Moderate rates expected on budget disbursal despite N212.85bn T-bills auction

Expectations are high in the money market that rates could become moderately low as expected budget disbursals hit the system.

This is in spite of Nigeria’s plans to offer N212.85 billion ($675 million) in Treasury bills maturing between 91-days and 1-year on Aug. 31, as revealed by the central bank on Friday.

The bank said it will sell 45.85 billion naira worth of the 91-day bills, N62 billion of the 182-day paper and N105 billion of the one-year debt. Payment for the purchase will be effected on Thursday, the bank said in a public notice.

Interbank rates should trade at the 16 per cent level by  this week once July’s budget allocations enter the banking system, even as market liquidity stood at N62 billion on Friday, but  expected to rise in the coming days after the budget disbursal, some traders said.

Nigeria’s naira interbank lending rate closed around the 20 per cent level on Friday, a range it has traded all week because of low liquidity and the central bank’s cash withdrawal through treasury bills sales.

Nigeria, issues treasury bills to raise cash to fund the government budget deficit, help manage banking system liquidity and curb rising inflation.

The central bank sold N71.6 billion naira ($227.48 million) in 195-day open market operation (OMO) treasury bills at 18 per cent on Friday to reduce liquidity in the banking system in its bid to support the naira.

However, traders said that the expectation of the disbursal of July’s budgetary allocation to government agencies helped to calm the market.

“The market traded in anticipation of the release of the July budget allocations to states and local government, which hopefully should hit the system by Monday,” one dealer said.

Nigeria, Africa’s top crude producer, distributes revenues from oil exports and taxes among its three tiers, federal, state and local,  every month.

The portions for states and local governments pass through the banking system and boosts liquidity as they spend the money.