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Naira to Dollar Exchange Rate Plummets to Over 660 at Official Windows Amidst Naira Floating

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Black Market Dollar To Naira Exchange Rate Today 
Graphic of Dollars and Nairas
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The Naira to Dollar exchange rate has experienced a significant decline, plummeting from 465 to over 660 at the official windows amidst the floating of the Naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued a directive to Deposit Money Banks to eliminate the rate cap on the naira in the official Investors and Exporters’ Window of the foreign exchange market. This move is aimed at enabling a free float of the national currency against the dollar and other global currencies.

Just two weeks after President Bola Tinubu pledged to consolidate Nigeria’s various exchange rates, and less than a week before CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele was suspended and detained due to his unconventional monetary policies that were hindering investors and the economy, this development occurred.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria’s move to float the currency has received praise from the organised private sector and economists. They believe that this decision will unify the country’s multiple exchange rates and bring a sense of order to the FX market.

In a recent development, buyers and sellers of foreign currency in the official FX markets are now permitted to quote rates that suit their preferences in the FX market. This is a departure from the previous practise where rates were determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange, the naira depreciated to N664.04/dollar at the close of trading at the I&E Window on Wednesday.

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The national currency experienced a significant decline of 40.97% in value when compared to the 471/dollar rate it closed at on Tuesday at the I&E Window. According to data obtained from the FMDQ Exchange, the I&E forex window commenced trading at 473.83/$ and concluded at 664.04/$. A staggering sum of $193.33 million was reported as the overall turnover.

Over the years, the naira has consistently closed below N480/dollar at the I&E Window.

As of 9pm on Wednesday, the CBN had not yet made any updates to the I&E Window rate on its website.

On June 9, 2023, the central bank announced that the I&E rate was N463.38/$.

In a recent development confirmed to The PUNCH by the chief executive officer of a commercial bank, it has been reported that banks are now permitted to engage in forex trading on the I & E window at any rate, with a N1 spread requirement.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has notified banks that the rate cap has been lifted at the Investors and Exporters Window. According to the bank’s CEO, both banks and customers are permitted to engage in unrestricted trading at any rate, with a N1 spread between the buy and sell rates.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has officially announced significant modifications to the foreign exchange market operations in a statement released on Wednesday. The statement, signed by Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi, the Director of Financial Markets at the CBN, confirmed the changes.

As per the statement, the Central Bank of Nigeria has merged all foreign exchange segments into the I&E window.

In a recent announcement, the Central Bank of Nigeria has informed authorised dealers and the public about immediate changes to operations in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market. The abolishment of segmentation is among the changes that have been made. The Investors and Exporters window now encompasses all segments. Deposit money banks will continue to process applications for medicals, school fees, BTA/PTA, and SMEs.

The ‘Willing Buyer, Willing Seller’ model is set to make a comeback at the I&E Window. According to the established circular dated April 21, 2017, referenced as FMD/DlR/ClR/GEN/08/007, all operations within this window must be conducted under its guidance. At this window, all transactions that meet the eligibility criteria are allowed to access foreign exchange.

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According to the latest government directive, the operational rate for all transactions related to the government will be determined by the weighted average rate of the previous day’s executed transactions at the I&E window, with calculations rounded to two decimal places.

As per the recent changes, there is now a prohibition on trading limits for oversold foreign exchange positions. Additionally, there is now permission to hedge short positions with over-the-counter futures. Zero limits will be imposed on overbought positions.

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The reintroduction of order-based two-way quotes, featuring a bid-ask spread of N1, has been announced. A Central Counter Party will be responsible for clearing all transactions.

The Order Book is being reintroduced to promote transparency in the ordering process and facilitate smooth trade execution.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has terminated both the RT200 rebate programme and the Naira4Dollar remittance initiative.

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The RT200 Rebate Scheme and Naira4Dollar Remittance Scheme will come to an end on June 30, 2023.

Details on these issues will be conveyed at a later time. The statement has added that all members of the public and market participants are urged to comply with these regulations.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, trading hours will be limited to the period between 9am and 4pm, Nigerian time.

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On Wednesday, the naira concluded trading at 757/dollar at the parallel market. According to currency dealers in Lagos, Abuja, and Lagos airport, the naira was being sold and bought at 757 and 750, respectively. According to sources, the official market’s development has been impacting the black market.

The Nigerian stock market has recorded a significant gain of N992 billion.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian stock market continued its upward trend, building on the gains made the previous day.

