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Currencies

Naira gains against the dollar at I&E window, forex liquidity up by 242%  

Forex shortages have persisted since the crash in oil prices coincided with the global lockdown.

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Exchange rate depreciates at NAFEX window as forex liquidity drops further by 57%, 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 recorded a huge increase on Monday, June 29, 2020, as it rose by 242%, a significant increase from what was recorded on Friday, June 26, 2020, in 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 increased from $35.92 million on Friday, June 26, 2020, to $122.89 million on Monday, June 29, 2020, representing a significant increase of 242% a day on day. While the percentage increase in turnover appears huge, it still falls short of the $200 million recorded in January 2020.

It is unclear where the increase in forex supply came from as this is one of the highest daily sales we have recorded

Although there seems to be an improvement in liquidity in the foreign exchange market, the volatility and uncertainty of the market remain due to liquidity shortages across markets.  Liquidity remains quite tight in the foreign exchange market, with the average turnover in the I&E market significantly down to about $45.5 million in the month of May compared to $297.5 million that was recorded in January.

Several reports tracked by Nairametrics indicate that the accumulated demand for forex in the market could be between $1.5 and $5 billion as supply shortages persist. Forex shortages have persisted since the crash in oil prices coincided with the global lockdown due to COVID-19. 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.

READ MORE: Naira falls big at the black market as demand pressure persists

Speculators have thus patronized the parallel market, otherwise known as the black market, thereby 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.

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Exchange rate  

In related news, the exchange rate on the I&E window continued with its positive performance as it appreciated on Monday, closing at N386 to a dollar, compared to the N386.33 to a dollar that was reported on Friday, June 26, representing a 33 kobo gain. The opening indicative rate was N386.86 to a dollar for Monday. This represents a loss of 50 kobo when compared to the N386.36 opening rate recorded on Friday.

At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the naira remained stable as it exchanged for N460 to a dollar on Monday. This was the same exchange rate that was recorded on Friday last week.

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.

READ MORE: Naira recovers sharply at black market but falls at I&E forex window

The stability of the exchange rate in the foreign exchange market can be attributed to a relative drop in demand for the dollar and improvement in forex liquidity. There still appears to be some uncertainty in the foreign exchange market as it is still not clear when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will resume sales of dollars to Bureau De Change Operators (BDCs).

The planned opening of the airports for flight operations by the federal government will act as a boost to the CBN’s intervention in the BDC segment of the market.

The World Bank had also applauded the CBN’s plan to unify its multiple exchange rate as that will help attract foreign investment to boost sustainable economic recovery and also support the various reforms being introduced by the government.

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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]

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Currencies

Naira falls against US dollar as CBN extends Naira4dollar scheme indefinitely

The exchange rate between the naira and the US dollar, closed at N411/$1 at the I&E Window.

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Thursday, 6th May 2021: The exchange rate between the naira and the US dollar, closed at N411/$1 at the Importers and Exporters window, where forex is traded officially.

Naira fell against the US dollar to close at N411 to a dollar on Thursday, 6th May 2021, representing a 50 kobo decline when compared to N410.5/$1 that was recorded on Wednesday, 5th May 2021.

Meanwhile, the naira maintained stability at the parallel market as it closed at N485/$1, while Nigeria’s external reserve plunged $28.94 million to close at $34.76 billion on Wednesday, 5th May 2021.

Also, the apex bank issued an indefinite extension to its Naira4dollar scheme for foreign remittances, which was introduced some months ago. This is aimed at sustaining the country’s foreign exchange market liquidity.

READ: Naira gains at NAFEX window as dollar supply improves by 305%

Trading at the official NAFEX window

The naira depreciated against the US dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Thursday to close at N411/$1, representing a 50 kobo decline when compared to the N410.5/$1 that was recorded on Wednesday.

  • The opening indicative rate closed at N410.37 to a dollar on Thursday, 6th May 2021, representing a 12 kobo depreciation when compared to the N410.25/$1 recorded on Wednesday.
  • Also, an exchange rate of N420.9 to a dollar was the highest rate recorded during intra-day trading before it settled at N411/$1. It, however, sold for as low as N400/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window declined by 38.4% on Thursday, 6th May 2021.
  • A cursory look at the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ showed that forex turnover decreased from $172.52 million recorded on Wednesday, 5th May 2021 to $106.34 million on Thursday, 6th May 2021.

READ: Exchange rate depreciates at NAFEX window as Bitcoin slumps by over 5%

Cryptocurrency watch

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, slumped by 2% on Thursday to trade at $56,358.03.

