BY BABAJIDE KOMOLAFE & CHINEDU IBEABUCHI
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Wednesday repaid N146 billion worth of matured treasury bills even as the naira gained 35 kobo in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.
Data from the Financial Market Dealers Association of Nigeria, FMDA, showed that inter-bank foreign exchange rate dropped to N156.35 per dollar from N156.70 yesterday, implying 35 kobo appreciation for the naira.
The appreciation according to market operators was prompted by low demand due to lull in business activities occasioned by the Yuletide holiday period.
On the money market side, cost of funds dropped slightly courtesy of the matured bills repaid by the CBN. The apex bank repaid N55.35 billion worth of 84 days treasury bills, at yield of 14.05 per cent, and N91.31 billion worth of 87 days treasury bills, at the same yield.
This enhanced the volume of idle cash (excess liquidity) in the inter-bank money market, prompting decline in interest rate on short term funds. For example, interest rate on seven days and 30 days lending dropped to nine and 33 basis points, to 11.08 per cent and 12.21 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, the value of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, dropped by N19.12 billion.
Specifically, the market capitalisation, the key indicator to gauge performance on the NSE, dropped by 0.12 per cent to close at N9.09 trillion from N9.12 trillion.
Another market indicator, the All-Share Index also depreciated by 0.12 per cent or 59.82 points to close at 28,441.39 points from 28,501.21 points.
15 equities recorded depreciation in share price as against 30 equities that recorded share price gain.
Diamond Bank Plc recorded the highest share price loss, depreciating by 5.56 per cent to close at N5.10 from N5.40 per share. This was followed by John Holt Plc that lost 4.95 per cent to close at N3.07 per share and, Cutix Plc dropped by 4.58 per cent to close at N1.46 per share, among others.
On the other hand, First City Monument Bank Plc recorded the highest share price gain, appreciating by 9.76 per cent to close at N4.50 per share from N4.10. This was followed by Aiico Insurance Plc that gained 6.45 per cent to close at N0.66 per share and Skye Bank Plc rose by 5.71 per cent to close at N5.00 per share, among other gainers.