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Naira falls to N465/$1 as forex ban on food imports pile pressure on black market

The Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N465/$1 on Wednesday.

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Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window remained stable for the third consecutive trading day to close at N386/$1 during intraday trading on Wednesday, September 16.

In sharp contrast, the naira remained depreciated to close at N465/$1 at the parallel market as the ban on forex allocation for food and fertilizer imports seems to be putting pressure on the market.

Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N465/$1 on Wednesday, according to information from Abokifx, a prominent FX tracking website. This represents a N5 drop when compared with the N460/$1 that it exchanged on Tuesday, September 15

Currency Developments

  • The local currency has strengthened by about 7.8% within the last one week at the black market, as the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers in order to try to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.
  • The CBN has sold over $150 million to BDCs since the resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020. This was expected to inject more liquidity to the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
  • However, the exchange rate against the dollar has failed to sustain the initial gains made after the CBN announced plans to provide liquidity.
  • BDC operators have urged the apex bank to reconsider the margin allowed for the currency traders as it was inadequate to meet their expenses.
  • We also noted that forex traders monitored during the previous week appear to hoard forex as they anticipated further depreciation in the market.
  • There has been a sharp drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, although demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.

NAFEX: The Naira remained stable against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Wednesday, closing at N386/$1.

  • This was exactly the same rate that it exchanged for on Tuesday, September 15.
  • The opening indicative rate was N386 to a dollar on Wednesday. This represents a 50 kobo gain when compared to the N386.50 to a dollar that was recorded on Tuesday.
  • The N395.13 to a dollar is the highest rate during intraday trading before closing at the rate of N386/$1. It also sold for as low as N380.50/$1 during intraday trading.

Forex Turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window increased by 406.6% on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

  • According to the data tracked  from FMDQ, forex turnover rose sharply from $55.71 million on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, to $282.23 million on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is still battling to clear the huge backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate back their funds.
  • The drop in forex supply after the previous day’s record increase reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
  • The average daily forex sale for last week was about $34.5 million which represents a drop from the $58.52 million that was recorded the previous week.
  • Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of August was about $857 million compared to $937 million in July.
  • In a bid to further reduce the demand for the scarce foreign exchange and reduce the pressure on the country’s external reserve, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the CBN to stop forex allocation for fertilizer and food imports. This move seems to have increased the pressure on the black market as importers seek for an alternative.
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CURRENCIES

Naira gains at official market as CBN moves to launch digital currency in October

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Thursday 22nd July 2021:  The exchange rate between the naira and the US dollar closed at N411.63/$1 at the official forex market.

Naira appreciated against the US dollar on Thursday, 22nd July 2021 to close at N411.63/$1. This represents a 4 kobo gain when compared to N411.67/$1 that was recorded on Monday, 19th July 2021.

At the parallel market, however, the naira remained stable against the US dollar at an exchange rate of N503/$1, the same rate that was recorded on Monday 19th July 2021.

However, the dollar supply at the official forex market dropped by 18.1% on Thursday to stand at $137.83 million as external reserve continues its rebound.

Also, an earlier report from Themoneymetrics suggests that the apex bank has concluded plans to launch the pilot scheme of its digital currency by October 1, 2021.

Trading at the official NAFEX window

Naira appreciated against the US dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Thursday to close at N411.63/$1 as against the N411.67/$1 recorded on Monday, 19th July 2021.

The opening indicative rate stood at N411.57/$1 on Thursday, representing a 47 kobo drop when compared to N411.10/$1 recorded in the previous trading session.

An exchange rate of N412.78/$1 was the highest rate recorded during intra-day trading before it settled at N411.63/$1, while it sold for as low as N403.22/$1 during intra-day trading.

Meanwhile, forex turnover at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 18.1% on Thursday, 22nd July 2021.

According to data tracked from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $168.19 million recorded on Monday, 19th July 2021 to $137.83 million on Thursday, 22nd July 2021.

