August 3, 2015
Volume 3 July 2015
The Naira/Dollar exchange rate remained unchanged at ?199/$ in the official market but depreciated from ?263/$ to $267 at the Bureau De Change (BDC) market segment this week. As the naira depreciates, the CBN forex restriction measures continue to widen the gap between the official rate and BDC, which has led to increased calls for naira devaluation. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Business owners are among the major advocates for a relaxation of the forex restrictions set by the CBN, in order to enhance the level of economic activities.
Nigerias external reserves improved in 2017. The reserve stood at approximately $39 billion as at the end of December 2017, up by about 50 percent from the $26 billion at the beginning of the year 20172. The surge in reserve was particularly boosted by increased capital importation, and crude revenue earnings prompted by a relatively higher crude oil price and improved domestic production. Given that the recent uptick in external reserves is still largely associated with improved crude oil price, efforts should be geared towards conserving current reserve gain so as to cushion future external shock. In the medium term, there is need to diversify export earning away from oil so as to mitigate the effects of volatility in crude oil prices.
Latest figures of FDI flows to Nigeria show a decline of 27 per cent from $4.7 billion in 2014 to $3.4 billion in 20152, representing its lowest value since 2005. This decline is largely attributed to the oil price slump, which has generally increased uncertainty in the economy, with adverse effects on investors confidence. The fall in FDI flows was witnessed in most resource based economies in Africa, as FDI flows to the continent fell by 31 percent in 2015. The forex controls in place in Nigeria has also exacerbated the uncertainty in economy, and created obstacles for both domestic and foreign investors. Thus a review of the forex restrictions could send positive signals to investors.
In the third quarter of 2017, NBS report show that Nigeria recorded a marginal quarter-overquarter and significant Year-on-Year increases in the value (in Naira terms) of merchandise (goods) foreign trade. At N5.92 trillion, total merchandise trade increased 3.9 percent over the preceding quarter and 23.9 percent over the corresponding quarter in 2016. Specifically, with exports rising QOQ by 15.2 percent to N3.57 trillion and imports shrinking by 9.4 percent to N2.35 trillion, trade balance amounted to a surplus of N1.22 trillion in 2017Q3- a substantial 142 percentage increase (QOQ) in trade surplus value.