The Nigerian naira weakened against the U.S dollar on the interbank market on Monday after the central bank failed to meet all foreign exchange demand at its official auction.
The local currency closed at 162.25 to the dollar on the interbank, weaker than the 161.90 to the dollar on Friday.
"There is a lot of demand in the market, though we ordinarily should be seen declining demand for the dollar as companies and other end-users wind down for the year, this is not so," one dealer said.
On the official window, the central bank sold $200 million at 156.70 to the dollar, short of the $248.62 million demanded. The regulator sold $200 milion at 156.70 to the dollar last Wednesday.
"The naira actually appreciated towards the end of last week because of direct dollar sales by the central bank to some banks but we are not expecting any intervention in the market until middle week, so the naira could weaken further," another dealer said.
Traders said the central bank may close the official window for the year after Wednesday's auction, but the regulator could continue to sell dollars directly to banks to clear arrears of demand to help support market stability.