The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a circular removing the ±2.5% cap spread on interbank foreign exchange (FX) transactions, along with lifting restrictions on the sale of interbank proceeds. This move aligns with CBN’s goal of fostering a market-based price discovery system. The directive emphasizes conducting FX transactions on a “Willing Buyer and Willing Seller” basis and stresses adherence to ethical standards. Previously, the CBN had imposed restrictions, but recent actions demonstrate a shift towards market liberalization, allowing the market to adapt to current realities. This change also affects guidelines dating back to 2016, particularly regarding the sale of inter-bank funds to Bureau-de-Change operators, which are now discontinued, enabling authorized dealers to sell proceeds to BDC operators and other willing buyers outside the market.
Interbank liquidity was constrained for the most part of the week following the NTB auction debit. Nonetheless, a late-week inflow from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resulted in a rise in system liquidity. Consequently, in a week-on-week assessment, the Open Buy Back (OBB) rate witnessed a notable 470 bps decrease, while the Overnight rate (O/N) recorded a 420 bps decline. This led to the conclusion of the week with interbank rates standing at 15.50% for OBB and 17.00% for O/N.
We expect the rates to remain at similar levels in the coming week.
Amidst a constrained interbank liquidity setting, the Treasury Bills market predominantly witnessed bearish sentiments throughout the week. This was primarily attributed to the adjustment of the offer amount, increased from N417 billion to N1 trillion, for the NTB auction conducted within the week. The Debt Management Office (DMO) offered and allocated N1 trillion, with total subscriptions amounting to N1.98 trillion. Stop rates for the 91-, 182-, and 364-day papers closed higher compared to previous levels, standing at 17.24%, 18.00%, and 19.00%, respectively, as opposed to 5.00%, 7.50%, and 11.54% at the last auction. Post-auction, yields were repriced across the curve, with notable interest observed in the newly issued 1-year paper (6-Feb-25). As anticipated, the average benchmark yield surged by 512 bps, concluding the week at 15.05%.
We anticipate a similar sentiment in the upcoming week.
FGN Bond Market
The FGN Bonds market also displayed a bearish stance for most of the week because of the result of the NTB auction. This bearish sentiment was further fuelled by the constrained liquidity in the system. Consequently, the average benchmark yield concluded the week at 15.51%, marking a 63 bps increase on a week-over-week (WoW) basis.
We anticipate a sustained continuation of this prevailing trend in the upcoming week.
The FGN Eurobonds market traded mixed sentiments all week. The demand for bonds was influenced by favorable policies from the Nigerian government and central bank addressing the FX conditions of the economy. Conversely, profit-taking activities towards the week’s end led to selling pressures. As a result, the average benchmark yield recorded a 12 bps decline, closing the week at 9.68%.
We foresee a similar trend in the upcoming week.
The value of the Naira to the dollar depreciated by 240 bps week-on-week to print at ₦1,469.97/$ this week at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM).
The local equities traded bearish sentiments in all four out of five trading sessions this week. The NGXASI recorded a day-on-day decline of 62 bps and a week-on-week decline of 92 bps, settling at 101,858.37 points. This weekly decline was propelled by notable selloffs in Dangote Sugar, BUA Cement, as well as the banking stocks. Consequently, the year-to-date growth stood at 36.22% and market capitalization decreased by ₦1.41 trillion, closing the week at ₦55.74 trillion. Assessing the overall weekly performance, market breadth ended at 0.23x, indicating that 69 decliners outpaced the 16 advancers.
Examining the trading metrics, the total trading volume dropped by 69.88% WoW, reaching 321.89 million units, while the total traded value increased by 68.67% WoW, totaling ₦7.35 billion. FirstBank Nigeria Holdings, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, and Jaiz Bank led the volumes board with closing values of 403.17 million units, 183.45 million units, and 146.17 million units, respectively. While FirstBank Nigeria Holdings, Guaranty Trust Holding Company, and United Bank for Africa topped the values chart with closing values of ₦10.73 billion, ₦4.11 billion, and ₦3.29 billion, respectively.
We anticipate a cautious approach in the next session.