(Adds central bank statement)
By Oludare Mayowa and Chijioke Ohuocha
LAGOS, April 26 The value of Nigeria's latest
naira exchange rate, set specifically for portfolio investors,
eased for a second straight day on Wednesday even as the central
bank stepped up dollar sales on the spot and forward markets.
The naira closed at 380.39 on the new foreign exchange
trading window introduced by the central bank for investors,
data from market regulator FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange showed,
after it opened at 378.54 to the dollar.
The official interbank market rate for the currency was
quoted at 305.90 naira. It was 388 naira on the black market on
The central bank said on Monday it would allow investors to
trade the naira at market determined rates, a move intended to
improve the dollar supply and attract foreign investors that
fled the country at the start of the latest currency crisis.
The move introduces yet another exchange rate to the five
existing ones. Still, analysts doubt the move is sufficient to
draw inflows into Africa's biggest
"The new window reflects the true value of the naira," one
trader at a major Nigerian bank, told Reuters. "Once the central
bank reduces intervention on the interbank market the naira will
trade closer to the new window."
Nigeria is battling a currency crisis brought on by low oil
prices, which has tipped its economy into recession and created
chronic dollar shortages.
It has created multiple exchange rates to help mask the
pressure on the naira - including for Muslim pilgrims and for
paying school fees - but wants to attract foreign investors with
the new market determined exchange rate and at same time
maintain a strong currency to ward off import-induced inflation.
The central bank on Wednesday said it sold $3.14 million on
the spot market and $182.72 million as currency forwards to
intensify its intervention to meet dollar demand.
"Our reserves stand at above $31 billion and that provides
us enough of firepower or ammunition to be able to defend the
currency," the bank said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by
Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Diane Craft)