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According to analysts, the increase in value can be attributed to the reports of the naira being floated by the CBN.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian Exchange experienced a notable rebound, with Nigerian banks leading the top gainers. This positive trend has been attributed to the critical economic decisions made by the Bola Tinubu administration.

The All-Share Index experienced a significant surge in trading on Tuesday, resulting in a 3.99% increase to close at 59,985.10 index points. This is a notable improvement from the previous day’s trading session, which recorded 58,163.55 index points.

The market’s capitalisation increased by N992bn, ultimately closing at N32.662tn. The previous trading session saw a recorded N31.670tn, while the current session showed a gain of 3.13 per cent.

In the stock market today, International Breweries saw a gain of 10.00%, making it the top performer. On the other hand, Pharm Deko experienced a loss of 9.65%, making it the biggest loser of the day. At the close of Wednesday’s session, UBA Plc emerged as the equity with the highest volume of trades.

Sterling, Transcohot, Dangote Sugar, and First Bank Nigeria Holdings all saw a significant increase of 10% and were among the top gainers.

Pharmdeko was among the companies on the losers list, alongside CWG, NNFM, BUA Cement, and ARDOVA, which recorded losses of 9.44%, 8.66%, 6.52%, and 5.06%, respectively.

UBA, GT CO, and Zenith Bank were the three most traded shares by volume, with UBA leading the pack at 230,764,290 shares traded.

In terms of value, the most traded shares were GTCO with a value of 4.2 billion naira, followed by Zenith Bank with 3.9 billion naira and UBA with 2.7 billion naira.

In an interview with The PUNCH, David Adonri, the Vice Chairman of Highcap Securities Limited, attributed the consolidation of momentum from the previous day’s trading period to the floating of the naira by the CBN.

According to him, professionals in the financial industry have been advocating for the floating of the naira in order to reveal its actual value through a rate determined by the market. The flotation seems to be in tune with our desires.

Experts and officials from the OPS have responded to the situation.

Dr. Ikenna Nwaosu, a facilitator at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, has expressed opposition to the unification of exchange rates. He suggests that there should be separate rates for commercial and educational purposes.

The individual conceded that the implementation of the measure would provide greater transparency within the foreign exchange market.

The new forex system provides greater clarity compared to the previous regime’s multiple forex windows, according to sources. The previous administration, during the tenure of the currently suspended CBN governor, had nearly a dozen foreign exchange windows. According to Nwaosu, there were multiple categories including oil and gas, import and export, and students. However, the recent unification has provided some much-needed clarity.

According to Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, the Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, this development could potentially increase the Nigerian government’s external debt from $42 billion to N90tn.

According to him, the removal of a significant market distortion has been achieved with the Nigerian naira now being exchanged in the official forex market at market-determined rates. As anticipated, this will have both favourable and unfavourable consequences.

According to experts, the government debt in naira is expected to increase by approximately N12tn to N90tn, resulting in a significant impact. This increase is due to the external debt of $42bn, which will rise by the difference between the old and new rates.

According to Oyedele, there could be a potential rise of approximately five percent in the debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio, as well as an increase in the cost of foreign debt service.

According to him, this action is expected to boost the government’s income and alleviate the budget shortfall.

The Nigerian government is set to experience a surge in revenue in naira terms, leading to a boost in the tax/revenue to GDP ratio. The collection of corporate taxes could potentially decrease as a result of businesses experiencing forex losses caused by the increased exchange rate.

According to the source, the budget deficit could potentially decrease if the government’s forex revenue surpasses its foreign currency obligations. However, if the opposite occurs, an increase in the budget deficit may be expected.

According to Oyedele, the development is expected to result in cost savings and foreign exchange inflows, as well as benefit the capital market, among other advantages.

Gabriel Idahosa, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, compared the CBN’s move to float the naira to a necessary but painful surgery for the economy.

He stated that the choice to maintain distinct windows has had a considerable impact on Nigeria’s economy over an extended period.

According to his statement, they were able to conceal a negative situation for an extended period until a determined government took the necessary actions. According to the speaker, governments failed to consider the natural order of the economy when allowing for a significant price disparity in a uniform commodity.

According to the speaker, it is evident that we have been engaging in self-destruction for a significant period of time, and this does not require a complex economic analysis to prove. To be considered as one of the top 20 economies globally, it is imperative to avoid a scenario where two exchange rates are significantly different.

Olusola Obadimu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, has praised the action. According to him, the double-window exchange rate was a fraudulent scheme that favoured a select group of Nigerians.

According to him, the floating of the naira would alleviate concerns among exporters who previously faced the risk of receiving less money when repatriating export proceeds through the I & E Window.

