CBN sells $25 mln for investment, exports at new FX window

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  • Naira quoted at 18% weaker at Investors’ FX windown
  • New CBN FX Window

ABUJA, April 25  – Nigeria’s central bank sold $25 million on Tuesday in its first day of offering foreign exchange to investors and exporters, it said in a statement.

The central bank also sold $96.37 million in currency forwards at an auction, it said, part of its effort to narrow the spread between official and black market exchange rates and improve foreign exchange liquidity.

The central bank has been intervening in the official market to try to narrow the spread between the official and unofficial markets and has sold about $4 billion since February, analysts say, a pace they doubt it can sustain.

Naira quoted at 18% weaker at Investors’ FX windown

Meanwhile the naira was quoted 18.3 percent weaker for portfolio investors on Tuesday compared with the interbank rate, a day after the central bank said it would allow investors to trade the currency at market determined rates.

The naira was quoted at 374.25 per dollar on the new foreign exchange trading window introduced by the central bank on Monday for investors, data on market regulator FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange showed.

The naira was quoted at 305.95 to the dollar on the spot interbank market and 385 on the black market.

New CBN FX Window

Earlier in the wee, thw central bank of Nigeria vowed to allow investors to engage in foreign exchange trading at rates the buyers and sellers set, a move it hopes will increase the amount of dollars available in Africa’s biggest economy.

People or businesses who need dollars to repay loans, pay dividends, repatriate capital or settle trade-related obligations will be eligible for the new trading system, according to central bank circular seen by Reuters on Monday.

Trading will take place by phone, at rates set by willing sellers and willing buyers. The central bank will not provide the funds, but it will step in to buy or sell to keep the market orderly.

Dollars have been in short supply in Nigeria since the price of crude oil, the country’s main source of hard currency, plunged three years ago.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria, in a continuing effort to deepen the foreign exchange market and accommodate all FX obligations, hereby announces a special window for investors, exporters,” the bank said in the circular.

The purpose of this window is to boost liquidity in the FX market and ensure timely execution and settlement for eligible transactions.”

Nigeria has at least five exchange rates: the official rate, the black market, a rate for Muslim pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia, a retail rate set by licensed exchange bureaus and a rate for foreign travel and school fees.

The central bank last year lifted a temporary peg on the currency, but to protect its precariously low foreign reserves it introduced a convoluted exchange rate system that sees different buyers paying various rates for dollars.

The policy has masked pressures on the naira and stunted hard currency inflows as investors struggle to price naira assets, according to analysts.

The bank has been using the forward market to meet demand for dollars, making only tiny volumes available on the spot market and using those sales to influence the naira’s official value.

It said FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange will poll buying and selling rates to help with price discovery.

 

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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