External reserves fall by $1.5bn in four months -CBN

The country’s external reserves fell by $1.5bn in four months, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed.

Latest figure on movement of the external reserves by the CBN revealed that the figure, which stood at $36.73bn as of the end of February 20 fell to $36.68bn as of the end of February 27.

It fell from $35.5bn to $35.25bn and $35.2bn as of the end of March, April and May 19 respectively.

At the March Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, while noting the marginal decline in the level of gross external reserves said it was, “reflecting the downtrend in crude oil prices, as global uncertainties persist.”

In his personal statement, a member of the MPC, Folashodun Shonubi, said the impact of the slowdown in the global crude oil market on the dwindling fortunes of the domestic oil sector had been further compounded by inherent inefficiencies in the structure of the sector in Nigeria.

He said, “This has been a major challenge to both the fiscal and external sectors, as government revenue remain at dismally low levels and accretion to reserves is reduced to a near standstill.

“The situation has precipitated twin issues of increasing deficit and rising debt that is occasioned by significant shortfall in revenue, as well as low foreign exchange supply, resulting in persisting pressure on the exchange rate.”

Another MPC member, Obadan Mike, said, foreign exchange market pressures continued to pose challenges as supply-demand imbalances remained unrelenting.

He said, “The external reserves position has remained weak against the backdrop of the limited capacity of the country to earn foreign exchange from both non-oil and oil exports.

“Consequently, the official exchange rate has continued to depreciate.”

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