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Nairametrics| The reign of Godwin Emefiele as CBN Governor will perhaps go down in history as one of the most tumultuous and controversial ever. He has presided over a period where Nigeria has faced its worst economic crisis ever and has faced the wrath of most Nigerian and foreign investors for his handling of the forex crisis.

By February, 2017 the exchange rate had hit an all time high of N520 as calls grew for a change of strategy and possibly change of personnel at the top of the apex bank. One month later, the exchange rate will now gain as over 35% closing below N400 for the first time since August 2016.

Nairametrics has provided coverage of the FX rate like no other business news website and we have put together a timeline of events that may have led to the biggest rally the naira has seen at the black market on record.

[read more=”Read Timeline” less=”Exit Timeline”] 

Monday April 10th 2017

The CBN issues a press release on Monday confirming that on Friday 7th April 2017 it auctioned the sum of US$418 million at the retail-SMIS at a marginal rate of N310/$ (The airlines, agriculture, petroleum and raw materials/machinery sub sectors benefited from the auction). It also revealed that this was in addition to the sum of US$350 million sold as wholesale auction, BTA/PTA, and school fees during the week.

The Central Bank revealed that it will auction $100 million to be settled between one week and 30 days, as against sixty-day contracts it had written previously.

Exchange rate weakens to N405/$1 in the parallel market.

Standard chartered

Friday April 7th 2017

Standard chartered

Exchange rate hits the N400 mark for the first time since the 23rd of March 2017.

Thursday April 6th 2017


The Central Bank offered $100 million in currency forwards to be settled within 60 days. On Thursday, the central bank also offered an additional $10,000 to bureaux de change, bringing the total offered this week to each of them to $30,000. Exchange rate weakened to N397/$1 at the black market.

Wednesday April 5th 2017

The president of the association of bureau de change operators, Aminu Gwadabe, revealed that the central bank had offered to sell an additional $10,000 to its members in a bid to provide support for the naira. This takes their total purchase to $20,000 per week.

Also, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) country head, Gene Leon, said 


“We do find there to be some over-valuation at this point of the naira, of the official currency, somewhere to the tune of 10 to 20 percent,”, IMF mission chief for Nigeria, said in a telephone media briefing.

In the report, the IMF urged Nigeria to introduce immediate changes to its exchange rate policy – characterised by central bank curbs, multiple exchange rates and an artificially high naira valuation – or risk a disorderly exchange rate depreciation.

Tuesday April 4th 2017

The CBN responded to the market and announced that it will offer dollar forwards to be delivered within two months to offset a backlog of matured foreign exchange obligations to manufacturers, airlines, fuel importers and agriculture businesses.

Monday April 3rd, 2017

The CBN announces that it offered $150 million in currency forwards, as it sold dollars to try to narrow the spread between the naira’s official and black market exchange rates.

Earlier, currency traders said the forwards had been offered to be settled within 60 days. The bank also said on Monday, in an emailed statement, that it had released $90 million to meet requests for dollars to pay some expenses, such as medical and school fees, and to cover travel allowances.

Black market rate closed at N396/$1


Friday March, 31st 2017

CBN issues a press release informing forex buyers that it is aware that some customers seeking to buy forex for BTA, PTA, medical and school fees are being frustrated by some banks with the false claim that the CBN is not allocating enough forex to them for BTA, PTA, Tuition and Medical fees. It further informs them that This claim is totally untrue. All banks have more than enough stock of forex in their possession for the purpose of meeting genuine customers’ demand for BTA, PTA, tuition and medical fees. Nevertheless, the exchange rate weakens to N395 at the black market.

Thursday March 30th 2017

Naira weakens at the black market to N385/$1.

Tuesday March 28th 2017

CBN agrees to sell FX to BDC’s at N360 now allowing BDC’s resell at N362 to retail investors.

Monday March 27th 2017

The CBN issues a new guideline instructing banks to sell forex to the retail end of the market at N360/$1. Banks will now purchase forex from the CBN at N357/$1.

Friday March 24th 2017

The exchange rate finally fell below N400/$1 for the first time since August 23rd 2016. The parallel market closed at N390/$1.

Monday, March 20th 2017

CBN continues to flood the market with FX, and sells another $243 million between Monday 2oth and 23rd of March. The exchange rate falls to $400 to the dollar for the first time since August 2016, sending the black market in a frenzy.

Tuesday – Thursday March 14th – 16th, 2017

Sources reveal to Nairametrics that banks were already awash with FX and was not reducing the level of FX purchase from the CBN. The CBN will hear none of that and went ahead to sell another $440 million within 3 days to the FX market. Exchange rate, plummets again to N455/$1

The naira will close the week at N448/$1

Monday March 13th, 2017

CBN Governor announced winner of Vanguard Man of the Year. He also goes on the offensive against those calling for a free float of the naira. He reminds them that Egypt, which had just floated its currency, saw inflation rate rise above 30%. Exchange rate is now N459.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 

CBN sells another $170 million and exchange rate strengthens to N465/$1

Monday March 6th & Tuesday March 7th  2017

CBN sold $367 million and $100 million to commercial banks on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Exchange rate closes at N465 at the parallel market.

Friday, March 3rd 2017

The CBN sold another $350 million to commercial banks. It also reiterated its request that banks open retail outlets and desks at major airports. Our mystery shoppers also revealed most bank branches did not have forex to sell. The exchange rate was back up again to N475. Weary analysts wondered if the recent gains is a dead cat bounce.

