External reserves hit $40.4b, interbank market gets $210 million

Nigeria’s external reserves have risen to $40.4 billion, indicating an increase of about $1billion between December 2017 and January 2018. Information obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday revealed that the reserves reached the new mark on January 5, 2018.

The feat came on the heels of a promise by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the annual bankers’ dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) in Lagos last November.The acting director in charge of corporate communications at the CBN, Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed the figures attributed the increase in reserves to the bank’s strategy to effectively manage forex demand by various sectors of the economy.He cited the CBN policy restricting access to forex from the Nigerian market by importers of some 41 items as the major turning point. Okorafor said the policy had helped to stop the hemorrhaging of the country’s external reserves, which hitherto witnessed heavy depletion due to huge import bills and other debt obligations.

According to him, the CBN policy has ensured a decline in Nigeria’s import bills from over $5 billion monthly in 2015 to about $1.5 billion in 2017.
He expressed optimism that with the determination of the bank and the cooperation of the fiscal authorities, the external reserves will continue to enjoy more accretion in the course of 2018.

Meanwhile, the apex bank has injected a total of $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market in the first round of trading for the year.
The injected $210 million is to address requests in the wholesale, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segments of the market.

A breakdown of the figure indicates that the CBN offered $100m to the wholesale sector while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles windows each received $55 million.