Stacks of US fifty and one hundred dollar bills in money bag

Nigeria’s naira is plummeting, losing one third of its value as the government floats the currency for the first time in the history of the oil-producing nation.

The move was forced by a spiraling economic crisis created by slumped oil prices and aggravated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s 16-month-long insistence that the Central Bank defend the naira at a fixed rate of 197 to the dollar.

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Banks selling dollars say the naira is trading at 270 to the dollar late Monday morning

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Private foreign exchange dealers stopped trading as the new policy took effect. The naira had crashed to 370 to the dollar on the parallel market before last Wednesday’s announcement that market forces will decide its value amid a backlog of demand estimated at $4 billion.

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