ABUJA, JANUARY 11, 2017 – The country’ s external reserves rose to $ 26.55 bn on January 9 , from $ 26.2 bn on January 6 , the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Tuesday.
The foreign exchange reserves had hit $ 26 bn on January 3,2017, up from $ 25.8bn on December 30,2017, the CBN statistics revealed .
The reserves ended last year with $ 25.84 bn balance on December 30,2016 .
The foreign exchange reserves have been rising in recent weeks following the gradual increase in oil price and production output.
Within the space of about six and half weeks , the reserves have appreciated by $2bn. It went up from $ 24.5 bn on November 24,2016 to $ 26.5 bn on January 9,2017.
The foreign exchange reserves had risen to over four- month high of $ 25.7 bn on December 28, up from $ 25.4 bn on December 23 .
In less than one week, the reserves rose by almost $ 300m from $ 25.084 bn on December 16,2016 to $ 25.361 on December 22.
However , currency and economic experts are not sure if the tiny upticks in the external reserves ’ level are sustainable amid a falling naira and acute shortage of dollar in the foreign exchange markets and the economy .
Despite the staggering crash in the value of the naira against the United States dollar and other major foreign currencies last year, the CBN spent $ 4 bn from the nation’ s external reserves to defend the local currency in 12 months.
On December 22,2015 , the reserves stood $ 29.341 bn. On December 22,2016 , the foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 25.361 bn. This means that the external reserves were depleted by $ 4 bn in 12 months.
The drop is estimated at 14 per cent. On December 31,2015 the last day of the year , the external reserves stood at $ 29.069 bn, compared to $ 25.84 bn recorded on December 30 , 2016.
The controversial defence of the naira by the CBN has come under severe criticism by economists , who believe that the forces of demand and supply should be allowed to determine the exchange rate of the naira , at least to a considerable level.
A currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria , Mr . Kunle Ezun , said a fall in oil prices would add pressure on external reserves and fuel more pressure on the naira.
However,an analyst at EY, Mr . Bisi Sanda , said there were indications that oil price and output would rise further this year.
The country’ s reserves had recorded $ 23.89bn low on October 19 . The reserves dropped by 15 . 9 per cent between 2015 and 2016 .