Naira Crashes in Interbank Trading as Rate Gaps Narrow

By Sahabi Abdul

Nigeria’s naira plunged in the import-export window of the interbank market, crossing the four hundred mark for the first time on the last day of the year.

After opening the day at 385 to a dollar, it fell as much as 412.05 in the intraday trading before settling for a 4.12 percent decline at 410.25  by the close of the day, according to data from the FMDQ platform used by banks.

The sharp decline without intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria signifies a move away from the current multiple exhange-rate system to a unified market-determined one.

Latest rate on FMDQ website

The current system has been criticized for lacking transparency and was cited by the World Bank as a reason for delaying a 1.5 billion dollar loan package for Nigeria.

Nigeria’s currency has been under severe exchange-rate pressure since global demand for crude oil, its biggest export, was slashed by the lockdowns and restrictions that followed the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the currency fell below 500 naira in the parallel market before recovering to the 465-470 naira range.