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Economy

External Reserves Drop to $24bn

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The country’s external reserves have depleted further to a record-low of $24.8bn, according to the latest data posted on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s website.

The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.

Specifically, the reserves fell from $25.8bn on August 16 to $24.8bn on September 16. It decreased by $600m from $25.4bn recorded on August 31 to $24.8bn on September 16, the current CBN data revealed.

The spate of decline in the external reserves follows the CBN’s almost daily interventions at the interbank/official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as chronic dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.

In its efforts to defend the naira and prevent it from falling further at the official interbank market, the central bank has been selling dollars there more frequently.

The naira had fallen to an all-time low of 365.25 to the dollar at the interbank market on August 18 before making a gradual recovery.

On Tuesday, the local currency traded at 307.25 against the greenback.

At the parallel market, the naira, which has been under persistent pressure, closed at 424 to the dollar on Tuesday, after trading at 425 against the United States currency on Monday.

The external reserves fell by 2.86 per cent to $25.45bn on August 29, 2016, up from the $26.2bn it recorded at the end of July.

Year-on-year, the reserves have fallen by 18.9 per cent. They had fallen by 0.4 per cent at the end of July, down from the $26.34bn recorded on June 29.

The foreign exchange reserves stood at $26.42bn on May 28, down by 9.2 per cent year-on-year.

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

The global plunge in oil prices has caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development had forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned in June.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee announced plans to adopt a flexible exchange rate policy after the external reserves fell to $26.56bn on May 23.

The external reserves have lost over $2bn this year. The nation recorded a balance of payments deficit of 1.4 per cent in its Gross Domestic Product at the end of 2015 owing largely to its first current account deficit (three per cent of the GDP) in over a decade.

The nation’s external reserves reduced by $6.7bn within a period of 21 months, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said on March 23.

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.

Economy

Manufacturing Firms Borrowed N570bn from Banks in 2020 – CBN

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Steel Manufacture At Evraz Plc West-Siberian Metallurgical Plant

Manufacturing firms borrowed a total of N570bn from Nigerian banks last year amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banks’ credit to the manufacturing sector rose to N3.19tn as of December 2020 from N2.62tn at the end of 2019, according to the sectoral analysis of banks’ credit by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The sector received the second biggest share of the credit from the banks after the oil and gas sector, which got N5.18tn as of December.

“The manufacturing sector, which is the engine of sustainable growth, is still struggling with the debilitating impact of the pandemic and is yet to recuperate,” the Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said in January.

MAN, in a January report, revealed that most manufacturers said commercial banks’ lending rates were discouraging productivity in the sector.

The report said 71 per cent of Chief Executive Officers interviewed “disagreed that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector.”

It said the cost of borrowing in the country remained at double digits even amidst the reforms meant to culminate in lower rates to engender the country’s economic recovery process.

The report said, “Special single digit loans offered by development banks are still hard to leverage as conditionalities to assess the loans through commercial banks are often overwhelming and laden with additional charges that will eventually make the interest rate double digit.

“Seven per cent of respondents were, however, of the opinion that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector while the remaining 22 per cent were not sure of the impact of the rate of lending on productivity in the manufacturing sector.”

The report showed that 64 per cent of respondent disagreed that the size of commercial bank loan to manufacturing sector had encouraged manufacturing productivity.

It said the very high presence of the government in the money market, particularly through the sale of treasury bills, had been crowding out the private sector from the market.

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Economy

Nigeria Earns Extra N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel

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FG Generates Additional Income of N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel

The Federal Government earned an additional N318.36 billion in February following the surge in crude oil price above $60 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, average $60 throughout the month of February.

In March, it rose to $67 per barrel.

According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s crude oil price was retained at $40 per barrel for 2021.

However, she said the nation is presently producing below its 2.5 million barrel per day capacity at 1.7mbpd. This, she said includes 300,000bpd condensates.

“Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5mbpd, current crude production is about 1.7mbpd, including about 300,000bpd of condensates, which indicates compliance with OPEC quota,” the finance minister stated.

Going by the number, Nigeria is producing 1.4mbpd of crude oil without condensates, but with an additional $20 revenue when compared to the $40 per barrel benchmark for the year. It means the Federal Government realised an additional income of N318.360 billion or $20 X 1.4mbpd X 30days in the month of February.

Crude oil jumped to $68.54 per barrel on Friday following OPEC+’s decision to role-over production cuts.

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Economy

Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others

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The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.

The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.

“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.

Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.

He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.

He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.

“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.

According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.

Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.

The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.

The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.

Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.

He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.

“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.

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