The Central Bank of Nigeria has revised its one-year Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDF) for which it intends to settle foreign exchange futures contracts for the period ending February 2021 to N452.82 up from N440.86.
The NDF is a closely watched indicator of the direction of the exchange rate in the future and is often referenced against the spot rate of the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar.
Nairametrics gathers that foreign currency analysts are pointing at the latest NDF contracts as an indication that the closing rate of the exchange rate at the I&E window might be devalued this month. In the contract terminating February 24th, 2021 the central bank priced the dollar at N412.14 which, compared to the N395/$1 traded at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, represents a 4% devaluation.
Analysts who spoke to Nairametrics are of the opinion that the fact that the CBN is willing to settle NDF contracts due at the end of the month for N412.14 suggest the current CBN official exchange rate of N379/$1 could also be devalued soon, while the exchange rate at the I&E window could also weaken to N415/$1. The exchange rate between the dollar and naira at the end of the year 2020 was N410.25, a signal that the central bank was open to a weakened currency in 2021. So far, it has resisted a weakening.
The exchange rate between the naira and dollar closed at N395/$1 on Tuesday despite recording an intraday high of N416.95 according to data from the FMDQ. At the parallel market, the exchange rate closed at N480/$1.
The central bank has resisted the need to devalue the currency closer to the parallel market, citing the latter as a relatively smaller market that cannot be used to determine the true value of the naira relative to the dollar. Instead, it has introduced several foreign exchange policies aimed at curtailing excess demand for forex and improving liquidity.
For example, foreign remittances are now required to be paid in the currency in which they were remitted. Exporters are also mandated to inflow their proceeds to the I&E window or get kicked out of the banking sector. None of these moves are yet to close the disparity between the exchange rate and the black market and the official NAFEX market.
How the NDF works – The CBN enters into contracts with foreign investors who inflow foreign exchange into the country to hedge against devaluation risks. Using the example of a one-year NDF, a foreign investor brings in $1 million dollars into Nigeria and hopes to repatriate it one year from now.
He now enters into an NDF contract that allows him to convert the naira into dollar at an exchange rate of N452.82 when the time arises. If the exchange rate devalues beyond N452.82 to, say N460/$1, the CBN pays the foreign investor the difference of N7.18 multiplied by the $1 million. This protects the foreign investor against any future risk more than the N452.82 that he would have planned for.
Exchange rate gains at NAFEX window as external reserve plunges further
Naira appreciated against the US Dollar on Monday to close at N409.2 to a dollar as Nigeria’s external reserve loses an additional $36.65 million.
Monday 1st March 2021: The exchange rate between the naira and the US Dollar closed at N409.2/$1 at the Investors and Exporters window.
Naira appreciated against the US Dollar on Monday as it closed at N409.2 to a dollar at the NAFEX window, representing a 0.26% gain when compared to N410.25 recorded on the previous trading day.
Meanwhile, the exchange rate remained stable in the parallel market at N482/$1 on Monday after enduring a depreciation of N2 last week Friday from N480/$1 recorded on the previous day.
Also, forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window decreased by 35% from $37.49 million recorded on Friday to $24.38 million on Monday, 1st March 2021.
Trading at the official NAFEX window
The Naira gained against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Monday to close at N409.2/$1. This represents a N1.05 gain when compared to N10.25 recorded on the previous trading day.
- The opening indicative rate closed at N409.3 to a dollar on Monday. This represents a 6 kobo gain when compared to N409.24/$1 recorded on Friday.
- Also, an exchange rate of N415 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N409.2/$1. It also sold for as low as N381/$1 during intra-day trading.
- Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window dropped to its lowest level in over a month as it declined by 35% on Monday, March 1, 2021.
- According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover decreased from $37.49 million recorded on Friday, February 26, 2021, to $24.38 million on Monday, March 1, 2021.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin gained significantly on Monday to close at $49,629.33 compared to its previous closing of $43,165.78.
- The highly volatile digital asset has risen 76.2% from the year’s low of $27,734 recorded on the 4th of January 2021.
- The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency has however fallen by 16.3% from the year’s high of $58,354 recorded on the 21st of February 2021.
- Meanwhile, Ether ETH=BTSP, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, rose by 8.74% to $1,546.06 on Monday, adding $124.29 to its previous close.
Oil price decline
Brent Crude oil dipped $0.73 on Monday to close at $63.96 representing a 1.13% decline when compared to $64.42 recorded on the previous trading day.
- Although oil prices had rallied earlier in the day after the U.S House passed the stimulus package of $1.9 trillion and another COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in the United States.
- The progress in the stimulus package approved by the House on Saturday after weeks of impasses lifted the sentiment on the oil market on Monday before recording a downturn later in the day to close negative.
