External Reserves Sustain Marginal Gains, Rise to $25bn


Obinna Chima in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja

Nigeria’s foreign reserves, which have been on a steady rise since November, currently stand at $25.043 billion, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed.

The present value of the reserves, which is derived mostly from the proceeds of crude oil sale represented an accretion by $1.086 billion or 4.5 per cent, in the last seven weeks, compared with the $23.957 billion it was as at November 2, 2016.
Specifically, there was an accretion of about $825, 149,623 to Nigeria’s foreign reserves in November.

According to the figures obtained from CBN on the movement in reserves, which is a 30-day moving average, on November 1, the gross foreign reserves stood at $23,946,448,274 and by November 30, the level was raised to $24,771,597,897, representing an increase of $825,149,623 or 3.45 per cent in the review month.

A CBN source, who spoke with THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, attributed the upswing in the external reserves to an increase in the level of exports by the country.

“There are several reasons for the uptick in reserves; exports may have been relatively stable in view of the relative calm in oil producing regions, particularly the Niger Delta. What it means is that for some time it hasn’t happened. “Secondly, the rate at which the reserves had been draining, if you look very well, we’ve not been intervening very much apart from the forwards we have done. What it also means is that the forwards have helped to reduce the demands. It is also a sign that some inflows are trickling in by way of people bringing in money and there’s also the seasonal angle to it- during Christmas when people come home, they send resources as well,” the source said.

THISDAY recently reported that the import substitution policies being driven by the central bank and the federal government appeared to be yielding results, as a country assessment report on Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated that a sharp decline in imports contributed to a modest recovery in Nigeria’s external current account balance in the first half of 2016.

Although the report had shown that Nigeria’s exports declined by 14 per cent in the first half of 2016, it revealed that imports fell more than proportionately by 25 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.
Also, the foreign trade report released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the country’s total value of merchandise trade rose to N4.72 trillion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, representing an increase of 16.3 per cent, or N661.5 billion, compared to N4.06 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter of the year.

Oil price rose on Friday, edging closer to new 17-month high as producers showed signs of adhering to a global deal to reduce output. Oil producers including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, who are members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), have notified customers that they would cut supplies from January as part of an effort by OPEC and other producers led by Russia to balance an oversupplied market. Brent crude oil futures were trading at $55.19 per barrel up $1.17, or 2.2 percent, at 2:39 p.m. ET (1939 GMT).