By Oludare Mayowa
LAGOS Jan 3 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s naira traded flat at the official interbank window and on the parallel market on the first trading day of the year, while stocks fell almost one percent in trading dominated by losses in petroleum, banking and brewery shares.
The naira closed at 305 a dollar on the official window, the same rate it closed at on the last working day of 2016. The currency initially traded at 315.50 to the dollar but gained after the central bank sold $1.5 million in the market.
On the parallel market, the naira was trading at 490 to the dollar at 1425 GMT, its closing level last year.
“In the week ahead, we expect pressure on the naira to linger, especially at the parallel market, as unmet demand from the official market continues to stoke imbalances,” United Capital said in a research note to clients on Tuesday.
The major stock market index fell 0.96 percent to 26,616 points, dragged down by losses in banking, petroleum and breweries.
The Pan-African banking group Ecobank Transnational Inc. and chocolate maker Cadbury posted the biggest losses, 4.95 percent each. Energy company Oando followed at 4.89 percent.
Other big declines included Nigerian Breweries, which was down 4.05 percent; Sterling Bank, which fell 3.95 percent; and Guaranty Trust Bank, down by 2.83 percent.
The naira lost around a third of its official value against the dollar in 2016 and the stock market declined 6.17 percent over the same period, reflecting a slump in Africa’s largest economy. (Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram, Larry King)