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Everything you need to learn about Treasury bills

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Treasury Bills are government-guaranteed debt instruments issued by CBN on their behalf to finance expenditure. The CBN also uses treasury bills to control money supply in the economy.

How are Treasury Bills Sold?

Treasury Bills are sold through a bi-weekly auction conducted by the CBN. Buyers are requested to quote bids following which the average minimum bid is selected.

Where can I buy Treasury Bills?

Treasury Bills can be bought through any official dealer. The easiest these days are through banks’ treasury bill mobile application. A typical example is Sterling Bank’s i-invest.

What is the Minimum Amount I can Buy?

Before, you could buy for as low as N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter. However, this was increased to N50,000,001 in 2017. This article explains how you can buy treasury bills if you do not have up to N50 million. Though, the minimum for the i-invest mobile application is N100,000.

When is it usually sold?

Treasury Bills is sold every other Wednesday (bi-weekly) as announced by the CBN. The CBN announces issuances in their websites and in the pages of national dailies. You can also ask your bank account officer to notify you ahead of an issuance.

How Can I Buy Treasury Bills?

To buy Treasury Bills you will have to approach your bank requesting for a form. You fill the form with your personal information also indicating the amount you want to buy as well as your bid rate.

With the advent of banks’ treasury bills mobile application, you are only required to fill a signup form once.

What is the bid rate?

The bid rate otherwise called your STOP RATE is the likely interest rate that you have indicated to receive for the principal that you investing in the TB’s. For example, you can indicate an interest rate of 10% as your expected rate. Your bid rate will most likely be different from that of other intending buyers of TB’s.

How is the Bid Rate selected?

The CBN selects the bids that fall below the accepted marginal rates. The Marginal Rate is the minimum average rate for bids submitted within a bid window.  For example, if the marginal bid rate for a bid opened Wednesday 27 June is 11% then bids falling below this rate will be accepted and those above rejected.

[Read Also: This is how to bid for the second Treasury Bills Sale of 2019]

What if I don’t have a Bid rate?

If you do not have a Stop Rate or you are not sure of a rate you can select the option of having the bank choose a rate for you. However, this does not guarantee that the bank rate will be chosen or will be the best.

Can I still buy if my Bid is rejected?

You can purchase TB’s from the secondary market Over The Counter (OTC) through a broker. This is also where buyers and sellers of TB’s trade the notes in exchange for cash.

What are the durations (tenor) for the TB’s?

Treasury Bills are usually for 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. As such, you can have the CBN hold your cash for 91 days, 182 days or 364 days, depending on your choice. However, the CBN can decide they want to sell Treasury Bills for all the tenor available or either of them.

 

Can I sell before Maturity?

Yes, you can sell Treasury Bills before maturity. As mentioned above, this can be done through the OTC market. The price at which you sell depends on the forces of demand and supply. For example, an N100,000 face value TB may be selling for less or more depending on the yield expectation of the buyers. If your face value is trading at a higher price, it means you can sell your treasury bills at a profit as such your N100,000 can sell for N101,000 or more. If your face value is trading at a lower price, it means you can sell your treasury bills at a loss as such your N100,000 can sell for N99,000 or less.

When is the interest paid?

The interest element of a treasury bill is paid to you upfront and credited to your bank account. For example, if you purchase a N100,000 TB with an interest rate of 10% the CBN debits your account with N90,000 as such your N10,000 interest is paid upfront. Upon maturity, you are paid the face value N100,000. The upfront payment of your interest makes your true yield actually higher.

What is a True Yield?

True Yield is your actual Return on Investment. (ROI). Using the example above, the initial yield for the N100,000 is 10%. However, because they pay you interest upfront your true yield is actually the N10,000 in interest divided by the N90,000 actually deducted from your account. That is N10,000/N90,000 or 11.11%. This is, thus, higher than the 10% coupon. The True Yield is completely earned when you hold to maturity.

Can I roll over my investment?

The CBN does not rollover your investment automatically. However, you can give your bank a mandate to roll over the principal on your treasury bill upon maturity. You can also get the benefit of compounding interest by asking your bank to reinvest the interest portion of your TB once it is paid.

