We expect naira weakness once the new notes fully circulate – Analyst

The naira has held fairly steady on the back of the chaotic currency exchange programme, but analysts say its weakness against the dollar will likely resume as the new currency notes are circulated in the system.

The lack of physical cash has held the naira stable against the dollar this week, trading at 747 from 748 at last week’s close in the parallel market, analysts at AZA Finance noted on Thursday, but say this will change once the new notes find their way into the financial system fully.

“We expect renewed naira weakness once the new notes are fully circulating and business returns to normal,” AZA wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

Two weeks before Nigeria’s election, a scarcity of cash and fuel is stoking chaos in the country. Business, social and industrial activities have been disrupted, as costs spiked across the country. Nigerians have gone through days of agony.

But after the clashes at empty ATMs, and accusations of banks hoarding new naira notes, Nigeria’s Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended a second deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the cash swap. On the same day, the IMF advised the central bank to consider extending the deadline, given the disruptions in trade and payments resulting from the exercise.

The federal government has however appealed the Supreme Court suspension order.Meanwhile, Ghana’s cedi has appreciated against the dollar as demand for foreign exchange eased in the West African country. It traded at 12.05/dollar from 12.25 last week, AZA said.

It said the Bank of Ghana sold only $9.2m dollars in the spot market last week, compared to $40m at the previous Jan. 30 sale.A local debt swap was announced by the Ghanaian government as part of debt restructuring.

It announced a plan to replace existing bonds as of December 1, 2022, with a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032, and 2037. Holders of the new bonds were to receive zero coupons in 2023, 5% in 2024, and 10% in 2025, until maturity, despite the coupons on the former papers.


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