Data made available by the Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA) showed that the local currency leapt by 15 kobo to close at N161.10 to a dollar yesterday, from the N161.25 to a dollar it stood at the end of Friday's auction at the interbank.
Similarly, the naira chalked up 50 kobo at the parallel market to close at N163.50 to a dollar yesterday, from N164 to a dollar the previous day.
Dealers said that Addax Petroleum and Agip Petroleum sold a total of $13 million to some banks. This, according to them, influenced the appreciation recorded by the naira.
However, at the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) bi-weekly auction yesterday, the naira fell slightly by 2 kobo to close at N155.89 to a dollar, lower than the N155.87 to a dollar it sold last Wednesday. The apex bank offered a total of $300 million, same amount it offered at the previous auction.
The outcome of the CBN's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting will be announced today. THISDAY predicted yesterday that the committee will leave the benchmark interest rate and other monetary policy instruments unchanged.
Meanwhile, analysts at FSDH Securities Limited have said that the volatility in oil price at the international market may continue to pose as risk to Nigeria's forex earnings.
"We expect government securities maturities of about N188.76 billion (91-day Treasury Bills (TB) - N34.88 billion; 182 day TB - N60 billion; 364-day TB - N50 billion and Open Market Operations - N43.88 billon) to hit the system this week," it said.
FSDH added: "The unresolved Euro-debt crisis continues to hunt the global economy, even as it tries to recover. In our opinion, the contagion effect of the crisis spill-over cannot be avoided by the local economy; thus there is a need to speed-up the necessary reforms to improve on and diversify the export earners for the economy.
"More so, we believe that monetary easing is appropriate and crucial to the Nigerian economy, in the midst of the current recessionary threat from the global economy," it added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that global growth is projected to moderate to 3.5 per cent this year and 3.9 per cent in 2013 respectively, which is lower than the forecast of 4.5 per cent in its April 2012 World Economic Outlook (WEO).
Caption: MD, Flour Mills, Emmanuel Ukpabi,
Flour Mills Plans N100bn Investment in Five Years
As part of efforts to bolster its position in the industry, the Chairman of Flour Mills Group, Mr. George Coumantaros, said the group plans to invest about N100 billion in the country in the next five years.
Coumantaros which disclosed this in a statement revealed that the Flour Mills had invested N70 billion in the past 10 years in food manufacturing assets.
He explained: "We are completely committed to delivering on our promise to provide our customers and consumers across all of Nigeria and throughout West Africa with the highest quality food products at affordable prices.
"It is the Golden Penny promise. Realising that building its upstream value chains that link Nigerian farmers with industrial process is becoming more important to Nigeria's future prosperity, Flour Mills has also announced the deployment of some of its most talented executives to drive these investments."
On his part, the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills, Chief Emmanuel Ukpabi, said that as part of the company's ongoing strategic review, it now focuses on establishing profitable ventures crucial for the Nigerian economy.
He announced that the new managing director of Food Division, Mr. Ed Jackson, would oversee the food manufacturing division and be responsible for flour and rice milling, sugar refining, pasta products and other processed foods; all wholesale and retail sales, distribution and logistics operations including the operation of its subsidiary - BAGCO.
In this vein, he disclosed that Mr. Paul Gbededo, has been appointed the new managing director of Flour Mills' Agro-Allied business. Gbededo is expected to handle all fertilizer, animal feeds, oil crushing, poultry and farming activities, including backward integration schemes at Kaboji, Sunti and other locations, the processing of cassava into flour, sweeteners and starches, the statement said.
Commenting on the group's increased attention to all agro-allied activities, Ukpabi said: "Gbededo's extensive agro-allied experience and track record in creating value in this important sector makes him the ideal person to drive our efforts in support of the Government's Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
"We have spent N10 billion over the past 10 years in agro-allied investments and have plans to invest another N30 billion over the next five years. With 40 per cent of the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in agriculture and 70 per cent of all Nigerian employment in this sector, it is our top priority to drive," he added.