5 CBN Circulars That Calmed FX Market 

The Nigerian naira recorded a gain of 4.49 percent against the dollar in seven days of trading driven by the policy measures of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The local currency had witnessed persistent depreciation against the US dollar, hitting an all-time low on January 29, 2024, when it traded at N1,348.63 per USD at the official window. Enter the first of five CBN circulars that reversed the tide.

Jan 29 (Circular to Authorised Dealers – Financial Markets Price Transparency)

The CBN’s circular which was released on the 29th of January, led to more transparency and accurate price discovery. This initiative improved transparency of the true level of Naira, depicting unification.

Jan 31 (Letter to Banks – Harmonisation of Reporting Requirements on Foreign Currency Exposures of Banks)

Initiated on the 31st of January, the CBN’s letter to banks provided a level-playing field and improved liquidity and this led to the revision of Net Open Position (NOP) which limits the overall foreign currency assets and liabilities.

The directive has since spurred increased activity in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) which saw daily market turnover rise from $134.83 million to as high as $854.53 million.

Jan 31 (Removal of Allowable Limit of Exchange Rate Quoted by the International Money Transfer Operator)

In its bid to resuscitate the naira and the economy, the apex bank issued another circular on the 31st of January, boosting diaspora remittances via official channels to Nigeria.

This initiative gave permission to quote exchange rates for Naira payout to beneficiaries based on the prevailing market rates at NAFEM, removing the previous cap of -2.5% to +2.5% of previous day’s closing rate.

This decision by the Cardoso-led CBN is expected to spur increased remittances via IMTOs, stemming the channelling and exchange of foreign currency through the alternative market.

Jan 31 (Reviewed Guidelines of International Money Transfer Services in Nigeria)

The CBN’s directive on the 31st of January offered ease of doing business for IMTOs. The guidelines for international money transfer services were reviewed to reflect the changes in the market and improved ease of doing business which would in turn endure clarity on permissible activities.

Feb 8 (Removal of the Spread on Foreign Exchange Transactions)

On Friday, the CBN removed the spread on foreign exchange transactions at the interbank market. This was disclosed in a circular to all authorised dealers, dated February 8, 2024 and signed by Duke Omolara Omotunde, director, financial markets department of the CBN.

Removal of the cap on spread in the interbank market and restrictions on the sale of interbank proceeds will lead to efficiency in the market-based price discovery system.

This policy by the apex bank will lead to a truly liberalised FX market. Authorised Dealers are now enabled to make binding two-way quotes in NAFEM. The removal of restrictions will spur market activity and reduce information asymmetry.

The Naira, which appreciated on Monday after the FX policy announcement, lost 3.41% of its value against the dollar for the five trading days in the week at the official market.

The FX market ended with the dollar closing at N1,469.97 on Friday from N1,419.86 quoted on Monday, the first trading day of the week.

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