BusinessNaira Closes At N352/$ On Speculation, Scarcity

Naira Closes At N352/$ On Speculation, Scarcity


SAN FRANCISCO, February 16, (THEWILL) – The naira on Tuesday further depreciated in value to N352/$ at the parallel market following continued scarcity of the greenback.
Also, there has been speculation by the public that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) might increase the 41 items restricted from accessing forex to include seeking health and education abroad, which may further slow the naira.

Consequently, the naira on Tuesday weakened against the dollar by N5 or 1.45 percent each at the autonomous and parallel markets.

After trading, it closed at N352/$ as against N347/$ on Monday at the parallel market. It also closed at N350/$ compared with N345/$ traded at the autonomous market, THEWILL checks have indicated.

The local currency also dropped slightly against the greenback by N0.13k or 0.07 percent to close at N197.60k/$ on Tuesday from N197.47k/$ on Monday at the interbank foreign exchange market, data from FMDQ revealed.

However, the CBN’s clearing rate at the interbank market remained unchanged at N197/$.

Aminu Gwadabe, acting president, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), had noted that individuals who sell to BDCs were no longer willing as demand was piling up.

Last month, the central bank banned dollar sales to retail bureau de change, sending the naira to record lows on the black market, and later stopped daily sales to the interbank market, in an effort to conserve reserves, now at their lowest in more than 11 years.

Some retail currency operators have few dollars in their vault and depend on other members to fill orders when they have excess demand, fueling the weakness in the currency, traders told Reuters.

Nigeria earns around 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from crude oil exports, but mismanagement of its refineries means it must also import expensive refined fuel, eating deep into its reserves. Reserves have fallen to $27.83 billion as of February 12.

Story by David Oputah

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