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Nigeria’s External Reserves hit $44bn mark, as oil price peaks

Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown that Nigeria’s external reserve rose to $44 billion at the end of March 2019.

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Nigeria's External reserves hit $44 bn mark, as Oil price peaks

Nigeria’s external reserve reached the $44 billion mark at the end of March 2019. According to the data released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s gross external reserve hits $44.14 billion.

As at the 26th of March 2019, gross external reserve stood at $44.14 billion, up from $44.04 billion the previous day. This implies that Nigeria’s foreign exchange market gained as much as $102.93 million in just one day.

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The $44.14 billion external reserve marks a six months high

The CBN data shows that foreign reserve increased to an all time high in six months. A quick check at the historical foreign reserve data shows that Nigeria’s foreign reserve recorded value above the $44.1 billion mark in September 2018.

Afterwards, the foreign reserved began to dip the following month.

Recall, the Nairametrics earlier reported in mid-March 2019 that the foreign reserved had started to rise after two a two-week dip, which coincided with the general elections period.

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However, six months all-time low was recorded in November 

Within the period, foreign reserve witnessed an all-time low in November 2018. Data shows that for the past six months, Nigeria’s foreign reserve recorded $41.52 billion in November 22nd 2018, which represents an all-time low in six months.

The rise in reserve is due to recent surge in oil price

An earlier report by Nairametrics revealed that analysts have predicted that oil price will hit $70 per barrel in 2019.

In the last week, Brent oil price rose an average of $67.73, with reports showing that oil price is witnessing its biggest quarterly rise since 2009.

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As at 25th March 2019, Brent oil price stood at $67.37 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped to $58.71 per barrel.

According to data obtained from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the last six month, Brent crude oil price recorded all-time average low in December 2018 at $51.44 per barrel.

What are foreign reserves?

Foreign reserves are the foreign currencies held by a country’s Central Bank. They are also called foreign currency reserves or foreign exchange reserves.

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Why a country holds Reserves?

The foreign reserve could be held for several purposes, among others include keeping foreign reserves to Safeguard the value of the domestic currency and also to make a timely meeting of international payment transactions.

Similarly, the Central Bank holds reserves as a form of wealth accumulation portfolio for future consumption purposes. Further, the periodical intervention by CBN to manage the exchange rate is achieved with the aid of Foreign exchange reserves.

The implication of Nigeria’s rising foreign reserve on the economy

According to a publication of the Asian Development Bank Institute, although increased foreign exchange reserves may cause a decline in consumption, it can also enhance investment and economic growth.

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One may argue that an increase in foreign exchange reserves improves the current account, and consequently enhances economic growth. In the short-run, aggressive intervention could help maintain the competitiveness of the tradable sector, and manifest itself in a massive accumulation in foreign exchange reserves by the central bank.

An earlier report has also shown that the CBN injected a total of $US39.9 billion in FOREX market in 2018, and the relative stability of the exchange rate is traceable to the periodic intervention by the CBN. Hence, the rising external reserve has been a buffer to stabilise the naira.

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Any downside?

The CBN may have $44.14 billion within its disposal, which has made it become a source of foreign exchange at the investors’ and exporters’ window (I&E), but this does not guarantee long-run stability.

Amidst the current economic situation, CBN has a choice to either build foreign reserves or maintain the current position of the currency by frequent intervention. This is so because naira stability requires drawing from the reserves to defend the currency.

However, if the main source of foreign exchange (oil) plummetted, foreign reserves will dip which may expose naira to depreciate further.

Patricia

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Financial Services

CBN gives banks approval to debit bank accounts of chronic loan defaulters starting August 1

If you owe in Bank A your debt can be set off against your account balance in Bank B.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines aimed at reducing non-performing loans in the banking sector and to monitor chronic loan defaulters. This was disclosed in a circular the apex bank issued to all banks and other financial institutions tagged ‘Operational Guidelines on global standing instruction – Individuals.’

The Guidelines is expected to takeoff from August 1 2020. The GSI guidelines give banks the power the debit loan and accrued interest due from bank accounts of loan defaulters across the Nigerian banking system. The NIBSS will manage the entire operations of the GSI on behalf of banks using customers Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).

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Guidelines on global standing instruction

The circular, which was signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, stated,

The Bankers’ Committee, at its meeting on February 18, 2020, approved the go-live on the Global Standing Instruction, which aimed at facilitating an improved credit repayment culture; reducing non-performing loans in the Nigerian banking system; and watch-listing consistent loan defaulters.”

The banks would review and validate the GSI mandate instrument prior to loan disbursement. They would indemnify the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System and other participating financial institutions from all liabilities that may arise from inappropriate use of the GSI infrastructure,” it added.

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The CBN added that the banks would retain copies of physical or digital version of the executed GSI mandate and provide same when required. According to CBN, the participating financial institutions must execute the GSI mandate agreement with NIBSS.

It stated, “They must also ensure all qualifying accounts were properly maintained and visible to NIBSS on the industry customer accounts database or by any other service created or provisioned for this purpose.”

The guidelines stated that they must “ensure that accounts in NIBSS’ ICAD are correctly tagged with correct Bank Verification Number, and ensure and maintain connectivity to the Nigeria Central Switch.

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How GSI will work

Bank borrowers are expected to sign a GSI mandate in hard copy or digital form. Once this is done all qualifying accounts are linked to his/her BVN.

