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Currencies

Nigeria faces prolonged exchange rate crisis as oil prices remain stuck at $40

Stuck at $40, static oil prices mean exchange rate crisis could remain till next year 

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Crude oil prices up 12% in barely 4 days, triggered by OPEC+ proposed cuts, Brent Crude up, Trump leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania

Nigeria’s current account deficit and the exchange rate could remain under pressure longer than expected due to analyst outlook of the price of crude oil.  

Crude oil prices have been stuck at $40 per barrel and could remain at these levels for the next year. Analysts at OilPrice.com a leading news website dedicated to the petroleum industry. 

READ: Why Nigeria’s external reserves is stuck at $35 billion

According to its analysts, oil prices are likely to remain stuck at $40 due to a resurgence in Covid-19 cases that have induced another subtle lockdown in Europe. “Uncertainties about a second wave of COVID-19 and renewed restrictions on social gatherings in several major European economies are weighing on oil market sentiment.” 

They also cite higher than expected crude oil stockpiles as another major challenge gripping the industry with almost a billion barrels globally. 

READ: Nigeria’s external reserves up by 7% in 21 days, currency speculators to lose over N10 billion 

“A lot of the major players on the oil market, including some of the largest independent oil traders such as Trafigura and Mercuria, have been bearish on oil near term, expecting global stocks to build in the fourth quarter – due to weak demand – before starting to decline.” 

A combination of these factors means oil prices could remain depressed throughout this year and most of 2021, bad news for the Central Bank’s effort to continue to defend the naira and worse for a government that is battling revenue shortfalls.  

READ: NNPC signs gas development and commercialization deal with SEEPCO

How bad is it? First-quarter data from the central bank just before the global outbreak of COVID-19 reveals Nigeria had a current account deficit of over $4.8 billion largely due to a fall in oil export earnings. This triggered the first wave of devaluation in March 2020.

READ: Flywire to partner with Mastercard on international tuition payment.

  • The situation was made worse by Covid-19 as foreign investors stayed out of the country starving the external reserves of the greenback. Foreign portfolio investments in the money market fell to just $332 million a whopping 90% drop in the second quarter of the year.
  • Nigeria has also waited agonizingly for the now elusive $1.5 billion World Bank facility which it had hoped will help shore up its external reserves.
  • Reports indicate part of the conditions to draw down includes the unification of the naira which led to the latest wave of devaluation by the CBN. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has also limited dollar inflow from remittances, which had been a reliable source of foreign exchange inflow for the country.

READ: Nigeria’s growing current account deficit fans devaluation flames 

The exchange rate received a temporary reprieve in the black market when the CBN resumed dollar sales to BDCs and business travelers. The naira strengthened subsequently but has since depreciated again., falling to N470/$1 recently. 

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What this meansWith oil prices stuck at $40 per barrel, the CBN will find it even harder to support the exchange rate in the near term. With foreign investors inflow still in abeyance, it has a limited window to attract forex, a situation that could lead to further devaluation.  

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READ: Nigerians spend $9.01 billion on foreign travels in 2019 

  • The latest dollar sales to BDC operators have so far failed to strengthen the naira.
  • The CBN has also recently placed restrictions on forex transfer between third parties which according to Nairametrics Research, is aimed at curbing the actions of speculators.
  • Yet the exchange rate disparity continues to widen with the parallel market now trading for N470/$1.
  • If oil prices remain stuck at around $40 per barrel, then the CBN will likely consider another round of devaluation except it is able to attract forex inflows from foreign investors, concessionary loans, or an increase in local remittances.
  • The longer the oil price remains stuck at $40, the more depressed the naira could be.

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Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tanimu Sani

    February 3, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Ya

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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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