Naira hits new low, now N241 for $1

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naira-exchangeLAGOS, (Reuters) – The naira has hit a new low against the dollar on the black market. It now sell for N241 to a dollar on Monday, as importers banned from accessing hard currency at the official interbank market by the central bank three weeks ago scramble for hard currency in the unofficial market, a Nigerian currency trader said.

Low oil prices have further battered the currency and government finances.

Similarly, Nigerian stocks fell to a more than three-month low and the naira hit another record low on the parallel market on Monday, as central bank restrictions fed unofficial trade in dollars, traders said.

The local bourse, which has the second-biggest weighting after Kuwait on the MSCI frontier market index, dropped for the ninth consecutive day as investors shed banking, consumer and oil shares.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest stock index closed down 0.32 percent on Monday, 11.5 percent lower than its 2015 peak, hit on April 2 having soared 12.2 percent in the two sessions after Muhammadu Buhari won a closely-fought presidential election.

The index of Nigeria’s top 10 consumer goods stocks declined 1.15 percent on Monday, weighing on the all-share index. The top decliners were Flour Mills , Honeywell Flour Mills and Union Bank , all down more than 4.9 percent each.

The central bank has said it would not be focusing on the thinly-traded parallel market when determining the exchange rate, adding that people preferred to use the unofficial market for undocumented transactions.

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