Nigeria to Sell $63 Million of ‘Green Bonds’ in First Quarter – Bloomberg

By David Malingha Doya and Solape Renner

  • Proceeds will fund solar power, transport, forestry projects
  • Oil companies contribute $1 billion for oil spills cleanup

Nigeria plans to raise 20 billion naira ($63 million) by March to help fund renewable energy projects, the first issuance of so-called green bonds in West Africa’s biggest economy.

“We are on track to sell the bond in the first quarter, a sovereign, and could have another by the end of the year,” Environment Minister Amina Mohammed said in an interview Friday in the capital, Abuja. The sale will also help fund an electric-vehicle commuter project in the city and tree-planting in the country’s arid north, she said. 

Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous nation with 180 million people, needs more than 6 trillion naira, the equivalent of almost its entire annual budget, to plug its infrastructure deficit, according to information from the Budget and National Planning Ministry. The government increased its 2016 budget by 20 percent, allocating one-third to projects including roads, rail, ports and bridges, to stimulate an economy battered by a drop in oil production and that’s projected by the International Monetary Fund to contract by 1.7 percent this year.“The exchequer can’t get all the money we need,” Mohammed said. “That’s why we must leverage these innovative ways to get funds from the international community.”

Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said this week the nation will issue its third Eurobond, worth $1 billion, in January.

Mohammed said her ministry is targeting off-grid solar-power projects producing as much as 1,200 megawatts in the country’s north. Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity is about 6,000 megawatts, according to the power ministry. South Africa, whose population is a third of Nigeria’s, has a capacity of more than 40,000 megawatts.

Proceeds from the green bonds will also support environment-friendly projects in the oil-producing Niger River delta, where the government aims to eliminate gasflaring by 2019, Mohammed said.

There are also plans to continue the cleanup of the Ogoniland oil spills, she said. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell’s Nigerian Unit, SPDC, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Eni SpA’s Agip Oil Co. have paid $1 billion, of which $200 million will be disbursed annually, to help with cleaning up oil spills as old as 50 years in the Ogonidistrict in the southern Niger River delta.

Angola does not need FX devaluation at present -cenbank governor – Reuters

By Karin Strohecker

LONDON Dec 9 (Reuters) – Angola does not need to devalue its currency at the moment but will work on measures to lessen the gap between the formal and informal exchange rates, central bank governor Valter Filipe da Silva told Reuters.

Angola’s economy has been suffering from the drop in crude prices and an acute hard currency crunch, fuelling a thriving black market for the currency of Africa’s second largest oil exporter after Nigeria.

The bank currently quotes the kwanza at around 165 per dollar, although the currency typically trades at much weaker levels in the black market.

The kwanza devalued by more than 30 percent last year and in January was allowed another 15 percent weakening to 155 after which it has slipped gradually lower.

Speaking to the sidelines of a meeting at think-tank Chatham House on Thursday, da Silva said policymakers had needed to focus first on stabilising hard-currency availability for food, medicine and raw material imports, then on managing the monetary base but also on synchronising fiscal and monetary policy.

“What we will do this month in the monetary policy committee of the central bank is to discuss the matter,” said da Silva, speaking in Portuguese.

“But … because we are having a very positive monetary policy, the inflation rate is slowing, the differential gap is narrowing – therefore, we understand that it isn’t necessary at this moment to devalue the currency,” said da Silva.

In November, the central bank kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 16 percent, citing slowing price increases. Inflation rose by 2.14 percent in September month-on-month, but that was a slowdown from the more than 4 percent increase in July.

Speaking about recent oil price rises, da Silva said it was more important for the southern African country to concentrate on overhauling the state oil firm Sonangol.

“It is evident that this rise in oil prices may not be structural. More important for Angola is that the country does profound work in restructuring Sonangol – what is taking place is positive and should reduce the cost of oil exploration.”

Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President Jose Dos Santos, took over as CEO of the state energy giant in June and has pledged to spin off non-core investments such as banking and real estate and to focus on the bottom line. (Additional reporting by Herculano Coroado in Luanda; editing by Mark Heinrich)

 

Nigeria is not seeking IMF loan – budget ministry – Reuters

ABUJA Dec 9 (Reuters) – Nigeria is not considering a loan from the International Monetary Fund as the government seeks funding options to plug holes in its budget, a spokesman for the budget minister said on Friday.

Akpandem James said the government was exploring internal and external sources for loans and would consider institutions that lend on concessionary terms for offshore funding.

“The federal government does not have need to go to the IMF for any loan at this time,” the spokesman said in a statement. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha)

 

Euro Drops; ECB Says Smaller Monthly Asset Buys Not Tapering – Bloomberg

By Dennise Pettit

  • Draghi says ECB can increase size, duration of QE if needed
  • Tweaks to technical details stifle uptick in euro area yields

The euro dropped more than 2.5% from its session high as the European Central Bank announced a slimmed down asset purchase program to begin in April 2017 that ECB President Mario Draghi insisted should be viewed as an extension of the current program and not a tapering of bond purchases.

The ECB also announced some technical adjustments to the asset purchase program, including the intention to buy bonds yielding less than the deposit rate, a move that took the wind out of a brief uptick in European and U.S. bond yields and undercut the euro against all of its peers.

The German bund yield rose as high as 45bps before most of its gain evaporated, while the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield touched 2.4234% before it fell back to about 2.39%.

  • EUR/USD rose to session high as UST and EGB yields surged after the ECB said that it will extend its asset purchase plan at EU60b/month from April to December 2017, replacing the EU80b/month program that was set to expire at the end of March
  • After tripping stop-loss buy orders in a swift climb to 1.0874, EUR/USD did a sharp about-face as traders scrambled to unwind longs and build fresh shorts; EUR/USD hit a fresh low in afternoon trading on a report that some governing council members had pressed for a 12-month extension of the asset purchase program
  • As the USD rose vs the euro, gains also spread against other G-10 peers, allowing the Bloomberg dollar index to reverse an overnight dip to round out the day with a gain of ~0.6%
  • FX flows were brisk in the session, though sparse liquidity made for difficult trading conditions, especially when trying to fill EUR sell orders, a trader in London said; model-driven funds and others set fresh EUR shorts as key technical levels were breached below 1.0760, another trader said
  • The dollar also rose vs a majority of EMFX as the initial prospect of higher global bond yields curbed risk appetites
  • USD/JPY rose as high as 114.38 amid the broader dollar rally that saw the greenback gain vs most its G-10 peers; earlier, the dollar tone had been more defensive with losses vs most
  • FX trading action subsided dramatically in afternoon trading as some players pared positions, likely content to book quick profits after a sharp move

CBN to adopt telco-led mobile money eventually, Emefiele says – Businessday

To drive its vision of 80 percent financial inclusion as stipulated in its National Financial Inclusion Strategy, Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the apex bank would eventually license telecommunication companies (Telcos) to provide mobile money services.

Emefiele said this while delivering the keynote address at the BusinessDay and Bill and Mellinda Gates Financial Inclusion Summit held yesterday, December 8, at the Eko Hotels and Suites ,Lagos. He did not however give a timeline .

Currently, Nigeria’s mobile money market is bank-led, which means only lenders are licensed to operate in the space, while the telco-led model, which licenses mobile network operators, seems to be delivering gains at a faster pace in neighbouring African countries such as Kenya and Ghana.

Kenya’s financial inclusion is as high as 75 percent, according to World Bank data, and although Ghana’s inclusion is at 40 percent, it is a long way up from the 29% it stood in 2012, thanks to the growth in mobile banking driven by telcos, which is tipped to further boost inclusion in the coming years.

“Eventually, we will adopt a telco-led mobile money service,” said Emefiele.
“Our current model is bank-led because we were keen on averting any sort of financial loss but today we see the need for collaboration between the telcos and financial institutions to achieve our target of 80 percent financial inclusion within the next four years.”

Top mobile operators like MTN have already expressed interest in acquiring mobile money licenses in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s financial inclusion is at 44 percent, according to the World Bank, higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s average of 34 percent, but compares poorly with South-Africa’s 70 percent.

