CBN devalues naira, official rate now N411 to dollar

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The naira fell to a record low on the official market yesterday, with lenders quoting it 7.7% weaker against the dollar, following a currency devaluation aimed at unifying multiple exchange rates.

Having traded within a band of 380 and 381 to the dollar since July last year, the naira hit a record low of 419.75 against the dollar on Friday. It then closed at 411.25 — the last closing rate for the naira on the over-the-counter spot market.

On the over-the-counter spot market NAFEX=FMDQ, the currency traded at 410.65 naira against the dollar on Friday, and it was quoted at 483 on the black market NGNFX=BDCN.

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Nigeria operates multiple currency regimes, which frustrate businesses and have prompted calls from the World Bank for the rates to be unified to attract investment.

Rising dollar demand has put pressure on the naira as providers of foreign exchange, such as offshore investors, exited after the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a fall in global oil prices.

The World Bank has linked approval of a $1.5 billion budget support loan to currency reforms.

The central bank has been trying to unify the rates and boost the dollar supply through direct interventions.

It extended an incentive offer last week to recipients of dollar remittances to try to encourage more inflows from the Nigerian diaspora.

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