Private sector credit extension (PSCE) increased by N$584.5 million or 0.7% m/m in November, bringing the cumulative credit outstanding to N$89.4 billion. On a y/y basis, private sector credit extension increased by 4.5% in November, slowing from the 5.1% growth recorded in October. From a rolling 12-month basis, total credit extended to the private sector has been trending downward with N$3.82 billion worth of credit extended over the last 12 months. Compared to last year, the rolling 12-month issuance is down 48% from the N$7.39 billion issuance observed at the end of November 2016. Of this cumulative issuance, individuals took up credit worth N$3.4 billion while N$468.1 million was issued to corporates. Claims on non-resident private sector credit decreased by N$92.1 million y/y.
Credit extension to households
Credit extended to individuals increased by 6.9% y/y in November, lower than the 7.3% y/y recorded in October. On a m/m basis, household credit extension rose by 0.7% in November and is slightly higher than the increase of 0.6% registered in October. Household credit extension growth has been waning for much of 2017, with annual growth dropping below 7% now for the first time since December 2010. Installment credit contracted by 2.2% y/y. This contraction is in tandem with diminishing new vehicle sales reported for November, since installment credit is largely used to finance vehicle purchases. The value of mortgage loans extended to individuals increased by 0.8% m/m and 7.8% y/y. Demand for overdraft facilities has been slowing since July this year and increased by 8.5% y/y in November compared to 10.9% y/y in October. Other loans and advances recorded growth of 1.3% m/m and 6.5% y/y.
Credit extension to corporates
Credit extension to corporates increased marginally by 0.2% m/m in November, following a contraction in credit extended of 0.5% in October. Year on year credit extension to corporates grew 1.3% in November, slower than the 2.4% in October. Installment credit extended to corporates, which has been contracting since February 2017 on an annual basis, continued to wither, contracting by 7.2% y/y in November. Mortgage loans extended to corporates contracted by 0.1% m/m while increasing by 8.6% y/y. Overdraft facilities extended to corporates increased slightly by 0.9% m/m and 2.5% y/y.
Banking Sector Liquidity
The average monthly liquidity position of commercial banks improved by N$330 million from N$2.85 billion in October to N$3.18 billion in November. The increase in the liquidity position is attributed to increased mineral sales proceeds and maturing Bank of Namibia (BoN) bills during November.
Reserves and money supply
Foreign reserves decreased by N$3.1 billion to N$28.5 billion at the end of November from N$31.6 billion in October. According to the Bank of Namibia the decline in reserves stemmed from the foreign currency fluctuations and net commercial banks purchases of foreign currency in November.
Private sector credit extension for 2017, with the omission of December data, will be characterized by growth that has receded since the start of the year and provided no signs to the contrary. Weakened consumer and business confidence in the wake of a weak economy points has resulted in a low demand for credit, which has been further exacerbated by tighter credit regulations. Improved commercial bank liquidity indicates that the supply side for credit has boasted healthy loanable balances although banks have been more selective in credit issuance too. Of the total credit extended to the private sector over the last 12 months, individuals helped themselves to around 90% of the pie. Corporates had a trying year, especially those that endured slow payment from government for work done.
Inflation slowed throughout the year, providing optimism for easing monetary policy which was rewarded with only one rate cut of 25 basis points. Disappointing mid-year budget reviews in SA and Namibia which highlighted expenditure over-runs, divergence from fiscal consolidation measures and revenue shortfalls prompted downgrades from ratings agencies. The year closed with both the SARB and BoN keeping rates unchanged going into 2018. The political landscape in South Africa did provide markets with relative calm in the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president. Since this shift in power within the ruling party the rand has strengthened relative to the US dollar, though the immediate test lies in Moody’s imminent review decision on South Africa’s credit rating in February. The risk herein, should SA be downgraded, is that we could see a rate hiking cycle take effect.