The naira, which rose to 180 against the dollar shortly after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari about a month ago, has fallen to 222 at the parallel market due to a huge demand for dollars by importers and investors.
Increasing business activities have made importers and investors to move their foreign exchange demands to the parallel market, putting pressure on the naira at the segment, it was learnt on Tuesday.
Punch roving reporter gathered that the dollar was sold for between 220 and 222 on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and Kano on Tuesday, while the pounds and euro were sold for 350 and 249, respectively.
Analysts and foreign exchange dealers said the future of the naira looked bleak, at least at the parallel market.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has been depleting the external reserves in a bid to defend the local currency.
At the interbank forex market, where the central bank intervenes regularly to defend the currency, the naira closed at 199 against the dollar on Tuesday, data from the FMDQ OTC website showed.
The external reserves fell to $29.03bn on June 22, from $29.8bn on May 18, data from the CBN website showed.
Prior to the latest development, the foreign reserves had been stable for several weeks.
Economic and financial analysts said the latest movements in the external reserves meant that the naira was beginning to come under some fresh pressure.
Concerned about the depletion of the reserves, the CBN met with bank officials on Friday to discuss how to mitigate the pressure on the external reserves.
The CBN has yet to make the outcome of the meeting official but sources said the central bank wanted the banks’ cooperation in order to reduce the pressure on the reserves.
The bank officials, it was learnt, told the CBN that it needed to relax its rules in the forex market and allow the naira to find its level.
The officials, however, promised to take the deliberations at the meeting to the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.