March 14, 2017 / 7:37 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Nigeria central bank sells $150 mln in forwards

(Adds quote, details)

LAGOS, March 14 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s central bank said on Tuesday that it had sold $150 million in currency forwards on the interbank market through commercial lenders.

The central bank, which has been intervening on the official currency market over the past two weeks, had earlier told lenders that Tuesday’s sale would be settled within 60 days.

In an emailed statement, it said a further $45 million had been released for such items as medical fees, tuition fees and business travel.

“All the pent-up demand for invisibles has been met,” said central bank spokesman Isaac Okorafor. He added that the central bank was committed to ensuring stability in the country’s foreign exchange market.

Nigeria’s government unveiled a sweeping economic recovery plan last week that included the relaxation of foreign exchange restrictions with a view to achieving a market-determined regime. The central bank later told reporters it would not allow the Naira to float freely.

The naira fell to 306 per dollar on Monday from the 305.50 level it has traded since last year after a central bank intervention on the spot market. The currency was quoted at 455 per dollar on the black market on Tuesday. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa and Camillus Eboh, in Abuja; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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