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Naira falls to lowest in six months

13 June 2012, 16:16

Lagos - The naira retreated to the lowest in almost six months as oil, Nigeria's biggest export, declined and traders speculated the currency would weaken further.

The currency of Africa's biggest oil producer lost 0.3 percent to 163.1 per dollar as of 1:47 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, the weakest since Dec. 27.

"The market is witnessing higher dollar demand, including those from dealers increasing their position in anticipation that the currency may decline further as inflow declines and oil price drops," Sewa Wusu, currency analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said by phone.

Crude oil declined in New York as the International Energy Agency said global markets are better supplied than earlier this year, while Nigeria's bonny light crude traded at $98.62 a barrel, down from $128.47 a barrel on March 13.

The central bank sold $600 million at its twice-weekly foreign currency auctions last week, the most since February. The regulator, which sold $300 million on June 11, uses the auctions and direct sales to stabilize the naira.

The yield on Nigeria's domestic bonds due 2015 rose one basis point to 15.71 percent, according to the June 12 data on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the nation's $500 million of Eurobonds due 2021 fell two basis points to 5.523 percent.


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