January 29, 2020

Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 02)

Recently, oil price surpassed US$70 per barrel due to the heightened threat to energy facilities in the Middle East. As the tension between the United States and Iran increases with the US threatening to attack Iran’s oil installations, there has been a significant rise in oil prices from US$64 to US$72 between December 2019 and January 20203. Given that Nigeria’s oil price benchmark for the 2020 budget is US$57 per barrel, there are likely to be significant gains into the Excess Crude Account in the first quarter. Although the government will benefit from the rise in oil prices in the form of increased oil revenue and foreign exchange reserves, the cost of petrol subsidy will also increase. In order to take advantage of the price increase, the government should ramp up local production and begin the process of fuel subsidy removal.   

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Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 1)

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.