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Nigeria’s Naira Straightens on Bond Inflows, Bank Dollar Supply

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s naira appreciated as offshore investors bought the country’s debt and the central bank increased dollar sales at its twice-weekly auctions.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer advanced 0.1 percent to 157.45 a dollar at 11:42 a.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital. The naira has strengthened 3.1 percent this year, the second-best performer in Africa, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nigeria sold 75 billion naira ($476 million) of bonds at an auction yesterday, with bids totalling 244 billion naira, the Debt Management Office published on its website today. The Central Bank of Nigeria sold $312 million in its two auctions this week, the highest total in three weeks according to its website.

The naira gained “due to sufficient dollar supply from central bank and foreign inflows into government securities,” Kunle Ezun and Kenneth Asenime, analysts at Ecobank Transnational Inc. in Lagos, wrote in an e-mailed note to clients today.

The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record 12 percent on Sept. 18 to control inflation and bolster the naira, Governor Lamido Sanusi said. The inflation rate fell to 11.3 percent in September, from 11.7 percent in August, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The central bank’s goal is to bring the inflation rate down to less than 10 percent.

Yields on Nigeria’s 16.39 percent debt maturing January 2022 fell 28 basis points to 13.39 percent, according to yesterday’s data on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. The yield on the nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 fell six basis points to 4.58 percent today.

Ghana’s cedi was unchanged at 1.8865 a dollar in Accra, the capital.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at eonu1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

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