Sierra Leone: The Monthly Economic Review (MER) published by the Research Department, of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) has shown that the gross foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank increased marginally by 0.30 percent.
This increase ($2.01mn) was up to US$666.55mn in February 2021 from US$664.54 in January 2021, due to increased inflows which outweighed the number of outflows during the review month.
Highlighting substantial outflow, the Bank said that debt service payments to international donor partners amounted to US$2.4mn of which; World Bank (US$1.27mn), other multilateral and bilateral creditors (US$0.56mn), OPEC/OFID (US$0.21mn) and AfDB (US$0.36mn).
Significant outflows included amount utilized in respect of interbank market operations (US$21.25mn), drawdown on BSL Special Credit Facility to the private sector (US$0.46mn), cost for printing of currency (US$2.95mn) and subscription to international organizations (US$1.27mn). Other outflows were in respect of other government outlays (US$3.88mn) and BSL payments (US$1.23mn).
According to the February 2021 MER, inflows recorded were US$33.94mn, while outflows amounted to US$33.43mn, resulting to a net inflow of US$0.51. Major inflows comprised receipts from bauxite export (US$0.33mn), Koidu holding mining co. (US$0.69mn), timber (US$3.69mn), rutile (US$1.25mn), diamond exporter’s income tax (US$0.36mn) and fishing royalty and license fees (US$0.14mn).
Other inflows included World Bank budgetary support (US$26.47mn), other government receipts (US$0.70mn) and interest earned by BSL from investments abroad (US$0.18mn).
On the Exchange Rate Developments, in February 2021, the review explained that developments in the foreign exchange market showed that the average exchange rate of the Leone to the US dollar was mixed on both the buying and selling fronts.
“On the buying front, the Leone depreciated in the commercial banks and official markets, by 0.23 percent and 0.20 percent averaging Le10,252.26/US$1 and Le10,105.73/US$1, respectively. The bureau market on the other hand appreciated by 0.52 percent averaging Le10, 106.26/US$1. Meanwhile, the parallel market remained unchanged, averaging Le10,300.00/US$1.
“On the selling front, the Leone depreciated in the commercial, official and parallel markets by 0.41 percent, 0.20 percent and 0.15 percent averaging Le10,378.15/US$1, Le10,309.88/US$1 and Le10,415.79/US$1, respectively. On the contrary, the bureau market rate appreciated by 0.72 percent, averaging Le10, 386.89/US$1.
The average premium between the official and parallel rates narrowed by 7.49 percent to Le150.09/US$1 in February 2021 from Le162.24/US$1 in January 2021 (See figure 7).
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