The dollar closed today at the interbank at N180.10 dropping 2.96% from previous day close. It is still about N8 higher than CBN’s preferred higher band of N173 and N13 more than the mid band of N168. However, the dollar sold today at between N193 and N194 across black market operators we interviewed in some parts of Lagos. The dollar did sell for as high as N195 this week before gaining N2 today . This is quite unusual as the Naira typically strengthens against the dollar during the yuletide season.
The difference between the Interbank and Black market rate is now a whopping N14. Some black market operators interviewed blame the brace of CBN guidelines issued through circulars last week as reason for the depreciation. They believe, this has made the green back scarce thus driving up demand. The CBN on the other hand will not budge as the CBN Governor made it clear that he was not going to defend the naira for speculators who are thought to be the ones benefit from this arbitrage at the black market. The belief is that, If the CBN continues they defend the naira because of speculators, they may end up depleting the forex reserves faster than is required. The CBN by this move is now only willing to sell dollars to businesses and individuals who are willing to buy through the official channels such. Mr Emefiele believes the current value of the naira does not represent its true value as it speculatively induced.