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External Reserves Drop to 11-Year Low of $28.1bn

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Bureau Of Engraving And Printing Prints New Anti-Counterfeit 100 Dollar Bills

The nation’s external reserves fell to $28.1bn on January 28, the lowest level since 2005, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Friday.

The foreign exchange reserves had stood at $29.13bn a month ago, the data showed.

On December 31, 2015, the reserves closed at $29.070bn, reflecting a decline of 15.79 per cent year-on-year from $34.52bn a year ago.

During the first 11 days of this year, the foreign reserves fell by $288m, and stood at $28.782bn on January 11.

It had recorded $28.895bn on January 8 and $28.931bn on January 7, the CBN statistics showed.

The stoppage of foreign exchange sale to Bureau De Change operators has failed to prevent massive decline of the nation’s foreign reserves, which dropped by $108m three days after the move by the CBN.

The rate at which the reserves fell in the three days after the ban was more than what was recorded between December 31, 2015 and January 11, 2016, the CBN data showed.

The CBN had claimed that with the continued depletion of the foreign reserves, providing forex to the BDCs was no longer sustainable.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said between July 2014 and January this year, the country’s external reserves had suffered a great pressure from speculative attacks, round-tripping and front-loading activities by players in the foreign exchange market.

These, he noted, had led to a decline in the reserves from $37.3bn in June 2014 to $28bn currently.

There have been several calls for flexibility in the foreign exchange policies of the CBN as businesses continue to suffer from the restrictive policies of the central bank.

The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, had in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this month stressed the need for flexibility with monetary policies in order not to deplete the reserves.

She said, “We believe that with very clear primary ambition to support the poorer people of Nigeria, there could be added flexibility in the monetary policy, particularly if as we think the price of oil is likely to be low for longer (period).

“The occurrences should not deplete the reserves of the country, simply because of being seemingly rigid. I’m not suggesting that rigidity be totally removed, but some form of flexibility would help.”

Lagarde also said, “A nation’s foreign reserves are usually an indication of the health of its international trade, with import-dependent countries often disadvantaged in their current account balance as a result of forex expenditure outstripping income.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Economy

UNGA 2021: The World has the Resources to End Hunger, African Development Bank Head tells UN Food Systems Summit

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Akinwumi Adesina - Investors King

“The world has the resources to end hunger,” African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said in a message on the first day of the United Nations Food Systems Summit.

Convened by UN Secretary General António Guterres, the event is billed by its organisers as “a historic opportunity to empower all people to leverage the power of food systems to drive our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and get us back on track to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.”

The summit brings together thousands of youths, food producers, members of civil society, researchers, the private sector, women and indigenous people, all of whom are participating both physically and virtually in the summit. It is taking place on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York.

In his opening address, Guterres said the participants represented “energy, ideas and the willingness to create new partnerships,” and was a time to celebrate the dignity of those who produce and create the world’s food.

Decrying the 246 million people in Africa who go to bed daily without food and the continent’s 59 million stunted children as “morally and socially unacceptable,” Adesina said that delivering food security for Africa at greater scale called for prioritising technologies, climate and financing.

“The $33 billion per year required to free the world of hunger, is just 0.12% of $27 trillion that the world has deployed as stimulus to address the Covid-19 pandemic. I am confident that zero hunger can be achieved in Africa by 2030,“ Adesina said.

The African Development Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy, through its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program – widely known as TAAT – has provided 11 million farmers across 29 African countries with proven agricultural technologies for food security. Food production has expanded by 12 million metric tons while saving $814 million worth of food imports.

“We are well on our way to achieving our target of reaching 40 million farmers with modern and climate-resilient technologies in the next five years,” the African Development Bank chief added.

At a meeting on food security in Africa organized by the Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) earlier this year, 19 African heads of state called for the establishment of a facility for financing food security and nutrition in Africa.

“The Facility for Financing Food Security and Nutrition in Africa should be capitalized with at least $ 1 billion per year,” Adesina said.

The welfare of the 70% of Africa’s population working in agriculture and agribusiness is a barometer of the state of the continent’s health.  “If they aren’t doing well, then Africa isn’t doing well,” Rwandan president Paul Kagame said in a message at the official opening.

The many other heads of state and government who spoke on Thursday included, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Prime Minister Jacinda Arden of New Zealand.

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AfCFTA: Nigeria-South Africa Chamber Advocate Single Africa Passport, Free Visa

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African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)- Investors King

The Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) has called for a single Africa passport and a free visa to ensure the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Speaking on Thursday in Lagos during the chamber’s September Breakfast Forum, with the theme: `Perspectives on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area in Relation to Nigeria’, its President, Mr. Osayande Giwa-Osagie noted that AfCFTA would boost intra-African trade by 22 percent, adding that its implementation would impact positively on the Nigerian economy.

AfCFTA is a single continental market that adopts free flow of goods, services, and capital, supported by the free movement of persons across Africa.

Giwa-Osagie however said Nigeria must diversify its economy in order to harness the gains of the agreement.

“Current intra-African trade rated at 15 to 17 percent is low and the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African by 22 percent. Challenges to its implementation are lack of infrastructure, political instability and lack of economic diversification.

“This gives rise to the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy to harness the gains of the agreement. Given the importance of the free movement of people, there is a need for a free visa for Africa and a single Africa passport.

“While the implementation would help boost the Nigerian economy, the impact would be limited if there are no free movement of people,” he said.

Mr Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, Head, Trade and Transactional Services, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said the business community needed more clarification on tariff reduction or elimination under the agreement.

According to him, the little information available to corporate organisations with regards to tariffs may lead to holding back on investments.

“We have noted increased interests from global multinationals and other corporates in setting up facilities in Africa aimed at serving the continent and exporting abroad.

“So more transparency around tariff reductions both in terms of timelines and details of goods could prompt companies to act,” he said.

Fatoyinbo also called for more attention to the digitisation of trade processes across the continent. “Currently, trade in Africa is largely reliant on physical documentation and this is a major impediment. Policymakers need to prioritize regulatory amendments that allow for the digital signatures, a digital certificate of origin, digital bills of lading, and other documentation,” he added.

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Nigeria Borrows $4 Billion Through Eurobonds as Order Book Peaked at $12.2 Billion

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Eurobonds - Investorsking

The Federal Government of Nigeria has raised a fresh $4 billion through Eurobonds, according to the latest statement from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Nigeria had set out to raise $3 billion but investors oversubscription peaked at $12.2 billion, enabling the Federal Government to raise $1 billion more than the $3 billion it announced.

DMO said “This exceptional performance has been described as, “one of the biggest financial trades to come out of Africa in 2021” and “an excellent outcome”.

Bids were received from investors in Europe, America, Asia and several local investors. The statement noted that the quality of investors and the size of the Order Book demonstrated confidence in Nigeria.

The Eurobonds were issued in three tranches, details, namely seven years–,$1.25 billion at 6.125 per cent per annum; 12 years -$1.5 billion at 7.375 per cent per annum as well as 30 years -$1.25 billion at 8.25 per annum.

The DMO explained that the long tenors of the Eurobonds and the spread across different maturities are well aligned with Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy, 2020 –2023.

The Eurobonds were issued as part of the New External Borrowing stipulated in the 2021 Appropriation Act. DMO noted that the $4 billion will help finance projects state in the 2021 budget.

Nigeria’s total debt stood at $87.239 billion as at March 31, 2021. However, with the $4 billion new borrowing, the nation’s debt is now $91.239 billion. A serious concern for most Nigerians given the nation’s weak foreign revenue generation and rising cost of servicing the debt.

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