Cryptocurrency watch

The world’s most popular and largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, continued its rebound for the second consecutive day to close at $32,267.63 as of Thursday evening, rising by 0.70%.

Bitcoin steadied as traders mulled the largest cryptocurrency’s next move following a rebound stoked by comments from Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey and Cathie Wood.

Other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Dogecoin, held onto gains, as did the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index.

Some $1.3 trillion has been wiped off the market value of cryptocurrencies since mid-May.

Bitcoin has faced a range of obstacles, including stepped-up regulatory scrutiny in China, Europe and the U.S. and concerns about the energy needed by the computers underpinning it. Investors have also generally become more cautious about speculative assets.

Meanwhile, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum, was up by 2.16%, to close at $2,024.34.

Crude oil

Crude oil prices held its biggest gain in 3 months amid expectations that recovering demand will soon tighten global markets as Brent crude rose by 2.16% to close at $73.79 per barrel on Thursday evening.

Oil rose to the highest in a week amid expectations that recovering demand from the U.S. to India and Europe will further tighten global crude markets.

Oil has rebounded after an almost 8% loss on Monday as fears around the delta variant and its impact on economic recovery shook broader markets.

The price plunge came just after a weekend meeting of OPEC+, at which the 23-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia finalized plans to restore halted production.

Since then, the market has been recovering as traders anticipate that OPEC+’s scheduled output increases aren’t large enough to avert a shortfall in the coming months.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the world’s top oil importer, China, has started to release over 20 million barrels of crude oil from its strategic reserve in a move seen as seeking to curb the recent oil price rally.

Brent Crude rose by 2.16% to close at $73.79 per barrel, WTI dropped by 0.24% to close at $71.74 after initially climbing 2.3% earlier on Thursday. Natural Gas dropped by 0.20% to close at $3.995, while OPEC basket dropped by 4.44% to close at $69.93 per barrel.

However, the Bonny Light rose by 3.70% to close at $70.87 per barrel.

External reserve

Nigeria’s foreign reserve continued its rebound as it rose by $53 million on Monday, 19th July 2021, to close at $33.171 billion as against the N33.118 billion that was recorded on Friday, 16th July 2021.

Nigeria’s reserve had recorded a significant reduction in recent times, losing about $219.42 million month-to-date and about $2.27 billion from January to date.

The change in tide to a positive is an indication of increased forex earnings, which would come as a relief for Nigeria, as an increase in external reserve will help Nigeria meet up with pent-up financial obligations.

The increase will also serve as a relief for Nigeria’s exchange rate, which had been on a downturn lately, crossing the N500/$1 mark at the parallel market.

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CURRENCIES

CBN to launch digital currency by October

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The Central Bank of Nigeria with its stakeholders outlined its digital currency initiative via a private webinar held today.

The Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele had earlier announced that the bank will be working on a central bank digital currency during the 306th Banker’s Committee meeting.

According to private sources, the pilot scheme will be launched on October 1st, 2021.

The press briefing delivered by the Director IT department, Rakiya Mohammed, at the end of the meeting further explained that the Bank had been conducting research in regards to central bank digital currencies since 2017 and may conduct a proof of concept before the end of this year.

The project name is tagged Project GIANT and it will use the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain.

Nigeria’s central bank further revealed that the importance of eNaira includes Macro management and growth, cross border trade facilitation, financial inclusion, monetary policy effectiveness, improved payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social intervention.

The Nigerian Apex Bank also underlined the benefits for the fintech ecosystem that include enhanced operational efficiency, opportunities for fintech start-ups in building services/products like financial inclusion that will contribute to the economic growth, and the creation of a new system complimenting the traditional payment system.

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CURRENCIES

Naira falls to N506/$ at black market as dollar supply slides by 5.77%

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Friday 16th July 2021: The exchange rate between the naira and the US dollar closed at N410.38/$1 at the official forex market.

