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Currencies

Naira falls at the official market as government reveals plans to unify the exchange rates

There has been growing pressure for the CBN to unify the exchange rate markets.

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COVID-19 could save naira from depreciating further, Many odds against the naira, Naira forwards and parallel market crash puts pressure on official exchange rate, Naira appreciates to N386.94 to $1 at investor and exporters window. , Naira set for recovery as ABCON issues guideline to members for forex sales resumption, Naira falls against the Euro, British pound sterling but gains against the U.S dollar, Naira falls at black market, dollar liquidity remains relatively low  , Forex, Naira drops further at the black market despite appreciating at I&E window 

Traders reacted to news that the government is mulling unifying the exchange rate as rates fell 6.2% in the official market according to information from Reuters.

Nairametrics first reported on Wednesday that the government was mulling unifying the exchange rate. The Economic Sustainability Committee set up by President Buhari to propose action points that can address the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic proposed a unified exchange rate to increase FAAC payments. Included in On page 34 of the report, was a recommendation by the committee on  monetary policy measures, to “Unify exchange rates to maximize naira returns to FAAC from foreign exchange inflows.”

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The naira opened 6.2% lower against the US dollar closer to the “over-the-counter spot market rate on indications the government would move to conserve dwindling reserves” Reuters reported.  The report did not mention which of the official markets it was referring to and what the value was when it depreciated by 6.2%.

READ ALSO: Naira will “suffer further devaluation” – MTEF

The CBN in March adjusted (devalued) the naira from N307/$1 to N360/$1 in the official market where the government converts forex from crude in exchange for Naira from the CBN. It then moved the rate at which it sells forex in the Bureau De Change to N378-380/$1 from N360/$1. While the CBN maintains its official rate at N360/$1, the exchange rate parity enjoyed in the last 2 years fell apart as the disparity between the rate traded at the I&E window, BDC Rates, and Parallel market rate widened.

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The exchange rate in I&E window closed at N386/$1 according to information on the website of the FMDQOTC. The exchange rate on the black market was N452/$1 according to information on AbokiFX, a website that tracks parallel market rates.

The naira has been hitting new lows at the parallel market since the pandemic broke with speculators projecting a further devaluation. The CBN Governor has maintained there are no new plans to devalue the currency. Fortunes improved for Nigeria after oil prices bounced back in May and remain around $40 per barrel following OPEC cuts. Nigeria’s external reserve position also improved following the receipt of the IMF loans.


Note: This article was updated to reflect new information.

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Patricia

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Abdullahi

    June 17, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    May one day 10000 naira may be equal to one dollar

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Currencies

U.S dollar remains neutral as strong economic macros weaken its demand

The U.S. Dollar Index was slightly down at 0.02% to 97.040 at 1.30 pm Nigerian time.

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American Dollar remains king as stimulus fails to stop global financial market panic,Demand for “Inflow dollars” drive exchange rate to as high as $N420/$1 compared to “Cash dollars”, U.S dollar drops against major currencies, tension rises between America and China, U.S dollar gains against major currencies, America threatens China with sanctions., U.S dollar down against major currencies, more countries start lifting of COVID-19 induced lockdowns, The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the American dollar dropped 0.14% to 96.5 as global Investors and traders appetite for risk increased in momentum, Digitization of U.S Dollar Faces U.S Senate Hearing, U.S dollar Remains Neutral as Strong Economic Macros Weaken its demand, U.S dollar Remains Neutral as Strong Economic Macros Weaken its demandU.S dollar Remains Neutral as Strong Economic Macros Weaken its demandU.S dollar Remains Neutral as Strong Economic Macros Weaken its demand

U.S dollar pulled back sessions high on Friday as Economic data released earlier showed the second-largest economy service sector printing impressive results, with the (Chinese) Caixin Services Purchasing Managers Index coming in at 58.4 in June, the highest reading in two months.

The U.S. Dollar Index that monitors the American dollar against a group of other major currencies was slightly down at 0.02% to 97.040 at 1.30 pm Nigerian time.

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Consequently about 24 hours ago the world largest economy recorded an addition of 4.8 million jobs in June and manufacturing activity printing a better economic result than expected, this further suggests that the economic stimulus by the U.S Fed Reserve seems to be working.

In addition, Currency analysts at ING, in a research note spoke about the U.S Federal Reserve stimulus package in relation to the strength of the dollar.

“Fed money printing has now secured what seems to be a stable negative correlation between risk assets and the dollar,”

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“As long as the Fed is still buying assets and prepared to do more, we expect this negative correlation, Risk On, Dollar Off, to dominate financial markets over the coming quarters. Economies slowly getting back on their feet should mean a backdrop of a benign dollar bear trend in the second half of the year.”

(READ MORE: U.S dollar stays flat as America’s Federal Reserve becomes “extraordinarily uncertain”)

Why this matters; The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the American dollar against a basket of other major currencies (like the Japanese yen, British pound sterling, Swedish Krona, Euro), Individuals hoping to meet foreign exchange payment obligations, via dollar transactions to countries like Europe, and Japan, would need to pay more dollars in fulfilling such transactions

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Currencies

CBN adjust naira from N360 to N380 at SMIS

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IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira

Reports reaching Nairametrics indicates the CBN has instructed bidders at its Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) to increase their bidding price to N380/$1 floor. The SMIS is the market where importers bid for forex using Letters of Credit and Form M.

