Naira rallies, foreign reserves gained $1.04b in Q1

The naira regained one-fifth of its value in the past five weeks as increased foreign exchange inflows saw Nigeria’s forex reserves rising by $1.04 billion in the first quarter of this year.

The reserves, which had ended 2023 at $32.912 billion, closed at the weekend at $33.952 billion, an increase of $1.038 billion.

The build-up of the reserves came within the same period the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) completed payment of the forex backlog of $7 billion.

The naira rose by about 22 per cent in March to close at N1, 303.842 per dollar as against N1, 544.08 per dollar recorded at the end of the previous month. At the parallel market, the naira rose by about 20 per cent to close the month at N1,300 per dollar.

Analysts agreed that the forex reserves accretion and naira gain may continue in the period ahead as inflows remain upbeat.

Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), Cordros Capital, Afrinvest Securities and Arthur Steven Asset Management, said they expected the naira to remain stable in the meantime, given the monetary stance of the CBN.

Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said the current monetary stance suggests further stability in naira and increased investors’ confidence in the economy.

“Essentially, the naira’s stability will continue amid higher interest rates,” Rewane said at the weekend.

He added that while it might still take some time for exchange rate gains to translate to reduced commodity prices in the open markets, “the future holds bright promises.”



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