Bloomberg News

Naira Heads for First Gain in Four Days on Dollar Sales Bets

December 15, 2011

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s naira may be headed for the first gain in four days against the dollar on bets that the central bank and some oil companies sold the U.S. currency to some lenders.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer gained as much as 0.3 percent and was trading up 0.2 percent to 162.30 per dollar as of 11:25 a.m. in Lagos, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nigeria sold $250 million at a foreign-currency auction yesterday, less than the $256.7 million demanded by lenders, with the marginal rate, which is also used as the prevailing exchange rate at 156.70 per dollar, unchanged from the previous auction, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Oil companies and the central bank sold an unspecified amount of dollars to some banks yesterday, which has helped to ease the shortfall at the official auction and lifted naira in today’s trading,” Tunde Ladipo, chief executive of Lagos-based Valuechain Investment Ltd., which trades in currencies, said by phone today. Muhammed Abdullahi, a spokesman for the central bank in Abuja, didn’t immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The central bank on Nov. 21 lowered the midpoint of its exchange-rate band at the auctions to 155 naira per dollar from 150 naira as rising imports and weakening oil prices increased pressure on the currency. Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy depends on oil exports for more than 95 percent of foreign income, according to the Finance Ministry.

Ghana’s cedi depreciated less than 0.1 percent to 1.6395 per dollar as of 11:25 a.m. in Accra, the nation’s capital.

--Editors: Dulue Mbachu, Peter Branton

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at eonu1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net


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