CBN clears $150m forex forwards

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday, sold a total of $150 million to authorised forex dealers in the interbank at the highest bid rate of N335/$1 and a marginal rate of N320/$1.

Confirming the details of the sale to the dealers, the Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Isaac Okorafor, said the highest rate of N335 was the same as the last auction rate of March 8, 2017. He, however, added that there was a change in the marginal rate from N315/$1 during the last auction to Wednesday’s marginal rate of N320.

The CBN spokesman expressed confidence that the pressure hitherto faced by both small and big-end users would be totally overcome soon.

Meanwhile, the apex bank has approved dollar sale to more Bureaux de Change (BDCs) to make them take part in a weekly dollar sale to boost liquidity and support the naira, which is weak on the black market.

According to Aminu Gwadabe, President of Nigeria’s BDC operators, said the central bank cleared 3,124 bureaux for this week’s $25 million auction to be sold by international money transfer firm, Travelex, at N381 per dollar. This is an improvement on the 3,114 bureaux approved last week, Gwadabe said.

In a related development, the CBN said it had sold more treasury bills than originally planned at an auction after it lured demand for one year debt with yields above inflation. The bank said it raised N253.8 billion at an auction on Wednesday, N40 billion higher than it had offered to sell.

It offered the one-year bill at 18.55 per cent to raise N166.3 billion, against a yield of 18.49 per cent at its last auction and higher than February’s inflation rate of 17.78 per cent.

The central bank has been selling bills with yields below inflation in recent months to curb borrowing costs as it aims to fund half of this year’s forecast budget deficit of N2.36 trillion through the domestic debt market.

Yields on the six-month bill were unchanged from the last sale at 17.20 per cent to fetch N48.5 billion, while a N39 billion bill due in three months was sold at 13.6 per cent as against the previous 13.65 per cent. Total demand stood at N216.38 billion against N312.44 billion at the last sale.

Yesterday, the debt office also issued more bonds than it originally planned at an auction after slowing inflation rate helped it offer debt at lower yields.

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