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Currencies

FX utilization fell to its worst on record in April

Forex Utilization in Nigeria fell by a whopping 80% in April as the economic shuttered in reaction to the covid-19 pandemic.

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FOREX, Dollar scarcity worsens as exchange rate falls to N472/$1 at black market , Naira falls to N460/$1 as CBN intervention fails to contain speculation

Forex Utilization in Nigeria fell by a whopping 80% in April as the economic shuttered in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the central bank, Nigeria’s forex utilization fell to just $1 billion in April, the month where Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, shut down economic activities and movement.

The CBN reports forex utilization in terms of the amount of forex utilized for invisible and visible imports. In April 2020, only $713 million dollars was used for visible imports from major sectors such as Industrials, Mineral, Manufacturing, Agricultural, Oil sector and transport. This compares to about $1 billion in March. The Industrial, Food and Manufacturing sector alone gobbled up $548 million compared to $791 million in March.

READ MORE: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

Worst hit was the invisible sector, which includes financial services, business services, health and the general services sector in general. it is termed the invisible sector because the forex is utilized for payment of services unlike the visible sectors where forex is utilized for importation of equipment, assets and other physical products.

The invisible sector reported a forex utilization of $361 mullion in April compared to $4.3 billion in March and $3.6 billion in February. This is the worst drop since 2008 the earliest date we have for this dataset. Whilst the drop was recorded across all sectors, the worst hit was the financial services sector. Forex utilization fell from $4.2 billion to just $331 million. The sector constitutes a bulk of forex utilized monthly.

READ ALSO: Nigerian firms expect to start employing again in August – CBN survey

What this means: Forex utilization is a function of how much forex is available for businesses to use for their transactions with counterparties across the world. The economic shutdown in April affected currency markets as forex sales fell across all forex windows.

The impact in April is severe and is probably remained worse throughout May, June and July. The CBN is one of the largest forex suppliers in the country but has staved off any pressure to sell citing limited economic activity in the country and around the world. Pent up demand for forex is thought to be between $1.5 -$5 billion.

READ MORE: Quick Take: SWOT analysis of Nigeria’s financial sector according to Fitch Solutions

Whilst there is a recorded drop in forex utilization as officially recorded, it is likely that some of the demand may have passed through the black market. It is also no surprise that forex utilization also fell between April 2016 and January 2017 as Nigeria faced a currency crisis before it devalued to N307/$1 and launched the NAFEX window.

Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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Currencies

Exchange rate weakens at NAFEX window as oil price hit $67

Naira lost 20 kobo against the US Dollar on Wednesday to close at N408.8/$1 at the NAFEX window, while oil price hit $67 per barrel

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Forex, Nafex, parallel market, exchange rate, Naira, Dollar

Wednesday 24th February 2021: The exchange rate between the Naira and the US Dollar closed at N408.8 to a dollar at the Investors and Exporters window where forex is traded officially.

Naira lost 20 kobo against the US Dollar to close at N408.8/$1 at the NAFEX window, which represents a 0.05% decline compared to N408.6/$1 recorded on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the exchange rate remained stable in the parallel market, as it closed at N480/$1 on Wednesday, the same as recorded on the previous trading day.

Brent Crude oil appreciated on Wednesday to close above $67 per barrel, which is only less than $3 from the predicted $70 per barrel made by Goldman Sach earlier in the week.

Trading at the official NAFEX window

Naira depreciated marginally against the US Dollar in the Investors and Exporters window on Wednesday, as it closed at N408.8/$1. This represents a 0.05% loss when compared to N408.6/$1 recorded a day earlier.

  • The opening indicative rate closed at N409.5 to a dollar on Wednesday. This is the same as recorded on Tuesday and is the highest recorded since January 5th, 2021.
  • Also, an exchange rate of N429.75 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N408.8/$1. It also sold for as low as N390/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window increased by 72.2% on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover increased from $123.37 million recorded on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021, to $212.43 million on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021.
  • A cursory look at the data shows that Wednesday’s figure of $212.43 million is the highest turnover recorded since 14th January 2021, over a month ago.

Cryptocurrency watch

The world’s flagship crypto, bitcoin recovered partly from its precarious fall on Wednesday, after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Elon Musk weighed in on Bitcoin’s recent rally.

  • Bitcoin, which at one point lost about $13,000 in value after dropping from its all-time high of $58,330.57 to $45,290.59 within the space of two days.
  • On Wednesday, Bitcoin traded at $49,486.36 as it solidifies its position as the most valuable crypto asset with a market value of $922.3 billion.
  • Meanwhile, major financial leaders have supported the bias of the Central Bank of Nigeria in placing a ban on crypto-related transactions.
  • They warn investors and the public of the dangers of owning bitcoin, as they also stated that the popular crypto asset could be ideal for money laundering and illicit transactions

Oil prices hit $67

Brent crude oil price rose by 2.89% on Wednesday to close at $67.26 compared to $65.37 recorded on Tuesday 23rd February 2021.

