Nigerian banks limit debit card withdrawals abroad

ABUJA, April 1 (Reuters) - Nigerian banks are limiting the amount individuals can withdraw with their debit cards while abroad, bankers said on Wednesday, in an effort to ease foreign currency settlement risk.

The central bank is battling to conserve dollar reserves that are down 16% from a year ago after the coronavirus outbreak triggered a sharp fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export. The oil price plunge has also prompted foreign investors to shed Nigerian assets.

Fidelity Bank said it would impose a new limit of $1,000 from April 1, down from $3,000 previously, a senior executive told Reuters.

Other lenders -- Zenith Bank and GT Bank -- have lowered withdrawal limits for individuals while abroad.

Stanbic IBTC Bank said it has pegged its daily limit at $300.

Such moves have previously been at the behest of the central bank, but it was not clear if the regulator was behind the latest action.

The naira has hit fresh lows on both the official and over-the-counter spot markets after the central bank devalued the currency last month and suspended forex sales to retail currency traders. (Additional reporting by Libby George in Lagos Editing by David Goodman)