Nigeria naira gains as oil firms sell dollars

LAGOS Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:14am EDT

LAGOS Aug 27 (Reuters) - The Nigerian naira firmed against the greenback on Wednesday, lifted by dollar sales from local units of foreign oil companies seeking to fund their month-end obligations.

The local unit closed at 162.05 naira to the U.S. dollar, stronger than Tuesday's close of 162.20 naira.

Dealers said the local units of ExxonMobil sold $50 million and Italy's Eni sold $5 million on Wednesday to boost dollar liquidity, in addition to Total and Chevron which both sold a combined $117 million on Tuesday.

"We expect the naira to stay within this range this week as more oil firms sell dollars," one dealer said, adding that the liquidity provided support for the naira at the 162 level.

Nigerian units of foreign oil firms usually buy the naira towards the end of the month to meet their local obligations.

Dealers also expect potential inflows from offshore investors buying local currency debt following news that Nigeria's 2024 bond will be added to JP Morgan's Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets (GBI-EM) on August 29. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Chijioke Ohuocha/Mark Heinrich)