As part of its continued effort in stabilizing and ensuring liquidity in the official foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sold not less than $3.47 billion in the third quarter of 2017.
The Daily Times check showed that in the last three months, precisely between July and September, the apex bank sold $727.5 million to foreign exchange dealers in July and its grew to $1.5bn in August, representing an increase of 106 per cent, while compared to July sales.
In the same month, the total sum of $561m was allocated to the clearance of the backlog of matured foreign exchange obligations for raw materials and machineries for manufacturing companies, agricultural chemicals, and airlines – was for Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS).
But in the following month, August, the sum of $500m went to wholesale foreign exchange dealers, while $235m to Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and $200m to invisible demands.
In the just concluded month, September, the central bank lifted the local currency with a total injection of $1.24bn, as $485m went to the Retail Secondary Market and $300m to SMEs. Others are $255m and $200m, invisibles, and wholesale segments, respectively.
Although, activities in the Investors & Exporters Foreign Exchange (I&E FX) window improved in September, with total turnover increasing by 14.61 per cent to $4.22bn in September, from $3.68bn in August.
However, analyst had said, I&E FX window attracted a lot of foreign exchange from the offshore investors that purchased government bonds and Treasury-bills in September.
The CBN’s foreign exchange sales were intended to cover for personal and business travels, medical needs, and school fees, futures market and other approved transactions.
At the time CBN began massive funding of the foreign exchange market, the naira had lost significant value, trading at over N500/$1 at the parallel market.
Between July and September, the Naira, against the Dollar, has been hovering around $1/N360- N370.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, had said CBN’s prompt intervention in the foreign exchange has continued to appreciate the local currency at the foreign exchange market.
He welcomed the recent CBN’s policies and stressed on sustained medicals, school fees and personal travel allowances intervention.
In his words, “If the CBN continue to increase supply in the foreign exchange market, the Naira will continue to appreciate. Once that stops, the Naira at the exchange rate will definitely depreciate.
“It is good CBN is intervention in the foreign exchange market but the question is that if CBN does not announce intervention in the next three days, what do you think is going to happen to Naira?
“Another question is that, why the sudden intervention by CBN? CBN should have acted before now. Now that CBN has increased intervention in the medicals, school fees and personal travel allowances, it must be sustained.
“By doing so, the apex bank has bridge the gap between the interbank market rate and parallel market rate,” he explained.
He noted that the foreign exchange market is about sustainability; and the CBN must continue to address other issues for the nation to witness foreign stability.
Commenting also, the Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, praised the CBN for its foreign exchange decisive policies.
Stories by Motolani Oseni