Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Business News

External Reserves Hit Four-Year High At $40.4bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the nation’s external reserves have hit a new level of $40.4bn.

January 2014 was the last time the foreign reserves hit $40bn, about five months before the crash in global oil prices. The foreign exchange reserves had reached a low of $23.6bn in October 2016.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Lagos last November, projected that the foreign exchange reserves would hit the $40bn mark before the end of 2018.

The apex bank In a statement on Monday disclosed that the external reserves reached $40.4bn on Friday, January 5, 2018.

This, it said, indicated an increase of about $1bn between December 2017 and January 2018.

The foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $38.765bn on December 29, 2017, rose to $39.074bn on January 4, data on the CBN website showed.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, while confirming the latest development, attributed the accretion to the reserves to the central bank’s strategy of effectively managing forex demand by various sectors of the economy.

Thus, the CBN policy restricting access to forex by importers of some 41 items as the major turning point, Okorafor said the policy had helped to stop the haemorrhaging of the country’s external reserves, which had witnessed heavy depletion due to huge import bills and other debt obligations.

He added that the CBN policy has ensured a decline in Nigeria’s import bills from over $5bn monthly in 2015 to about $1.5bn in 2017.

Further, he expressed optimism that with the determination of the regulator and the cooperation of the fiscal authorities, the external reserves would continue to enjoy more accretion in the course of 2018.