President Muhammadu Buhari (left), shortly after his return in a discussion with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

LAGOS (Reuters) – The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has reacted positively to the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from an extended medical leave in Britain as equities hit a one month high shortly after the stock market opened for trade on Friday.

Stocks rose 1.29 percent at 0936 GMT to levels last seen in February, according to Thomson Reuters data. Stocks, which are down 6.3 percent on the year to date, had climbed to a one week high in its previous session on Thursday.

Buhari returned home on Friday after nearly two months of medical leave in Britain during which his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, stamped his authority on economic policy in Africa’s top oil producer.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that the country’s foreign exchange reserves rose above $30 billion on Friday to its highest level since October 2015, central bank data showed on Friday.

Nigeria’s dollar reserves have increased by 15.02 percent since the start of the year, data showed, but were still far off their peak of $64 billion hit in August 2008.

The central bank did not provide any reason for the rise in its reserves, which coincides with a recent rise in crude prices.


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