Foreign reserves hit $28b, CBN warns banks over failed settlements
• ‘$1. 54b capital imported into Nigeria in 2016 Q4’
Nigeria’s foreign reserves have grown to $28.12 billion, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for January 2017. The reserves fell to $23.95 billion in October 2016, stoking fears among foreign investors on the country’s ability to settle dollar-denominated obligations in the midst of falling crude oil prices.
But with the return of stability in crude oil price since November 2016, CBN has kept its intervention volume steady, choosing to save about $4.2 billion, which has raised the reserves’ profile and improved outlook.
In another development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday, warned that payment of auction must be given priority and when it fails, must be backed up immediately by collateral as it will automatically become Intra-day Liquidity Facility.
The circular signed by the Director of Financial Markets Department, Dr. Alvan Ikoku, said that the collateral, which usually is certificate of previous securities held will be converted to Standing Lending Facility (SLF) by the close of business if not settled and charged at prevailing rate (16 per cent), plus five more per cent.
Still, if the SLF is not repurchased by the next business day, the bank will now be barred from the CBN’s Discount Window until the obligation is settled in accordance with the extant law.
The apex bank is raising its supervisory level of the banks, just as it also queried some banks that turned in inaccurate data for foreign exchange utilisation.
The Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, explained that the decisions were guided by CBN’s desire to strengthen financial system’s operations.
After a speculative attack on the naira on Monday, exchange rate at the parallel market has appreciated to N495 per dollar from the all-time low of N500 per dollar.
At the interbank market, the rate remained stable at N305.25 per dollar and supported by the daily dollar auction intervention of $1.5 million by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday said that the total value of capital imported into the country in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2016 is $1.5488 billion.
The amount represents a decrease of 15 per cent when compared to import of the third quarter and a decrease in value by 0.52 per cent relative to the fourth quarter of 2015.