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JUST IN: JP Morgan Revelation Triggers Naira’s Decline Against Dollar

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JP Morgan Revelation Triggers Naira's Decline Against Dollar

In a startling report released by JP Morgan, Nigeria’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves were estimated to be at a significantly lower figure than previously anticipated, resulting in a swift depreciation of the Naira against the US Dollar. According to the report, Nigeria’s net FX reserves were calculated to be around $3.7 billion, a revelation that has sent shockwaves through the financial markets.

The impact of this revelation was immediately felt as the Naira plummeted to N900 against the Dollar in the parallel market on Tuesday. This sharp drop has prompted concerns over the stability of the Naira and the overall health of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market. JP Morgan attributed the decline in FX reserves to unexpected currency swaps and borrowing against existing reserves, a situation that has placed additional pressure on the foreign exchange market.

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Parallel market FX dealers were quick to react to the news, with buying rates for the Dollar reaching N885 and selling rates hitting N900, according to data from AbokiFX, a reputable online platform that monitors parallel market exchange rates. This sudden change in rates has caught many by surprise, especially given that the Naira had maintained relative stability at N860/$ in the days leading up to this revelation.

Nigeria’s Central Bank recently announced the introduction of the Price Verification System Portal (PVS), scheduled to commence operations on August 31. This move is aimed at improving transparency and efficiency in FX transactions by requiring the use of the PVS for Form ‘M’ applications. The central bank also revealed new operational guidelines for Bureau De Change (BDC) operations in Nigeria, signaling potential changes in the way foreign exchange is managed.

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A recent Naira conference shed light on the volatility and uncertainty prevalent in Nigeria’s foreign exchange landscape. During a panel session titled “From Fragmentation to Integration: Shaping a More Cohesive Forex Market,” industry stakeholders discussed the underlying factors contributing to the market’s instability. Aminu Gwadabe, president of the Association of Bureau-De-Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), emphasized the role of excess liquidity created by corruption, rather than demand, as the driver of market volatility.

Suggestions for a more integrated and stable FX market included the need to reduce the dominance of key players, thereby allowing for increased competition and efficiency. Gwadabe stressed the importance of incorporating registered BDC operators in policy decisions related to the forex market. Ola Oyetayo, CEO of Verto, acknowledged some reforms made by the government but highlighted the necessity of addressing the supply-side issues affecting the foreign exchange market.

Abiola Rasaq, a former Economist and Head of Investor Relations at United Bank for Africa Plc, emphasized that boosting FX supplies is the fundamental solution to the ongoing crisis. He proposed structural shifts such as enhancing oil and gas production/exportation, attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), and ensuring investor confidence through property rights and repatriation guarantees. Rasaq also stressed the need to promote non-oil exports through collaboration between fiscal authorities and the central bank.

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As the foreign exchange market navigates these challenges, analysts have pointed to measures such as conducting new oil licensing rounds to boost production and exploring opportunities for refineries to enhance local capacity. The JP Morgan revelation has ignited a renewed focus on stabilizing the Naira and addressing the underlying issues in Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

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