Naira to Suffer Additional Devaluation, According to MTEF Report
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning said the Nigerian Naira may suffer further devaluation against the US dollar given the present economic situation.
In the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy (MTEF/FSP) report, the ministry said the nation is expected to lose around US$26 billion in oil revenue this year, a situation projected to substantially hurt the central bank’s ability to intervene in the foreign exchange market and further weigh on the Naira value.
The MTEF report said “The official exchange rate has also been adjusted upwards to N360/US$1 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). At the Importers & Exporters Foreign Exchange (IEFX) window, where the bulk of foreign exchange transactions are consummated, the exchange rate recently depreciated from about N362/US$1 in January 2020 to over N385/US$1.
“While the CBN continues to make strenuous efforts to stabilize the exchange rate, it is generally expected that the Naira will suffer further devaluation as Nigeria is projected to lose about US$26 billion in oil revenues, its principal source of foreign currency.”
Also, emphasis was placed on the nation’s weak foreign reserves.
According to the report, while Nigeria’s current foreign reserves of $36 billion is enough to support imports for seven months, weak revenue generation amid low oil prices may impede liquidity availability.
This was after President Muhammadu Buhari said the nation suffered a moderate economic decline during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the rest of the world.
The president said “We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
“In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.”
The Naira continues to trade at N450 against the US dollar on the black market despite the central bank setting its official exchange rate at N360 to a US dollar. This means except the nation’s foreign revenue picked up with moderate capital importation, Naira will continue to remain under pressure.
Bureaux De Change Association Warns Against Hoarding of US Dollar, Says Speculators will Lose
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on Sunday warned currency speculators and hoarders of impending losses if they do not desist from creating bogus foreign exchange rates for personal gain.
In a statement titled, “ABCON warns speculators will lose money as CBN has enough reserves to fund market, defend naira”, the association said speculators and hoarders are taking a huge risk as the Central Bank of Nigeria has enough liquidity to defend the Naira and maintain stability against global foreign counterparts.
This is coming few days after the local currency plunged to N484 to a United States dollar and N620 against the British Pound at the black market due to the rising demand and persistent scarcity that most hoarders interpreted as lack of financial muscle on the part of the central bank, especially if the nation’s falling foreign reserves is factored in.
However, ABCON said with about $36 billion foreign reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria has the necessary means to punish speculators and hoarders they described as enemies of the nation.
President of ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, explained that the central bank is working to unify the nation’s foreign exchange rates and eliminate past challenges that have made market determined forex rates almost impossible.
He said “I think that the CBN by pushing the official foreign exchange rate from N306 to N379 to the dollar is in line with market demand.
“It has also helped to narrow the official-parallel market rates gap that formed the basis of ridiculous speculations among unpatriotic forex dealers and spectators.”
Gwadabe, however, advised the Federal Government to improve security surveillance at the nation’s land borders to checkmate illegal foreign currency cash deals.
He also asked the central bank to raise liquidity ratio of bureau de change operators to discourage dollar holdings.
Forex Scarcity Plunges Naira to N620 Against British Pound
Naira Exchanges at N620 to a British Pound at Black Market
Lingering foreign exchange scarcity has plunged the Nigerian Naira to a record-low of N620 against the British Pound at the black market.
The declined by a record N14 from the N607 it exchanged to a single British Pound on Thursday to N620 on Friday, signaling rising demand for forex amid persistent scarcity.
Experts have attributed the surge in demand to the usual push for the end of the year sales by importers and businesses looking to close the sales gap created by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The local currency plunged against global counterparts by the most in recent months on Friday. The Naira declined by N13 against the European common currency to exchange at N570.
Similarly, the Naira lost another N4 against the United States dollar to exchanged at N484, further down from N480 it was sold on Thursday.
Experts are predicting further decline for the Nigerian Naira, largely due to the weak macro fundamentals, overexposure to crude oil uncertainty and US Dollar.
US Dollar Gains Against the Nigerian Naira to US$/N480
The United States Dollar continues its bullish run against the Nigerian Naira on the black market on Friday.
The American Dollar gained N5 against the Nigerian Naira to exchange at US$1 to N480 across key black markets in Nigeria.
The US Dollar has been on a bullish run since COVID-19 pandemic plunged oil prices and distrupted Nigeria’s foreign revenue generation at a time global supply chains were grounded and economies shut to curb the spread of ravaging COVID-19.
The Central Bank of Nigeria devalued the Naira twice to accommodate the nation’s new reality and ease pressure on the weak foreign reserves, still rising capital flight among foreign investors looking to exit the economy and weak foreign direct investment impedes the apex bank’s ability to service the economy with enough US dollar.
Therefore, persistent scarcity due CBN’s failure to supply enough liqudity in an economy that depends on import for almost 90 percent of its consumption plunged the Naira value in recent months.
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