1967.

The contagion has spread to Europe, Japan, Asia, Africa and Latin America. An estimated US$1.7 trillion in bailout funds has already been committed by OECD countries, but we are yet to see the end of the tunnel, not to talk of any light in it. According to a recent report, the world stands in need of a staggering US$4 trillion to fully resolve this crisis.

In Nigeria, the former CBN Governor Professor Chukwuma Soludo was credited as saying that Nigeria was not going to be affected by the Global economic recession. After much dithering, the Federal Government decided to take some steps towards insulating the nation’s economy against the effects of the global economic recession. President Umaru Yar’Adua, acknowledged that the impact of the crisis was already taking its toll on the economy and set up a new economic team to monitor the crisis and advise the government accordingly. The team, with the President himself as chairman, will assess the impact of the global economic crisis on the country, recommend appropriate macro-economic policy responses and identify other practical measures aimed at shoring up investors’ confidence. The Committee’s other responsibilities are to examine other related issues such as unemployment and make recommendations on any other matters or actions required to forestall adverse consequences of the global economic meltdown on the nation.

Many Nigerian households invested in the Global Depository receipts (GDRs) operated by some Nigerian banks. Indeed the value of these GDRs has fallen to an abysmally unacceptable level since the first quarter of 2008 when the global Stock Market was hit by tumbling prices and dwindling investor confidence.

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The situation is so bad that some of the GDRs purchased at $11.20 have fallen to an all-time low of $3.50. Back home, in Nigeria, the stock market is in shambles, with all efforts put forward by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) producing no substantial results.

The global financial crisis has resulted in foreign portfolio investment withdrawals from the Nigerian Capital Market in order to service financial obligations. A total financial inflow to Nigeria between 2007 and 2008 increased by 21%, but is estimated to have reduced by 38.6% between 2008 and 2009.

Nigeria's own stock market index is the Nigerian Stock Exchange's All-Share Index (NSE-ASI, or simply ASI), and currently provides a composite picture of the financial health of 233 listed equities. Starting with an index value of 100 in 1984, with increased listings and financial activity, it attained a value of 57,990 at the end of year 2007. It started the year 2008 at 58,580 (with a market capitalization of N10.284 trillion), and went on to achieve its highest value ever of 66,371 on March 5, 2008,with a market capitalization of about N12.640 trillion.

However, ever since that high, the ASI has inexorably declined, exhibiting a secular bear posture since July 17, 2008 when, at ASI=52,910, the index fell below 20% of its all-time high, and has continued to fall, closing on October 22, 2008 at 42,207 (a 36.4% loss from the high within just seven months, and a year-to-date decline of 27.9%), The decline continued into 2009 and was 25,065 as at October 26, 2010, with a market capitalization of N6.141 trillion. In terms of capital decline, the Nigerian capital market has since the March 5, 2008 lost to date about N6.5 trillion, or about 52%.

I doubt if there is any reasonable Nigerian who did not jump on the bandwagon in the crazy days of share boom. Even petty traders and other low-income earners saw stocks as the new way to financial freedom. Some invested all their life savings and end of service benefits.

How wrong they were; because less than one year after the bonanza started prices crashed throwing them into the cesspit of hopelessness and indebtedness.


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1.2        STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS

The Nigerian stock market is in shambles. It earned the unenviable accolade as one of “the world’s worst performing stock market in 2008, after losing N5.4trn in market capitalization and 54 percent in the All share index” just a year after it had emerged as the world’s best performing stock market in 2007 with a return of 74.9 percent.

Investors have lost confidence in the Nigerian capital market. There are some individuals and institutions that are worried and wary of losing even more than they have already lost. Many individuals are swearing to never have anything to do with the stock market again once they are able to “comfortably” bail out. It has become difficult for companies to raise fresh fund through the capital market. It is believed that the supervisory body (SEC) is not performing its oversight function effectively.

