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Nigeria’s Naira Depreciates Most in Week on Fewer Dollar Sales

Nigeria’s naira weakened and set for the biggest drop in week as oil companies and the central bank were said to sell fewer dollars than expected.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer depreciated 0.1 percent to 158.15 a dollar as of 2:42 p.m. in Lagos, heading for the biggest decline since Aug. 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The market is still awaiting month-end sales by oil companies to cater for rising dollar demand,” Sewa Wusu, currency analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said in a telephone interview today. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s “reduced supply is adding to naira weakening,” Wusu said.

Oil-producing companies which sell dollars to lenders around the month-end to meet local expenses are the second major supplier after the central bank. It sells foreign currency at twice-weekly auctions to support the naira. The central bank sold $180 million at an auction today, less than $250 million at the previous sale on Aug. 27, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Fuel imports have been a source of pressure on the naira, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Yields on the West African nation’s 7 percent domestic debt due 2019 fell 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, to 15.50 percent, according to yesterday’s prices on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Borrowing costs on the West African nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due 2021 gained two basis points to 4.892 percent today.

Ghana’s cedi gained 0.4 percent to 1.9305 per dollar in Accra, the capital.

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