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Global banking giants HSBC, UBS close Nigeria offices

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By Chijioke Ohuocha

LAGOS (Reuters) – HSBC <HSBA.L> and UBS <UBSG.S> have closed their representative offices in Nigeria, the central bank said in a report on Friday without giving reasons for the closures.

The central bank said foreign direct investment in Nigeria slowed to 379.84 billion naira in the first half of the year from 532.63 billion naira a year earlier.

It said the outlook for the Nigerian economy in the second half was “optimistic” given higher oil prices and production but that rising foreign debt and uncertainty surrounding the 2019 presidential election was a drawback.

Investor confidence in the West African country has been shaken since the central bank in August ordered MTN <MTNJ.J> to bring back $8.1 billion to the country, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm sent abroad.

An HSBC research note dated July 18 said a second Buhari term “raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term, particularly if there is no move towards completing reform of the exchange rate system or fiscal adjustments that diversify government revenues away from oil.”

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Elaine Hardcastle)

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