Naira trades at 498/$ as foreign reserves hit 10-month high – The Cable

Despite the continuous rise in Nigeria’s foreign reserves, the naira is currently trading at 498 to the dollar, defying the movement in reserves.

The foreign reserves hit a 10-month high on Thursday, surging to $27.378 billion, which is also its highest point in 2017.

For 2017 alone, the foreign exchange has added over $1 billion, climbing out of an 11-year low. The naira was however seen as trading at 305 per dollar at the official side of the foreign exchange market.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the government was in talks with the CBN to fully implement the “free-float” foreign exchange policy, but it simply could not float the naira.

“We already have a foreign exchange policy. Now, that policy, that is the point I have been making all along, that stabilising that policy, ensuring that it works fully, is really what we are trying to get to, in our interactions with the central bank, which of course is independent,” he had said.

“We are trying to get them to see that you need to implement this policy fully. Central bank of course has its own constraints; we have to be careful.

“We simply can’t allow the currency to float; we have to look at all of the market conditions and all of that. But really, the point we are making is that we must create the environment which will help the Central Bank as well.”

The British pound and euro were trading at 596 and 520 respectively at the parallel market, while also exchanging for 388, 337 at the official side.

Nigeria’s crude oil output increases by 403,900bpd – Guardian

Nigeria’s crude oil output increased by about 403,900 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.940 million bpd in December 2016, above November levels of 1.536 million bpd, according to the current figures released by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Compared to third quarter 2016, 1.2 million bpd output, the boost in production is attributed to Federal Government’s overtures to militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, to pave the way for a comprehensive dialogue with a view to resolving all the issues.

Due to the vandals and militants activities Nigeria’s crude oil output dropped to as low as 900,000 bpd in early 2016, a far cry from the 2.2 million barrels benchmarked in the budget.

Despite the December uplift, the country is having a shortfall of 260,000 barrels daily, which will challenge the full execution of the 2017 National Budget, also pegged at 2.2mbpd.

OPEC said in the report released on Wednesday, that crude oil production in December decreased by 2.21 million bpd from the previous month to average 33.08 mbpd.

According to OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world oil, output increased the most in Iraq, Angola and Libya, while production in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela showed the largest decline.

Speaking on efforts the country is making to increase oil output, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, in his 2017 projection for the industry hoped that Nigeria would achieve 2.1 million barrels per this month.

Kachikwu noted that the vandalism of the Forcados export pipeline negatively impacted on the country’s oil output, adding that the issue was currently being addressed.

He said: “In terms of crude oil output, we are still not where we should be. These days, I am always conscious about giving figures so that I do not attract attention unnecessarily. “Obviously, the Forcados incident did impact us. My guess is that we are moving closer to 1.9 million barrels per day at this point. We are still managing the issue.”

The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf stressed the need for the country to increase output.

To achievethis, Yusuf said the country must tackle the problem of the Niger Delta, which is a critical to maximising inherent opportunities.

“Remember, we were exempted from the OPEC quota thing, so we should take full advantage of that by increasing our output. We cannot increase output unless we deal with Niger Delta issue. So that is why we have to tackle this issue of Niger Delta. We need to come up with clear ways of dealing with the problem,” he said.

Naira depreciates further against dollar – NAN

The Naira on Thursday remained indifferent to the sale of over $250m to licensed Bureau De Change operators nationwide as it suffered another loss against the dollar.

The Naira inched against the dollar at the early hours of Thursday morning by 2 points but could not sustain the gain as it shed 3 points to close at N498 to a dollar at the open market.

The Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N596 and N520, respectively, at the open market.

At the BDC window, the Naira exchanged at N399 to a dollar, CBN controlled rate, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N599 and N522, respectively.

Trading at the interbank market saw the Naira weakening further as it closed at N305.50, from the N305.25 it recorded on Wednesday.

Traders at the market were hopeful that the Naira would bounce back as quickly as possible.

They, however, noted that the Naira was waging a guerilla-like war against speculators who manipulate the market for their selfish ends.