By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its efforts to attract foreign capital into the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has further worked with the FMDQ Holdings Plc to introduce a 5-year foreign exchange (FX) futures contracts.
According to the apex bank, FX futures contracts, which would be traded over-the-counter (OTC), were to show its commitment towards the development of the local currency market.
With this latest development, the total number of open OTC FX Futures contracts at the market at any point has risen to 60. Before now, there were 13 contracts, but on Thursday, February 13, 2020, the central bank introduced 47 new monthly OTC FX Futures contracts.
Under the erstwhile OTC FX Futures market structure, the CBN offered 13 monthly contracts allowing market participants hedge FX exposures for up to a one-year period.
Whilst this was a welcome development, a gap was identified where investors seeking to hedge FX risk longer than a year were unable to achieve a perfect hedge using the FX Futures product due to the maturity mismatch.
The resultant risk of unwanted variability in the product deterred investors from using OTC FX Futures market for long-term capital hedging as this was considered unsuitable for long-term investment and capital budgeting purposes, leaving the Nigerian financial markets struggling to attract much-needed FPIs/FDIs and long-term foreign currency (FCY) denominated borrowings for sustainable development and economic growth.
But the impact of the extension of the hedge curve by the CBN to up to 60 months will greatly reduce potential FX exposures, encourage long-term planning and increase investments in the Nigerian financial markets.
In the global financial system, hedging products are market enablers, allowing businesses and investors around the world to invest freely across borders, effectively hedge their risks and invariably contributing to economic growth.
With the FX Futures contracts, the effective rate at which a counterparty will purchase (or sell) FX at any given time in the future is predetermined and fixed; essentially obligating the parties to the transaction which is consummated on FMDQ Exchange, to purchase or sell a currency (in this case, US Dollar) on a predetermined future date (the settlement date) for a fixed rate agreed on the date a contract is entered (trade date).
No obligation exists for the physical delivery of the currency and at maturity, clearing and net settlement which is effected by FMDQ Clear, is made in Naira based on the US Dollar notional amount, and determined by the difference between the agreed rate (on trade date) and the rate on maturity (on settlement date) as determined by FMDQ’s FX reference rate, the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Fixing (NAFEX).
Commenting on the development, the CEO of FMDQ Group, Mr Bola Onadele, stated that, “We are excited that the CBN has yet again introduced this revolutionary initiative which will minimise the funding liquidity risk of CBN’s FX Management Blotter and significantly attract capital, incentivise domestic corporates to avail on low interest rate FCY loans, as well as encourage FPIs/FDIs seeking to make medium-to-long-term investments in our economy.”
He said, “This product innovation, which will continue to provide opportunities for the government, businesses, fund managers investors, individuals etc. to hedge to manage exchange rate risk, thus achieving greater market confidence, liquidity, improvement in business planning, better allocation of resources, global competitiveness of the Nigerian financial markets, and in all, a thriving economy.”
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