Why Yuan Currency Swap Will Reduce Pressure On Forex Market- Emefiele

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, has expressed optimism that the agreement reached between Nigeria and China last week on a currency swap will strengthen the naira and help reduce the strong demand for the US dollar in the country.

Nigeria’s central bank has said it plans to diversify its foreign exchange reserves away from the dollar by switching a stockpile into yuan. It converted up to a tenth of its reserves into yuan five years ago.

Lin said a framework on currency swaps had been agreed with Nigeria, making it easier to settle trade deals in yuan.

Throwing more light on the currency swap, Emefiele said in a phone interview yesterday that Nigeria was not the only country that had agreed to a currency swap with China, as several other countries – developed and emerging markets – with growing trade volumes with China had entered into similar currency swaps with the Asian country.

He said as the second largest economy in the world, more and more countries are turning to China for business, as the country seeks to make its currency a convertible global currency like the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and British pound sterling.

To buttress Emefiele’s point, information provided by the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC; China’s central bank) showed that China had bilateral currency swap agreements with 31 central banks for varying sums at the end of 2015.

The countries are the United Kingdom, Belarus, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia, Armenia, Surinam, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Canada, Qatar, Russia, the European Union, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, New Zealand, Argentina, Switzerland, Iceland, Albania, Hungary, Brazil, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates, totalling RMB3.137 trillion.

China has a trade volume of RMB10.747 trillion with the 31 countries with which it has currency swaps.

Emefiele said: “The agreement on the currency swap with China will definitely benefit Nigeria because the essence of the mandate is to ensure that Nigeria is designated as the trading hub with China in the West African sub-region for people who want the renminbi as a currency denomination.

“Also for us, we believe that using the renminbi will improve trade with China, as this will encourage importers to open L/Cs in the Chinese currency for the importation of raw materials, equipment and machinery from China, rather than other trading regions, so the agreement will encourage trade between both countries.”

But when reminded that trade between Nigeria and China was skewed heavily in the favour of China, he said: “On the reverse, we are working to encourage the export of raw materials to China in order to reduce the trade imbalance.

“And we aim to become competitive by improving on infrastructure especially in the area of electricity and ensuring that credit is made available to manufacturers at concessionary rates.”

Credit: Thisday

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