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Forex

Nigerian Companies Settle Dollar Debts as Central Bank Reforms Bolster Forex Liquidity

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Forex Weekly Outlook March 6 - 10

In a significant development for Nigeria’s corporate landscape, several major companies have begun to settle their long-standing dollar debts following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent reforms that bolstered dollar supply.

The reforms have provided much-needed relief to businesses grappling with forex scarcity and overdue obligations.

Among the notable firms taking advantage of the improved forex liquidity are MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, BUA Foods Plc, and Cadbury Schweppes Overseas Ltd.’s Nigeria unit.

These companies, some of the largest players in Africa’s most populous nation, have reported that they are now able to access dollars to meet their foreign currency obligations, marking a stark reversal from previous struggles with forex shortages.

MTN Nigeria, the country’s leading mobile operator, disclosed that it utilized the enhanced liquidity in the forex market to significantly reduce its letters of credit obligations by 41.6%, slashing it down to $243.4 million from $416.6 million in December.

Chief Financial Officer Modupe Kadiri emphasized this move as a strategic measure to mitigate losses during an investor conference call last week.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s reform measures, implemented since the beginning of the year, have been instrumental in driving this positive change. These measures include raising the benchmark interest rate by 600 basis points to attract capital inflows and abandoning the currency’s peg, allowing the market to determine the exchange rate of the naira.

After years of unconventional currency management that deterred investors and exacerbated forex scarcity, these reforms have injected new life into Nigeria’s forex market.

According to Tatonga Rusike, a sub-Saharan Africa economist at Bank of America Corp., portfolio flows have responded positively to the reforms, leading to a substantial increase in average daily forex turnover, which has more than doubled from 2023 lows.

Recent data from Chapel Hill Denham indicates a remarkable surge in dollar liquidity, with a 90% jump to $160.8 million on Tuesday compared to the previous day.

Also, the central bank’s proactive approach, including selling dollars to money traders to enhance distribution to retail users, has further contributed to the improved forex liquidity environment.

The positive impact of increased dollar liquidity is evident across various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

BUA Foods, the country’s largest food and beverage company, reported a 6% reduction in debts during the first quarter of this year, attributed to improved dollar availability.

Similarly, Cadbury Nigeria has been able to fulfill all its dollar requirements from the official market since the beginning of the year, leading to a drop in local-currency cash reserves.

Economists and industry experts view the enhanced forex liquidity as a welcome development that provides companies with a much-needed reprieve to settle debts and navigate the effects of currency devaluation.

Adetilewa Adebajo, economist and chief executive at Lagos-based CFG Advisory, emphasized the importance of sustaining liquidity to support the turnaround desired by companies.

He stressed the need for positive real rates, matching interest rates with inflation, and fiscal responsibility to ensure continued economic stability and growth.

As Nigerian companies take advantage of improved forex liquidity to address long-standing financial challenges, the success of the central bank’s reforms will be closely monitored, with hopes for sustained liquidity and economic recovery in the months ahead.

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

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Forex

CBN Revamps Regulatory Guidelines for Bureau De Change Operators

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Bureau De Change Operator

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has initiated a comprehensive overhaul of regulatory guidelines governing Bureau De Change (BDC) operators.

Following extensive consultations with stakeholders, the CBN has introduced a series of pivotal changes aimed at enhancing the efficiency and transparency of BDC operations across the country.

Key among the reforms is the removal of the mandatory caution deposit previously set at N200 million for tier-1 BDC license holders, as well as the waiver of the N50 million deposit requirement for tier-2 license holders.

This move is expected to alleviate the financial burden on BDCs and enable them to allocate resources more effectively.

Furthermore, the non-refundable annual license renewal fee, which previously amounted to N5 million for tier-1 BDCs and N1 million for tier-2 BDCs, has been withdrawn.

This adjustment seeks to streamline the regulatory framework and eliminate unnecessary financial obligations for BDC operators.

Haruna Mustafa, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department at the CBN, emphasized the importance of these changes in optimizing BDC operations and fostering financial inclusivity.

Mustafa underscored the need for existing BDCs to reapply for licenses based on their preferred tier or license category, as outlined in the revised guidelines.

Also, new license applicants must adhere to the specified conditions for their chosen BDC category.