According to our sources, the central bank informed banks that they will only accept bids from N380/$1 and above and no longer N360/$1 meaning those who bid lower will not get any forex allocation. Transaction success in this market is based on bids with those who bid higher than the floor as they are often in an advantageous position to secure forex.

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This is essentially a huge attempt at unifying the naira and another adjustment of the exchange rate by the CBN. Recall the CBN Governor had informed investors that the bank will be unifying the exchange rate towards what is being traded at the NAFEX market where investors and exporters trade forex.

Nairametrics understands a circular has been sent to banks but we are yet to see it.

The SMIS window was created by CBN for importers to ease the pressure faced by businesses in the foreign exchange market through sales of foreign currency to authorized dealers (wholesale) or to end users through Authorized dealers. Businesses usually conduct their bid for forex at the SMIS window every two fortnight.

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Currently, rates are set at a floor of N360/$1 and a ceiling of N385/$1. Thus bidders are expected to bid within that range. The higher the bid the better your chances at getting forex. It is unclear if there were any buyers that bid above N360 as we gather most of the importers were not informed of the changes in prices until today.

In February, the CBN has injected $218.41 million into the inter-bank retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS). The dollar sold at the time meant for only agricultural and raw materials sectors, is in continuation of its intervention in the inter-bank foreign exchange market. In May, the central bank surprised the market by injecting estimated $90-$100million to the system.

 

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Currencies

Naira gains against the dollar across forex markets as liquidity hits record increase 

At the black market, the naira appreciated marginally by N1 to a dollar to close at N461 to a dollar.

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Central Bank Continues intervention in Forex market to stabilize Naira, Naira to depreciate slightly over $1.52 billion maturing contracts expires, Naira hits N388.84 to $1 at the currency spot market, Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, Naira weakens against the dollar by 1.14% amidst uncertainty, Naira gains against the dollar at I&E window, forex liquidity up by 242%  

Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window had a rebound on Thursday, July 2, 2020, as it rose by 1876% day on day, a massive increase from what was recorded the previous day at the foreign exchange market. This is according to data from the FMDQOTC, an exchange where forex is traded by foreign investors and exporters.   

According to the data tracked by Nairametrics, forex turnover increasedfrom $10.37 million on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, to as high as $204.90million on Thursday, July 2, 2020, representing a massive 1876% increase on a day-to-day basis. This also represents a major departure from the low forex supply since January 2020, the last time the market hit a $200 million turnover mark. 

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Despite the volatility at the NAFEX market, the spike in volume of sales provided a trading boost reducing the demand pressure experienced in recent days.

READ ALSO: 3 Crypto exchanges control about 14.3% circulating BTC supply      

Exchange rate     

In related news, the exchange rate at the I&E appreciated on Thursday, closing at N386 to a dollar, compared to the N386.50 that was recorded on Wednesday, July 1, representing a 50 kobo gain. The opening indicative rate was N386.86to a dollar on Thursday. This represents a 22 kobo gain when compared to the N387.08opening rate recorded on Wednesday.   

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At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the naira appreciated marginally by N1 to a dollar to close at N461 to a dollar on Thursday, as against the N462 to a dollar on Wednesday. The exchange rate at the beginning of the week was N460 to a dollar. By crossing N460, the exchange rate has broken a psychological ceiling going past N460 for the first time since 2017.   

Nigeria continues to maintain multiple exchange rates comprising the CBN official rate, the BDC rates, and the NAFEX (I&E window). Nairametrics reported last week that the government is mulling unifying the multiple exchange rates in a bid to increase the amount available for state governments to share.   

The forex scarcity and drop in revenue put pressure on the value of the naira despite CBN’s effort to maintain stability across the forex segments. The CBN is expected to continue with its intervention in the foreign exchange market to ensure market stability.  

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READ MORE: Dollar supply: What Nigerians expect from the CBN

According to a July 2020 report from Moody’s, the foreign currency funding gap for Nigerian banks is expected to rise to $5 billion due to the current low oil prices, volatile forex inflows and lower diaspora remittances amid the coronavirus pandemic. These challenges are threatening to renew the foreign currency liquidity pressures that hit Nigerian banks during the previous oil crisis in 2016-2017. 

The report also indicated that dollar shortages are expected to persist over the next 12-18 months if low oil prices continue thereby renewing the forex liquidity crisis that led to severe rationing of dollar and ban on importation of some items during the last oil price crash in 2015-2017. 

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Forex Liquidity Issues

Despite the improved turnover recorded on Thursday, the volatility and uncertainty of the forex market still persist due to accumulated demand and liquidity shortages across markets.  The rise in demand and contrasting drop in supply has called for another round of devaluation, which the CBN has insisted it has plans to implement. A devaluation last occurred in March. The activities of the speculators seem to have continued unabated.   

Speculators have thus patronized the parallel market, widening the gap between it and the I&E window. The CBN maintains that the perceived demand cannot be substantiated as the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic suggest demand should be low due to travel restrictions and drop-in economic activities.   

The further decline in liquidity could further fuel speculations in the black market where the exchange rate has traded at a premium of N60+ over the last few weeks. The CBN claims most of the demand being cited is not represented by any official documentation and that it has informed foreign investors with genuine forex demand to be “patient” and that they will get their forex.  

 

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