Naira tumbles on its first day of trading without a peg to the U.S. dollar, having Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote’s fortune fall to $3.7 billion, knocking him to No. 71 on the Bloomberg ranking.
Down from No. 46 on Friday, Dangote fell 25 places on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The majority of Dangote’s $12.7 billion fortune is derived from a 91 percent stake in Dangote Cement Plc, which shed 2 percent in trading Monday.
After Dangote, the second-biggest drop belonged to U.S. casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands fell 5.6 percent along with other gambling stocks after reports that revenue was trending downward. Adelson, who lost $1.1 billion Monday, is the world’s 29th-richest person with $23.3 billion.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had last week introduced new guidelines for the nation’s foreign exchange market with the adoption of a single structure through the inter-bank/autonomous window.
The naira, which was pegged at 197-199 per dollar before the emergence of the new forex policy, closed at 288.85 to the dollar on Monday, with the forces of demand and supply coming to play to determine the value of the nation’s currency after the CBN allowed it to float freely.
The CBN said it cleared a total foreign exchange demand backlog of $4bn with a dollar exchanging for N280 at the foreign exchange market.
In a statement issued on Monday by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, the CBN expressed satisfaction with the performance of the market on its first day.
The apex bank began auctioning dollars to limit the currency’s decline. The bank had been using capital controls to stem an outflow of dollars after the naira crashed in February 2015 when oil prices slumped.
Sources reveal that the naira was trading around 270 to a dollar in the early hours of trading on Monday with no deals consummated by the banks as dealers were only interested in buying.