Existing BDCs are required to meet the minimum capital requirements for their selected license category within six months from the effective date of the guidelines, ensuring a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework.

In alignment with market needs and regulatory standards, the guidelines have also been updated to revise permissible activities for BDCs.

These revisions aim to enhance market efficiency and ensure compliance with corporate governance requirements, as well as anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing provisions.

The CBN has announced that the receipt and processing of license applications will commence from the effective date of the guideline.

Interested applicants are directed to submit the necessary information electronically to bdclicense@cbn.gov.ng, including the name of the promoter, name of the proposed BDC, email address, and phone number of the promoter.

These comprehensive guidelines replace the previous operational guidelines issued in November 2015 and underscore the CBN’s commitment to fostering a robust and transparent forex market.

The Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines for BDC Operations are scheduled to take effect from June 3, 2024, signaling a new era for BDC operators in Nigeria.

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Naira

Black Market Dollar (USD) to Naira (NGN) Exchange Rate Today 23rd May 2024

The black market, also known as the parallel market or Aboki fx, US dollar to Nigerian Naira exchange rate as of May 23rd, 2024 stood at 1 USD to ₦1,500.

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naira

The black market, also known as the parallel market or Aboki fx, US dollar to Nigerian Naira exchange rate as of May 23rd, 2024 stood at 1 USD to ₦1,500.

Recent data from Bureau De Change (BDC) reveals that buyers in the Lagos Parallel Market purchased a dollar for ₦1,470 and sold it at ₦1,460 on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024.

This indicates a decline in the Naira exchange rate when compared to today’s rate.

The black market rate plays a crucial role for investors and participants, offering a real-time reflection of currency dynamics outside official or regulated exchange channels.

Monitoring these rates provides insights into the immediate value of the Naira against the dollar, guiding decision-making processes for individuals and businesses alike.

It’s important to note that while the black market offers valuable insights, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not officially recognize its existence.

The CBN advises individuals engaging in forex transactions to utilize official banking channels, emphasizing the importance of compliance with regulatory frameworks.

How much is dollar to naira today in the black market

For those navigating the currency exchange landscape, here are the latest figures for the black market exchange rate:

  • Buying Rate: ₦1,500
  • Selling Rate: ₦1,490

As economic conditions continue to evolve, staying informed about currency exchange rates empowers individuals to make informed financial decisions. While the black market provides immediate insights, adherence to regulatory guidelines ensures stability and transparency in forex transactions.

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Naira

Naira Loses 1.47% Against Dollar, Hits N1,500 on Black Market

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New Naira notes

The Nigerian naira faced a downturn on Wednesday against the US dollar as the local shed 1.47 percent at the black market to N1,500 per dollar.

This development comes hot on the heels of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) decision to raise its monetary policy rate (MPR) by 150 basis points to 26.25 percent.

Just a day prior, the naira had exhibited resilience against the dollar following a two-day of gains that brought it down from its recent peak of N1,530 on May 14, 2024.

The CBN’s move to raise the interest rate was met with anticipation and speculation across financial markets, and its impact on the naira’s value became evident soon after.

Traders at the black market reported a noticeable surge in demand for the dollar, albeit with limited availability in substantial quantities, exacerbating the currency’s depreciation.

Contrastingly, at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) on Tuesday, the naira experienced a slight uptick, appreciating marginally by 0.23 percent.

The dollar was quoted at N1,465.68 compared to N1,468.99 recorded on Monday, as per data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited.

During trading on Tuesday, the intraday high closed at N1,549 per dollar, displaying strength compared to the previous day’s closure of N1,556.

However, the intraday low remained stable at N1,401 per dollar, mirroring Monday’s rate of N1,400.

Market activity reflected a significant surge in the daily foreign exchange turnover, soaring by 66.14 percent to $268.17 million on Tuesday from the previous day’s $161.41 million, indicating heightened trading activity and increased demand for foreign currency.

The fluctuating dynamics in the currency market underscore the delicate balance between domestic economic policies and external market forces, with investors and traders closely monitoring developments for potential implications on trade and investment strategies.

As the naira navigates through these fluctuations, stakeholders remain vigilant, seeking opportunities and mitigating risks in the ever-evolving financial landscape.

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