  • Qualifying accounts include savings accounts, current accounts, domiciliary accounts, domiciliary accounts, investment accounts and joint accounts.
  • These accounts are all expected to be linked to a BVN. If for any reason the borrower has an account that is not linked to their BVN, the account will be watch listed.
  • Once a borrower defaults on an outstanding principal and interest, the bank instructs NIBSS to debit the bank account of the defaulter.

Back story

Last year the central bank revealed plans that it was in conjunction with the NIBSS and the Bankers’ Committee agreeing  to launch an initiative that will allow lenders to recover loans from deposit accounts of loan defaulters from any bank or financial institution in the country. This was a process that started in May 2019 by the bankers committee “declaring war” on non-performing loans.

In August, CBN Deputy Governor Aishah Ahmad, the Deputy Governor of the CBN at the end of the meeting of the Bankers’ Committee held in Abuja revealed that they have now allowed banks to come up with a credit risk protection clause that allows banks to recover their loans.

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“This is going to be a credit risk protection clause. Basically, it will contain the BVN details and TIN of the customers and more or less it will be a commitment on the part of the customers that you agree that should you default on the loan, the total amount of deposits you have across the banking industry would be applied towards repaying the loan.”

What this means

With the latest approval granted by the CBN to banks, loan defaulters who have funds in accounts across any bank in the country should expect debit alert from their respective banks any moment from now.

  • The new approval also means that for interested loan applicants, a new clause has been introduced, which mandates you to give consent to your bank to debit your accounts in any Nigerian bank where you have funds in the event of you defaulting.
  • Although, the right to setoff account balances has existed among banks in the past but hasn’t been operational across all banks.
  • It was learned that once a customer defaults on their loans, relying on BVN, NIBSS will first recover the loans from the defaulter’s balance in any account within the bank. If that is not enough, it will proceed to other accounts deposited in other banks.
  • The guidelines apply to savings accounts, current accounts, domiciliary accounts, domiciliary accounts, investment accounts and joint accounts.
  • Download GSI guidelines.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: US to start manufacturing vaccine for the virus in next 4 weeks 

Trump’s Operation Warp Programme has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines.

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Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for covid-19 vaccine production

A senior United States administration official has said on Monday that, the government’s partnership with some drug makers to actively start the manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID-19 are on track. 

The US government has partnered and given grants ranging from several hundred millions of dollars to over $1 billion to drug makers like Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. 

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It also signed a $450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc in order to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus. 

According to a report from Reuters, the US government official said, ‘’If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer.’’ 

He also said that US is already working with companies to equip manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials. 

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It should be noted that the Trump administration while working towards producing 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021, has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines through its Operation Warp Programme. 

The senior US official also said, ‘’While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster. 

He also pointed out that clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, thereby making it possible to produce hundreds of thousands of doses in a couple of months. 

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There has been reported progress in the search of a cure for COVID-19 as the race amongst drug makers, health institutions and governments to develop a vaccine for the virus hots up. 

Nairametrics had reported that German biotech firm, BioNTech in partnership with New York-based pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, had announced that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to obtain regulatory approval by the end of 2020. 

The European Union on its part has made deals with drug makers, Roche and Merck, to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19. The deal will secure supplies to any of the 27 European Union member countries who will be willing to buy the vaccines. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and its key partners also plan to purchase 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to the most vulnerable people around the world by the end of 2021. 

The WHO and the partners which include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), revealed that about $18.1 billion will be needed to implement this plan.  

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Appointments

AfDB appoints Rabah Arezki as new vice president and chief economist 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the appointment of Dr Rabah Arezki as  Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, with effect from October 1, 2020. 

This was disclosed in a press statement on the bank’s website on July 13, 2020. 

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Dr Rabah Arezkiwho is an Algerian citizen, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017. 

At the World Bank, he led the development of the Bank’s “moonshot approach” for the Middle East and Africa which aims to achieve full internet and digital payment connectivity. He championed the agenda on fair competition, data and transparency to empower and unlock the potential of the region’s youth. 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2006 to 2017. He started his career at the IMF as an Economist and became the Chief of the Commodities and Environment Unit in the Research Department. He provided leadership on IMF’s rapid response to the historical collapse in oil prices that started in 2014. He advised authorities all around the world on risk mitigation policies. 

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Dr Arezki is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an external Research Associate at the Oxford University, UK, a research fellow at the CESifo, a global independent research network. Dr. Arezki is also a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum. He has been a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute, USA. 

He has published extensively both in top academic journals and policy-oriented outlets and is a co-editor and co-author of five books including Shifting Commodity Markets in a Globalized World. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets.  

In his statement after his appointment, Dr Arezki said, The African Development Bank is making excellent progress in accelerating Africa’s development. I am excited with the opportunity to work with President Adesina and the Bank’s leadership and teams to further provide top notch policy, knowledge and capacity building support for African countries.” 

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Dr Arezki holds a Masters in Economics and Statistics from Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE) – France (2003), and a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute – Italy (2006). He is multilingual and fluent in French, English, and Arabic. 

In his own response, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said, I am delighted that Dr. Rabah Arezki is joining the African Development Bank Group following an impactful career at the World Bank and the IMF. Rabah is an outstanding researcher and policy expert with extensive experience in research, policy and reforms.” 

“His leadership will be especially important as the Bank designs and deploys policy-based operations to address COVID-19, advances policy reforms, and supports African countries growth recovery efforts from the pandemic,” Adesina added. 

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