According to Obadimu, the incident was a scam, similar to a fuel subsidy. Certain individuals were exploiting the situation by obtaining it at the official rate. According to fundamental economic principles, the provision of subsidies can lead to corrupt practises. The system’s inherent unfairness fosters corruption that ultimately benefits those with privileged access, despite its negative impact on the majority of people.

Exporters can now receive accurate rates for their proceeds based on their forex earnings, which is considered good news. Exporters were discouraged by the official exchange rate when using official channels for exporting, as they would receive a lower exchange rate for their exports. According to the speaker, exporting goods can be a disincentive due to the fact that some of the necessary inputs for production are imported and there may not be enough foreign exchange available. This can result in having to source foreign exchange from the parallel market.

According to Johnson Chukwu, the Managing Director of Cowry Asset Management Limited, the recent development is positive. However, he emphasised the importance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) taking steps to stabilise the exchange rate by injecting foreign exchange into the market.

According to his statement, there is a clear desire for a harmonisation of the exchange rate. However, the method for achieving this was the subject of debate. The options discussed were a gradual harmonisation process involving a gradual devaluation of the currency over time, or simply allowing it to float.

One of the current concerns is whether the Central Bank of Nigeria possesses the necessary capability to intervene in the market and maintain its stability within a specific range. This implies that they have sufficient funds to fulfil the requirements. The initial step would require the CBN to settle the outstanding debts, ensuring that only fresh funds enter the market. The market pressure is expected to decrease as the CBN is urged to establish a trading range for the currency. According to the speaker, if trading occurs beyond the specified range, the CBN must intervene to ensure stability as there needs to be a certain level of predictability regarding the currency.

In an interview with The PUNCH, Bismarck Rewane, a well-known economist and CEO of Financial Derivatives, expressed that the move to float the naira would entice a greater number of foreign investors and have a positive impact on the nation’s economy.

According to Rewane, one can simply observe countries with floating exchange rates. Countries with floating exchange rates often appeal to global investors, according to a thorough examination. Their economic performance appears to be superior. The floating of your exchange rate does not guarantee the achievement of all desired outcomes. According to experts, failure to float your exchange may result in the loss of numerous benefits associated with open markets.

The decision to unify the naira exchange rate has received commendation from the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise under the new administration.

According to a statement from Dr Muda Yusuf, the CEO of CPPE, this decision has the potential to unleash substantial opportunities for investment, employment, and capital movement.

According to the statement, the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market has the potential to unlock significant opportunities for investment, job creation, and capital flows. The confidence of investors is expected to receive a boost.

According to the CPPE, the policy is not aimed at devaluing the currency, but rather functions as a pricing mechanism that takes into account the supply and demand factors in the foreign exchange market.

According to the statement, the framework enables adaptable rate modifications as needed. The model is designed to be predictable, fair, open, and enduring. The proposed policy regime aims to decrease uncertainty and boost investor confidence. The foreign exchange allocation mechanism could be made less discretionary and prone to arbitrage.

The unification of rates does not necessarily mean that the rates will be uniform across all market segments. The aim is to guarantee that the variances are kept to a minimum, ideally ranging from 5-10 percent.

According to the CPPE, the unification will bring about several benefits such as increased liquidity, reduced uncertainty, and improved investor confidence in the foreign exchange market.

According to reports, the implementation of this decision is expected to result in a minimum of N4tn increase in government revenue, primarily through increased exchange remittance and other related advantages.

According to the CPPE, the CBN should be prepared to intervene in the forex market periodically to stabilise the exchange rate and prevent volatility. According to the speaker, the solution to this issue lies not in fixing the rate, but rather in increasing the supply to a level that can be sustained by the reserves.

According to Aminu Gwadabe, the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, the recent decision to remove the cap fixation at the I&E window is a response to the demands of various stakeholders in the economy. This move is expected to facilitate a true market clearance rate and increase the availability of greenback from sources such as portfolio investment, direct foreign investment, diaspora remittances, and export proceeds.

According to the speaker, the directives aim to curb illicit economic activities such as rent seeking, currency substitution, holding foreign exchange positions, and unwarranted demands. The instability of the naira has been a contributing factor to the sluggish economic growth observed in recent times.

As we anticipate the implementation of the new directives, there may be unintended consequences that could arise.

According to him, in the immediate future, there will be a surge in the market due to panic, resulting in a slight increase in levels. In the near future, there are plans to increase the sources of dollar inflow in the market to stabilise rates. The main obstacle lies in finding ways to infuse liquidity into the crucial retail sector and establish a pricing benchmark in an economy that is marked by unpredictability.

 

 

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