The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the nation’s foreign exchange reserve now stands at 29.61 billion dollars, according to a posting on the apex bank website visited on Thursday.
The figure, according to the latest report gleaned by our correspondent, was an increase of 0.3 per cent from 29.52 billion dollars recorded about a month ago on April 27.
The bank said the 29.61 billion dollars represented the gross amount, while 28.74 billion was liquid and 875 million as blocked amounts.
It said that the continuous pressure on the foreign exchange market is due to the rise in the internal demand for the dollar.
The CBN noted that the price of crude at the international market now hovers between 62.39 and 65 dollar per barrel.
It would be recalled that the CBN had in 2014 relied heavily on external reserves to support the Naira which came under pressure following a fall in the price of crude oil.
Despite the marginal increase, Nigeria’s external reserve continued its steady decline, dropping by 13.7 per cent to $29.77 billion since the beginning of the year, hitting about its lowest point in the past 10 years.
The external reserve has not been this low since 2005 when it closed at $28.6 billion. After this, it climbed rapidly as oil price boomed reaching the high of $62.4 billion in July 2008.
It would also be recalled that Nigeria’s economy has come under intense pressure recently following the persistent decline in oil prices in the international market.
The reserves, which stood at $34.49 billion at the beginning of the year, dropped to $29.77 billion by April 4, 2015.
In 2014, the country’s external reserves shed an accumulated 17.5 per cent within 12 months from $43.5 billion at the beginning of the year to $35.88 billion by the end of the year.