Naira falls to N460/$1 as CBN intervention fails to contain speculation

The naira depreciated at the parallel market despite the third round of forex allocation to BDCs.

Forex turnover increased by a record of 1540.6% as Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window remained stable to close at N386/$1 during intraday trading on Monday, September 14, 2020. In sharp contrast, the naira depreciated to close at N460/$1 at the parallel market despite the third round of forex allocation to BDCs on Monday.

Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N460/$1 on Monday, according to information from Abokifx, a prominent FX tracking website. This represents a N5 drop when compared with the N455/$1 that it exchanged on Friday, September 11.

Currency Developments

  • The local currency has strengthened by about 7.8% within the last one week at the black market, as the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers in order to try to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.
  • The CBN has sold over $150 million to BDCs since the resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020. This was expected to inject more liquidity to the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
  • However, the exchange rate against the dollar has failed to sustain the initial gains made after the CBN announced plans to provide liquidity.
  • BDC operators have urged the apex bank to reconsider the margin allowed for the currency traders as it was inadequate to meet their expenses.
  • We also noted that forex traders monitored during the previous week appear to hoard forex as they anticipated further depreciation in the market.
  • There has been a sharp drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, although demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.

NAFEX: The Naira remained stable against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Monday, closing at N386/$1.

  • This was exactly the same rate that it exchanged for on Friday, September 11.
  • The opening indicative rate was N386.38 to a dollar on Monday. This represents a 25 kobo drop when compared to the N386.13 to a dollar that was recorded on Friday.
  • The N395.84 to a dollar is the highest rate during intraday trading before closing at the rate of N386/$1. It also sold for as low as N380/$1 during intraday trading.

Forex Turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window increased by a record 1540.6% increase on Monday, September 14, 2020. This record increase and turnover represent a clear departure from the low forex supply that the market had been experiencing.

  • Forex turnover increased sharply from $20.76 million on Friday, September 11, 2020, to $340.58 million on Monday, September 14, 2020.
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is still battling to clear the huge backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate back their funds.
  • The sudden sharp increase in forex supply after yesterday’s drop reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
  • The average daily forex sale for last week was about $58.52 million which represents a significant improvement from the $23.19 million that was recorded the previous week.
  • Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of August was about $857 million compared to $937 million in July.
  • In a bid to further reduce the demand for the scarce foreign exchange and reduce the pressure on the country’s external reserve, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the CBN to stop forex allocation for fertilizer and food imports.

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