AbokiFX Announces Operation Suspension Over Allegation of FX Market Rates Manipulation

AbokiFX Announces Operation Suspension Over Allegation of FX Market Rates Manipulation

Following the news that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is going after exchange rate aggregator and publisher, AbokiFX, the online platform has issued a statement announcing that it’s suspending its publishing of parallel market exchange rates until further notice.

The CBN governor Godwin Emefiele on a TV interview, alleged that AbokiFX has been responsible for the free-fall of the naira by manipulating market prices.

The naira depreciated to N570/$1 on Friday despite the apex bank’s efforts through monetary policies to stem the tide. However, experts believe that the continuous crash of the naira is as a result of insufficient dollar liquidity in Nigeria. Increase in demand for is said to be forcing the CBN to deplete Nigeria’s dollar reserve, fueling the fall of the naira.

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Data from the CBN shows $116 billion to be the total dollar inflow to Nigeria’s economy in 2020.  Compared to 2019’s $142 billion and 2014’s $160 billion, there are 20% and 30% drop in dollar inflow to the economy respectively. The situation was compounded by the economic strains emanating from covid-19 pandemic.

AbokiFX said it hopes the suspension of its FX rates operation, among other things, will help the naira to appreciate in parallel market. Read full statement below:

“AbokiFX has taken the decision today, the 17th of September 2021, to temporarily suspend rate updates on all our platforms, until we get better clarity of the situation. Final rates have been posted this evening but the AbokiFX news section and the Crypto rates section will still be active.

Who we are

AbokiFX was established in 2014 as a research and information service company, to conduct market research and gather data on the parallel market rates. We also wanted to provide some transparency around the parallel market with the availability of information technology.

AbokiFX does NOT TRADE FX, which we have always maintained in our emails and social media platforms. We do not Trade FX neither do we have the power to manipulate the rates as we DO NOT CREATE the rates.

We are the only entity in Nigeria that has a full set of parallel rates, right from our inception in 2014, when the exchange rate was trading at N166 to $1. We collated data for years before we started publishing, as we realized the demand increased for our historical data.

To most users of our platforms, we are just a parallel rate board but to many institutions, ranging from IVY league universities, to global businesses and research centres, we are a key source of data, especially, historical data (almost a decade’s worth of data on parallel rates). Companies use our data for their internal and external audits as well as planning and budgeting.

We ONLY publish what we source on the streets of Lagos, hence the phrase, Lagos Parallel Rates. The rates sourced are carefully collated, reviewed and a mean rate is published from the data pool. This explains our three daily updates- *Morning **Midday, ***Evening. Sometimes, rates come in late but we have to wait for the full set of rates before they are published, to prevent volatility of rates.

None of our data source providers know who we are or what their rates are being used for. This is to avoid any manipulation of rates. Our staff have a daily routine of going to the market to gather rates, as all the BDCs in the country have their rates clearly displayed on their rates board and parallel market rate dealers give the information away freely. All we do is collate all that information and display it on all our platforms daily.

Replay of 2017 vs 2021

In 2017, Nigeria experienced an FX crises and the Naira depreciated to over N500/$1. AbokiFX was accused of manipulating the parallel market rates. Once liquidity was injected, the Naira appreciated and we published the appreciation which is basically what we do.

2021 has seen a similar scenario with the naira depreciating and we have published what we have been given, which has led some to believe we are manipulating the market. Yet no one can complain about our rates deviating +/- 2% from the parallel market rates when they patronize the dealers in the market.

If we do not create the rates, how then can we control the rates. Our only sources of income have been our API and advert sales.

Allegation against our director

All allegations against our director are yet to be confirmed but we at the AbokiFX DO NOT trade FX neither do we manipulate parallel market rates. Outside the media allegation, we have not received any communication from any government body and our accounts are not closed as stipulated in the media.

Way forward

AbokiFX is fully functional BUT we will not be publishing any form of rates on our platforms for now. We sincerely hope this suspension will lead to the Naira appreciation from next week. With our decision to temporarily suspend online rate publication, we are aware that there will be limited visibility of parallel rates information which will impact decision making for many.”

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