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Foreign Exchange reserves hit $25.5bn as forex scarcity continues

Peg real sector loan interest rate at 3% to encourage investors, Don tells CBN

Latest data on the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN confirms that Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves have risen to over three-month high of $25bn.

The reserves according to the CBN rose to $25.2bn on December 19.

Since September, the reserves have gradually dipped low. According to the CBN the reserves recodrded a similar high figure on September 8 when it had a balance of $25.16bn.

The country’s fast-depleting reserves had recorded $23.89bn low on October 19.

The reserves have dropped by 15.9 per cent from last year when they closed at $29.7bn.

The CBN data showed that the foreign exchange reserves declined to $24.92bn on September 14 from $25.11bn on September 9.

At the end of November, the reserves stood at $24.77bn, up from $23.95bn on October 31.

Currency and economic experts are not sure if the tiny upticks in the external reserves’ level are sustainable amid the falling naira and acute shortage of dollar in the foreign exchange markets.

The CBN had on June 20 lifted its 16-month-old currency peg and auctioned about $4bn on the spot and futures market to clear a backlog of dollar demand to help boost interbank market trading.

The reserves had fallen from $26bn on August 4, 2016 to $25.97bn on August 5 as the central bank stepped up dollar sales to boost liquidity at the interbank market and support the ailing naira.

The naira, which touched an all-time low of 365.25 per dollar on August 18 at the official market, has consistently closed around 305.5 in recent weeks.

However, in the 2017 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari pegged the foreign exchange rate at N305 to one United States Dollar.