Local units of three oil companies sold dollars, on Wednesday, helping boost liquidity support for the naira and steadying the naira on the interbank forex market, a day after central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged.
The naira closed at 199.10 to the dollar, the same level it has closed over the last one week.
“Dollar sales by some oil companies helped boost liquidity support for the naira and eased pressure on central bank intervention fund,” one dealer said.
The local unit of Chevron sold $100.6 million to some lenders, Total sold $53 million and Brass LNG sold $600,000, boosting dollar liquidity in the market.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in the recent past intervened to steady the naira after it suffered as falling global oil prices hurt Nigeria’s economy, causing foreign investment to dwindle.
Dealers said the effect of the dollar flows could not reflect in the value of the naira because of tight control on exchange rate by the central bank.
The central bank scrapped dollar auctions last month and directed lenders to channel all transactions through the interbank where banks are only able to purchase foreign exchange if they have a prior order from a corporate customer.
Lenders are also restricted to buy dollar from oil companies at a spread of two naira above the 197-198 central bank’s pegged rate.
The central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 13 percent as expected on Tuesday and noted its satisfaction with its attempts to stabilise the naira.