Nigeria slips into recession, weighed down by COVID-19 and oil prices

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A tuc tuc taxi passes a giant advertising screen showing US dollar, British pound and euro foreign currency exchange rates on a road in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Nigeria's economy, which in 2016 suffered its first full-year recession since 1987, will probably return to growth in 2017. Photographer: Tom Saater/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A tuc tuc taxi passes a giant advertising screen showing US dollar, British pound and euro foreign currency exchange rates on a road in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Nigeria’s economy, which in 2016 suffered its first full-year recession since 1987. Photographer: Tom Saater/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nigeria has slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product contracted for the second consecutive quarter, according to data released by the statistician general on Saturday.

Africa’s biggest economy was last in recession in 2016, its first in a generation, and emerged the following year.

But growth had been fragile and the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy hard, as did low oil prices. The continent’s top oil exporter relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

“Q3 2020 Real GDP contracted for second consecutive quarter by -3.62%,” Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, said on Twitter.

“Cumulative GDP for the first 9 months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48%,” he added.

The government had previously said it expected the economy to contract by as much as 8.9% this year in a worst-case scenario without stimulus.

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