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External reserves lost $178m in March – CBN


CBN dollarThe country’s foreign reserves continued its downward trend, losing $178m in March, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed on Thursday.

The reserves which stood at $34.99bn as of the end of March 1, dropped to $34.82bn as of the end of March 31.

In February, the reserves dropped by $1.1bn, after falling from $36.19bn as of February 1 to $35.09bn as of February 26.

According to the fourth quarter economic report of the CBN, the performance of the external sector improved in Q4, 2020 despite the challenges of sluggish global recovery, weakened global demand, soaring second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and tense political environment in the United States.

It stated that an estimated overall balance of payments surplus of $0.79bn was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020, from the $0.14bn recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

The deficit in the current account widened to $5.27bn in the review period, compared with $3.34bn in the previous quarter.

A net disposal of $2.5bn was recorded in the financial account, relative to $2.66bn in the preceding quarter.

The external reserves at end of December 2020 was $36.46bn, compared with $35.67bn at end September 2020, indicating an accretion of $0.79bn.

“This could finance 8.4 months of import of goods or 6.3 months of import of goods and services,” it stated.

However, the naira exchanged to a dollar for N485 at the parallel market on Thursday.

At the Investors and Exporters forex window, the naira improved slightly from its performance in recent weeks.

It hit a high of N413/$ to close at N409.30/$.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, recently disclosed that the naira depreciated at the official market to N410 against the dollar.

“In order to adjust for the decrease in supply of foreign exchange, the naira depreciated at the official window from N305/$ to N360/$ and now hovers around N410/$,” he stated.

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