Nigeria, four others most hit by falling oil prices – OPEC Report

*Nigeria offshore oil

*Nigeria offshore oil

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

18 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Five oil exporting countries, including Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, and Russia are mostly affected by falling currency value, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has said.

OPEC, in a paper detailing the impacts of recession on the global oil market, said the countries were picked among several others as having showing serious effects of fall in currency value.

The body noted that depreciation in the currency value is common in the in oil exporting countries, adding that whether it is the Venezuelan bolívar, or the Russian rouble, low oil prices are wreaking havoc in oil exporting economies and on their national currencies.

OPEC said, “In most cases, the scenario is similar: over the past decade, oil exporting countries used excessive revenues from oil to expand public services, or simply pursue populist policy in order to buy political stability. Once oil prices started to fall, the budgets did not shrink accordingly, which created a wide gap between the oil revenues and swelling fiscal demands.’’

According to OPEC, governments were forced to devalue their national currencies in order to stem the rapid outflow of foreign reserves.

“An unwanted consequence is almost always the rise in inflation and household prices, along with a decline in living standards and stalled economic growth,’’ it added.
OPEC gave a bit by bit accounts of impacts of falling curency value on the five countries thus.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, was hard hit by the falling oil prices. The national currency, the naira, dropped against the dollar by more than 50 per cent over the past year.

On January 20, the Federal Government requested $3.5 billion loan from the International Monet6ary Fund(IMF) and the African development Bank to plug its $15billion budget gap. The country’s oil revenues are expected to fall by 70 per cent in 2016, while the hard currency reserves almost halved from $50billion to $28billion and the state’s emergncy fund went from $2 billion in 2009 to $2.3billion currently.

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