LAGOS Dec 10 Nigeria's naira currency eased
marginally against the U.S dollar on the interbank market on
Monday after a sudden dollar buying pressure from a lender
depressed liquidity in the market, traders said.
The naira closed at 157.15 to the dollar on the interbank,
weaker than the 157.10 to the dollar on Friday.
Traders said dollar sales by three oil companies, units of
French Total $55 million, Agip, $10 million and
unspecified amount by Royal Dutch Shell, initially
buoyed dollar liquidity in the market and helped the naira
firmed around 156.90/157.05 figure intraday.
"The market was sufficiently liquid to support the naira
with the large dollar sales by the NNPC (state-owned energy
company) on Friday and three others oil companies today, but
last minute buying by some banks depressed the market," one
NNPC sold around $400 million on Friday, dealers said.
Traders said the NNPC dollar was sold to the some lenders
almost at par with prevailing rate in the market, leaving little
room for margin and reduced its impact on the naira value in the
The currency of Africa's top energy producing country has
been supported by large dollar flows from energy companies
selling dollars to meet month-end domestic obligations, and by
offshore investors buying local debt in the past few weeks.
Traders said the naira should remain stable around the
157-157.40 in the near term as demand for dollar decline towards
the end of the year.
On the official window, the central bank sold $56.5 billion
to lenders at 155.76 to the dollar, compared with $154.28
million at the same rate last week.
(Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Toby Chopra)