The Nigerian naira firmed slightly on the interbank market on Monday after three energy firms sold dollars, traders said.

The local currency traded at 152.55 to the dollar from 152.70 at Friday's close after a unit of Royal Dutch Shell and two other firms sold an unspecified amount of dollars to banks, boosting liquidity, traders said.

The central bank sold $250 million at 150.40 to the dollar at its bi-weekly foreign exchange auction on Monday, short of the $398 million demanded and the $300 million sold at 150.30 last Wednesday.

Traders said inflows from the energy companies helped provide support for the naira as some customers redirected their unmet demand at the official window to the interbank market.

We expect the naira to hold around the present level or slightly appreciate against the dollar in the week because of anticipated further month-end flows from energy firms, one dealer said.

Most energy firms in sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy sell dollars towards the end of the month to meet local obligations.