LAGOS, April 3 Nigeria's naira currency
strengthened to its highest in six weeks against the U.S dollar
on the interbank market on Wednesday, buoyed by increased dollar
supply from two oil companies and a drop in demand for dollars
at the official foreign exchange window.
The naira closed at 158.05 to the dollar on the interbank
market, firmer than the 158.60 it closed at on the previous day.
It was its strongest since Feb. 25, when it closed at 157.45 to
Traders said a unit of Royal Dutch Shell sold an
unspecified amount of dollars to some lenders, while
ExxonMobil's local sold about $56.4 million, boosting
dollar liquidity in the market amid low demand.
On the twice-weekly auction on Wedenesday, the central bank
sold $237.2 million at 155.74 naira to the dollar, short of the
$300 million it initially offered at the auction. The bank sold
$300 million at the previous auction last week at 155.75 to the
Traders said central bank also sold additional dollars
directly to some lenders on Tuesday, its third intervention in
the foreign exchange market this year, helping the local
currency to regain some of its lost value.
"We see this trend continuing as long as there are continued
dollar flows from oil companies, otherwise, the naira should
depreciate marginally to around 158.30 to the dollar in the
short term," one dealer said.
Traders said more energy companies are expected to sell
dollars in the market in the days ahead, which could help boost
support for the naira.