• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigerians consume $4.1bn FX in 3 months

Dollar crashes to N1,450 at parallel market as speculators lose

Nigerians consumed more foreign exchange (FX) in the three months through December 2023 compared to the preceding quarter, according to the latest Quarterly Statistical Bulletin from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The report revealed a quarterly increase of 21 percent in the total value of foreign exchange utilised within the Nigerian economy to $4.1 billion.

Despite the quarterly increase, the figure represents a substantial year-on-year (y/y) decline of 46 percent and marks the second lowest recorded over the past eight quarters, FBNQuest said in a report on Thursday.

The quarterly growth was largely driven by a notable rise in FX usage for invisible imports, which saw a 55 percent q/q increase to USD 1.5 billion. Meanwhile, merchandise imports accounted for 64 percent of total FX utilisation, growing by 21 percent q/q to USD 2.6 billion.

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In the realm of goods imports, the industrial sector emerged as the largest consumer of FX, utilising $1.3 billion, or 51 percent of the total FX for goods. However, this represents a 4 percent q/q decline. Food product imports increased by 8 percent q/q, amounting to USD 493 million and accounting for 19 percent of the total. Manufactured products followed, with imports amounting to USD 340 million, representing 13 percent of the total FX used for goods.

Within the invisibles segment, financial services dominated, accounting for nearly $1.5 billion, which is a 41 percent q/q increase and represents approximately 72 percent of the total FX used by invisibles. Business services also saw a significant rise, increasing by almost 250 percent q/q to $ 225 million.

Read also: CBN sells most dollars in one month as liquidity fades

The CBN’s data indicate that, excluding the uptick in Q4 2023, the overall trend of FX utilisation has been declining since Q4 2022. This trend reflects the prevailing FX liquidity challenges during that period.

“Looking ahead, the CBN anticipates higher FX utilisation figures in the coming quarters. This expectation is based on the relative improvement in FX access for firms and other users, following the implementation of reforms aimed at enhancing market liquidity,” analysts at FBNQuest said.

As Nigeria continues to navigate its fx landscape, the reforms introduced by the CBN are expected to play a critical role in stabilising and potentially increasing FX utilisation, thereby supporting various sectors of the economy.