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Naira Eases as Central Bank T-Bill Payouts Boost Dollar Demand

Nigeria’s naira depreciated for the third time in four days after the central bank paid out maturing Treasury bills, boosting money supply and freeing up local currency for buyers to seek dollars.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer declined 0.1 percent to 157.85 per dollar as of 2:50 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, paring a weekly gain to 0.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Abuja-based Central Bank of Nigeria settled maturing bills amounting to 263.93 billion naira ($1.7 billion) yesterday, the Financial Markets Dealers Association, said on its website. The institution sells bills to help manage currency supply within the market.

“The maturities boosted money supply as they hit the market, making dealers more able to seek dollars,” Sewa Wusu, an analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said by phone.

The regulator held the benchmark interest rate at a record high 12 percent for an eighth time on Jan. 21 to control inflation and stabilize the naira. The nation’s inflation rate fell to 9 percent in January from 12 percent in December, the statistics bureau said Feb. 18.

Yields on Nigeria’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 fell 20 basis points to 4.08 percent.

The yield on the country’s 16.39 percent domestic bonds due January 2022 rose 24 basis points to 11.1 percent, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the FMDA website.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 0.2 percent to 1.9175 per dollar in Accra, the capital.

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