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 1.1 Background of the Study
 International trade arose as a result of differences in resource endowment among nations. While some nations have more than they need, others do not have. In addition, while some nations are very efficient in the production of some goods. Others are less so. These problems have been reconciled through international trade. That is, it is anchored on comparative advantage in production and gains from trade as well as specialisation. Through trade (and international trade in particular), nations can now purchase those goods they need but which they cannot produce, for one reason or another while exporting those they can produce in abundance to other countries. To import what a nation needs will involve payment for that item in foreign currency, this being the major difference between home trade and foreign trade which is otherwise known as international trade. This necessarily involves the determination of the rate at which the home currency of the importer will exchange for that of the exporter’s for instance, if a Nigerian buys goods from a seller in Belgium, the problem of foreign exchange is involved. The buyer would want to make payment in naira, but the seller would like to be paid in the Belgian franc. Another problem would be how much naira would be exchanged for the Belgian franc? That is there will be need to determine the rate of exchange between the two currencies involved. That rate at which one national currency exchanges for another in the foreign exchange market is known as the exchange rate of the currency in question. The foreign exchange market by definition is that international market in which one national currency can be exchanged for another. Two exchange rate systems are identifiable, namely, the fixed exchange rate and the floating of flexible (fluctuating) exchange rates. In a fixed exchange rate regime, national governments agree to maintain the convertibility of their currencies at a fixed exchange rate. Under a regime of fixed exchange rate, governments are committed to intervention in the foreign exchange market to maintain nominal exchange rate (Begg, et al, 1984). In a floating (flexible) exchange rate regime, the exchange rate is allowed to attain its free market equilibrium level without any government intervention through transaction that increase or reduce the foreign exchange reserves (Begg et al 1984). That is, the forces of demand and supply are allowed to establish the exchange rate of one currency against another. Only very few countries do permit the value of their national currencies to be determined by the interaction of the forces of demand and supply. Thus, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, countries have sought to maintain a pattern of relatively fixed exchange rates. The gold standard and the gold-exchange standard (Bretton woods system) both of which were fixed had been based on the when international currency values are kept as stable as possible by government intervention in exchanges markets. (O’connor and Buesco 1990). According to Ammer and Ammer (1984) from the end of World War I until 1971, the major trading nations preferred a fixed rate of exchange, with each country setting a par value for its currency (known as the official rate)”. They further observed that in practice, this rate varied slightly. Before World War II, the par value of each major currency normally was fixed in relation to gold; in the post war period, it was set (by the International Monetary Fund) in relation to the U.S. dollar, which was itself tied to gold (the U.S Treasury was by law committed to buying gold at fixed price of $35 per ounce (Ammer. 1984) However, in 1971, the U.S. government suspended the convertibility of the (U.S) dollar owing to the serious balance of payments deficit it had (Ammer and Ammer 1984). The result of this was that the dollar could no longer be freely exchanged for gold at a fixed price with the absence of a single stable currency unit, exchange rate then floated (fluctuated), based largely on the forces of demand and supply. But also the U.S. dollar as an international convertible currency led to the collapse of the fixed exchange rate system. With the collapse of Bretton woods system of fixed exchange system, attention shifted to the floating or flexible exchange rate system. The members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who had hoped to devise some kind of stable system of currency valuation to replace fixed par values, agreed in Mid-1974 to continue to operate a managed floating rate, that is, a floating rate influenced by individual governments trading in their own currencies (pegging) in order to stabilise its market (but not imposing other, more restrictive exchange controls). For a country like Nigeria that is heavily dependent on imports, and that has only one major source of earning foreign exchange namely, oil, interest in what constitutes an acceptable exchange rate system becomes crucial as the exchange rate has a crucial role to play in the balance of payments position of a country. The balance of payments is a measure of receipts from exports and expenditure on imports of goods and services over a given period of time usually a year. It could be favourable, meaning an excess of receipts over payments; or it could be unfavourable (deficit), meaning more payment (on imports) than receipts (from exports). The balance of payments position or the maintenance of external equilibrium is a major preoccupation of all nations. As a member of the international community, Nigeria too has been following emerging trends in the international financial arena. Because its economy is linked to the international economic system, the country has to adjust in keeping with the mood in the international financial system. Recently, the world economy had serious problems, most countries experienced balance of payments problems, the result of fundamental problems in their national or domestic economies. Most of such countries instituted policy prescriptions recommended by the International Monetary Fund, aimed at correcting the structural defects inherent in their economies. The structural adjustment programme is one of such policies adopted, especially in the developing countries, Nigeria being one of them. Liberalization of exchange rates was one of the objectives of the structural Adjustment programme (SAP). Accordingly, the country adopted a system of floating exchange rates, allowing the naira to find a realistic exchange rate (value) against other currencies based on the interactions of demand and supply in the foreign exchange market. However, this failed to improve the economic fortunes of the country as the balance of payment problems persisted, if not worsened.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages105 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
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