Hajj: Naira Eases On Black Market As Dollar Demand Rises

Abiodun Focus

 

As demand for dollar increases following the travelling to Saudi Arabia for hajj and payments of school fees, the naira yesterday exchanged for N370 for a dollar as against its previous session of N368 per dollar.

The currency has traded within a range of N359 to N366 to the dollar for investors on the parallel market over the past two weeks.

However, following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention, it steadied at N305 per dollar on the official market.

Nigeria has at least five exchange rates, including for the hajj, which it has used to mask pressure on the naira. The CBN has been working to converge the rates through regular dollar sales.

Yesterday, the bank announced that it will sell the US currency to clear backlog demand for airlines and to importers of petroleum products and raw materials.
Traders said demand has resurfaced in the past one week as private individuals with certain expenses in hard currency source for dollars.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly in July recommended that Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia this year should be able to buy their dollars for N200 far below the official rate.

The President of the Bureau de Change operators, Aminu Gwadabe, noted that pressure was coming from pilgrims travelling for hajj and that the central bank had not granted any concessions.

Gwadabe said the dollar liquidity among the bureaux was low as some of his members refused to participate at a central bank currency auction over tight margins as the regulator tries to converge the different rates on offer.

 

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