Punchng – Forex reserves dip, FG issues N32bn debt

Stanley Opara with agency report

The country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $30.25bn by June 28, down by 0.36 per cent from a month ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria data showed on Friday.

The reserves showed a 14.8 per cent rise from a year ago, when they stood at $26.34bn, Reuters reported. The country’s dollar reserves have risen slightly this year thanks to the rise in global oil prices

Thus, the country has added $4.2bn to its reserves since the beginning of the year. Foreign reserves stood at $26.09bn at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, the CBN sold N31.94bn ($104.76m) in Treasury bills on Friday in a bid to tighten liquidity in the money market, while the overnight lending rate fell.

Traders said the bank sold N31.52bn of 349-day Treasury bills at 18.59 per cent and N440m of 160-day Treasury bills at 17.98 per cent at an auction on Friday.

Cost of borrowing among commercial lenders, however, dropped to around five per cent on the interbank market from around 8.5 per cent last week.

Traders said cash balance in commercial lenders’ accounts with the central bank stood at N320.35bn on Friday, boosted by the repayment of around N287.39bn in matured Treasury bills on Thursday.

“Interbank rate is at low level because the central bank sold fewer dollars this week (on the currency market),” one currency trader said.

Traders expect rates to remain flat next week unless the central bank decides to take advantage of the low rates to mop-up excess liquidity from the banking system.

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