The amount of highly liquid assets otherwise known as “Quasi Money” rose to N26 trillion ($61.9 billion) at the end of the first quarter of 2022, the highest on record.
This is according to the information contained in the Money and Credit statistics of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The figure was N25.8 trillion and N25.7 trillion for February and January respectively and represents the 10th consecutive month it has risen.
Quasi money is a term for highly liquid assets that can easily be converted into cash quickly with minimal losses. This includes certificates of deposits, treasury bills, savings accounts, money market securities, foreign currencies, etc.
What this means
Economists often use quasi money to gauge the investment appetite of investors in the country, especially in times of high risk and uncertainty.
- The data suggest investors are now placing a major part of the growth in money supply in liquid assets such as money market securities.
- The data also highlights how attractive money market-related investments have been for investors in a period of high inflation and uncertainty.
- Investors are likely stashing money away in short-term instruments rather than lock them in long-term investments that have longer maturities. Liquid assets also attract low risk thus explaining the increasing appetite for them.
- Quasi money in Nigeria crossed N20 trillion for the first time in the middle of Covid-19 lockdowns in April 2020 and has remained high since then.
Total Money Supply
The value of the total money supply in the country also increased to an all-time high of N45.6 trillion in March 2022 largely driven by an increase in domestic assets.
- The total money supply in a country includes Quasi money, total demand deposits, currency outside banks, and CBN bills.
- According to the CBN, demand deposits topped N16.8 trillion as of March this year as investors kept more of their increased wealth with banks in current accounts. Currency outside banks was N2.7 trillion.
- Total money supply can also be dividend into net foreign assets and net domestic assets both representing how much money is held between foreign and local investments respectively.
- As of March, a total of N38 trillion was held in net domestic assets representing an increase from N35 trillion reported at the end of 2021.
- Bet foreign assets however decreased from N8.8 trillion at the end of 2021 to N7.5 trillion at the end of March 2022.
- This suggests most of the money-related investments in Nigeria were held in local assets and less on foreign assets.
- To put this into context, back in 2019 and at the height of the CBN’s high-yielding OMO bills (which were aimed at foreign investor dollars), Net Foreign assets often topped Net domestic assets. For example, at its height in May of 2019, there was N19.1 trillion in foreign assets compared to N15.7 trillion in net domestic assets.