Nigeria’s FX reserves exceed $35 billion, first time under Tinubu administration 

Nigeria’s external reserves have increased yet again, reaching $35.05 billion as of July 8, 2024.   

This is according to the central bank’s external reserve data, which was analyzed by Nairametrics.   

It was noted that the reserves have reached the highest level since May 30, 2023, when it was $35.09 billion, about 14 days before the introduction of the foreign exchange (FX) unification policy in June 2023.  This is the first time it has crossed the $35 billion ceiling under the administration of Bola Tinubu.  

It appears that the recent FX policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) alongside a string of financial commitments from the likes of Afrexim Bank and the World Bank through loans have bolstered the growth of the reserves.  

What the data is saying  

When Bola Tinubu was sworn in as the 16th president of Nigeria on May 29, 2023, the country’s external reserves were about $35.09 billion. 

However, when the CBN announced the FX unification policy, Nigeria’s external reserves had dropped to $34.66 billion. 

From July to December 2023, the reserves fluctuated within the $33 billion range. 

This year, the reserves experienced three months of noticeable fluctuations,  plunging to a low of $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024.   

The central bank Governor had to address the issue of the decline at the last IMF Spring meeting, where he said that the decreasing reserves were primarily due to debt repayments and other standard financial obligations, rather than efforts to defend the naira 

However, since then, a gradual and consistent upward trajectory has been observed, coinciding with a period of exchange rate stability.  

Nigeria has been experiencing a surge in exchange rate in the last few weeks ending the month of June above $34 billion for the first time since April. The reserves have continued to swell in July hitting multiple highs that have now culminated in the highest reserve in the last one year.  

Since the lowest level of $32.11 billion under Tinubu in April, the external reserves have surged by $2.94 billion in less than three months. 

What you should know  

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) recently urged the CBN to focus on boosting the external reserves.  

To ensure a steady flow of foreign exchange into the country, the CBN plans to double the diaspora remittance inflow this year 

Also, Afrexim Bank earlier announced the disbursement of $925 million- another tranche of the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed loan agreement it entered into with the NNPC last year. The bank disclosed this in a statement on its website stating that the current disbursement brings the total payment for the facility to $3.175 billion. This loan is expected to help stabilize the forex market in light of the severe volatility.  

The World Bank also recently approved $2.25 billion in loans to Nigeria to boost the country’s economic stability and support its vulnerable populations. This financial infusion is intended to provide immediate financial and technical support for Nigeria’s urgent economic stabilization efforts.  

Amid the increase in reserves and financial commitments to Nigeria, Fitch noted that the lack of clarity over the precise size and composition of Nigeria’s FX reserves remains a significant constraint on the nation’s sovereign credit profile. 




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