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Friday, 4 December 2015

Dollar sells for N247, overseas travellers groan

The naira fell against the United States dollar from 243 to 247 at the parallel market on Thursday, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria banned over 1,600 Bureau De Change operators from participating in its twice- weekly sale of foreign currencies.

The naira had hovered between 241 and 243 before falling to 247 on the streets of Lagos and Abuja.
The CBN had on Wednesday stopped BDC operators who failed to render appropriate returns on the utilisation of previous forex purchased from it.
Out of the over 2,800 BDCs that applied to buy forex on Wednesday, 1,600 failed to satisfy the CBN on the utilisation of previous allocations and were consequently denied access to fresh supplies.
The development led to serious scarcity of dollar across major cities on Thursday. While the greenback sold for 247 in the parallel market; the United Kingdom pound sterling, which was previously going for 355 against the naira, went as high as 360. Similarly, the euro went from 277 to 280.
The hopes of buying Personal Travel Allowance and Business Travel Allowance by hundreds of intending passengers were dashed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as Travelex and other currency dealers there ran out of forex.
Apart from Travelex, which did not have dollars, pounds and euros to sell to passengers, other operators also ran out of forex at the Lagos airport. The few ones that had forex to sell to travellers sold the dollar, pound and euro for 247, 360 and 280, respectively.
The currency was quoted at 246 against the dollar at the unofficial market, weaker than 243 the previous day. At the official interbank market, the naira, which has been pegged against the greenback since February, traded at 198.97 by 1204 GMT, according to Reuters.
The President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, said, “The bureaux de change operators were denied access to the forex window because of their failure to file documentation backing previous purchases.”
The central bank had last week asked all bureaux de change operators to submit accounts showing their dollar usage at the start of each week before they could access future sales, a move traders say was aimed at curbing speculation.
The unofficial market accounts for less than five per cent of total dollar trades in Nigeria. The CBN sells a maximum of $30,000 to each operator every week.

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