Nigeria’s forex reserves fell 2.7 percent to $26.56 billion by May 20 from a month earlier, central bank data showed, as analysts awaited a rate decision on Tuesday, which many believe could include a revamp of exchange rate policy.

Analysts are expecting a rate hike to fight inflation and further support the naira, currently trading on the black market about 40 percent below the official market level.[nL3N18F4GH]

The bank could also introduce a new parallel exchange rate, analysts say, after the government’s move to use a lower, 285 naira per dollar rate for petrol imports rather than the pegged official rate of 197.

A plunge in oil prices has eaten into the foreign reserves of Africa’s biggest economy, forcing the central bank to introduce currency controls, which has frustrated businesses and caused the economy to contract.

Nigeria’s dollar reserves were down 10.7 percent from a year ago when they stood at $29.77 billion.


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