Naira appreciated against the US dollar on Friday, 16th July 2021 to close at N410.38/$1. This represents an 82 kobo gain when compared to N411.2/$1 that was recorded on Thursday, 15th July 2021.

At the parallel market, however, the naira depreciated against the US dollar at an exchange rate of N506/$1, a loss of N1 when compared to the N505/$1 that was recorded on Thursday 15th July 2021 and the first depreciation since Friday, 9th July 2021.

On the other hand, the dollar supply at the official forex market dropped by 5.77% on Friday to stand at $116.55 million.

Trading at the official NAFEX window

Naira appreciated against the US dollar at the Investors and Exporters window on Friday to close at N410.38/$1 as against the N411.2/$1 recorded on Thursday, 15th July 2021.

  • The opening indicative rate stood at N411.20/$1 on Friday, representing a 3 kobo drop when compared to N411.17/$1 recorded in the previous trading session.
  • An exchange rate of N412.76/$1 was the highest rate recorded during intra-day trading before it settled at N410.38/$1, while it sold for as low as N400/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Meanwhile, forex turnover at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 5.77% on Friday, 16th July 2021.
  • According to data tracked from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $123.69 million recorded on Thursday, 15th July 2021 to $116.55 million on Friday, 16th July 2021.

Cryptocurrency watch

The world’s most popular and largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, recorded a significant decline on Sunday evening to close at $31,579.93, dropping by 1.82%

  • Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey has revealed that his fintech company, Square is building a new unit that is focused on creating and implementing decentralized finance (DeFi) services on the Bitcoin network.
  • The Malaysian authorities have destroyed 1,069 cryptocurrency rigs after they were confiscated in raids earlier this year.
  • The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum also dipped significantly by 4.45% to close at $1,886.67.
  • Ethereum co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio will be severing his major ties to the cryptocurrency industry and selling his current venture Decentral to start a philanthropic foundation in the next year.

Crude oil

The crude oil market extended its bearish run on Sunday, 18th July 2021 as Brent Crude dropped below the $73 per barrel mark as the market assesses the impact of higher crude supply from the OPEC+ group after a reported compromise between key OPEC members, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

  • Brent Crude dropped significantly by 1.37% to close at $72.58 per barrel, WTI also dropped significantly by 1.30% to close at $70.88, Natural Gas rose by 0.90% to close at $3.707, while OPEC basket dropped by 2.84% to close at $73.15 per barrel.
  • However, the Bonny Light rose by 1.44% to close at $75.23 per barrel.
  • OPEC and its allies agreed to gradually add more oil supplies to the market, ending a two-week spat between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The agreement means the cartel will boost output by 400,000 barrels a day each month from August, continuing until all of its halted output has been revived.
  • The multifaceted agreement gives consumers a clearer view of how quickly OPEC+ will restore the 5.8 million barrels a day of production it’s still withholding, since making deep cuts last year in the initial stages of the pandemic.
  • Meanwhile, earlier, oil prices recorded their worst week since March under the double blow of additional OPEC supply coming to markets and unfavourable fuel inventory data from the United States.
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported yet another sizeable crude oil inventory draw with builds in both gasoline and middle distillates, at 1 million barrels and 3.7 million barrels, respectively.

External reserve

Nigeria’s foreign reserve rose by $1 million on Thursday, 15th July 2021, to close at $33.104 billion as against the N33.103 billion that was recorded on Wednesday, 14th July 2021.

  • Nigeria’s reserve had recorded a significant reduction in recent times, losing about $219.42 million month-to-date and about $2.27 billion from January to date.
  • The change in tide to a positive is an indication of increased forex earnings, which would come as a relief for Nigeria, as an increase in external reserve will help Nigeria meet up with pent-up financial obligations.
  • The increase will also serve as a relief for Nigeria’s exchange rate, which had been on a downturn lately, crossing the N500/$1 mark at the parallel market.
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