The currency exchanged at N361.00 per dollar as at 1.40pm compared to N359.85per dollar traded on the first trading day of the year, data obtained from the FMDQOTC website has shown.
Dollar was stable at N363 in the parallel market, the same position it maintained as at the close of business in 2017, while the Naira lost 0.62 per cent to the Pound and 0.23 per cent to the Euro, which were sold for N485 and N427 respectively on Wednesday, according to data on abokifx.com
Market traders believe that there was nothing unusual about the marginal drop in the value of the naira against the dollar, because it had been hovering between $/N360-N365 since the twilight of the previous year, said Abayomi Ajayi, research analyst at EDC Securities Ltd.
In a telephone discussion with Business Hallmark newspaper, he predicted that the currency would be relatively stable in the first quarter of the year, but could encounter some pressure from increased liquidity caused by government spending on capital projects and electioneering in the second half of the year.
Ajayi was, however, optimistic that the Central Bank would continue to defend the Naira and help stabilize the local currency.
Nevertheless, the financial system regulator is currently challenged by the depletion in the membership of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which has been decimated from its standard 12 members to its recent five membership, the consequence of a standoff between the National Assembly which has refused to screen new appointees and the President Muhammadu Buahri who has refused, in line with the Senate’s request, to relieve Ibrahim Magu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of his job.