By Babajide Komolafe
THE naira appreciated in the forwards segment of the foreign exchange market indicating rising confidence buoyed by recent increases in the nation’s foreign reserves.
Meanwhile, prices of Nigeria’s Eurobond maintained downward trend for the third consecutive week due to persistent selling pressure.
Naira appreciates in forwards market
Data from the Financial Dealers Market Quote (FMDQ) show that the naira exchange rate for one month forward contracts dropped to N315.34 on Friday from N320.18 per dollar the previous week, indicating N4.84 or 1.5 percent appreciation for the naira.
Similarly, exchange rate for two months forward contracts dropped to N323.27 from N330.54 per dollar, indicating N7.27 or 2.20 per cent appreciation for the naira. The naira also appreciated by N14.57 or 4.20 percent for three months forward contracts, as the exchange rate dropped to N331.53 from N346.1 per dollar.
The naira recorded its highest appreciation for six months forward contracts, appreciating by N29 or 7.67 per cent, as the exchange rate dropped to N323.27 from N378 per dollar.
The naira also recorded marginal appreciation of 0.08 percent for spot transactions where the exchange rate edged down to N305.25 per dollar from N305.5 per dollar in the previous week.
According to analysts at Cowry Assets Management Limited, the naira appreciation in the forwards market suggests future stability in the foreign exchange market amidst rising foreign reserves.
The nation’s foreign reserves have been an upward trajectory since October 18th 2016 courtesy of increase in crude oil prices inspired by the production cut deal agreed by OPEC members.
According to data by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the foreign reserves rose by $5 billion from $23.96 billion on October 18th 2016 to $28.9 billion on Tuesday January 24th 2017.
CBN defends forex policy
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele however insisted that the apex bank would maintain its policy of selling 60 percent of available foreign exchange to manufacturers, and continued to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market to moderate the exchange rate of the naira. Addressing the press on the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Tuesday, Emefiele said: “I am happy to say that het reserve today is $28.9 billion. It is exciting to see this happen. But is there a need to float the Naira? It is important to note that we have to manage the reserve. That means from time to time we will intervene in the market to make sure the exchange rate does not go beyond our expectations and those interventions will be to moderate the rates as necessary.
“The fact that we have begun to see some accretions to the reserves does not mean we have to be reckless. We will continue the policy of ensuring that foreign exchange is made available to those who are importing raw materials, plants and equipment, those supporting the agricultural sector and not those who want to engage in what I can regard as less important sectors.”
Eurobond maintains downward trajectory
On the other hand, prices of Nigeria’s Eurobond dropped for the third consecutive week, indicating investors may be dumping the bonds.
According to the closing prices and yields of Nigeria’s Eurobond posted by the Debt Management Office (DMO): The 10-year, 6.75 percent Jan 28, 2021 bond lost $.68 while the yield rose to 5.932 percent; the 5-year, 5.13 percent July 12, 2018 bonds lost $.32 while the yield rose to 3.67 per cent; the 10-year, 6.38 per cent July 12, 2023 also lost $0.77 while the yield rose to 6.59 per cent.
CBN to sell N242bn treasury bills
Meanwhile the CBN will this week sell treasury bills worth N242.4 billion in continuation of liquidity mop up operations. The treasury bills comprise N45.18 billion worth of 91 day bills, N80 billion worth of 182 days bills, and N117.2 billion worth of 364 days bills.
This of course is to moderate the liquidity effect of the inflow of N218.36 billion through payment for matured treasury bills this week. The matured treasury bills comprise N21.15 billion worth of 91 days bills, N80 billion worth of 182 days bills, N117.2 billion worth of 364 bills and N72.9 billion worth of 185 days bills.
The combined effect of these developments is expected to moderate down cost of funds in the interbank money market.
Last week cost of funds rose marginally despite inflow of N400 billion from statutory allocation funds. The impact of the inflow was subdued by outflows through treasury bills and FGN bonds auction during the week. Although interest rate on Overnight borrowing dropped to 5.5 per cent last week from 11.63 percent the previous week, the interest rate for I month, 3 month and 6 month borrowing rose respectively to 17.86 per cent (from 17.73), 19.50 percent (from 19.12) and 23.14 percent (from 22.21).
Seventh OTC FX Futures Contract matures, settles on FMDQ
The 7th Naira-settled OTC FX Futures contract, NG/US JAN 25 2017, with amount $274.39 million, matured and settled on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 on FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, bringing the total value of contracts so far matured on the OTC Exchange to circa $1.80 billion, and about $5.46 billion worth of OTC FX Futures contracts traded so far.
Designated clearing agent
The contract, which stopped trading on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, was valued against the Nigerian Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange Fixing (NIFEX) Spot rate as published by FMDQ on January 25, 2017, with the associated clearing/settlement effected by the FMDQ-designated clearing agent, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System PLC (NIBSS), in line with the FMDQ OTC FX Futures Market Operational Standards.
Whilst businesses, corporates, and other market participants desirous of hedging their FX exposures continue to key into this product, it is expected that the potential of the OTC FX Futures market will be further maximised during the course of the year.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the other hand, introduced a new contract, NGUS JAN 31 2018, for $1.00bn at $/N281.50 to replace the matured contract and also repriced its quotes on the existing one to 11-month contracts.