Renaissance Capital, which won the “Investment Bank of the Year” award at the 2008 African Banker Awards in Washington D.C., is “broadly negative about the Nigerian equity market’s performance over 2009 — particularly in the first half.”  How bad have things gotten for the oil-dependent, West-African nation?  Per Bloomberg:

Nigeria’s naira has lost more than a fifth of its value since the end of November when the government decided to allow the currency to depreciate rather than drain its foreign- exchange reserves as the price of oil, the country’s main export, plummeted. The Nigeria Stock Exchange’s All Share Index closed at 24,000.09 on Jan. 23, a decrease of 64% from its record 66,371.20 reached on March 5, 2008.

The “most likely” scenario (60%) for 2009 sees the key index continuing its rapid descent in the first-half of the year, followed by a “solid recovery” in the second half for a net loss of 8% (in dollar terms).  However, Renaissance analysts admit that there is a 30% chance the misery mounts and the index finishes the year off 44%.  The firm gives a 10% chance to the event where the index sees a 14% gain, if the global economy improves and commodity prices stabilize.

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Nigeria’s biggest refiner of the sweetener, Diamond Bank Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc, the nation’s largest beer maker by volume, are some of Renaissance’s top 10 picks in the Nigerian market.