UBA, Access Bank top in forex trading

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By Odunewu Segun

Just as returns on foreign exchange utilization have shown that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, sold a total of $2,177,999,996 to commercial banks between March 1st and May 31st 2016, Seven banks have made N78 billion trading in foreign exchange in 2015 despite forex scarcity and restrictions in the nation’s forex market.

The banks are Access, UBA, FBN Holdings, Union Bank, Diamond Bank, Wema Bank and Sterling Bank. Forex income was 8.3 per cent lower than the N85.5 billion recorded in 2014.

Central Bank of Nigeria Analysis of the audited financial statements of the banks showed that Access Bank and UBA accounted for 68 per cent of the total income with N53.8 billion, down from N67.2 billion recorded the previous year.

Access Bank led the pack with N36.9 billion, up by 103 per cent or N18.7 billion from N18.2 billion in 2014. UBA came second, with N16.9 billion down by N7.6 billion or 31 per cent from N24.5 billion in 2014.

FBN Holdings came third earning N11 billion in 2015, down by 20 per cent or N14.1 billion in 2014. Others are Diamond Bank, N6 billion, Sterling Bank, N5 billion, Union Bank, N2.1 billion and Wema N0.2 billion.

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Analysis also revealed that of the five top banks, Zenith recorded a loss of N1.96 billion from foreign exchange trading, down by 113 per cent from N14.1 billion recorded in 2014.

GTBank however did not disclose its foreign exchange trading for the year.

A breakdown of the weekly returns on forex utilization showed that while in March 2016, the banking sector regulator sold a total of $921,352,549 to banks, and $669,405,241 in April, the financial institutions were allocated a total of $587,242,206 in May.

The report however showed a gradual slide in the monthly forex sale by the central bank.

Actual demand for forex stood at almost $21.800 billion during the three months, as the apex bank only managed to meet about 10 per cent of banks’ demand for forex through its demand management policy.