December is turning into a cruel month for traders counting on cuts in interest rates to drive down currencies.
New Zealand’s dollar jumped the most since November after central bank chief Graeme Wheeler delivered the policy easing that economists had predicted without the promise of further reductions. That came less just a week after his European counterpart, Mario Draghi, sparked the euro’s biggest rally since 2009 by unveiling a smaller-than-anticipated stimulus package.
The elephant in the room is the Federal Reserve. Its looming policy decision is making it trickier for speculators to predict the actions of other central banks and to work out where exchange rates are headed. As with the euro, strategists are now reassessing forecasts for the kiwi, becoming less certain how far it can extend this year’s 13 percent drop, which is already the steepest since 2008.
“Investors are clearly finding it harder to read central banks,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, senior markets strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Singapore. “Central banks are all hoping the Fed’s imminent tightening will weaken their domestic currencies against the greenback, so they’re holding back on meeting the market’s expectations for further easing.”
The Parker Global Currency Manager Index of top funds has lost 0.7 percent this month to extend its slide in 2015 to 2.7 percent. That puts it on course for its worst annual decline since 2011.
For New Zealand dollar bears, Reserve Bank Governor Wheeler didn’t go far enough when he cut the official cash rate by a quarter-percentage point to 2.5 percent, completing the reversal of the four increases in 2014. They were left disappointed by his comments in Wellington on Thursday that the fourth cut this year should be enough to ensure inflation accelerates toward the central bank’s target. Lower interest rates tend to reduce demand for currencies.
Instead, traders will have to depend on the prospect of further U.S. rate increases, as well as the falling Chinese yuan and slumping commodity prices, to push the kiwi lower, RBS’s Mohi-uddin said.
The local dollar was at 67.53 U.S. cents as of 8:53 a.m. in London on Friday, having rallied from a six-year low of 61.30 on Aug. 24 and as low as 65.82 just after the RBNZ’s policy announcement. It gained as much as 1.7 percent by the New York close on Wednesday, the trading session that included the policy decision, the steepest intraday climb since Nov. 19.
“We still like the U.S. dollar higher heading into the Fed, and the current concerns about commodity prices and China support the case for New Zealand dollar weakness,” said Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist at Bank of New Zealand Ltd. in Wellington. “But there will be some offset by a relatively robust New Zealand economy and an on-hold RBNZ, which means that weakness may be more modest than we’d thought earlier.”
Currency bears were also caught out as the euro surged 3.1 percent on Dec. 3 after the European Central Bank’s quantitative-easing overhaul and deposit-rate cut fell short of what some investors had predicted. Draghi repeatedly hinted about more easing in the run-up to the gathering, prompting hedge funds and speculators to push bets on a weaker euro close to a record.
After two cuts this year, the Bank of Korea left its benchmark rate unchanged Thursday, saying it would wait to see how the Fed’s decision impacted its economy.
That may focus attention on whether other central banks will be influenced by the prospect of an imminent U.S. rate increase. Officials in Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic are all due to meet before the Fed decision next week. Norway’s central bank will decide on policy after its U.S. counterpart.
The full implications of this month’s decision in Wellington have yet to be digested. In the wake of the RBNZ meeting, Macquarie Bank Ltd. and Bank of New Zealand are both looking again at their forecasts for the kiwi to weaken to 61 U.S. cents in the first half of 2016. The median estimate in a Bloomberg economist survey is for a drop to 62 cents.
New Zealand’s dollar tumbled 18 percent against its U.S. counterpart in the first three quarters of this year, and since the end of September has rebounded almost 6 percent, outpacing all of its major peers. The resurgence has been helped by prices for dairy, the country’s biggest export, stabilizing after reaching a 12-year low in August.
Wheeler has now unwound all of the 1 percentage point of rate increases he carried out last year, taking borrowing costs back to the record low of 2.5 percent that he inherited when the New Zealand native took up his post in 2012 after spending more than a decade in Washington as a World Bank official.
“Strictly speaking, the explicit easing bias remains, but it is conditional and the RBNZ made it clear they think they have done enough,” said Gareth Berry, a foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Macquarie Bank in Singapore. “Apart from the usual sensitivity to dairy auctions, global influences will have a greater say.”
