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Dollar savers offload deposits to parallel  market as naira recovers


Naira has recorded massive gains against the dollar. Yesterday’s appreciation of the local currency against the greenback came  a day after a new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy permitted payment of dollar to money transfer beneficiaries.

The local currency gained N10 against the dollar at the parallel market to close at N490/$ compared with N500/$ it exchanged on Monday.

Market findings showed that  bank customers whose deposits are in dollars made quick cash withdrawals for exchange at the parallel market to take full advantage of the weakened naira before its eventual recovery.

Head of Research at Coronation Asset Management, Guy Czartoryski, said review of deposits in top 10 banks showed that 40 per cent of customers’ total savings, current and term deposits accounts are in dollars.

High net-worth Nigerians now prefer to save their cash in dollars, market intelligence report had shown.

The Coronation Research in a survey discovered that dollar deposits constitute 40 per cent of banking sector deposits.

Many investment banks had floated dollar funds, giving depositors and savers opportunity to hedge against naira depreciation.

An economists and former President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, explained that the naira gain, is still marginal. He said that many dollar savers are anxious to dump the fund on buyers because the market pressure has moved from ‘buying to selling’ of dollar.

He said more people now want to offload the greenback and only very few people want to buy because they see the exchange rate as not reflective of market realities.

“For me, the naira is now a dead currency, because most people, if they have a choice will have nothing todo with it. The naira is now meant for buying and selling at the local market only,” he said.

President, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said currency speculators pushing the naira to forceful depreciation through their illegal activities will continue to insure losses.

Speaking to financial journalists on market development, ABCON President,  Aminu Gwadabe, said forex speculators are taking huge risks with their funds, as the CBN has enough financial muscle to defend the naira and close the widening gaps between official and parallel market rates.

Although the naira has tumbled against the dollar at the parallel market, it has remained stable at N379 to dollar at the official CBN rate.

According to Gwadabe, with $35.6 billion foreign reserves, the CBN has what it takes to punish the enemies of the economy forcing  the naira  to depreciate through speculative activities.

According to him,  the funding of Bureaux De Change (BDCs) has also helped to deepen the forex market and reduce the level of forex scarcity that always formed the basis for speculative activities.

He said that with the CBN having the needed financial strength to fund the market, the rates will soon converge to save the naira.

He said exchange rate unification will further narrow the gap between official and parallel has been canvassed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank because it makes for positive transparency, it makes for clarity of direction and drastically reduces  speculative demand for the naira.

“I think that the CBN by pushing the official  foreign exchange rate from N306, N360 to N379 to dollar is in line with market demands. It has also helped to narrow the official-parallel market rates gap that formed the basis of ridiculous speculations among unpatriotic forex dealers and spectators,” he said.
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