By Kayode Tokede, Lagos with agency news –
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disclosed that naira for the first time weakened marginally to N307 against the dollar at the official interbank market. Traders attributed the drop to gradual move to merge its multiple exchange rates.
The West African country now has at least five exchange rate including the official one which the bank used to mask pressure on the currency. In April it allowed foreign investors to trade the naira at market determined rate, which has weakened the currency to around 360.
The apex bank has sold $500,000 almost on daily basis on the official spot market since creating several exchange rates to alleviate dollar shortages. However it had sold the currency at rates of between N305 and N306 for months before Monday’s move.
”It’s possible the central bank is working towards a gradual convergence of rates, one trader told Reuters. Earlier this month the bank sold dollars at N306 for the second time after maintaining a level of around N305 on the spot market for two months.
Dollar shortages gripped Africa’s biggest economy as crude sales, Nigeria’s mainstay, plunged at the start of an oil price rout in 2014. That triggered a recession last year and frustrated businesses, which had to find dollars on the black market as a result.