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Renaissance Capital Ltd has stated that Nigerian consumer stocks are struggling through a “lost year” as a slump in oil prices buffets the country’s economy.

According to the head of equities at the Moscow-based investment bank that focuses on emerging markets, Mr. Benjamin Samuels, fuel shortages are making it harder to distribute goods as companies including Guinness Nigeria Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, and Unilever Nigeria Plc grapple with a slowing economy and weaker local currency.

He pointed out that investors are also shunning the country’s banks until there is more clarity on how they’re responding to the risk of higher defaults because of lower crude prices.

“Some see 2015 as a lost year for growth and margins” in consumer stocks, he said in an interview in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, on May 18.

“The cost of imports has gone through the roof with the decline of the naira,” Samuels said. Companies are facing “challenges around distribution and weaker sales,” he said.

Growth slowed to 4 percent in the first quarter from 5.9 percent in the last three months of 2014. Africa’s biggest crude producer, which derives 90 percent of export earnings from oil, has been hit by the Brent variety’s 40 percent drop since June.