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NSE may extend trading hours, ease price cap restrictions

Nigeria’s stock  exchange, the third_largest in Africa, may lengthen its trading hours and loosen restrictions on share price movements in a bid to boost liquidity and attract more foreign investors.

Interim Director General Emmanuel Ikazoboh told Reuters the exchange was considering lengthening its trading day by two to three hours and doubling the limit on daily share price movements to 10 percent to try to boost volumes.

Ikazoboh said that the 5 percent cap on individual stock movements had “drastically” reduced liquidity, while a trading day which ends at around 12:30 local time (1130 GMT) shut out U.S. and other foreign investors.

“Within the next three weeks, I believe the case of the price cap and the number of hours trading will be determined … Papers have been prepared, we just need the (stock exchange) council and SEC’s approval,” he said.

Nigeria’s equities market, which trails only South Africa and Egypt on the continent, has at times been one of the world’s best performing frontier markets, but weak regulation and low liquidity levels have hindered its development.

Ikazoboh, former head of Deloitte in West and Central Africa, was named interim manager of the bourse in August. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) removed his predecessor amid worries about inadequate stock market supervision and financial mismanagement.

Although his tenure is limited – he expects a new permanent director general to be in place by the end of the year – he is working with the SEC to lay the foundation for reforms which fit into a wider overhaul of the capital markets and banking sector.(Reuters)


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