On January 21, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar appreciated closing at N394/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially.
However, during intraday trading, the exchange rate traded for as high as N415.76/$1, sustaining yesterday’s figure which is the highest intraday trading tracked by Nairametrics. Forex turnover, however, dropped by about 14% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continues.
According to a report from Reuters, the naira is expected to remain stable in the coming week as currency traders watch for policy details at CBN’s first MPC meeting in 2021.
Also, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially still remained flat at N475/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N475/$1 on the previous trading day of January 20, 2021.
The exchange rate disparity between the parallel market and the official market is about N81, representing a 17% devaluation differential.
The Naira appreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Thursday, closing at N394/$1. This represents a 17 kobo gain when compared to the N394.17/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.
- The opening indicative rate was N394.16 to a dollar on Thursday, the same rate that was recorded on Tuesday, January 20, 2021.
- The N415.76 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N390/$1 during intra-day trading.
- Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 13.9% on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
- According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $89.50 million on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, to $77.04 million on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
- The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- There are fears that the exchange rate at the black market might be under pressure in the coming weeks as importers scramble for dollars to meet their demands.
Oil price steady rise
Brent crude oil price is at about $56 per barrel on Wednesday, as it moves towards the $60 mark, a strong sign that global demand could sustain price increases in 2021.
- This appears as a boost to Nigeria as the country’s crude oil price benchmark for 2020 was $40 while it projected an oil production output of 1.8 million barrels per day.
- Nigeria has a production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day but is subject to OPEC’s crude oil production cuts, which are expected to help sustain higher oil prices.
- The higher oil prices and steady production output have positively impacted Nigeria’s external reserves, rising sharply to $36.304 million according to central bank data dated January 14, 2020.
- This is the highest level since July 2020 and a sign that higher oil prices and steady output levels may be contributing significantly to Nigeria’s foreign exchange position.
Nigeria rising external reserves
- The external reserve has risen to $36.464 billion as of January 19, 2021.
- Nairametrics reported on Wednesday that the government may have taken receipt of the $1-1.5 billion World Bank Loan.
- The external reserves have increased by $1.09 billion since December 31, 2020, when it closed the year at $35.3 billion.
- Nigeria also needs the external reserves to hit $40 billion if it is to adequately meet some of the pent up demand that has piled up since 2020 when oil prices crashed and the pandemic caused major economic lockdowns.