The Naira today traded a about N260 to the dollars as scarcity of the greenback continues to hit the parallel market. The Naira closed last week at a record high of N253 to $1 only to hit a new low by the end of the week.
December is usually a month where the naira gains against the dollar as holiday makers from abroad start trooping in. The drop is believed to be mostly instigated by speculators who are anticipating a devaluation that could see the naira trade higher than the official interbank rate of N199.
Ironically, a devaluation is expected to bridge the gap between the parallel and black market when it finally happens. Rather it appears speculators are anticipating it will further widen it. It is also unclear if the CBN will be loosening its grip on the tight controls it had introduced to limit dollar transactions on the official front.
The CBN also issued a new set of guidelines which includes a restriction that allows bureaux de change agents to have only one branch operations and gave those operating with branches 90 days to close them.