Naira appreciates as forex reserve slumps 3℅ in March

Naira outclassed the United States dollar last month on the back of a slimmer foreign exchange (forex) reserve and a bearish stock market.

In the parallel market, the base currency, the dollar depreciated 0.7 per cent month-on- month (m/m) against the price currency, the naira to N750.00/$1.00. 

Also, at the Investors’ & Exporters’ (I&E) Window, the base currency (dollar) lost 0.1 per cent m/m to N461.38/$1.00.

But the Nigeria’s foreign reserves declined 3.0 per cent m/m to close March at $35.6 billion. 

Some analysts argued that, the decline may be as a result of the defence of the local currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Others believe, the decline is as a result of the fall in the prices of crude oil in the UK international markets.

During the month of March, the Brent crude futures contracts slumped 4.4 per cent m/m to $79.55/bbl. in March due to supply glut. 

At the domestic equities market, the first quarter ended on a negative note, with the All Share Index (ASI) down by 2.3 per cent m/m. 

The local bourse declined 2.3 per cent m/m to 54,232.34 points. Consequently, Year-to-Date (YTD) return pared to 7.0 per cent, compared to a previously 8.9 per cent, while market capitalisation dipped N857.0 billion to N29.5 trillion. 

Activity level was mixed as average volume traded gained 2.15 per cent m/m to 311.3 million units while average value traded declined 22.4 per cent m/m to N3.2 billion. TRANSCORP (667.2 million units), UBA (410.6 million units), and COURTVILLE (327.4 million units) were the top traded stocks by volume for the month while GTCO (N7.4 billion), MTNN (N4.9 billion), and UBA (N3.3 billion) led by value.