Naira Retreats to 5-Week Low as Dollar Demand Unmet at Auction

Nigeria’s naira declined for a second day, retreating to its lowest in five weeks after the central bank failed to meet demand for dollars at an auction.

The naira depreciated 0.2 percent to 157.45 a dollar as of 17:02 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, its lowest on a closing basis since Dec. 19, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The naira weakened on increased corporate and retail demand for dollars and also because the central bank allegedly did not fill demand at the auction,” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd. in London, said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria sells dollars to lenders at auctions on Mondays and Wednesdays to stabilize the naira. The regulator sold $150 million at its auction today at an exchange rate of 155.73 naira a dollar, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Nigeria will sell 164.9 billion naira ($1.05 billion) of 91-, 182- and 364-day Treasury bills today, the regulator said on Jan. 16. Nigeria will also sell as much as 110 billion naira in bonds, the Abuja-based Debt Management Office said in a statement on its website.

The naira has gained from foreign-currency inflows to oil companies investing in its hydrocarbons and portfolio funds, Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said in comments to reporters after keeping the benchmark interest rate unchanged for the eighth time on Jan. 21.

The yield on Nigeria’s 16.39 percent domestic bonds due January 2022 rose four basis points to 11.23 percent, according to yesterday’s data on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. The yield on $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 was little changed at 3.726 percent today.

Ghana’s cedi retreated 0.3 percent to 1.9135 a dollar in Accra, the capital.

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