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Nigeria’s Naira Strengthened as Foreign Investors Buy T-Bills

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- The naira strengthened for the first time in four days after foreign investors bought short-term debts, boosting dollar supplies.

The currency of Africa’s second-biggest economy gained 0.1 percent to 158.65 per dollar as of 4:44 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earlier, it weakened as much as 0.2 percent.

The Central Bank of Nigeria sold 117 billion naira ($737 million) of Treasury bills at an auction yesterday, with yields on 91-, 182- and 364-day notes rising to the highest in two months, according to an e-mailed statement from the Abuja-based lender. Bids were 273.5 billion naira, it said.

“Offshore investor participation in the market remains, and is sustained by attractive yields,” Sewa Wusu, an analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said by phone today.

Dollar inflows into fixed-income securities have helped support the naira, central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said in January. The currency weakened earlier today after the lender sold fewer dollars at yesterday’s auction than buyers expected, Wusu said.

The yield on the country’s 16.39 percent domestic bonds due January 2022 declined two basis points to 11.24 percent in the secondary market, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 declined 11 basis points to 4.216 percent.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 0.3 percent to 1.9405 per dollar in Accra, the capital, the lowest on a closing basis since Aug. 29.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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