Only two percent of Nigeria’s adult population of 99 million have mobile money accounts, according to World Bank data. This compares poorly with Kenya’s 70 percent. In Tanzania and Uganda, a third of their population use a mobile-money account.

The debate of whether to have a bank-led or telco-led mobile money market has been unending, but its success in Kenya, with the M-Pesa owned by Telco- Safaricom, has often been the benchmark used by financial experts in advocating for telcos to be licensed as financial services providers.

“Today, you can pay for virtually everything, using your M-pesa account,” said Njuguna Ndungu, the former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, who also spoke at the financial inclusion summit.

“If Nigeria adopts a model that works, mobile money could boost inclusion and help the government with revenue collection and administration, even as it provides a better environment for monetary policies to thrive because more money will be captured within the formal financial system,” Ndungu added.

In Nigeria, 80 percent of cash in the economy is not deposited in a bank, according to data by global research and advisory firm, Mckinsey.

“If telcos were not so limited in offering financial services in Nigeria, all that cash would not be outside the financial sector,” said Elly Ohene-Adu, former head of banking in the Bank of Ghana, who now plans to set up a micro-finance bank.

“In Ghana, we allowed telcos lead the mobile money market, although we asked them to create independent subsidiaries that would focus solely on providing financial services,” Ohene-Adu said, “And it worked. Currently, cash in and out transactions and money remittances make up almost the total of transactions executed using mobile banking.”

Currently, 13 percent of Ghanaians use mobile banking and while this is similar to South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa’s average figure of 14 percent and 12 percent respectively, it is much higher than in Nigeria, which stands at only two percent.
“We have the ingredients to bake the financial inclusion system in Nigeria,” said Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Lagos-based Diamond Bank. Nigeria’s mobile money market is dominated by mobile apps owned by the commercial banks like First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and tier-two Diamond Bank.

“Nigerians have mobile devices but it is putting those ingredients together that is the main issue,” Dozie said. “It took two years to double our customer base and most of these customers are at the bottom of the pyramid. And these exercises were done electronically.”

Government can also drive financial inclusion at the civil service level, according to Manzo Maigari, Kaduna State Commissioner, Agriculture and Forestry, who said his state started having more people banked during a salary verification exercise which made it mandatory for many civil servants to open an account.

“We used vouchers for fertiliser distribution. We have renovated 200 schools mandating 6,000 labourers who do not have a bank account to open one. Under the Keep Kaduna Clean Campaign, 27, 500 women were only paid through the BVN,” said Maigari.

Maigari also observed that creating jobs for vulnerable Nigerians could boost financial inclusion in the country.
“Those with little disposable income save less and that it is only by creating jobs that these people can earn more and save,” Maigari said.

Susan Lund, Partner McKinsey Institute and Company and Leader of the McKinsey Global Institute said the right investment in digital infrastructure would help reduce financial exclusion, adding that government needs to create a conducive environment for business to thrive.

“People in the rural areas find it difficult to reach the bank branch because of the distance,” said Lund.
Digital banking has been a boon to some Fast Moving Consumer Goods Firms (FMCG) as they are able to leverage technology to reach out to more customers, reducing costs and boosting bottom lines in the process.

Adeola Adetunji, the managing director and CEO of consumer goods giant Coca Cola said with internet banking his company has been able to reach 50 percent of his customers, up from 40 percent in the last few years.

“The use of internet banking has helped reduce distribution costs as we don’t need to go and meet customers for payment. Customers use mobile apps to make payment. You can imagine the security risk and cost of logistics of getting paid. You can cut those inefficiencies in 24 hours by having internet banking,” said Adetunji.

 

LOLADE AKINMURELE & BALA AUGIE

Offshore Yuan Shows Depreciation Stress as Fed Rate Hike Looms – Bloomberg

  • Currency heads for biggest weekly decline since mid-November
  • Onshore rate’s drop limited as China pushes to limit outflows

The offshore yuan outpaced declines in the Shanghai rate this week, adding to signs of renewed stress on the Chinese currency as investors brace for higher borrowing costs in the U.S.

