Nigeria currently ranks 44th position globally in the size of its external reserves, which has been put at US$34.68 billion as at March 8, 2012.
Data available to LEADERSHIP indicates that China, with its US$3.18 trillion, has the highest foreign exchange reserves.
China alone currently accounts for more than 30 per cent of global foreign reserves, while Asia accounts for two-thirds of global reserves.
In Africa, Algeria is highest, with an external reserves position of US$185.9 billion as at December 2011. Nigeria ranks fourth behind Libya and South Africa, which has US$71.99 billion and US$54.45 billion in that order to occupy the 2nd and third positions in Africa and 27th and 32nd positions globally.
Only Algeria’s foreign reserves made it into the top 20 countries globally, ranking 12th, ahead of the United States of America with US$149.5 billion (18th position); France, US$172.2 billion (16th); and United Kingdom with US$123.58 billion (19th position).
On the global scale, coming behind China is Japan which has external reserves of US$1.29 trillion and Saudi Arabia with US$556.0 billion.
Other countries within the top 20 category include Russia US$498 billion (fourth), Taiwan US$385 billion (fifth), Brazil US$357 billion (6th), Switzerland US$340 billion (7th), South Korea, US$311 billion (8th), India US$296 billion (9th), Hong Kong, US$285 (10th) and Germany US$257 billion (11th).
Others include Singapore US$245 billion (12th), Thailand US$176 billion (14th), Italy US$173 billion (15th), Mexico US$149.2 billion (17th), Malaysia, US$134 billion (19th) and Indonesia US$112 billion (20th).
Meanwhile, data released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday showed that Nigeria's foreign exchange reserves fell from $35.03 billion as at February 13, 2012, to US$34.68 billion as at March 8, 2012.
The decline in the reserves has been attributed by analysts, to withdrawals by the federal government to cover up for the revenue shortfall in budgetary distributions to the three tiers of government.
Nigeria’s revenue from oil exports dropped in January due to production outages, leading to a withdrawal from the excess crude account to keep distributions steady when crude oil revenues fall.
In the corresponding period of last year, the country’s reserve was $33.24 billion.