  • The increase in price is as a result of Goldman Sach’s prediction that oil prices would climb around $70 per barrel in the second quarter of the year and $75 in Q3 2021. This is $10 above its previous forecasts.
  • According to a report, the increase in oil prices could also be attributed to the restoration of around 80% of lost production after the Texas freeze that had reduced oil supply in recent weeks.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Russia are heading to the OPEC+ meeting next week with varying opinions on whether to add more supply to the market in April, which could shape the performance of the oil market.
  • However, Brent closed at $67.26 (+2.89%), WTI closed at $63.22 (+2.51%), Bonny Light at $63.73 (+1.43%), OPEC Basket ($63.73), and Natural Gas closed at $2.854 (-0.87%).

Dwindling external reserve despite increased oil price

Nigeria’s external reserve dipped marginally by 0.14% on Tuesday 23rd of February 2021, to stand at $35.23 billion.

  • Nigeria’s external reserve position has now hit its lowest level in almost two months.
  • It is worth noting that Nigeria has lost a sum of $1.08 billion in external reserve in February alone.
  • This downturn has continued to persist despite bullish trends in the global crude oil market.

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Currencies

Naira gains at NAFEX window as external reserve plunges $1.1 billion in less than a month

Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Tuesday.

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Naira stabilizes at black market as CBN continues its intervention in forex market

Tuesday 23rd February 2021: The exchange rate between the Naira and the US Dollar closed at N408.6/$1 at the Investors and Exporters window.

Naira gained N1.4 against the US Dollar to close at N408.6 to a dollar at the NAFEX window, which represents a 0.34% gain compared to N410/$1 recorded on Monday.

Meanwhile, the exchange rate remained stable in the parallel market, as it closed at N480/$1 on Tuesday, the same as recorded on the previous trading day.

READ: Naira will “suffer further devaluation” – MTEF

Trading at the official NAFEX window

Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Tuesday, as it closed at N408.6/$1. This represents a 0.34% gain when compared to N410/$1 recorded a day earlier.

  • The opening indicative rate closed at N409.5 to a dollar on Tuesday. This represents a N1.46 drop when compared to N409.5 to a dollar that was recorded the previous trading day on Monday, February 22, 2021.
  • Also, an exchange rate of N429.75 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N408.6/$1. It also sold for as low as N388.75/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window increased by 134.6% on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover increased from $52.58 million recorded on Monday, February 22, 2021, to $423.37 million on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
  • A cursory look at the data shows that Tuesday’s figure of $123.37 million is the highest turnover recorded since 14th January 2021, over a month ago.

READ: Nigeria’s external reserve drop by $261 million in 15 days, oil firms to sell forex to CBN 

Cryptocurrency watch

The crypto market lost significantly today, Tuesday 23rd February 2021, as selling pressure pushed the value of crypto assets lower amid sudden panic among retail and institutional traders.

  • Specifically, bitcoin lost about 13.14% to stand at $47,055 on Tuesday as at 8:11 pm, indicating a decline of over $7,000 in a single day.
  • This extends a sharp withdrawal from a record high, that it hit on Sunday, although Bitcoin remains up about 75% year to date.
  • Also, Ethereum dipped by 15.72%, while XRP recorded a 16.93% decline on Tuesday.
  • Meanwhile, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele appeared before the Senate on Tuesday to defend the ban placed on cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
  • He briefed the national assembly on the opportunities and threats associated with cryptocurrency and how it affects the nation’s economy and security.

READ: Nigerian stocks record gains, investors gain N132.8 billion

Oil prices rise amid OPEC+ meeting in March

Brent crude oil price rose by 0.61% on Tuesday to close at $65.64 compared to $64.63 recorded on Monday 22nd February 2021.

  • The price increase came after Goldman Sach forecasted that oil prices would climb around $70 per barrel in the second quarter of the year and $75 in Q3 2021. This is $10 above its previous forecasts.
  • The bank also stated that consumption will return to pre-virus levels by late July, while output from major producers will remain “highly inelastic” to the rising prices.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Russia are heading to the OPEC+ meeting next week with varying opinions on whether to add more supply to the market in April, which could shape the performance of the oil market.
  • However, Brent closed at $65.47 (+0.35%), WTI closed at $61.74 (+0.06%), Bonny Light at $62.83 (+1.19%), OPEC Basket ($62), and Natural Gas closed at $2.882 (-2.4%).

Nigeria lost over $1.1 billion in external reserves position

Nigeria’s external reserve dipped by 0.41% on Monday 22nd of February 2021, to stand at $35.28 billion.

  • This represents a decline of $145.9 million in foreign reserve, the highest single-day loss since April 2020.
  • Nigeria’s external reserve position has now hit its lowest level in almost two months, losing over $1.1 billion in less than a month.
  • This downturn has continued to persist despite bullish trends in the global crude oil market. However, Nigeria will need to boost its external reserve to hit $40 billion, as this will help meet some of the pent-up demand that has piled up as a result of the crash in global oil prices in 2020.

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