Are Treasury Bills Safe?

Treasury Bills are one of the safest forms of investment and are backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

 

Apart from the Interest Rates, what are the benefits?

  • A good source of a steady stream of income.
  • Treasury Bills are a good investment outlet for your free and disposable cash.
  • Treasury Bills are good investments for people who wish to save.
  • Treasury Bills are also tax-free.
  • Treasury Bills are very liquid and can be converted to cash quickly.
  • They can be used as collateral.

Are Treasury Bills Taxable?

Interest derivable from Treasury Bills is not taxable.

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Naira drops by 1.3% against dollar, as CBN resumes forex sale to Bureau de Change

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The Nigerian naira eased 1.3% against the U.S. dollar on the official market on Friday, a day after the central bank said it planned to resume forex sales to retail currency operators as the country reopens its airports for international travel.

The naira opened for trade at N385.50 per dollar on the market, supported by the central bank. It later recovered to close at N381 per dollar, where it has been stuck since July, Eikon Refinitiv data showed.

The central bank in a circular on Thursday said it will restart dollar sales to bureaux de change operators from Aug. 31 after it suspended auctions in March due to a coronavirus-induced lockdown and after a 15% devaluation.

It said retail traders cannot resell dollars bought from the bank at more than N386.

The bank moved to unify the rates this month, bowing to pressure from international lenders to merge its multiple exchange rates, eliminating arbitrage which has cost the country billions in reserves as it tried to defend the naira. Reuters

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Naira strengthens against dollar‍

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Barely 24 hours the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.

Reports have it that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.

The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.

The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars.

The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.

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Naira stable at N472/$1 in parallel market

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The exchange rate at the parallel market remained stable for the second consecutive day closing at N472/$1 on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. However, on the officially recognized NAFEX market, the forex turnover was down again by 59.1% while the exchange rate also remained stable closing at N388.17/$1.

Exchange Rates

Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira remained stable closing at N472 to a dollar on Wednesday, according to information from FX tracker.

FT collates parallel market exchange rates as far back as 2017. The parallel market also caters to forex trades through wire transfers especially for buyers who cannot fulfill their dollar demands at the I&E window or the SMIS window. Exchange rate for wired transfer is often at a premium to the black market rate.

NAFEX:  The Naira also remained stable against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Wednesday, closing at N388.17/$1, this the same rate that was reported on Tuesday, July 21.  The opening indicative rate was N388.65 to a dollar on Wednesday. This represents a 15 kobo drop when compared to the N388.50 to a dollar that was recorded on Tuesday.

Exchange rate disparity: The exchange rate disparity between the official NAFEX rate and back market rate still remained widen on Wednesday and is still a whopping N84. Nigeria maintains multiple exchange rates comprising the CBN official rate, the BDC rates, SMIS, and the NAFEX (I&E window).

 

We reported a few weeks ago that the government had set plans in motion to unify the multiple exchange rate in line with requirements from the World Bank. Nigeria is seeking a world bank loan of up to $3 billion. The country has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for currency reforms.

Forex Turnover

Meanwhile, forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window recorded a further decline on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, as it dropped by 59.1% day on day. According to the data tracked, forex turnover decreased from $29.77 million on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, to $12.17 million on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

 

Forex News

The forex turnover at the NAFEX window where investors and exporters trade forex was about $1.57 billion between June 2020 and July 17, 2020, which falls short of demand according to reports. This is according to the daily market turnover data tracked from the website of the FMDQOTC within the last few weeks. The forex turnover has averaged $47 million over the last 32 days.

 

The volatility of the foreign exchange market is fueled by low forex inflow and the activities of currency speculators who are encouraged by the widening gap between the official rate and the parallel market rate.

The data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows a decline in the external reserve as it fell from $36.57 billion on June 3, 2020 to $36.08 billion as of July 17, 2020. The declining external reserve reduces the capacity of the CBN to intervene in the forex market, thereby putting more pressure on the market.

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