Naira Gains N32.84 Despite 66% Decline in FX Inflows

Naira Appreciates Despite 66% Decline in FX Inflows

The Naira appreciated strongly against the United States (US) dollar, shaking off previous demand pressures despite a significant shortage in foreign currency inflows at the investors’ and exporters’ window. The local currency gained N32.84 last week to settle at N743.07.

Foreign currency supply at the Investors and Exporters window dropped by about 66% in July amidst a sustained rally in the global crude oil market, according to data from FMDQ cited by analysts. This underwhelming forex inflows record in the space was led by a sharp decline in the US dollar supplied to the window by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

By analysts’ consensus, the Nigerian naira is currently undervalued, suggesting the local currency could claw back losses after a large devaluation in June 2023. Opened positive in the first week of August, the naira started a journey to regain its transaction strength as the exchange rate settled at N743.07 per United States (US) dollar.

This was in contrast to N775.94 exchange rate record in the previous week. In the official market for investors, and exporters, trades were consummated within the N651.00 – N851 band versus greenback, according to trading data.

Amidst unsettled dust that followed the CBN devaluation of the local currency in June, the exchange rate had worsened above N803 at the official window as a result of an imbalance between FX demand and supply.

Meanwhile, it was not all positive for the naira in the open foreign exchange market. The exchange rate depreciated against the US dollar as Bureau De Change (BDC) operators continued to see a surge in foreign currency requests.

At the close of the week, the naira exchange rate dipped by N14 to N881, a worsening condition that was attributed to the persistent dollar shortage and speculative activities, while manufacturers and importers continued to seek easier access and availability of dollars, according to Cowry Asset Management Limited.

At the FMDQ Securities Exchange (SE) FX Futures Contract Market, the naira weakened against the US dollar across all forward contract tenors.

Analysts said the naira values across the 1-month contract dropped by 2.8% to N795.98. Also, 3-month contracts went down by 3.3% to N811.52 6-month contracts fell by 3.9% to N839.89.  At the end of the market, the 1-year contracts declined by 1.8% to N875.44 per US dollar.

The Nigerian foreign exchange market continues to face challenges with the naira’s depreciation against the greenback even as the oil market continues to rally; with prices rising on global supply concerns.

The recent global oil market rally helped push gross external reserves upward after ten consecutive weeks of decline. Data obtained from the CBN website showed that Nigeria’s FX reserves increased by US$13.14 million to US$33.97 billion.

A slew of foreign currency traders across the markets anticipate the naira to trade in a relatively calm band across the forex markets barring any market distortions that may disrupt supply.

According to the data obtained from FMDQ, total inflows into the Investors & Exporters Window declined by 65.7% month on month to US$608.00 million in July compared to US$1.77 billion in June – the lowest level since April 2021 when total supply settled at US$564.20 million.

In its market update, Cordros Capital Limited said that by analysing the breakdown provided, the decline was on the back of broad-based contraction across both the local and foreign investors– accounting for 92.3% of the total transaction value.

Precisely, inflows from local investors dipped by 60.6% to US$561.00 million in July from US$1.42 billion in June given the slowdown across the local segments. It was noted that supply from the CBN fell 70.0% in the month, Individual supply was 51.2% below the record level seen in June and non-bank corporates were down by 65.6% while Exporters receipts declined 63.9%.

In the same vein, inflows from foreign sources remained underwhelming, decelerating by 86.5% in July to US$47.00 million from US$347.30 million recorded in June as foreign investors remained cautious about returning in their droves. Cordros Capital analysts believe this is a result of the fact that FX backlogs remain unsettled by the apex bank after the liberalisation of the local currency.

“Looking ahead, we expect FX liquidity conditions to remain frail in the near term, amid the lingering reforms in the FX market. We also anticipate weak foreign inflows in the short term, as foreign investors will likely adopt a wait-and-see approach in the near term as they await the CBN’s actions in clearing its FX backlogs and the direction of short-term interest rates amid high inflation”, analysts said.

Naira Gains N32.84 Despite 66% Decline in FX Inflows Naira Devaluation Deepens Economic Crisis in Nigeria

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