Naira appreciates to N1,382/dollar at Official Market, Presidency warns speculators



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The Nigerian naira continued its upward trajectory against the United States dollar on Thursday, gaining N18 to close at 1,382/$ at the official market. This positive movement in the exchange rate follows a stern warning from the Presidency to currency speculators against undermining the national currency, with the assurance that perpetrators would face consequences.

The naira’s appreciation came after significant gains recorded in both the official and parallel foreign exchange markets the previous day, with a closing rate of N1,400/dollar at the black market on Wednesday.

Data from the FX trading auction revealed a 1.3 percent appreciation of the naira, attributed to increased dollar supply at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), according to information from the FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited. The intraday high reached N1,598 per dollar on Thursday, surpassing the N1,620 recorded the day before. Similarly, the intraday low strengthened to N1,300/$, an improvement from N1,350/$ on the previous day.

Market players supplied a total of $288.47 million, marking a 7.46 percent increase from $268.29 million recorded on Wednesday and a significant rise from $195.13 million at NAFEM.

In recent weeks, the naira has shown resilience, gaining N500 against the dollar at the unofficial market, signaling increased confidence in the FX market as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continues its efforts to stabilize the exchange rate.

Governor Olayemi Cardoso announced on Wednesday that the CBN had successfully resolved all valid foreign exchange backlogs, addressing outstanding claims totaling $7 billion. Hakama Sidi Ali, the acting director of corporate communications at the CBN, confirmed the payment of $1.5 billion to settle obligations to bank customers, effectively clearing the remaining balance of the FX backlog.

The sustained growth of Nigeria’s external reserves over the past month has contributed to easing pressure on the naira/dollar exchange rate. According to CBN data, foreign currency reserves increased by 3.62 percent to $34.37 billion as of March 12, 2024, compared to $33.17 billion at the beginning of February 2024.

Furthermore, Diaspora remittances surged by 433 percent to $1.3 billion in February, up from $300 million in January, according to CBN reports.

In light of these developments, Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, advised currency speculators to sell off their dollar holdings promptly to avoid potential losses, as the naira is expected to appreciate further.

The naira closed trading at 1,410/dollar at the parallel market and N1,492 at the official NAFEM market on Wednesday, marking significant gains driven by reduced demand and CBN interventions aimed at curbing speculation and illegal activities in the foreign exchange market.

Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor
Godwin Okafor is a veteran Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur, and the visionary Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. With an extensive career spanning over 16 years in financial journalism, Godwin possesses a wealth of experience that seamlessly bridges both traditional and digital media landscapes. His journey in journalism commenced at Business Day, Nigeria, where he laid the foundation for his prolific career. In 2010, Godwin took a bold step by founding Naija247news Media, a platform that has since become a prominent player in delivering timely and accurate news. Educationally, Godwin Okafor holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the prestigious Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. His commitment to continuous learning led him to the Lagos Business School, where he further honed his skills. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania, having successfully completed the Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists. Throughout his illustrious career, Godwin has earned acclaim by winning numerous journalism awards, a testament to his dedication to excellence in reporting. Beyond his role as a Financial Journalist, Godwin Okafor wears the hat of the Chairman at Emmerich Resources Limited, the publishing entity behind Naija247news. His visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the media landscape and establishing Naija247news as a trusted source of information. Godwin Okafor's multifaceted expertise, commitment to journalistic integrity, and leadership in the realm of business journalism underscore his influential presence in both the media and entrepreneurial spheres.

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