Interbank Rate Flat as OMO Bills Mature

Nigeria's interbank lending rate held steady for the second consecutive week at 0.5 percent after the central bank injected matured Open Market Operation (OMO) bills into the system, traders said.

Banks' credit balance with the central bank opened at 622 billion naira ($3.13 billion) on Friday, compared with a surplus of about 514 billion naira last week.

The secured open buy-back (OBB) - the rate at which lenders can borrow from the interbank market using treasury bills as collateral - held steady at 0.5 percent same level last week, far below the central bank's 13 percent benchmark interest rate.

Traders said about 179 billion naira in matured OMO bills was injected into the system on Thursday. They also expected an unspecified amount of refunds from cash that banks had deposited with the central bank for forex purchases to hit the banking system on Friday.

Traders said that although about 70 billion naira for bond purchases and 18 billion naira debited for cash reserve requirements left the system on Friday, the market remained substantially liquid.

"The market is highly liquid and we are not seeing any change in the lending rate at the interbank market in the near term unless the central bank resumes the issuance of OMO bills as is being speculated in the market," one dealer said.