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Politicians Seeking Dollars Drive Nigerian Naira to New Low

  • Candidates said to stock up on currency to pay for support
  • Gap between spot and black market naira rates widens to 44%
A customer counts out payment from a bundle of 500 Naira banknotes inside a market in Lagos, Nigeria.

A customer counts out payment from a bundle of 500 Naira banknotes inside a market in Lagos, Nigeria.

Photographer: Damilola Onafuwa/Bloomberg
Updated on

Politicians stocking up on dollars before Nigeria’s primary elections start over the weekend are helping to drive the local currency to new lows. 

The naira weakened to 600 against the greenback this week in the unauthorized parallel market, according to Abubakar Mohammed, a bureau de change operator that tracks the data in Lagos, the commercial capital. It’s the lowest the currency has traded this year in Africa’s most populous country, where the central bank maintains a tightly controlled official exchange rate but many residents make use of the black market.