The introduction of the CBN FX gateway by the bank could potentially affect the liquidity of other banks, according to Fitch

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Fitch Ratings has expressed concerns about the potential negative impact on the liquidity of Nigerian banks due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s proposed foreign currency gateway bank.

The apex bank’s plan, disclosed by Governor Dr Olayemi Cardoso, aims to address the country’s forex crisis by centralizing correspondent banking activities. Fitch believes these measures may adversely affect the banking sector’s foreign currency liquidity.

Additionally, the recent devaluation of the local currency is expected to result in an accelerated increase in impaired loans within the banking sector.

Fitch also notes that the CBN’s circular prohibiting banks from holding net long foreign currency positions could lead to a further moderate depreciation of the naira, exposing banks’ capital positions to potential risks.

Despite these challenges, the move away from a managed exchange rate regime is seen as beneficial in the long term, though it presents short-term macroeconomic risks, including heightened inflation and potential impacts on economic growth and the banking sector.

As of February 13, the naira experienced a significant devaluation, reaching 1,516/$, reflecting a 40% devaluation since the official market closed at 899/$ at the end of the previous year.

The evolving foreign currency market dynamics, as indicated by Fitch, underscore the need for careful monitoring of economic indicators and potential risks in the financial sector.

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