However, there have been reports that some of the causes of the collapse of the capital market were as a result of the nefarious act perpetrated by the market regulatory body as well as the market players. Some of these unprofessional conducts of these market actors ranges from price-fixing and overvaluation of shares to manipulation of initial public offers. These corrupt practices of the market actors and the eventual global economic meltdown bounced heavily on the capital market and impacted negatively on the market and the economy in general.

This study therefore seeks to find the impact of the global financial crisis on the Nigerian capital market as well as on the economy.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of the global financial crisis on the Nigerian capital market. Other specific objectives include:

i)                   To determine the impact of share prices manipulation on the Nigerian capital market


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ii)                To examine the effects of insider trading on investor’s confidence in the Nigerian capital market.

iii)              To determine if there is a significant relationship between the global economic meltdown and the crises in the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

To achieve the foregoing objectives, the following research questions are posed:

i)                   Is there any relationship between share prices manipulation and the Nigerian capital market crash?

ii)                To what extent does insider trading affects investor’s confidence in the Nigerian capital market?

iii)              Is there any significant relationship between the global economic meltdown and the crises in the Nigeria Stock Exchange?

1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES

A review of literature shows that there are other explanations for the crash in the Nigeria stock market beyond the global financial meltdown. Also, studies have shown that the supervising body is not performing its oversight functions effectively. In addition, Nigeria is gradually being integrated into the global economy and hence not insulated from happenings in the global economy.

Therefore, the following hypotheses formulated to guide this study .

Ho1: Manipulation of share prices does not significantly affect the Nigerian capital market crash

Ho2: Insider trading is not a significant factor in destroying investor’s confidence in the Nigerian capital market.


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Ho3: There is no significant relationship between the global economic meltdown and the crises in the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The global financial meltdown is believed to have impacted various sectors of the Nigerian economy ranging from the Government, Banking, Insurance, Shipping, and Manufacturing industries etc. It is a very vast topic. For a proper research to be conducted and to be effective, this project will limit it findings and investigations on the impact of the global financial meltdown on the Nigeria’s capital market.

1.7          SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The importance of the capital market to any economy (developed or emerging) cannot be overemphasized. It has been discovered that there is a direct linkage between the capital market of a nation and its economic growth (Olowookere and Osunubi, 2007; Kalu, 2009; Nwachukwu, 2009).

It is a noted fact that for any meaningful economic transformation of a country to take place, her capital market must be effectively active. It has also been an identified fact that economic strength of any nation is measured according to how active her capital market is/ or performing its supposed functions.

1.8        LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This research work was carried out alongside with other academic work in the school. This study encountered some constraints as there were initial difficulties in gathering some relevant materials and information.

Time equally took its toll as there was a time for the completion of the study. Notwithstanding all these constraints, the research was successfully carried out and met the entire requiring standard.

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This study will therefore be useful in the following areas.

i)                   This study will be of a significant interest to government and the Securities and Exchange Commission as they are aware of the problem confronting the Central Bank Nigeria and remedies to grappling these problems.

ii)                The study will also be significant to institutional operators of the market especially the Nigeria Stock Exchange (SEC) as the study provides detail causes of the problem and ways to correct the existing abnormalities.

iii)              The study will also be beneficial to researchers who want to go into further research in this area as it will serve as a good reference material

iv)              This study will be of interest to investors who have been at the receiving end of the financial economic crises as this study will enlighten them on the causes of the problem and the efforts of SEC in protecting their investments.

1.9 DEFINITIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS

CAPITAL MARKET: is a market for securities (debt or equity), where business enterprises (companies) and governments can raise long-term funds

STOCK MARKET OR EQUITY MARKET: is a public (a loose network of economic transactions, not a physical facility or discrete) entity for the trading of company stock (shares) and derivatives at an agreed price; these are securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately.

FINANCIAL MELTDOWN: A situation in which the supply of money is outpaced by the demand for money. This means that liquidity is quickly evaporated because available money is withdrawn from banks (called a run), forcing banks either to sell other investments to make up for the shortfall or to collapse.

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