Naira Drops As CBN Announces New FX Policy

Naira, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerians,The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday announced its first policy actions in the Foreign Exchange (FX) market.

The announcement by the financial regulator comes less than a week after the National Economic Council asked the CBN to revisit its policies on the FX market, as the value of the local currency unit (Naira) dips almost on a daily basis.

The apex bank also announced direct additional funding of foreign exchange to banks for onward sales to Nigerians for their personal, basic travel, medical needs and school fees.

The bank stated in statement that the new directive takes immediate effect.

The apex bank, however, stipulated that such retail transactions should be settled as a rate not exceeding 20% above the interbank market rate, which finished on Monday at 305 Naira, 25 Kobo to the U.S. dollar.

In addition to this, the central bank also announced a significant reduction in the tenor of its forward FX sales from the current maximum cycle of 180 days, to not more than 60 days from the date of transaction.

This move, the financial regulator said would further increase the availability of foreign exchange to all end users.

As the bank seeks to increase efficiency of the FX market that has come under intense local and international criticisms, the apex bank said immediate steps were being taken to clear all unfilled orders at the interbank market, remove imposition of allocation/utilisation rules on commercial banks, as well as implement an effective programme to support the interbank market.

The operator of the interbank FX market, the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, was therefore advised to activate its FX order-book systems as soon as possible.

The agency was also asked to fast-track the on-boarding of foreign exchange clients on the FX relationship systems, in order to ensure total transparency of the foreign exchange market.

MPC Raises Monetary Policy Rate To 12%

MPCThe Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 12% from 11%.

This is an outcome of its 2-day meeting which started on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital; the second for the year 2016.

At the last meeting in January, the MPC maintained the monetary policy rate, the cash reserve requirement, and the liquidity ratio at 11%, 20% and 30% respectively.

The Governor of the central bank said that the key decisions taking by the regulator were part of measures for achieving fiscal and financial stability.

Access Bank Releases Outlook On MPC Meeting

Access BankOne of Nigeria’s tier-one listed commercial lender, Access Bank has released its outlook on the two-day monetary policy meeting of the Central Bank.

The bank expects the committee to retain the headline interest rate at 11% and leave the lending corridor of plus 200 basis points and minus 700 basis points unchanged.

Analysts at Access Bank believe the financial regulator will continue to tolerate above 9% inflation target in a bid to keep monetary conditions relatively loose in support of the economy.

Access Bank sees the cash reserve ratio and liquidity ratio left unchanged and anticipates no change in the foreign exchange policy position of the Central Bank.

The 249th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee kicks off on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Economic and financial analysts believe the volatility of the Naira at the foreign exchange market and the double-digit inflation recorded in February would top the agenda at the two-day meeting.

At the last meeting in January, the MPC maintained the monetary policy rate, the cash reserve requirement, and the liquidity ratio at 11%, 20%, and 30% respectively.

The outcome of the meeting will be announced on Tuesday, March 22,2016.