Tuesday, February 28th 2017

The spokesperson of the CBN, Isaac Okorafor. was heard on radio warning market players and keepers of dollars to make hay and sell their holdings to avoid heavy losses. The exchange rate closed at N460/$1 on Tuesday.

Monday, February 27th 2017

  • Rencap issued a statement claiming that using one of their Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) models – the 22-year model which corresponds to a period when oil averaged $55/bl – implies fair value for the naira at N370/$, which via inflation should become N400/$ by end-2017.
  • Exchange rate remained at N455/$1 but experienced high volatility. Some sold at below N450 in other parts of the country.
  • The CBN also sold another $180 million to commercial banks
  • BDC made their first reaction to the exchange rate.  The President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said on Friday that the new policy was “a long awaited liberation the Naira needed to check speculators from manipulating the exchange rate for their selfish ends.”
  • According to him, the market is already adjusting at a faster pace as the Naira continues to appreciate across board in all the major segments of the market.
  • Gwadabe however emphasized that BDCs were not competing with commercial banks in the sale of the proceeds of International Monetary Transfer Services Operators to end-users. He also complained that the new directive did not provide a level playing ground for the banks and the BDCs to operate.

Friday, February 24th 2017

The exchange rate closed the week at year high of N455 to the dollar. The naira had  gained about N60 in one week.

March 21st 2017

The Monetary Policy Committee rose from its meeting with rates unchanged and the CBN governor pledging to further support the Naira with more intervention. The Naira continues its good run, strengthening to N440/$1.

March 28th 2017

CBN revalues the Naira to N360/$1 for medicals, PTA and other invisibles. The Naira drops to as low as N375/$1. Rumors of a dollar glut begin to circulate as banks start rejecting CBN dollar sales. CBN intervention crosses the $1 billion mark.

Thursday, April 6th 2017

The CBN says it will increase allocation to BDCs to $10,000 twice a week from $8,000 once a week. The Naira has however weakened to N390/$1.

Monday, April 10th 2017

The CBN announces a special window for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in which they can access $20, 000 quarterly. This does not stop the slide of the Naira as it crosses the N400/$1 mark again.

Going Forward

Can the CBN continue to defend the naira? Will the CBN float or devalue now? What is the likely effect of the drop in crude oil prices? Are speculators truly obliterated or are they buying back low to sell high? Will foreign investors see this as a positive development or would they still hang on till we float?

Nairametrics will provide a detailed response to each of these questions throughout the course of the week. This timeline will be updated so make sure to bookmark this page.

The timeline is compiled by our research team and sourced from articles featured on Nairametrics.

Sale of dollars by the CBN since the new policy licked in.

Tuesday February 21st – $417 million
Thursday February 23rd – $231 million
Monday February 27th – $180 million
Friday March 3rd – $350 million
Monday March 6th – $367 million
Tuesday March 7th – $100 million
Thursday March 9th – $170 million
Tuesday March 14th – $190 million
Wednesday March 15th – $150 million
Thursday March 16th – $100 million
Monday March 20th – $143 million
Thursday March 23rd –  $100 million



  1. Sometime .I nearly think it’s there,let wait for the cbn if they will supply more money to the retailer users.e.g the bdc.now why the important question now. is ,why the cbn did not did th supply more money to the bdc before.Prior there was a time the cbn was using travellex to supply forex to the retailer. in Nigeria I was against it,my main reason are WHY NOT THE CBN USES A NIGERIA WHOLLY OWNED COMPANY.IT IS FOR MY COUNTRY,UBA HAVE AN OFFICE IN NEW YORK,THERE ARE VARIOUS NIGERIAN BANKS OPERATING IN LONDON AS THEIR EUROPE BRANCH.(this travellex is a British company founded an indian,who i thought he was born in kenya or Uganda.not sure where he was born,he came to Britain to study,he saw this opportunity in forex and the transferring of forex,and he was very successful,and the man is worth close to I billion dollar today.his rises from rags to riches can be re-created in Nigeria,we have 3000 bdc in Nigeria.IS IT NOT TOO MUCH.I CAN ALSO ASSUME THE CBN TELLS THE BANKS SELLS FOREX AS BDC.WHY WE CANNOT WE HAVE GRADES OF RETAILER OF FOREX,some banks can buy-out those mushroom bdc,and have super bdc, with the help of the cbn,and we will have about 100 to 500 bdc across Nigeria,which will help the cbn be able to carry-out their forex guidelines successful.
    We can have middle and lower bdc,they can buys from Nigerians in diaspora,such big bdc,can benefits of reducing their cost

  2. Q: Can the CBN continue to defend the naira?
    A: No. Reason could take a whole page. But check out OPEC basket price trend since beginning of March — http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/data_graphs/40.htm and fall of CBN foreign reserve — https://www.cbn.gov.ng/intops/Reserve.asp since last week to know why.

    Q: Will the CBN float or devalue now?
    A: No.The EGRP stipulates a full float to happen in 2020. Will the FG be able to hold on till then? Very unlikely.

    Q: What is the likely effect of the drop in crude oil prices?
    A: Reduce CBN’s ability to sustain the rate and cause marginal fall in parallel market rates within a month’s time.

    Q: Are speculators truly obliterated or are they buying back low to sell high?
    A: They’re buying back low to sell high. Speculators remain until there is a free float.

    Q: Will foreign investors see this as a positive development or would they still hang on till we float?
    A: Foreign investors will continue avoiding Nigeria like a plague until a free float happens.


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