160912F_Naira-notesThe naira weakened marginally yesterday due to strong dollar demand, but the local currency was expected to be supported later in the week by energy firms selling forex, traders said.

The naira closed at N158.75 to the dollar, slightly weaker than the N158.70 it closed on Friday.

Traders said about $141 million sold by a unit of French oil firm Total on Friday helped to limit losses and more energy firms were expected to come to the market this week.

Most energy companies operating in the country sell dollars to banks on a monthly cycle to get naira for their domestic obligations.

The naira has been maintained in a N158-N159 band against the dollar since last month, mainly due to support provided by international oil companies selling forex and the Central Bank’s monetary tightening measures.

Meanwhile, yields on Nigeria’s treasury bills fell marginally by around 0.15 percentage points across all tenors at a primary auction last week, where the apex bank sold N99.93 billion worth of the debt with 3-month to-one-year maturities.

The CBN sold N20.64 billion in 91-day treasury bills at 10.7 per cent, 15 basis points lower than the 10.89 per cent it attracted at the previous auction on November 6.

A total of N25 billion in the 182-day paper was sold at 11.45 per cent against 11.60 per cent previously, while N54.29 billion in the 364-day paper was sold at 11.64 percent compared with 11.8 percent previously.

“My expectation is that the naira should strengthen in the week as more oil companies sell dollars,” one dealer said.


[The Nation]