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Nigeria’s Naira Advances to 2-Week High on Inflows: Lagos Mover

Nigeria’s naira advanced to its highest level in two weeks amid increased inflows for purchases of fixed-income securities.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer rallied for a second day, gaining 0.3 percent to 157.3 a dollar at 3:04 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, the strongest on a closing basis since Nov. 8. The naira has appreciated 3.2 percent this year, the second-best performing currency tracked by Bloomberg in Africa.

The naira’s appreciation could be traced to tight monetary conditions, improved supply of foreign exchange to the market by oil companies and increased inflows from portfolio investors, central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said Nov. 20 after the Abuja-based regulator held its benchmark rate at a record-high 12 percent.

“Sales of foreign exchange by oil companies and offshore portfolio investors had a role, too,” Gregory Kronsten, head of economic and fixed-income research at FBN Capital Ltd. in London, said in an e-mailed note today.

Inflation, which accelerated for the first time in four months to 11.7 percent in October on widespread flooding of farms, is still above the bank’s target of less than 10 percent.

Borrowing Costs

Nigeria’s 10-year borrowing costs fell to a record low of 12.01 percent at an auction yesterday after the Debt Management Office sold 25 billion naira ($159 million) of the notes due January 2022, the Abuja-based agency said today. Demand was more than double the supply. The central bank also sold 116.18 billion of Treasury bills yesterday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. added Nigerian bonds to its benchmark emerging-market index series last month, predicting the inclusion may lure $1.5 billion to sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy. Barclays will add Nigeria to its local-currency government bond index in March, it said Nov. 6. The credit rating of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy was raised one level on Nov. 7 to BB- by Standard & Poor’s.

Yields on 10-year naira debt fell 2 basis points to 12.27 percent, according to yesterday’s prices compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Borrowing costs on the nation’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 were little changed at 4.4 percent

The central bank sold $400 million at foreign-currency auctions this week, the most in eight. The regulator sells dollars on Mondays and Wednesdays to keep the naira within a 3 percent band around 155 a dollar.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 0.2 percent to 1.8957 per dollar in Accra, the capital.

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