Nigerian Currency Plunges to New Low Versus the USD, Central Bank Governor Says Naira is ‘Undervalued’

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The Nigerian currency reportedly plunged to a new low versus the U.S. dollar on the official market on Jan.25. Central Bank governor Olayemi Cardoso has said the naira is currently “undervalued” and that efforts are underway to rectify this.

Official and Parallel Market Exchange Rates Nearly Converge

The beleaguered Nigerian currency has plunged to a new low against the U.S. dollar on the official market, briefly falling to NGN1,398 per greenback on Jan. 25. According to a Reuters report, the naira’s new official record low saw it nearly converge with the parallel market exchange rate, which stood at NGN1,400:USD1.

This latest depreciation of the naira is a continuation of a descent that seemingly began immediately after Bola Tinubu succeeded Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s president and removed former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele. Before that, the Nigerian central bank had kept the naira’s exchange rate versus the dollar fixed at just under NGN500:USD1.

Following the appointment of the new CBN leadership, the naira has steadily depreciated against major currencies on both the official and unofficial markets. Many Nigerian economy experts agree that the ongoing slide of the naira is mainly due to shortages of foreign exchange.

However, the current CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, recently told delegates attending the launch of an economic outlook report that the naira is in fact “undervalued” and efforts are now underway to help it realize its true value.

“We believe that the naira is currently undervalued and, coupled with coordinated measures on the fiscal side, we will expedite genuine price discovery in the near term. This coordinated approach will contribute to a more balanced and stable exchange rate,” Cardoso reportedly said.

According to a report in the Leadership, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is planning to take several steps to ensure that all foreign exchange inflows are returned to the central bank.

Meanwhile, Cardoso said he is hoping that some of the reforms being undertaken by the CBN will result in a consistent and stable exchange rate. Such an exchange rate will boost investor confidence and make Nigeria an appealing foreign direct investment destination.

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Do you agree with the CBN governor’s comments about the naira’s value? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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