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Nigeria: Experts predicts Further Naira Depreciation As External Reserves Fall.

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The depreciation of the naira in the parallel market and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window last week is expected to persist this week, even as the nation’s external reserves maintained its downward trend falling by $955 million in the first ten days of October.



Last week the naira depreciated by N1 in the parallel market where the exchange rate rose to N360 per dollar on Friday from N359 per dollar the previous week. In the I&E window, the indicative exchange rate crossed the N364 per dollar mark for the first time this year, rising to N364.12 per dollar on Friday from N363.42 per dollar the previous week.

On the other hand, data by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that the external reserves declined to $43.35 billion on Wednesday, October 10, from $44.305 at the end of September, translating to $955 million in the first day of the month.

The reserves have been declining steadily since July 5, when it peaked at $47.798 billion. Since then the reserves have declined by $4.448 billion or by 9.3 percent. The steady decline in reserves is driven by increased dollar sales by the CBN to meet increased demand prompted by foreign portfolio investors exiting the nation’s debt market.

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Last week, the CBN sustained its weekly injection of $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market, allocating $100 million to the wholesale segment, $55 million to the SME window and $55 million for invisibles.

Analysts at Lagos based Cowry Assets Management Limited, projected further naira depreciation of the naira in most segments of the foreign exchange market this week due to persistent demand for dollar by foreign portfolio investors. They said: “This week, we expect further depreciation in the exchange rate in most market segments, especially at the I&E FX window as foreign portfolio investors’ demand for the greenback persist.”

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N494 billion inflow to moderate cost of funds

Meanwhile cost of funds is expected to further moderate downwards in the interbank money market this week in response N494.76 billion inflow from maturing treasury bills.

Last week, cost of funds dropped marginally in response to inflow of N277.07 billion inflow from matured treasury bills (TBs) which mitigated the impact of N244.1 billion mopped out of the market by the CBN through secondary market (or Open Market Operation, OMO) TBs.

Naira down to N360.3/$ in parallel market

According to FMDQ, interest rate on Collateralised lending (Open Buy Back, OBB) dropped by 169 basis points (bpts) to 19.17 percent on Friday from 20.86 percent the previous week. Also, interest rate on Overnight lending dropped by 230 bpts to 19.75 percent last week from 22.05 percent the previous week.

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