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AbokiFX no longer publishes parallel market rates, but Naira depreciated nevertheless

Bureaux De Change operators (BDCs), popularly known as ‘abokis’, on Monday quoted naira at N575 to the dollar at the street market.

Checks by TheCable on Monday showed that the naira exchanged N575 to the dollar at three different markets in Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve centre.

The figure was higher by N1 or 0.2 percent from the N574 it traded last Friday.

A parallel market (street market) is characterised by noncompliant behaviour with an institutional set of rules.

Last week, Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the only recognised foreign exchange market is the Importers and Exporters (I&E) FX window.

Emefiele talked tough over illegitimate traders at the parallel market, saying they were causing confusion and manipulating the foreign exchange market.

He had stopped dollar sales to the earlier authorised BDCs and directed banks to meet legitimate forex demands.

The CBN chief also said the monetary authority is investigating Adedotun Oniwinde and AbokiFX Limited over “illegal foreign exchange transactions” and its mode of data information.

AbokiFX is a web platform that reports movements in the foreign exchange market since as early as 2014.

Despite denying CBN’s allegations, abokiFX suspended parallel market data information on its platform — taunting with a clause: “We sincerely hope this suspension will lead to the Naira appreciation from next week”.

On Monday, abokiFX cleared forex data information from its platform.

At Ikeja, currency traders told TheCable that the dollar exchanged for N575 while they purchased at N565/$1, leaving a gain of N10.

At Eko Hotel, traders sold at N578/$1, depending on the volume of the dollar a customer was willing to buy.

At the Marina BDC market, close to the Lagos branch of the CBN, the currency traded at the same rate.

“I sell at 575 and buy 565 per dollar,” a currency trader, simply identified as Musa at the Ikeja market, said on the phone.

“How many dollars do you want to buy… I can give you a discount if it is much.

“I just bought 2K dollars for 565 from a customer to sell at 575.”

When asked about the suspension of forex information on the abokiFX platform, another trader on the Island, Aliyu, said he doesn’t know any “online aboki”.

“We trade on the road. Walai, we have people in Ikeja, Abuja, Port Harcourt that give us rates every day. My Oga is close to top people too. So we get rates every day,” Aliyu said.

“It is the same rate you’ll see here, Ikeja, airports, and most places in Lagos. Except few that want to charge a higher rate, may be 576 or 578.”

Meanwhile, at the I&E window, the currency opened trading at N412 to the dollar.


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