Nigeria interbank rates flat, lenders hold funds

LAGOS, July 8 Fri Jul 8, 2011 11:53am EDT

LAGOS, July 8 (Reuters) - Nigerian interbank lending rates were unchanged at an average of 9.0 percent this week as banks held on to their funds amid uncertainty over the fate of lenders rescued in a 2009 bailout, traders said on Friday.

Traders said a number of banks were unwilling to place funds with other institutions ahead of the expected September expiry of an interbank guarantee put in place by the central bank in the wake of the $4 billion banking sector rescue.

The regulator has said it cannot afford to keep the guarantee in place indefinitely and set the deadline for the rescued lenders to recapitalise or face possible liquidation.

"A lot of banks have started exiting the interbank market because of the soon-to-be-expired central bank guarantee on interbank placements with the rescued banks," one dealer said.

The secured Open Buy Back (OBB) closed flat at 8.0 percent, in line with the central bank's benchmark rate and 200 basis points over the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) rate.

Overnight placement and call money were also unchanged at 9.0 percent and 10.0 percent respectively.

Dealers said there were no major outflows from the system this week as a result of the reduced demand at the bi-weekly foreign exchange auctions and the lack of any T-bill auction.

"We still have the overhang of inflows of budget allocations to government agencies in the previous week in the system, so the market is liquid enough to deal with the volume of transactions," another dealer said.

The market opened on Friday with a balance of 352 billion naira ($2.3 billion) and was expected to remain broadly unchanged next week.

The indicative rates for the Nigerian interbank offered rate (NIBOR) were mixed, with 7-day funds easing to 10.73 percent from 11.58 percent last week and 30-day funds dropping to 12.25 percent from 12.45 percent.

The 60-day funds closed higher at 13.12 percent from 12.95 percent, while the 90-day closed at 13.54 percent from 13.50 percent. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Nick Tattersall) ($1=152.60 Naira)