By Omodele Adigun
There was slight improvement in the value of the Naira Friday at the parallel market as it was sold for N395 to the US Dollar just as two banks kick started the sale of foreign exchange to the Bureax de Change operators.
This translated to N5 gain to the local currency which had slumped to N400/$ at the black market on Thursday.
However, at the inter-bank market, the Naira depreciated further to N318.91 , down from the N315.06 to the dollar from the previous day.
Commenting on the latest development, the President of the Association of Bureau de Change (ABDC)Operators Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, who had earlier expressed optimism that the Naira would rebound, said:
“The exchange rate today(Friday) was N394, N395/$.As of today only two banks indicated interest to sell the proceeds of international money transfer which they were asked to sell to us. They said they would sell to us at the inter-bank rate plus one per cent. More banks said they would come by Monday(today).”
On the volume sold to them, he said it was $15,000 per bid maximum, adding that “the bigger banks were unable to give because of logistics. That would be on Monday also for collection.”
The Naira has dropped steadily on the black market last week after opening the week at 381. Traders blamed the situation on high dollar demand from holiday makers travelling overseas for vacation.
Recall that CBN told international money transfer operators to pay dollar proceeds from customer transfers into local commercial banks in naira, while selling the dollars themselves to bureaux de change outlets.
The bank hopes the move will help narrow the yawning gap between the official and black market rates and boost dollar liquidity, traders say.
It had hoped that the need for a black market would be erased by scrapping the dollar peg and thereby attracting foreign investment.
But dollar drought persists and has curbed interbank activity, despite the central bank hiking interest rates last week and mopping up naira liquidity to shore up debt yields.
Some past suppliers of dollars, including oil firms, are now selling some of their hard currency directly to petrol importers under an arrangement with the government, traders say.