ABUJA Feb 27 Nigeria central bank said on
Monday it sold $80 million to retail customers and another $100
million in currency forwards to increase dollar liquidity and
support the naira.
Nigeria has been running short of dollars as oil revenues
have fallen along with the price of crude. That has weakened the
local currency on the black market, where it trades far lower
than the official interbank rate of 305 naira to the dollar.
The central bank said in a statement it sold $80 million to
cover consumer demand and another $100 million via the wholesale
forward market. Traders said banks offered central bank dollars
to customers at 375 naira.
The central bank, under pressure from the government to
narrow the gap between the official and black market rates, has
effectively devalued the naira for consumers, offering to sell
them dollars at about half the premium the black market charges.
The naira, which had weakened to 520 to the dollar on the
black market, firmed to a more than three-months high of 460 on
Friday, after several interventions by the central bank on the
Central bank spokesman Isaac Okoroafor said the central bank
would ensure a steady supply of foreign exchange to the market.
Its efforts, he said, were starting to narrow the black market
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha;
Editing by Toby Chopra)