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Naira snaps three days of declines

23 July 2012, 16:09

Abuja - The naira appreciated, snapping three days of declines against the dollar, on slower demand for the U.S. currency before the central bank’s auction.

The currency of Africa’s largest oil producer gained 0.2 percent to 161.3200 per dollar as of 11:32 a.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital.

“The appreciation is as a result of reduced dollar demand as many traders anticipate the currency may be well supported by central bank sales at today’s auction,” Tunde Ladipo, chief executive officer of Lagos-based Valuechain Investment Ltd., which trades currencies, said by phone.

The Central Bank of Nigeria sells foreign-currency on Mondays and Wednesdays to lenders at auctions to stabilize the naira. The regulator sold $500 million at its auctions last week, after selling $343.5 million the previous week, according to data on its website.

“The naira has settled below 162 to a dollar owing to sustained central bank support,” Celeste Fauconnier and Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, strategists at Rand Merchant Bank, wrote in a report on Monday The country’s foreign-currency reserves have fallen by $1.3 billion since the end of May to $36.371 billion, according to July 19 data compiled by the Abuja-based central bank.

The yield on Nigeria’s 7-year domestic bonds due June 2019 fell 19 basis points to 16.17 percent, according to July 20 data on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due 2021 fell one basis point to 5.429 percent today.

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