The exchange rate in Hong Kong’s overseas market has fallen 0.7 percent this week, the most since mid-November, while the onshore rate was down 0.1 percent. The moves come before an expected Federal Reserve interest-rate increase next week, which would boost the dollar and lower money flows to emerging markets.

The yuan’s accelerated declines — it is Asia’s worst performer this week after Japan’s yen — follows data showing China’s foreign-exchange reserves shrank to the smallest in more than five years amid speculation policy makers defended the currency. Authorities have rushed to ease the pressure by taking steps to restrict money from leaving the country. Another risk is a renewal of Chinese citizens’ annual currency conversion quotas next month, which may spur a rush to the dollar.

“The offshore yuan is being moved by external markets, in line with other emerging-market currencies, to reflect the outlook amid an almost certain Fed interest-rate hike,” said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The onshore yuan is finding some support on speculation authorities will tighten their grip on capital outflows. There have been a lot of reports about how the government is stepping up scrutiny of outbound capital flows, and this will probably continue.”

The offshore yuan was down 0.08 percent for the day at 6.9176 a dollar as of 11:21 a.m. in Hong Kong, while the exchange rate in Shanghai fell 0.25 percent, the most since Nov. 23. The People’s Bank of China earlier weakened the currency’s daily fixing, which restrains onshore spot price moves to 2 percent on either side, by the most since late October.

In the bond market, Chinese government notes headed for a second weekly decline, with the 10-year yield rising four basis points to 3.09 percent. The three-month Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate rose for the ninth week in a row, the longest run of increases since February 2014.

The PBOC drained a net 535 billion yuan ($77.5 billion) from the financial system this week, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the biggest withdrawal since July and is in line with policy makers’ efforts to reduce excessive leverage. 

“The PBOC is maintaining its tightening bias, pushing forward deleverage efforts amid mounting pressure on the yuan,” said Xu Chenxi, an analyst at Nanhua Futures Co. in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. “It will continue to lock in short-term funds but at the same time ensure long-term cash supply can meet market demand, though at higher costs. We don’t expect a repeat of the 2013 cash crunch when financial institutions simply couldn’t find money. ”

How dollar rush by farmers fuelled fears of famine – Punch

By Anna Okon

There are fears of looming famine in the country. And this is not unconnected to the huge desire by farmers to earn dollars.

Recently, it was gathered that grains and other farm produce became scarce in the country after farmers decided to take their produce across the borders for sale to earn dollars, thereby starving the local market.

The President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, attributed the high cost of poultry feed to the scarcity of maize and soya beans.

He said, “The price of feed has gone up; and feed is the most important component of production. For instance, in egg production, the feed is the most expensive part. What makes up the feed is maize, 40-50 per cent; and soya beans, 20-30 per cent.  So, 70 per cent of the cost of production is made up of feed.

“Now that is the beginning of harvest, when the price of maize is supposed to be at its lowest, we are currently buying maize at N120,000 per tonne. Soya beans used to be between N80,000 and N100,000 per tonne; now, it is N140,000 per tonne. When it was N80,000, we thought it was too expensive.”

However, recently, the Federal Government came out to allay the public fears over famine, assuring the people of sufficient mechanisms to achieve food security in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who gave the assurance, said the Federal Government had engaged in the buy- back of assorted grains under the Guarantee Minimum Price Programme for restocking of strategic silo complexes.

He also said that farmers in some states of the federation had already commenced preparation for the dry season farming to ensure adequate food security across the country.

He added that the government was poised to make farming an all-year business by creating dams and lakes in every part of the country to support irrigation system.

He noted that crops would thrive and yield better through the irrigation system.

He said, “Nigerians have no reason to panic; we have made arrangement for some states to start planting so that we have second crops by April.”

Ogbeh disclosed that Nigeria had signed an agreement with the government of Morocco on local production of fertilizer, with a target of one million tonnes. This would boost food production in the country.

He added that the introduction of soil-specific fertilizer application, developed by the ministry, would go a long way in increasing high crop yield.

According to him, a total of 30,000 slots have been allocated to the ministry under the N-power scheme of the Federal Government.

