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Forex Scarcity: Naira May Hit N500/dollar Next Week

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  • Forex Scarcity: Naira May Hit N500/dollar Next Week

The naira is seen depreciating further and may hit the 500 mark to the United States dollar at the parallel market next week as the greenback scarcity persists and the Central Bank of Nigeria cuts supply to foreign exchange operators.

The local currency was trading around N495 to the dollar on the black market on Thursday, compared to 485 per dollar last week due to dollar shortages, traders said.

The naira was quoted at 310.5 to the dollar on the official interbank window on Thursday by commercial lenders.

“There is an acute shortage of dollars in the market because of supply being slashed by half to Bureau de Change operators from international money transfer agents, pushing the naira down,” one trader said.

The BDC operators are now getting $8,000 each per week from Travelex against the usual $15,000 each per week.

The naira had tumbled against the dollar to 490 on Monday from 487 last Friday, as acute shortage of the greenback continued to batter the economy and the country’s foreign exchange markets.

Before falling to 487 last Friday, the local currency had consecutively closed flat at 485 for four days in the previous week.

The severe shortage of the dollar has put the naira under persistent pressure at both the official and parallel forex markets.

The global crash in the prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner, has brought untold hardships on Nigerians.

Economic and financial experts said unless the lingering dollar supply problem abated, the volatility in the exchange rate and the consequent economic challenges might continue.

“The challenge with the forex market is still the supply issue; price (exchange rate) is determined by the interplay of demand and supply,” a currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, had said.

Economic and financial experts expect the naira to weaken further against the dollar as the Christmas holiday begins this week.

They also argued that the crackdown on the parallel market forex traders and the persistent scarcity of the greenback would make further weakening of the local currency inevitable.

A few weeks ago, the naira closed flat at 470 against the greenback over a period of over a week.

The naira had plunged to 470, down from 455 on the back of a fresh dollar shortage at the official and parallel forex markets.

Dollar shortages have caused many companies to halt operations and lay off workers, compounding an economic crisis exacerbated by the fall in global prices of oil, which accounts for over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s budget revenue.

The CBN has struggled to support the naira as the country’s external reserves continue to fall.

Meanwhile, the currencies of Uganda, Kenya and Zambia are seen trading sideways in the week to next Thursday as most investors closed positions ahead of the end of the year, according to Reuters.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

CBN Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged at 11.5 Percent

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Godwin Emefile

CBN Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged at 11.5 Percent

The Central Bank of Nigeria led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to aid economic recovery from recession.

The MPC lowered the interest rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 percent in the third quarter to boost capital inflow to the real sector of the economy and halt the continued plunge in economic productivity.

The members voted unanimously to leave the rate unchanged because of the poor macroeconomic factors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation and lockdown.

Asymmetric Corridor was also retained at +100/-700 basis points while Cash Reserve Ration (CRR) stood at 27.5 percent. The liquidity Ratio was left at 30 percent, according to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele disclosed this on Tuesday after two days of meeting. He added that the global economic outlook has started showing improvements.

The retention comes as no surprise to experts given the escalating inflation rate, weak economic productivity and the present economic recession.

Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor, CBN said “I do not see them shifting ground on those key areas. It would be counter-intuitive to reduce the MPR in a time of rising inflation.

The government is facing what is increasingly looking like a fiscal crisis, as government revenues continue to fall while a sizeable portion of government funds are going into debt-servicing,” Mailafia stated, noting that “More than 400 federal agencies have been unable to pay salaries to public sector workers for several months a in a row. Nigeria’s economic challenges are compounded by the geopolitical challenges of banditry, violence and terrorism.”

“As expected, I did not see them shifting ground on those key areas. It would be counter-intuitive to reduce the MPR in a time of rising inflation.

“I, therefore, suspected they would want to leave things as they are in order to weather the current storm, in the hope that things will begin to improve by Q2.

“A stable and consistent monetary policy stance can help stabilize the economic outlook while helping actors to anchor long-term rational expectations,” the former CBN stressed.

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Banking Sector

Deposit Money Banks Pay N2.7 Billion as Customers Complaints Rise by 34%

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Deposit Money Banks Pay N2.7 Billion as Customers Complaints Rise by 34%

Nigeria’s Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) refunded banks’ customers N2.67 billion in the first half of 2020, according to the latest findings.

This represents a 63 percent decline when compared to the N7.2 billion refunded in the same period of 2019.

A breakdown shows “Bank received 2,051 complaints from consumers of financial services providers in the first half of 2020, compared with 1,528 complaints in the corresponding period of 2019. Of the total 1,167 or 56.9 percent were complaints on electronic/card, while 125 or 6.1 percent were on excess charges. Other complaints were, mainly, on frauds, dishonoured guarantees and unauthorised deductions/transfers, among others.

“A total of 1,519 complaints, including those outstanding from 2019, were resolved in the review period, compared with 1,548 in the corresponding period of 2019. Total claims in the review period in local currency and foreign currencies amounted to N4.58 billion and $151,647.82, compared with N8.70 billion and $315,475.54, respectively, in the corresponding period of 2019.

“Relief was brought to many of the affected customers as the sums of N2.67 billion and $144,176.68 were refunded in the first half of 2020, compared with the N7.20 billion and $315,229.02, refunded in the corresponding period of 2019.”

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Banking Sector

Ecobank Nigeria Received N50 billion 10-Year Bilateral Subordinated Loan

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ecobank

Ecobank Nigeria Received N50 billion 10-Year Bilateral Subordinated Loan

Ecobank Nigeria announced it has received N50 billion 10-year subordinated Loan.

Adenike Laoye, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Ecobank Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The statement read in part, “The bilateral funding provides stable medium-term liquidity to the balance sheet of Ecobank Nigeria and positively improved its balance sheet ratios, especially the capital adequacy ratio by circa 300 basis points.

The transaction proceeds would be deployed to support Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (“MSMEs”) and Small Corporates.

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