Naira Weakens, Caps Biggest Monthly Drop Since June

Nigeria’s naira depreciated for a fourth day, capping the biggest monthly decline since June.

The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer retreated 0.3 percent to 158.55 per dollar as of 3:50 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, giving a 0.9 percent retreat this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The naira weakened as foreign capital inflows reduced lately amid a more risk-averse global environment in February,” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest bank by assets, said in e-mailed comments.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of stocks has slid 1.5 percent in February, the most since May. Nigeria has about $10 billion worth of speculative investments, which may leave the country at short notice if global investment risks increase, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi said in December.

The regulator held the benchmark interest rate at a record high 12 percent for an eighth straight 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.

The yield on the country’s 16.39 percent domestic bonds due January 2022 rose six basis points to 10.61 percent, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website.

Yields on Nigeria’s $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 fell 10 basis points to 4.40 percent today.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 0.2 percent to 1.92 per dollar in Accra, the capital.

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