February 2, 2011 / 2:07 PM / 7 years ago

Nigerian fx reserves $33.12 bln by end-January

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves slipped slightly to $33.12 billion naira by the end of January from $33.53 billion two weeks earlier and remain down more than a quarter from a year ago, the central bank said on Wednesday.

<p>One Euro coins are pictured after being minted at the Austrian national mint in Vienna April 8, 2009. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger</p>

The foreign reserves of Africa’s top oil and gas producer have fallen over the past 12 months despite rising oil prices and production, raising concerns about government spending in the run-up to April elections.

They are now 27 percent below year-ago levels.

The government has said the decline is partly due to spending to maintain a stable naira currency in the face of higher dollar demand, as well as spending on the power sector and seed capital for a planned sovereign wealth fund.

Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi told Reuters last month monetary tightening, higher money market yields, a recovering banking sector and higher oil prices and production should help stop the reserve depletion.

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