© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Naira depreciates to its weakest level since 2017 in black market
Nigerian currency, the Naira has depreciated to its weakest level since February 2017 in the unofficial black market after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cut supply to dealers.
According to abokiFX.com, a forex trading website, the local unit traded at 415 Naira per dollar.
However, official CBN rate of Naira against the dollar stood at N360 as at Monday, March 30, 2020, on its official website.
The CBN announced last week that it was suspending foreign exchange sales to Bureau De Change until further notice. A move it said was in line with curtailing the spread of coronavirus in the country.
This was after devaluing the exchange rate used by foreign bond and stock investors, which had been largely pegged since 2017, by about 4 per cent to N380 per dollar.
ADonald Ademola, a Financial Analyst at Magnartis Portfolio Managers who spoke to The ICIR, said “There is an expectation that Nigeria will have to let its currency weaken more.”
“Bureau De Change account for 30 per cent of foreign exchange transactions and if supply is not coming from there, even people with dollars will hoard,” Robert Omotunde, an analyst at Afrinvest said in a report.
“The foreign reserve is not at a comfortable level. If the major source of supply is now pressured, the exchange rate will feel the pain and the situation will worsen,” Omotunde said.
Chief Executive Officer of Flying Eagles Bureau De Change, Sadiq Abdullahi who spoke to The ICIR said: “People are hoarding dollars, thinking when things become normal they’ll make a profit.”
The CBN sold more than $12 billion to bureau de change operators last year.
Zenith Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Plc have cut how much foreign currency customers can spend overseas due to expected dollar shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the slump in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export.