In it recent exploit to sustain naira gain, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on Friday pumped in a total sum of $388.66 million into the forex market, about 40 per cent higher than what it sent to the foreign market last week.
There was a specific instruction to banks, and other retail segment of the interbank market, to pay required attention to requests of dollars by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
For close to two weeks, the CBN has been focusing on the wholesale and invisible segments of the market, which dealers said were still puting pressure dollar-demand on the economy.
The wholesale demand, which usually comes from the manufacturers, is yet to be properly addressed by regulatory authorities of the market.
However, the highest dollar that the bank pushed into the market in March 2017 at a go, was valued at over $346 million, which reportedly eased access to foreign exchange at the time under reference
But the CBN spokesman, Isaac Okoroafor, told newsmen that the apex bank was nearly embarrassed by Tuesday’s forex trading, which saw naira lose about 10 per cent value over dollars from the previous week’s transactions.
He said that the sum of $87.885 was for spot sales, while $300.8 million was sold as forwards requests in anticipation of demands by both the real sector and SMEs.
According to Okoroafor, the introduction of forwards window was based on thre planks of 30, 45 and 60 days respectively.
Okoroafor stated that the CBN sold $100.95 as 30-day forwards; $110.48 million as 45-day forwards and $99.37 as 60-day forwards.
“We will continue with the intervention to monitor operations of the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment of the market, along with other operators, to meet the needs of low-end users.
“The Bank remained resolute in ensuring that it supplies enough forex to genuine customers and in the process sustain the liquidity in the market such that never again will naira slip below normal adjustments, based on demands, ” he stated.
With this development, he expressed hope that the CBN will inch even more closer to its objective of convergence of the rates in the interbank and BDC segments.
The apex bank last week suspended some banks for alleged diversion of dollars meant for SMEs to other big time users, but later let three of the banks off the hook.