This, he said, would enable the people to be trained under the agricultural development programmes as agriculture extension workers and they would serve in their respective local government areas.

Ogbeh added that the ministry had acquired 110 various capacities of rice mills of 10 tonnes, 20 tonnes, 50 tonnes and 100 tonnes per day for distribution to cluster farmers to boost rice production and milling capacity in the country as a way of attaining food sufficiency.

The minister admitted that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the country was witnessing strong purchase of grains from as far as Namibia and other countries, which signalled a challenge to the nation as well as a benefit to Nigerian farmers.

He, however, stressed that the market forces would be stabilised through an increase in local production of food commodities.

Budget: FG cuts Customs projected revenue by N49bn – Punch

By Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The ban on vehicle importation through the land borders as well as the review of other fiscal items may have forced the Federal Government to reduce the projected revenue from the Nigeria Customs Service by N48.8bn in the 2017 fiscal period.

The N48.8bn cut in projected revenue from the NCS is part of the proposals to be made by President Muhammadu Buhari when he submits the 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Top officials in the Budget Office confided in our correspondent that based on the revenue projections of the Federal Government for next year, the NCS was expected to generate a total sum of N277.56bn.

In the 2016 fiscal period, the service was given a revenue target of N326.4bn.

One of the officials said the drop in projected revenue of the Customs by the Federal Government was necessitated by the fact that less emphasis was being placed on importation.

For instance, he said while the revenue from the Customs was predicated on the cost insurance and freight value of imports, as well as other applicable tariffs, the current economic climate had necessitated a review of some of the policies affecting these fiscal items.

He listed some of the policies that would affect Customs revenue to include effects of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent monetary policies; reduction in levies due to the introduction of Common External Tariff from 2017-2019; and gradual removal of the Import Adjustment Tax.

He gave other factors that would affect the Customs revenue next year as the expected decrease in the annual average duty rate; expected increase in import CIF as a result of new strategic plans in the NCS; and lower receipts from import duty on vehicles following the ban in importation of vehicles through the land borders.

Import duty from vehicles is one of the highest tariff line in terms of revenue generation by the Customs

The source said with the strategies of the Federal Government in reducing the level of rice imports, coupled with the foreign exchange restriction placed on the importation of some other items, it would not be fair to still retain the revenue projections of the service.

The official said the government would continue to promote policies that would deliver a more diversified economy, and work at strengthening the linkages in the productive sectors of the economy.

The objective, according to him, is to increase the value-addition in the non-oil sectors, as well as promote exports capable of generating substantial foreign exchange.

Nigeria’s November Inflation Rate To Hit 18.45%—report – Financial Watch

By Ezekiel Enejeta

A report by FSDH Securities Limited has disclosed that the November 2016 inflation rate (year-on-year) to increase further to 18.45 percent from 18.33 percent it recorded in the month of October 2016.

According to the report, the expected increase in the inflation rate will be driven by higher prices within the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages division, as well as the depreciation in the foreign exchange rate during the month.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is expected to release the inflation rate for the month of November 2016 on December 15, 2016 based on the data calendar on its website.

The Food Price Index (FPI) released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that the FPI trended downward in November.

The Index was down by 0.43 percent, compared with the revised October figure.

The FPI’s easing in November 2016 was driven by a sharp fall in sugar prices, which was more than enough to offset a rebound in the prices of vegetable oils. The FAO Sugar Index fell by 8.93%, the first decline after six consecutive months of increase.

According to FSDH Securities Limited, the weakening Brazilian currency against the US Dollar coupled with reports of a higher harvest in the Central South, Brazil’s main producing region put downward pressure on prices.

The FAO Cereal Price Index declined by 0.60 percent, mainly due to the decrease in the prices of wheat and rice.

The FAO Meat Price Index was down by 0.21 percent, almost unchanged from its revised value for October.

On the flip side, the FAO Dairy Index appreciated by 1.95% from October, as prices of whole milk powder and butter firmed up.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index appreciated by 4.55 percent, marking the highest level since August 2014.

