A few calls to black market operators in Ikoyi confirm the dollar was trading at between N192 to N193. The dollar had during the week averaged about N188 before spiking past N190 on Friday and Saturday (20th December). This off course is against the backdrop of the dollar being expected to ease as most Nigerians return home from abroad for the Xmas holidays. The reason for this is perhaps due to a set new CBN circulars which was issued on Wednesday and Thursday restricting dollar deposits.
The first rule instructs authorized forex dealers to maintain a zero over night balance at the close of trading everyday. As such banks and BDC’s must sell all the dollars that they bought at the interbank market. The second rule authorizes customers who buy forex at the interbank to utilize it within 48 hours of purchase or risk having to mandatorily sell it back to the CBN at the CBN rate.
These rules jolted the market as many traders didn’t know what to do and scrambled to understand the implication of the new guidelines. Some refused to even bother buying forex at the interbank due to this, thus creating more scarcity. In fact news report suggest there was very little trading at the official interbank market since the dual announcements.
My contacts at the black market even believe the Naira will trade for as high as N195 if not more come January as the scramble for forex will even be more. They also informed us that the pounds is now going for N294 whilst the Euro goes for N236