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CBN says external reserves lost $350m in two weeks

The country’s external reserves lost $350 million in two weeks, falling to $34.9 billion on April 29 from a high of $35.25 billion as of April 16.

Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday revealed that the reserves, which had been fluctuating, rose from $34.85 billion 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 $178 million after dropping from $34.99 billion as of the end of March 1 to $34.82 billion as of the end of March 31.

In February, the reserves dropped by $1.1 billion, falling from $36.19 billion as of February 1 to $35.09 billion 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 $35.44 billion at end-January 2021, a decrease of 2.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent from $36.46 billion in December 2020 and $36.73 billion 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 $30.18 billion (85.18 per cent); Federal Government, $5.18 billion (14.62 per cent); and federation, $0.07 billion (0.20 per cent).

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