Naira Weakens to 330 as Dollar Demand Surges

The naira weakened to 330 against the United States dollar on Thursday, from 300 where it closed on Wednesday, foreign exchange dealers said.
The local currency, which had been on a steady recovery from 391 to 300, reversed its three days’ gain after dollar scarcity resurfaced on the forex market.
Forex dealers said currency speculators took advantage of recent gains recorded by the naira to mop up dollars, creating fresh scarcity.
A forex dealer in Ikeja, Alhaji Ahmed Ismael, said forex supplies to the market had thinned out amid steady demand.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that currency speculators had lost millions of naira following the recovery of the naira from 391 to 300.
Hundreds of speculators, it was learnt, had lost hundreds of millions of naira.
It was learnt that some of the speculators who suffered huge losses had bought the dollar at the rate of N380 hoping to sell at N400 before the sudden recovery of the naira.
Analysts said a number of measures by the CBN might have led to the sudden recovery of the naira.
However, going by the naira’s fall against the dollar on Thursday, it is uncertain if the CBN’s efforts would make speculators to burn their fingers again.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had accused speculators of conniving with the Bureau De Change operators to undermine the efforts of the central bank to prop up the naira.
He warned that such speculators would eventually be punished by the market.
The CBN has kept the naira at 197.50 at the official interbank market.
The plunge in the global prices of the crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner, has battered the economy.
A number of forex restrictions imposed by the CBN to preserve the external reserves has affected some key industries, causing economic growth to slow.

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