Frantic CBN allows diaspora remittances to be withdrawn in dollars and sold anywhere including black market – Nairametrics

Frantic CBN allows diaspora remittances to be withdrawn in dollars and sold anywhere including black market – Nairametrics

Nairametrics can confirm that the exchange rate between the naira and dollar has depreciated to N390/$1 at the FMDQOTC NAFEX market, an official market where the exchange rate is traded.

We first observed the depreciation in our daily market survey on Thursday, November 26th when it traded at N390/$1. The rate remained the same today confirming that it is not a one-off. The exchange rate closed at N390.25/$1 on Friday after trading at a high price of N400.37 and a low price of N383/$1. The exchange rate at the NAFEX market has traded between  N383 and N385 per dollar respectively.

READ: Naira stabilizes in forex markets as dollar supply hits record low during curfew

CBN Devalues

A recent circular seen by Nairametrics, also suggests the CBN has devalued the exchange rate between the dollar and naira sold to the BDC’s to N390/$1. The circular also mandates the BDCs to sell to potential buyers at N392/$1. The volume of sales for each market is $10,000 per BDC.

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See excerpt of the circular:

Please be advised that the applicable exchange rate for the disbursement of proceeds of IMTOs, for the period Monday, November 30th to Friday, December 14, 2020, is as follows.

I. IMTSOs to banks – N388/1USD


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II. Banks to CBN –  N399/1USD

III. CBN to BDCs – N390/1USD

IV. BDCs to end-users Not more than N392/1USD

V.  Volumes of sale for each market is USD10,000.00 per BDC

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The circular seen by Nairametrics was signed by Dr. O.S. Nnaji, Director of Trade and Exchange at the CBN, and dated November 30th, 2020. We also understand the CBN intervened in the market today at a spot price of N393.37/$1 while its 150 days forward rates moved to N399.37 in a bid to clear backlogs.  Nairametrics estimated pent-up demand could be between $2 billion and $3.5 billion.

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What you should know

Last August, the CBN devalued the naira after issuing a circular authorizing dealers instructing them to sell forex to end-users at N386/$1. It was the first time the CBN will be selling forex to BDC traders since it stopped on March 27th as the country faced an imminent lockdown. Since then, the exchange rate at the black market has gone from N395/$1 on March 27, 2020, to N495/$1 as of November 27, 2020, exactly 8months later.

  • The exchange rate at the parallel market (black market) fell to N495/$1 on Friday closing the week at the weakest price since 2017. Wired transfers done outside of the official system closed as high as N503/$1 according to Nairalytics monitored, the research arm of Nairametrics.
  • Just recently, Nairametrics learned that there are limitations to the transfer of forex from domiciliary in Nigeria to accounts in the US. However, it appears there are no restrictions to domiciliary accounts that received inflows attributed to foreign-related income earned doing business or wired inflows.
  • Foreign investors appear to have also found new routes of moving to repatriate their forex out of Nigeria. Some purchase shares of companies that are dual-listed and then sell them on the London Stock Exchange. We understand this may have contributed to the rise in the value of Seplat and New Gold ETF, two stocks that are dual-listed. Airtel, also listed in the UK,  experienced a similar bump in prices.
  • Oil prices rose on Friday as Brent Crude prices traded at $47.9. The CBN needs oil prices to go above $50 if it wants to continue with the controversial policy of defending the exchange rate.

READ: CBN announces resumption of sales of forex to BDC

Local Demand Pressure

Nigeria’s exchange rate situation has entered a precarious era of uncertainty with demand coming from all corners. According to Nairalytics research, Nigerians looking to take advantage of last-minute Black Friday deals in the US have also contributed significantly to the demand pressure. Holidaymakers are also sourcing for forex ahead of the Christmas holiday as they anticipate more devaluations.

Nairalytics research also indicates some of the demand is coming from business with local forex obligations such as servicing dollar-denominated debts, expatriate staff, luxury items, imported items without local substitutes, etc.

Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

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