Bloomberg News

Naira Weakens Most in a Month on Central Bank Ban: Lagos Mover

April 17, 2012

Nigeria’s naira fell the most in more than a month as demand increased from finished goods and general merchandise importers following a ban imposed on them by the central bank.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer depreciated 0.2 percent to 157.625 naira per dollar as of 4.45 p.m. on the interbank market in Lagos, the commercial capital, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Finished goods and general merchandise importers do not qualify to access the official foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria said in a publication on April 10. The bank is the dominant supplier of foreign exchange in the country followed by crude exporters.

“Increased demand from finished goods importers and the fact that there was just a single auction by the central bank last week owing to the public holiday are pushing the naira to depreciation,” Sewa Wusu, a currency analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said by phone today. “The ban can only affect the market only when the demand from the importers accumulates as finished products are a small percentage of imports.”

Nigeria’s foreign-exchange reserves rose 9.7 percent this year to $36.1 billion as of April 13, according to data compiled by the central bank.

Borrowing costs on domestic 2019 bonds rose 3 basis points to 15.27 percent, according to April 16 prices on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the West African nation’s $500 million of dollar bonds fell 10 basis points to 5.419 percent.

Ghana’s cedi depreciated 0.3 percent to 1.8149 per dollar in Accra, the weakest on record since at least June 1993.

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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