Private sector credit extension (PSCE) increased by N$271.1 million or 0.3% m/m in April, bringing cumulative credit outstanding to N$92.6 billion. On a year-on-year basis, private sector credit extension increased by 6.0% in April, on par with the 5.9% increase recorded in March. On a rolling 12-month basis N$5.3 billion worth of credit was extended to the private sector, with individuals taking up N$3.5 billion while N$920 million was extended to corporates. Claims on non-resident private sector credit increased by 0.8% m/m and 196.0% y/y.
Credit extension to households
Credit extended to individuals increased by 6.9% y/y in April and remained flat from the 7.0% y/y growth recorded in March. On a month-on-month basis household credit extension rose by 0.5% in April which is marginally faster than the 0.2% registered in March. Installment credit remained depressed, contracting by 3.3% y/y and 0.8% m/m. The value of mortgage loans extended to individuals increased by 0.6% m/m and 8.0% y/y. Demand for overdraft facilities continued to slow down on an annual basis, increasing by 1.1% y/y in April compared to 2.4% y/y in March. Overdraft facilities recorded a contraction in credit outstanding of 0.3% m/m in April.
Credit extension to corporates
Credit extension to corporates remained flat month-on-month in April after contracting by 0.3 m/m in March. Year-on-year credit extension to corporates increased by 2.6% in April, slightly faster than the 2.1% y/y recorded in the two previous months. Mortgage loans to corporates increased by 1.9% m/m and 7.9% y/y. Installment credit extended to corporates, which has been contracting since February 2017 on an annual basis, remained depressed, contracting by 7.9% y/y in April. Overdraft facilities extended to corporates contracted by 2.0% m/m, but increased by 2.4% y/y.
Banking Sector Liquidity
The overall liquidity position of commercial banks increased by N$190 million to an average of N$3.2 billion during April. According to Bank of Namibia, government payments and mineral sales proceeds of about N$1.0 billion contributed to the improved liquidity position during the month. Commercial banks continue making use of BoN’s repo facility, and although average repos have moderated from N$344.5 million during March to N$197.1 million in April.
Reserves and money supply
The stock of foreign reserves increased by N$3.9 billion to N$30.7 billion in April. This increase mainly stemmed from inflows of SACU receipts, commercial bank sales of foreign currency, increased rand seignorage receipts as well as the depreciation of the Namibian dollar against all the major foreign currencies during the period under review, according to the Bank of Namibia.
Private sector credit extension growth remained depressed at the end of April. Although the country’s foreign reserve position strengthened during the month, our expectation is that Bank of Namibia will leave rates unchanged at its MPC meeting next week, thereby not providing consumers and businesses with any further relief, although current rates remain relatively accommodative by historic standards.
The SARB’s MPC meeting last month unanimously decided to keep interest rates unchanged, stating that risks and uncertainties that could possibly affect the inflation rate have shifted to the upside. The rand was initially supported by the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa in February, but has since weakened in line with its emerging-market peers as rising treasury yields boosted the demand for US dollar assets. The weaker currency may push inflation higher, decreasing the likelihood that SARB will cut interest rates again in 2018.