- Meanwhile, Analysts are expecting next week’s meeting of OPEC and its allies to result in more supply returning to the market as the oil prices rally over $60 per barrel.
- WTI Crude closed at $60.04 (-0.99%), OPEC Basket (-1.61%), Bonny Light (-0.58%), and Natural Gas (+0.04%).
External reserve dips to lowest in two months
Nigeria’s external reserve declined by 0.1% to stand at $35.1 billion as of February 246h 2021 compared to $35.14 billion recorded as of 25th of February.
- This represents the lowest external reserve position Nigeria has recorded in two-months when it stood at $34.98 billion as of 24, December 2020.
- It is also worth noting that Nigeria lost over $1.2 billion in external reserves in the month of February.
- According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), external reserves declined from $36.3 billion as of 29th of January 2021 to $35.1 billion as of 26th of February 2021.
- The decline in Nigeria’s external reserve has persisted in the month of February, despite rallying oil prices in the month. This is a cause for worry, as Nigeria will hope to boost its reserve in order to meet up with its accumulated needs, hindered by the crash in oil prices earlier in 2020.
Naira falls across forex markets as CBN suggests official rate has been adjusted
The Naira depreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Friday closing at N410.25/$1.
The exchange rate between the naira and the US Dollar depreciated to close at N410.25/$1 at the Investors and Exporters (NAFEX) window, where forex is traded officially. This is as the CBN Governor has suggested that the official exchange rate has been devalued.
Similarly, at the parallel market where forex is traded unofficially, the naira depreciated closing at N482/$1 on Friday, February 26. This represents 0.42% drop when compared to the N480/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.
However, forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window decreased by 79.3% from $212.43 million recorded on Wednesday to $43.97 million on Thursday 25th February 2021.
Trading at the official NAFEX window
The Naira depreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Friday closing at N410.25/$1. This represents a 0.39% drop when compared to N408.67/$1 recorded on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
- The opening indicative rate closed at N409.24 to a dollar on Friday. This represents an 8 kobo drop when compared to N409.16/$1 recorded on Thursday.
- Also, an exchange rate of N415 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N410.25/$1. It also sold for as low as N392/$1 during intra-day trading.
- Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 14.7% on Friday, February 26, 2021.
- According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover decreased from $43.97 million recorded on Thursday, February 25, 2021, to $37.49 million on Friday, February 26, 2021.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, dropped 6.39% to close at $43,165.78 on Sunday, losing $2,944.20 from its previous close.
- Bitcoin has lost 26% from the year’s high of $58,354.14 on February 21, when it went up amid increasing confidence that it will become a mainstream investment and payments vehicle.
- A quick recap of bitcoin’s worst weekly performance since March 2020, shows that the week’s high volatility was not caused by one factor. It was largely triggered by an overheated derivatives market as traders rushed to exit leveraged bets that had accumulated.
- Further drops had coincided with a sell-off in the broader stock market due to rising concerns over surging bond yields, which might reduce the attraction for riskier assets like cryptocurrencies.
- Etherium dropped 8.88% to close at $1,329.46 on Sunday, losing $129.57 from its previous close.
- Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, while disagreeing with the CBN on its recent ban on cryptocurrencies, called for crypto regulation knowing fully well the role it plays in the global financial ecosystem. Osibanjo advised CBN and SEC to create a regulatory road map for cryptocurrencies.
Oil price dip marginally on account of pullbacks
Brent crude oil price closed at $64.42 per barrel, dropping $1.69, the WTI Crude closed at $61.50 per barrel, dropping $2.03, OPEC Basket closed at $65.42, gaining $1.42 while the Bonny Light closed at $64.33 per barrel, dropping $1.20.
- These forecasts have called for an increase in crude oil supply in response to prices climbing above the pre-pandemic level.
- Analysts are also expecting that next week’s meeting of OPEC and its allies will result in more supply returning to the market.
- U.S. crude oil production fell in December to an average 11.063 million barrels per day, when compared to the average of 12.8 million barrels per day that was achieved in December 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest monthly report.
- U.S. crude oil production fell an average of 58,000 barrels per day, the EIA said on Friday.
The steady decline in external reserves
Nigeria’s external has declined by 0.15% to stand at $35.17 billion as of February 24th 2021 compared to $35.23 recorded as of 23rd February.
- This indicates that Nigeria has lost a total of $1.13 billion in external reserve positive in the month of February.
- According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), external reserves declined from $36.3 billion as of 29th of January 2021 to $35.17 billion as of 24th of February.
- It is however worth noting that the decline in Nigeria’s external reserve has persisted despite a sharp increase in global crude oil prices as it is currently over $64 per barrel from $55.04 recorded as at the end of January.
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