Forex Trading in Nigeria

October 17, 2017 | Forex Brokers

For the second consecutive year, Nigeria has been the fastest growing market for retail forex trading. The industry is seeing a stable growth rate around the world, especially in Africa and Asia, but among all countries Nigeria is growing at the fastest pace.

What makes forex trading so attractive to Nigerians? Will the country continue to grow its number of traders in the following years? What brokers do Nigerians use most? We'll try to answer these questions in this article.

Nigerian Naira and why Forex matters in Nigeria

To better understand why Nigerians are so keen to embrace forex trading, we have to start with the national currency, the Nigerian Naira (NGN) and the way it has shaped the everyday life of Nigerians. Until the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 one US dollar was worth around 117 Naira and the exchange rate was kept stable by the Central Bank of Nigeria (the value of the Naira actually improved compared to the US dollar from 2004 to 2008). People did not have to worry about exchange rate fluctuations as the national currency was perceived as safe. But in early 2009 the Central Bank was forced by the international circumstances to devalue the Naira by 25% in only two months, resulting in a rate of 147 Naira for one US Dollar. People lost a quarter of the value of their money in only two months because of the exchange rate devaluation, and those who kept US Dollars instead of the national currency were shielded from the devaluation.

Such exchange rate movement makes people aware of the realities of the forex market and of the potential winnings that can be obtained trading currencies. If someone would have bought US dollars with all his Naira before the devaluation, and bought back his Naira two months later, he would have made a profit of 25% in only two months. And we're talking about dealing with zero leverage.

The Naira was kept stable for another five years, going from 147 to only 165, which translates into a devaluation of 2% per year. However, in late 2014 Nigerians were reminded again about the importance of forex movements when the Naira lost another 20% of its value against the US Dollar in only three months, going from 165 to 199.

The Central Bank of Nigeria tried to calm the anxieties of its citizens in relation to the value of the Naira by keeping a fixed exchange rate of 199 NGN for one USD. But market forces are too strong to be ignored for too long. The Oil Price Crash had increased the pressure on the exchange rate to the point where the Central Bank had no other option but to let the Naira devalue again. From June to July of 2016 the exchange rate moved from 199 to 318 which represents a huge 60% devaluation in less than two months. Capital controls were imposed to limit the money that could be spent abroad and limit the USD outflows.

The Nigerians were spared only one year from further devaluations, as in August 2017 another 15% devaluation of the Naira sent the exchange rate from 314 to 364.

Singapore Financial District

Figure 1: USD/NGN 10 year chart (Image source: XE.COM)

The repeated devaluations of the local currency made the population extremely conscious about foreign exchange rates and how the currency markets work. People know their savings are not safe unless kept in a foreign currency such as the US Dollar or the Euro, and they also know that a lot of money can be made in the currency markets.

The day to day life of Nigerians has been affected by foreign exchange movements too many times, and this has resulted in a large number of people who understand well the forex market and are willing to start trading and make a profit out of it.

It may not be just a simple coincidence that the number of forex traders from Nigeria has started to greatly increase since 2016 and the trend is most likely going to continue for the foreseeable future, as Nigeria's population is very young and access to internet is growing rapidly.

Forex Brokers in Nigeria

In order to trade on the forex market, Nigerians need to choose a broker. Currently there are no forex brokers based in Nigeria, but this didn't reduce the appetite of Nigerians for trading forex, as all the major international forex brokers accept traders from Nigeria. This gives Nigerians a wide range of options when it comes to the broker they want to use. Going with one of the highest rated forex brokers in the world will be a natural choice for most people.

Here are some of the most sought after features of forex brokers by Nigerian traders:

• High leverage of at least 400:1

• A low minimum deposit amount

• Good mobile trading platform

• A wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods

• The possibility to have a broker issued debit card

• Low spreads and a wide selection of currency pairs

• Oil and Gold trading as well as Contracts For Difference on major stock indices and individual shares

Some of the major forex brokers are actively targeting the Nigerian market and have a large number of clients from Nigeria. Current data shows that the following brokers have the largest number of Nigerian traders, meaning they are the most popular forex brokers in Nigeria:

1) XM.COM

2) Hot Forex

3) Ava Trade

4) FX Pro

5) Pepperstone

All of them are very high rated brokers, which shows again that Nigerians have done their due diligence when it comes to selecting a broker and are trading with some of the best companies in the world.

Conclusion

Forex trading is getting very popular in Nigeria with thousands of new traders joining the ranks every month. A combination of mobile trading platforms, high leverage and low minimum deposit requirements have made the forex market accessible to everyone. A mobile phone connected to the internet and as low as 10 dollars are enough to get someone started into forex trading, so it is no surprise that as more people find out about forex trading, the number of traders grows as well.

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