By Bukola Idowu
The value of the naira crashed yesterday at the parallel market as pressure increased over the deregulation of the petroleum by the federal government which saw the product selling at N145 per liter.
The naira, which closed at N323 on Wednesday, shed 5.6 per cent of its value to sell at N341 at the close of business yesterday. The Nigerian currency is likely to further weaken next week as the pressure and impact of the government pronouncement hits the market.
“There is dollar scarcity right now in the market, even at N324 naira you can’t find dollar to buy,” one trader told Reuters. Traders said expected pressure from fuel importers could further push down the naira value in the coming days.
The naira however remained stable at N199.40 to the dollar on the official interbank market, around the 197 official peg rate. The Central Bank of Nigeria sells foreign exchange to banks weekly based on the requests of their customers.
The naira weakened on the parallel market following the guided deregulation of the downstream sector, which increased oil price to N145 per litre as announced by minister state for Petroleum Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu.
“People are holding on to their dollars in anticipation of an increase in demand for dollars by oil importers,” said Aminu Gwadabe, head of the bureaux de change operators association.
On Wednesday, the federal government said fuel importers were from now on allowed to get dollars from the parallel market to help ease acute shortages.
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