01 October 2016, Lagos – Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $24.59bn by September 28, down 3.37 per cent from the previous month, the latest Central Bank of Nigeria data showed on Friday, as the bank stepped up its intervention to prop up the ailing naira currency.
The country’s reserves stood at $25.45bn last month, according to Reuters. The reserves had declined 19 per cent from a year ago.
The CBN has been selling the dollar to support the currency, but the naira hit a fresh all-time low of 490 per dollar on the black market on Friday.
The country’s external reserves had depleted to $24.8bn in September 21 this year.
The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed then.
Specifically, the reserves fell from $25.8bn on August 16 to $24.8bn on September 16. It decreased by $600m from $25.4bn recorded on August 31 to $24.8bn on September 16.
The spate of decline in the external reserves follows the CBN’s almost daily interventions at the interbank/official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as chronic dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.
In its efforts to defend the naira and prevent it from falling further at the official interbank market, the central bank has been selling dollars there more frequently.
The naira had fallen to an all-time low of 365.25 to the dollar at the interbank market on August 18 before making a gradual recovery.