He has been relying on lower rates to make the nation’s exports more competitive, though he’s reluctant to ease further as Auckland’s property boom spreads and the economy shows signs of gaining momentum.
“It does seem that the central banks hope that the Fed will help them keep their currencies from rallying,” said Valentin Marinov, head of Group-of-10 currency research at Credit Agricole SA’s corporate and investment-banking unit in London. “They feel they need to preserve some of their ammunition for the future battles of the global currency war.
CBN Will Redesign Naira Notes Every Five to Eight Years; Say Emefiele
The central bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said the bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years.
The apex bank governor revealed at the unveiling of the new naira notes on Tuesday.
Godwin Emefiele explained that the naira redesign is in line with global best practice noting that the naira needed to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.
According to the CBN governor, previous administrations lacked the political will to approve the redesign of the naira notes. Stating that it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years.
“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” the CBN governor stated.
Emefiele added that going forward, naira notes will be redesigned at intervals to address some peculiar issues.
“After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and reissue the naira every five to eight years,” he said.
Investors King had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today.
Among those who joined the president with the unveiling include the CBN governor and the EFCC chairman.
Recall, in October, the CBN announced it will redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate.
Meanwhile, the CBN governor has disclosed that the new naira notes can not be counterfeited because of the features embedded in them.
Similarly, he added that security agencies would be monitoring people making withdrawals at the counter to sniff out money laundering and unravel illegal usage.
“The CBN has moved to a cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he concluded.
President Buhari Unveils New Redesigned Naira Notes, See Pictures
Buhari launched the new naira notes as the CBN forges ahead with redesign plans.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the new redesigned Naira notes at the State House in Abuja following a series of sensitisation to ensure that Nigerians are aware of the deadline for the old notes.
Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who was also present at the launching explained that the redesigned notes would help curb counterfeit, reduce hoarding and support the apex bank’s cashless policy.
Earlier in October, the central bank announced it was redesigning the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate. The apex bank further stated that the newly redesigned notes would be available on December 15, 2022.
However, Emefiele later announced the central bank won’t wait until December 15th before unveiling the new notes on November 2023.
He said, “100 days is enough for any person from any part of Nigeria to deposit his money in the bank and get his money when the new notes are released.
“For information, indeed, we are no longer waiting till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.
“By the special grace of God, tomorrow, which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.”
Meanwhile, the central bank-led monetary policy committee raised interest rates by another 100 basis points from 15.5% to 16.5%. Bringing the total increase in 2022 to 500 basis points despite the challenges Nigerians are facing amid weak job creation and poor earnings.
The committee claimed the decision was based on the rising inflation rate that rose to 21.09% in October. However, given Nigeria’s economic structure and current situation, the persistent increase was mainly to lure foreign investors to invest in the economy against the developed economies that are equally raising rates to curb escalating inflation.
President Buhari to Launch New Naira Notes Today
CBN says Buhari is expected to introduce redesigned naira notes to the public today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is expected to launch the redesigned naira notes today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
The launch will precede the circulation of the affected currency which is billed for December 15, 2022. The FEC meeting is a weekly (Wednesday) meeting of the executive arm of government often presided over by the President or the Vice President.
The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed on the sidelines of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, that the new naira notes will be displayed for public view on Wednesday.
Therefore, the governor added that the CBN will not shift its deadline for all old notes to be returned to commercial banks in exchange for newly designed ones.
Investors King recalls that in October 2022, the central bank announced it will issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, effective December 15, 2022, while the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023.
However, in a sudden change of schedule, the CBN governor noted that the unveiling will be done by the president today stating that the bank will no longer wait till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.
” By the special grace of God, tomorrow, (today) which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.” Emefiele started.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is the highest decision-making body for any issues related to Nigerian monetary policy has hiked the interest rates from 15.5 percent to 16.5 percent.
According to CBN, the hike in interest rate is to curtain inflation and maintain economic stability.
Speaking at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting yesterday, the CBN governor noted that the MPC voted to retain the cash reserve ratio at 32.5 percent and the liquidity ratio at 30 percent.
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