According to traders, the naira weaken to a record low against the dollar on the official market could be a move by the central bank to unify multiple exchange rates as the official rate of Naira to dollar now is N411.
Since July last year, having traded within a band of 380 and 381 to the dollar, the naira hit a record low of 419.75 against the dollar on Friday. It then closed at 411.25 — the last closing rate for the naira on the over-the-counter spot market.
According to some traders:
“What the central bank is saying is that the (OTC) spot rate will be the official rate because that’s where the largest volumes trade,”
Nigeria operates multiple currency regimes, which frustrates businesses and have prompted calls from the World Bank for the rates to be unified to attract investment. Rising dollar demand has put pressure on the naira as providers of foreign exchange, such as offshore investors, exited after the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a fall in global oil prices.
Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele in February said the currency was trading at 410 naira on the official market while the government has been using that rate for its business as it tries to boost earnings from crude sales, its main export.