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Foreign Reserves Rise By $7.98bn In 10 Months

The foreign reserves monitored by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appreciated by $7.98 billion between January and October 2017.

This came on the heels of steady increase in global oil prices and increased activity in the investor exporter window.

The foreign reserves opened this year at $25.84 to close October 31, 2017 at $33.83 billion, an increase of 30.9 per cent this year.

According to LEADERSHIP Friday findings, the price of Organization of Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket of 14 crudes countries gained 9.9 per cent to $58.57 per barrel as at October 31, 2017 from 53.3 it started trading early this year.

Global Oil prices continued to rally around $60 per barrel and extended to new heights on Wednesday, with Brent Crude climbing to a level last seen in mid-2015, stoking hopes in the industry that the market has finally turned a corner, following a three-year slump.

An oil price recovery has been under way since June, as crude demand finally starts to outpace supply, with Brent rallying by almost 40 per cent to $61 per barrel.

This is even as the global oil glut that had built up over the previous three years is beginning to draw down

For the third quarter of 2017, the external reserves gained $7.53 billion or 29.2 per cent from $25.8 billion it opened January to $33.33 billion, the highest in almost three years.

CBN spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, had noted that the increase in foreign reserves can be attributable to peace in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of the country, which resulted in increased oil output and earnings.

He said with the sustained interventions, the apex bank has been able to push foreign exchange demand away from the parallel market into the formal regulated market.

In the second quarter, the oil sector grew significantly by 17.04 percentage points from -15.40 per cent recorded in Q1 2017 to 1.64 per cent, reflecting the relative peace in the Niger Delta, increased oil output from the region and increase in oil prices.

The nation’s economy recently exited from recession, with data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showing that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 0.55 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017.

The growth in GDP was driven mainly by the performance of the oil and gas and three other sectors. Between January and September 2017, the foreign reserves gained $7.53 billion or 29.2 per cent from $25.8 billion it opened January to $33.33 billion, the highest in almost three years.

Between January and August, the foreign exchange buffer of CBN appreciated by estimated $5.97 billion from $25.8 billion it opened this year.

Statistics on the CBN website revealed that the external reserves increased by 17.2per cent to $30.29 billion on March 30, 2016 from $25.84 billion it opened this year.

Specifically, the external reserves for the first time in 2017 hit $30 billion on March 8 and hovering around $29 billion and $28 billion in February. OPEC price basket of 14 crudes had closed at $50.04 a barrel in March.

The federal government’s 2017 budget was based on the production of 2.2 million barrels per day at the reference price of $42.5 per barrel in the global market, a benchmark the executive used in preparing the budget.

Finance experts had said steady increase in global oil prices continued to impact on CBN’s foreign exchange buffer and the nation’s economy in general.


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