8th January, 2015
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday pegged the nation’s foreign exchange reserves at 34.49 billion dollars (N5.74 trillion) as at Jan. 5.
NAN reports that the CBN posted the foreign exchange reserves data on its website. According to the bank, the figure represents an increase of 20 million dollars (N3.36 billion) from the 34.47 billion dollars (N5.79 trillion) recorded on Dec. 31, 2014.
The bank said that the 34.49 billion dollars (N5.74 trillion) represented the ‘gross’ amount while 33.52 billion dollars (N5.63 trillion) was ‘liquid’ and 975 million dollars (N163.8 billion) ‘blocked’.
NAN reports that the Federal Government had through fiscal policies made attempts since 2013 to shore up the foreign reserves to 50 billion dollars (N9.05 trillion).
The CBN had in 2014 relied heavily on external reserves to support the Naira which came under pressure following falling international prices of crude oil.
Crude oil prices at the international market have continued to rally between 55 dollars and 60 dollars per barrel since December, 2014.
According to the CBN, the continuous pressure on the foreign exchange market was also attributable to the rise in the internal demand for the dollar.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had earlier said that the country had spent huge assets from the foreign reserves in ensuring that the official exchange rate was maintained at its previous value of N155 to a dollar.
NAN also reports that, in spite of the government’s efforts to shore up the Naira, the CBN devalued the Naira to N168 to a dollar in November, 2014.