  • As of 11:31 pm on Thursday, the highly valued cryptocurrency asset witnessed a decline despite soaring as high as 5.5% on Wednesday.
  • However, Ethereum recorded a marginal growth of 0.07% to close at $3,530.75, capitalising on the 9.1% gain recorded in the previous day.
  • The total crypto market capitalisation depreciated by 0.53% to close at $2.33 trillion on Thursday.
  • Meanwhile, payments giant, Visa and financial services provider TALA have partnered to boost cryptocurrency adoption in emerging markets.
  • This partnership is aimed at easing the process of converting, storing and using cryptocurrencies by the underbanked consumers.

READ: Naira depreciates as dollar sales top $100m a day at I&E window

Crude oil price stalls

Crude oil prices witnessed a bearish trading session on Thursday, 6th May 2021 as the oil price rally stalled due to the worsening covid-19 crisis in India.

  • Brent Crude dipped by 0.97% on Thursday to close at $68.29 compared to its closing price of $68.96 recorded at Wednesday’s trading session.
  • The decline in oil prices, which cut short the rally to $70 a barrel was due to a fresh record of new daily coronavirus cases reported by the third-largest importer of oil in the world.
  • Also, according to energy analytics firm OilX, China’s crude oil imports fell by 11% in April 2021 to stand at 10.41 million barrels per day.

External reserve

Nigeria’s external reserve plunged for the 12th consecutive day on Wednesday, 5th May 2021 as it dipped $28.91 million to close at $34.76 billion.

  • The nation’s foreign reserve declined from $34.79 billion recorded as of Tuesday, 4th May 2021 to $34.76 billion on Wednesday, representing a 0.28% decline.
  • Nigeria’s foreign reserve has dipped $497.36 million since 16th April 2021 to date.
  • Nigeria will hope to boosts its foreign reserve position as oil prices continue to rally high and the CBN intensified effort to encourage dollar remittances into the country.

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Currencies

How rise in oil prices will impact exchange rate

Oil prices are currently inching closer to $70 per barrel as the positive outlook of a return to global economic recovery swells investor sentiments.

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Crude oil prices rebound ease investors’ concerns for Nigeria debt market, How substantial is compliance for the Oil market?, Crude Oil price soars high on new COVID-19 vaccine

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and home to the second-largest reserves on the continent, is expected to benefit from the rise in oil prices in many ways.

Oil prices are currently inching closer to $70 per barrel as the positive outlook of a return to global economic recovery swells investor sentiments.

Historically, there has been a strong positive correlation between crude oil prices and the performance of the Nigerian economy. For example, when oil prices plummeted due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the implementation of lockdown protocols in 2020, the Nigerian government scaled down the budget to align better with the drop in crude oil price.

Now that there is a surge in oil price, we should expect that there would be an increase in government revenue translating to a stirring-up of aggregate demand.

READ: Nigeria records highest trade deficit since 1981

Why oil price is rising

The OPEC+ output restrains, despite the strong recovery of oil consumption, continues to give formidable fitting to bullish sentiments about soaring oil prices.

  • Oil prices are rising as optimism about a strong rebound in fuel demand in developed countries overshadows concerns of full lockdown to curb covid-19 in India.
  • Oil (BRENT) has seen a 34.3% increase Year to Date with the oil price at $69.34 showing an increase of +1.15% as of the time of writing this article.

What it means for the exchange rate

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the recent oil price rise is exchange rate stability. Since the crash in oil prices began in late 2019, Nigeria’s official currency has faced a barrage of sell pressure as local and foreign investors increase demand for the dollar.

This forced the central bank to curtain demand, implementing various forms of capital controls across the economy. With oil prices on the rise, Nigerians can begin to expect the following:

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  • An increase in government revenue, which also means higher dollar earnings and thus increased FX reserves. Nigeria’s FX reserve reportedly stands at $34.7 billion as of Tuesday, May 4th, 2021. Soaring oil prices strengthen the exchange rate and promote economic growth. This effect trickles down to higher reserves held by the CBN meant for stabilization of the currency.
  • Higher oil prices could also mean a more stable economy thus propelling economic growth. This, in turn, attracts foreign investor dollars or at least retains what we already have and reduces the pressure on demand.
  • Nigerians have intensified diversifying their currency holdings, keeping less of naira and holding more dollars as they hedge against depreciation. This has kept the pressure on the exchange rate over the last one and a half years. This trend could reverse if oil prices continue their steady rise.

READ: Dangote: Cement price from our factories is between N2,450 and N2,510 per bag, VAT inclusive

The implication? The parallel market exchange rate might appreciate closer to the NAFEX rate if this trend continues.

Hence, it is safe to presume that as the world resume business and travel activities, the demand for Black Gold will continue to increase, and with supply held steady by OPEC+ we can speculate that this is enough catalyst to relieve the pressure of FX demand and increase our foreign reserves thereby propelling growth.

However, the inclusivity of this growth may still be in question.

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