CBN lures foreign investors with second debt sale


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) auctioned N150 billion ($489.5 million) of open market bills on Thursday, which is its second bill sale in a week as it seeks to attract more foreign investors.

The apex bank last month shifted policy to try to force banks to lend to help revive an economy stuck with low growth after a recent recession.

But with falling oil prices and foreign investors taking profits, the naira is regaining focus, said Reuters.

The central bank planned to sell the bills with maturities from 84-day to 350-day, traders said, after the central bank auctioned N34.4 billion in treasury bills on Wednesday at higher rates. Last week, the bank sold N100 billion in bills.

Pressure has been building on the naira as oil prices drop and foreign investors book profits on local bonds in response to yields which have fallen from as high as 18 per cent a year ago.

In a further sign of pressure on the currency, President Muhammadu Buhari told the central bank on Tuesday to stop providing forex for food imports, his spokesman said.

The naira was quoted at N364 on Thursday on thin liquidity, traders said, a level where it has traded this week. It eased to N364 per dollar on Friday, from a quote of N363.50 as falling oil prices tightened liquidity on the currency market.

A dollar shortage was initially caused by a slowdown of foreign inflows after local debt market yields declined.

Nigeria operates a multiple exchange rate regime that it has used to manage pressure on the currency. The official rate of N306.90 is supported by the central bank but the traded rate of N364 is widely quoted by foreign investors and exporters.

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