Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, has learned out his voice concerning Nigeria’s currency value.
As part of the outcome of the Nigerian delegation’s meetings with investors and institutions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) Annual Meetings in Bali, Emefiele said says maintaining stable exchange rate is key to avoid depreciation of the Naira.
According to the CBN boss, all frontiers and developing markets have suffered not just depreciation but had also lost reserves.
Emefiele said, “We are very conscious of the need to build buffers but unfortunately I must say that we are in the period where it will be difficult to talk about building reserve buffers.
“We can only build reserve buffers if we want to hold on to the reserve and then allow the currency to go, and wherever it goes is something else.”
Nairametrics had reported why the CBN was panicking about the country’s exchange rate.
Emerging Market sell-offs
The United States dollars have strengthened against major emerging market currencies in the last few days. This has triggered a sell-off in most emerging markets like Argentina and Turkey and there is a palpable fear of a contagion in markets like Nigeria.
Black market depreciation
The exchange rate at the black market has hovered between N362 and N363 for months. The depreciation of the naira was said to have spooked folks at the CBN sending them into a temporary panic mode.
The black market is often seen as the precursor for where the official exchange rate might be trading in the future, thus the CBN is taking no prisoners. The retail end is where BDC’s and commercial banks sell to business travelers so it is not surprising that the CBN is taking the latest depreciation rather seriously.
Since President Buhari announced that he is running for a reelection, the market has been worried about the impending consequences. Investors are worried that the stakes are so high that politicians may start to stash up forex ahead of election spending.
Forex is typically the currency of choice for politicians looking to sway king makers and party stalwarts, so it is likely that the lure of this demand could trigger another round of hoarding by banks and BDC operators. This is perhaps why the CBN is “warning” them to make sure they sell their suppliers to “genuine” buyers.
The international market is currently worried about what is going on in Italy. An expected coalition collapsed leading to an inevitable election in the next few months. It is believed that a reelection might usher in a populist government. This uncertainty is causing markets to retreat. Retreats also affect foreign portfolio investments into emerging markets like Nigeria.