In a move to further boost liquidity in the foreign exchange market the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has ordered banks to limit the Net Open Position, NOP of their foreign currency assets and liabilities to 20 percent of shareholders funds.
The order was contained in a January 31, 2014 CBN Circular referenced: TED/FEM/PUB/ FPC/001/ 001, issued yesterday.
The Circular which was signed by the Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr. Hassan Mahmud, as well as, Mrs. Rita Sike, for Director of Banking Supervision, was titled, “Harmonization of Reporting Requirements on Foreign Currency Exposures of Banks”.
According to the new CBN Prudential requirements, “Banks whose current NOP exceeds 20 percent short and 0 percent long of their shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses are required to bring them to prudential limit (today) February 1, 2024.
“Banks are required to compute their daily and monthly NOP and Foreign currency trading position (FCTP) using the attached templates.
“Banks are also required to have adequate stock of high-quality liquid foreign assets, i.e. cash and government securities in each significant currency to cover their maturing foreign currency obligations. In addition, banks should have in place a foreign exchange contingency funding arrangement with other financial institutions.”
Other requirements include, ”Banks should borrow and lend in the same currency (natural hedging) to avoid currency mismatch associated with foreign currency risk.
“The basis of the interest rate for borrowing should be the same as that of lending i.e. there should be no mismatch in floating and fixed interest rates, to mitigate basis risk associated with foreign borrowing interest rate risk.
“With respect to Eurobonds, any clause of early redemption should be at the instance of the issuer and approval obtained from the CBN in this regard, even if the bond does not qualify as tier 2 capital.
All banks are required to adopt adequate treasury and risk management systems to provide oversight of all foreign exchange exposures and ensure accurate reporting on a timely basis.
“Banks are expected to bring all their exposures within the set limits immediately and ensure that all returns submitted to the CBN provide a accurate reflection of
their balance sheets.
“Please, note that non-compliance with the NOP limit will result in immediate sanction and/or the suspension from participation in the foreign exchange market.”
Basis of the new CBN Prudential Requirements
The CBN said that the new requirements have become necessary due to the growing foreign currency exposures of banks through their NOP.
It said that the development had created an incentive for banks to hold excess long foreign currency positions, which exposes banks to foreign exchange and other risks.
The apex banks also issued a new guideline for rendering monthly returns on Net Foreign Assets.
It includes: Holding of Foreign Currency; in their various denominations; Balances held with foreign banks, Placement with Foreign Banks; Balances Held with Branches and Offices abroad; Treasury Securities of foreign governments; and other financial instruments in foreign currency, as well as, other foreign assets not captured above.