Nigeria’s external reserves lost $350million in two weeks, falling to $34.9billion on April 29 from a high of $35.25billion as of April 16. Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday revealed that the reserves, which had been fluctuating, rose from $34.85billion as of April 1, before returning to a downward path in the middle of the month. The CBN had recently attributed the improvement in the level of external reserves to the recent upsurge in crude oil prices on the backdrop of the renewed optimism on the successful deployment of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe. In March, the reserves had lost $178million after dropping from $34.99billion as of the end of March 1 to $34.82billion as of the end of March 31. In February, the reserves dropped by $1.1billion, falling from $36.19billion as of February 1 to $35.09billion on February 26. The CBN, in its January economic report, said, “As a consequence of the lower foreign exchange receipts, the official external reserves declined. “External reserves stood at $35.44billion at end-January 2021, a decrease of 2.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent from $36.46billion in December 2020 and $36.73billion in January 2020. “At that level, the external reserves position could cover 6.1 months of import for goods and services and 8.2 months of import for goods only.” It added that available data showed that Nigeria’s reserves per capita decreased to $171.88, compared with $176.89 at end-December 2020.
The report said that in January, a breakdown of external reserves by ownership revealed the shares of the CBN as $30.18bn (85.18 per cent); Federal Government, $5.18bn (14.62 per cent); and federation, $0.07bn (0.20 per cent).