Naira falls to all time low at the unofficial forex  market

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

The Naira depreciated further at the black market, where forex are traded unofficially by 2 naira to a dollar to close at an all time low of 462 to a dollar on Wednesday.

This is at variance to 460 naira to a dollar on Tuesday, which is the lowest Naira value in three years. The exchange rate at the beginning of the week was 460 naira to a dollar, this is thus the first time, the naira has fallen below the 460 mark.

As reported by Nairametrics, the exchange rate, in contrast to the free fall of the naira at the unofficial market, the Naira exchange rate at the Investors and Exporter window official market remained stable on Wednesday.

The Naira closed at N386.50 to a dollar, the same rate that was recorded on Tuesday, June 30.

The opening indicative rate was 387.50 to a dollar on Wednesday. This figure represents a loss of 2 Kobo in comparison to N387.10 opening rate recorded on Tuesday.

Nigeria continues to maintain multiple exchange rates comprising the CBN official rate, the BDC rates, and the NAFEX (I&E window).
Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government is mulling the unification of the multiple exchange rates in a bid to increase the amount available for state governments to share.

The depreciation of the Naira in the black market can be attributed to the shortage of dollar supply which is outweighed by demand as that puts further pressure on the forex market.

The negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global oil prices has constrained the CBN’s capacity to intervene satisfactorily in the foreign exchange market as dollar inflow has slumped.

The forex scarcity and drop in revenue put pressure on the value of the naira despite CBN’s effort to maintain stability across the forex segments. The CBN is expected to continue with its intervention in the foreign exchange market to ensure market stability.

On Wednesday, July 1, foreign exchange turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window continued with its downward slide  as it dropped by 28%  on that day. This is according to data from the FMDQOTC, an exchange where forex is traded by foreign investors and exporters.

According to data tracked by Nairametrics, forex turnover  fell  from $14.37 million on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, to as low as $10.37 million on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, representing a 28% drop on a day-to-day basis.

This is a second consecutive day of decline this week and also the lowest turnover recorded in the I&E window since last week.

This further reinforces the volatile and uncertain nature of the foreign exchange market with trading volumes apparently irregular and piling pressure on the exchange rate at the NAFEX market and by extension the parallel market.

The volatility and uncertainty of the forex market seem to persist due to liquidity shortages across markets.

Liquidity remains quite tight in the foreign exchange market, with the average turnover in the I&E market significantly down to about $45.5 million in the month of May compared to $297.5 million that was recorded in January.

The accumulated demand for forex in the market is thought to range between $1.5 and $5 billion depending on which analyst you are speaking to.

Forex shortages have persisted since the crash in oil prices coincided with the global lockdown due to COVID-19. The rise in demand and contrasting drop in supply has called for another round of devaluation, which the CBN has insisted it has plans to implement. A devaluation last occurred in March. The activities of the speculators seem to have continued unabated.

Speculators have thus patronized the parallel market, otherwise known as the black market, thereby widening the gap between it and the I&E window. The CBN maintains that the perceived demand cannot be substantiated as the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic suggest demand should be low due to travel restrictions and drop-in economic activities.

The further decline in liquidity could further fuel speculations in the black market where the exchange rate has traded at a premium of N60+ over the last few weeks.

The CBN claims most of the demand being cited is not represented by any official documentation and that it has informed foreign investors with genuine forex demand to be “patient” and that they will get their forex.



About the author

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa

Joseph Chukwuma Oputa is the Managing Editor of Maslow Businessnews and Physicians News publications published by Maslow Business News Publications, Lagos, Nigeria.

Joseph Oputa is a proud Alumnus of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State.

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