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Interbank Rates Rise as CBN Sells Treasury Bills

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  • Interbank Rates Rise as CBN Sells Treasury Bills 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold about N283 billion ($877.11 million) worth of treasury bills to mop up liquidity, driving up interbank lending rates, traders said on Friday.

Overnight lending rates rose to 20 per cent after the bills was sold but later dropped to 16 per cent towards the market close because the banking system was still in credit to the tune of around N17.44 billion, Reuters reported.

“We expect the market to open in the negative this week, given the volume of OMO bills sold, while the interbank lending rate is seen within the 18-20 per cent range,” one dealer said.

The bank had earlier repaid N160.64 billion worth of matured bills but sold a higher amount to drain liquidity, traders said. It sold the one-year bill on Friday at a rate of 18.5 percent.

In September, the central bank sold Open Market Operations (OMO) bills to soak up about 1.2 trillion naira, in a bid to curb speculation against the currency and shore up fixed income yields to attract investors.

The central bank has said it will keep interest rates tight to attract foreign currency and resolve a chronic dollar shortage brought on by a slump in oil prices.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele recently said the ank will pursue price stability as an anchor for economic growth as well as to attract foreign investors as the country battles recession and rising inflation. Emefiele said in an interview with The Banker Magazine.

“The CBN does not reckon that curbing inflation, attracting foreign investors and supporting growth are mutually exclusive objectives. Rather, the monetary policy committee’s decision reflects the (central bank’s) prioritisation of its core mandate of pursuing price stability as an anchor and enabler for economic growth.

“As we have consistently said, the bank will continue to ensure that its decisions not only consider price and financial system stability, but also issues of employment and growth.”

He reiterated that the reintroduction of a flexible exchange rate system has helped increase transparency in the FX market, cleared an estimated $4 billion backlog in FX demand, reduce arbitrage and speculative opportunities, and create a more predictable structure for businesses to prioritise their FX demand, we believe that this policy has been beneficial to the economy.

“This policy has led to a gradual but steady inflow of new FX into the market. All of these have largely met the bank’s expectations in the short term. We believe that these benefits will become magnified as the policy’s sustenance improves the credibility of the CBN and investors trust us more to return more forcefully as active participants in Nigeria’s FX market.

“Obviously, the reintroduction of the flexible exchange rate system
immediately led to a depreciation of the naira in the interbank market, and helped close the significant spread with the parallel market. Also, this policy encouraged movement of FX demand from the parallel to the interbank market, which also brought the two rates closer.

“Finally, new foreign portfolio inflows into the interbank market and our recent policy of allowing commercial banks to transfer some share of diaspora remittances to bureaux de change have also helped moderate rates in both markets.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Loans

Nigerian Banks’ Borrowings from CBN Surge 835% in a Month, Raising Liquidity Concerns

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Global Banking - Investors King

The Nigerian banking sector has witnessed an unprecedented 835% surge in borrowings from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the span of just one month, igniting concerns over the nation’s liquidity stability.

Data reveals that banks’ dependence on the CBN has reached new heights, with their borrowings skyrocketing from a relatively modest N323.97 billion in August to N3.03 trillion in September. This remarkable increase underscores a growing reliance on the CBN’s support in times of financial stress.

This surge in borrowing activity has primarily been attributed to the CBN’s stringent monetary policies aimed at curbing inflation and managing the demand for foreign exchange. These policies have, in turn, squeezed commercial banks, compelling them to tap into the CBN’s Standing Lending Facility (SLF) for immediate liquidity needs.

Despite the escalating dependence on CBN funds, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank insists that the Nigerian banking sector remains fundamentally robust. MPC member Adenikinju Festus highlighted key indicators, including Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratios, which still align with prudential standards. Furthermore, liquidity ratios have improved, and returns on equity and assets have risen.

However, the banking industry’s persistently high operating costs are raising alarms. In comparison to international standards, Nigerian banks are grappling with substantially higher operating expenses, prompting concerns about their long-term sustainability.

In a parallel development, the CBN’s Development Finance Department has disbursed a total of N9.714 trillion to various sectors of the economy over the past three years, with manufacturing and industries receiving the largest share at 32.6%.

Other sectors, including energy, agriculture, services, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), export, and health, have also benefited significantly from these disbursements.

While the CBN remains committed to fostering sustainable economic growth, the surging dependence of Nigerian banks on short-term borrowings from the central bank is casting shadows on the sector’s long-term stability.

As Nigeria grapples with these liquidity concerns, the financial industry and regulators face the challenging task of charting a course towards a more resilient and sustainable banking environment.

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Banking Sector

Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting

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Central Bank of Nigeria - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.

Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.

In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”

While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.

President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.

The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.

The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.

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Banking Sector

Currency in Circulation Surges by N1.7 Trillion Amidst Rising Cash Transactions

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New Naira Notes

The currency in circulation in Nigeria has surged by N1.7 trillion, driven by a surge in cash transactions.

According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as of the end of August, the currency in circulation rose to N2.7 trillion.

This substantial increase in currency in circulation comes after a 235.03 percent dip to N982.1 billion as of the end of February 2023 from N3.29 trillion at the close of October 2022, primarily due to the naira redesign policy spearheaded by the CBN.

However, the currency in circulation began its steady ascent once the policy concluded. Cash that had been previously withdrawn from circulation to promote electronic payments was reintroduced into the economy, contributing to this significant boost.

The data obtained from the CBN reveals that a whopping N2.3 trillion was removed from circulation during this period.

The CBN defines currency in circulation as all legal tender currency in the hands of the general public and within the vaults of Deposit Money Banks, excluding the central bank’s vaults.

The CBN further elucidated its methodology, stating that it employed an “accounting/statistical/withdrawals & deposits approach” to calculate the currency in circulation in Nigeria. This approach meticulously tracks the movement of currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.

Under this methodology, each withdrawal made by a Deposit Money Bank at one of CBN’s branches results in an increase in currency in circulation (CIC), while each deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches leads to a decrease in CIC.

This surge in currency in circulation reflects the evolving landscape of financial transactions in Nigeria and underscores the importance of flexible monetary policies in facilitating economic growth and stability.

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