The strong rebound was primarily driven by the price of palm oil on the heels of lower than anticipated production in Southeast Asia.

FSDH Securities Limited disclosed that its analysis indicates that the value of the Naira appreciated at the inter-bank market while it depreciated at the parallel market by 2.09 percent to close at $/N478 from $/N468 at the end of October.

The depreciation at the parallel market led to an increase in the prices of imported consumer goods in Nigeria between the two months under review. The prices of food items that FSDH Research monitored in November 2016 moved in varying directions.

The prices of palm oil, Irish potatoes, meat and rice were up by 32.17 percent, 10.78 percent, 2.56 percent and 1.99 percent. While the prices of tomatoes and onions were down by 17.89 percent and 2.78 percent. The prices of garri, yam, beans, sweet potatoes and vegetable oil remained unchanged.

The movement in the prices of food items during the month resulted in a 0.7 percent increase in our Food and Non-Alcoholic Index to 214.41 points.

The report further said it noticed increases in Clothing and Footwear; Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels divisions between October and November 2016.

“Our model indicates that the price movements in the consumer goods and services in November 2016 would increase the Composite Consumer Price Index (CCPI) to 211.28 points, representing a month-on-month increase of 0.76 percent,” it said, adding that it estimates that the increase in the CCPI in November will produce an inflation rate of 18.45 percent.

African Markets – Factors to watch on Dec 9 – Reuters

NAIROBI, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The following company announcements, scheduled economic
indicators, debt and currency market moves and political events may affect African markets on
Friday.
    - - - - -
 EVENTS:
 *MAURITIUS - The central bank to auction 91-day, 182-day and
 364-day Treasury bills worth a total 1 billion rupees.
 
 GLOBAL MARKETS
 Asian shares flatlined on Friday but were on track for
 robust weekly gains, while the euro caught its breath after
 sliding when the European Central Bank trimmed the size of
 its asset purchase program and also extended it for longer
 than many had expected.                       
 
 WORLD OIL PRICES
 Oil prices were steady on Friday, holding around 2-percent
 gains from the previous session on optimism that non-OPEC
 producers might agree to cut output following a cartel
 agreement to limit production.                  
 
 EMERGING MARKETS
 For the top emerging markets news, double click on
            
 
 AFRICA STOCKS
 For the latest news on African stocks, click on     
 
 SOUTH AFRICA MARKETS
 South Africa's rand weakened more than 2 percent on Thursday
 after weak domestic economic data and the European Central
 Bank's announcement that it was trimming its stimulus
 program knocked the currency lower.            
 
 KENYA MARKETS
 The Kenyan shilling        was steady on Thursday, but was
 seen under weakening pressure due to dollar demand from
 companies, traders said.            
 
 KENYA ELECTRICITY
 Kenya Power           aims to speed up the number of
 customers it adds to the grid in the year to June, as part
 of its plans to improve access across the nation where only
 two-thirds of the population are connected.            
 
 TANZANIA EUROBOND
 Tanzania aims to issue its first Eurobond in fiscal 2017/18
 to fund new infrastructure, the Finance and Planning
 Ministry said on Thursday, after repeated delays in the
 launch as it sought a credit rating.            
 
 GHANA POLITICS
 Ghana's main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo said on
 Thursday he was "quietly confident" he had beaten President
 John Mahama and that his New Patriotic Party (NPP) had taken
 a majority of seats in parliament in this week's
 election.            
 
 CAMEROON PROTESTS
 Police in Cameroon shot dead four anti-government
 demonstrators in one of the Central African nation's
 minority anglophone regions on Thursday, police sources
 said, after a month of sometimes violent protests in the
 area.            
 
 CONGO PETROLEUM
 Congo Republic expects oil output to rise to some 300,000
 barrels per day in 2018, up from around 250,000 bpd now,
 partly due to a new deep offshore field due to come online
 next year, the oil minister said on Thursday.            
 
 NAMIBIA ECONOMY
 Namibia's economy growth will slow to 1.6 percent this year
 from more than 5 percent in 2015 after a contraction in the
 mining sector and reduced government spending, the
 International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.