The naira traded between N364 and N380 to a dollar on Friday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market, recording an improvement over its previous exchange rates earlier in the week.
On Thursday, the naira exchanged between N405 and N420, a situation which operators said was triggered by speculations in the market, as a result of the sudden crash in oil prices at the international market on Monday.
Before now, the dollar price had been stable around N360 due to interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, said, “It was N363 in the morning and afternoon but moved up to N369 in the evening. I think it is still not bad compared to N410 as sold on Thursday. Monday is coming and I am sure more liquidity will come in.”
While hoping for more improvement, he said the lower the rate, the better for everybody.
A BDC operator, who also spoke on the issue, said, “Yesterday (Thursday), a dollar was sold up to N420 but it improved to N380 today (Friday).”
In a swift response to the development, the CBN said in a statement that it had not devalued the naira, and that market fundamentals did not support naira devaluation at this time.
It also stated, “We have begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and the FX dealers who are creating this panic. And the full weight of our rules and regulations will be meted out to them, including, but not limited to, being charged for economic sabotage.
“For nearly four years, the CBN has successfully maintained relative stability in all segments of the foreign exchange market, which has enabled investors, households and other economic agents to plan and conduct their genuine foreign exchange transactions with relative ease.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN is also working with the fiscal authorities to properly and accurately dimension the immediate and expected impacts of the coronavirus in order to respond comprehensively and at the same time, ensure a sound and stable financial system conducive for job creation and inclusive growth.”