Nigeria Central Bank Says Injected $355.43 Mln Into Currency Market

Central Bank of Nigeria's logo is seen on the headquarters building in Abuja, Nigeria January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

LAGOS (REUTERS) - Nigeria’s central bank said on Friday it had injected $355.43 million into the interbank foreign exchange market, as part of its efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate dollar shortages.

The bank said in a statement the money was released to “meet requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors”.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, fell into recession in 2016 largely because of low crude oil prices. Lower oil revenues led to foreign currency shortages, since crude sales are the country’s main source of dollars.

It emerged from recession in the second quarter of last year as crude prices recovered and militant attacks against Niger Delta oil production facilities ended. But it has maintained a system of multiple exchange rates in a bid to reduce pressure on the local naira currency.

The International Monetary Fund, in a report published earlier this week, reiterated its call for Nigeria to scrap its multiple exchange rates and move to a unified rate as quickly as possible.

Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by Larry King