Credit Suisse has turned bearish on the U.S. dollar versus the other two G3 currencies for the first time since the greenback’s scintillating rally began in the middle of 2014.
The bank’s currency team, led by Global Head of FX Strategy Shahab Jalinoos, sees EURUSD rising to 1.17 and USDJPY falling to 110 over the next three months.
Concerns about monetary policy impotence—that central bankers will be unable to successfully reflate their economies—are becoming embedded in currency valuations, according to the analysts.
There’s “a growing fear that monetary policy is now ‘pushing on a string,’ at least from an FX perspective,” they wrote. “EUR and JPY are materially stronger now than levels before ECB chief Draghi hinted at more easing and the BoJ introduction of negative rates in January.”
Options traders doubt that the Bank of Japan in particular will be able to keep the yen on its back foot going forward—a development that would bode ill for its attempts to win a decades-long battle against deflation.
“Risk reversal skews are now generally bid for JPY again in the same manner as they were prior to the start of QQE in 2012–the risk of large JPY sell-offs linked to BoJ policy is gradually being priced out,” wrote Jalinoos & Co.
Meanwhile, in part due to fears that monetary stimulus from the ECB and BoJ will fail to bear fruit, investors are skeptical of the Fed’s ability to continue decoupling policy from that of other major central banks.
The much-ballyhooed divergence trade—which analysts at Credit Suisse were quite bullish on in November—is over, according to Jalinoos’ team, which highlighted “an obvious end to the monetary policy divergence trade when looking at rate differentials.”
“It goes without saying that the market is no longer expecting more Fed rate hikes in 2016,” the strategists concede.
The bulk of the initial move in USDJPY that started near the end of 2012 was predicated on presumed monetary divergence, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledging easing on this front, while Ben Bernanke would soon set off the “taper tantrum” in May 2013.
A situation in which the Bank of Japan’s stimulus has run its course—at least on the currency—and expectations for negative rates in the United States continue to mount would send ripples through the entire foreign exchange complex and potentially other asset classes, to boot.
“A violent and persistent turnaround in U.S. rate expectations would certainly classify as the type of scenario that would upset the apple cart for most USD versus G10 forecasts, but especially for USDJPY,” the strategists wrote. “The market is not well positioned psychologically for this outcome.”
As the yen is typically viewed as a risk-off or safe haven currency—and because the USDJPY pair has tracked the S&P 500 fairly closely since Abe’s rise in the polls began—equities could also be adversely affected by a period of relative strength in the Japanese currency.
Naira Gains N1 to N483 Against US Dollar as CBN Warned Speculators of Impending Doom
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday warned speculators and hoarders of the United States Dollar against creating artificial forex scarcity for personal gain.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said black market forex rates does not reflect the economic reality of the Nigerian Naira as that section of the forex is tainted with bribes and individuals looking to profit at the expense of the nation.
“We do not agree that the determining factor for our currency should be based on a market that is tainted, where people go to offer bribes,” he stated during a virtual monetary policy committee briefing in Abuja.
The Nigerian Naira gained N1 against the United States dollar to trade at N483 at the parallel market also known as the black market, up from N484 it traded on Monday.
Emefiele said “The black market is illegal where people do not provide documentation to support transactions. It is unfortunate and unfair for analysts to say Nigeria’s exchange rate is at 480 per dollar.”
The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) agreed with the central bank, saying speculators and currency hoarders are responsible for the wide forex rates. The association warned that speculators are going to lose money given that the apex bank has foreign reserves of $36 billion to support the local currency and meet forex demands.
The apex bank left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to further stimulate growth in the real sector and speed up the recovery process with cheaper loans. Other ratios were left unchanged as well.
Speaking on the rising inflation rate, Godwin Emefiele attributed the 14.23 percent increase in consumer prices to the rising pump price, the recent #EndSARS protest and structural policies.
Therefore, it looks like the apex bank will damn rising inflation for the first time to focus on economic productivity, new job creation and general growth.
The Naira CBN official rate remains $379 to a United States Dollar while it exchanged at N385 on the Investors and Exporters Forex Window on Tuesday.
Bureaux De Change Association Warns Against Hoarding of US Dollar, Says Speculators will Lose
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on Sunday warned currency speculators and hoarders of impending losses if they do not desist from creating bogus foreign exchange rates for personal gain.
In a statement titled, “ABCON warns speculators will lose money as CBN has enough reserves to fund market, defend naira”, the association said speculators and hoarders are taking a huge risk as the Central Bank of Nigeria has enough liquidity to defend the Naira and maintain stability against global foreign counterparts.
This is coming few days after the local currency plunged to N484 to a United States dollar and N620 against the British Pound at the black market due to the rising demand and persistent scarcity that most hoarders interpreted as lack of financial muscle on the part of the central bank, especially if the nation’s falling foreign reserves is factored in.
However, ABCON said with about $36 billion foreign reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria has the necessary means to punish speculators and hoarders they described as enemies of the nation.
President of ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, explained that the central bank is working to unify the nation’s foreign exchange rates and eliminate past challenges that have made market determined forex rates almost impossible.
He said “I think that the CBN by pushing the official foreign exchange rate from N306 to N379 to the dollar is in line with market demand.
“It has also helped to narrow the official-parallel market rates gap that formed the basis of ridiculous speculations among unpatriotic forex dealers and spectators.”
Gwadabe, however, advised the Federal Government to improve security surveillance at the nation’s land borders to checkmate illegal foreign currency cash deals.
He also asked the central bank to raise liquidity ratio of bureau de change operators to discourage dollar holdings.
Forex Scarcity Plunges Naira to N620 Against British Pound
Naira Exchanges at N620 to a British Pound at Black Market
Lingering foreign exchange scarcity has plunged the Nigerian Naira to a record-low of N620 against the British Pound at the black market.
The declined by a record N14 from the N607 it exchanged to a single British Pound on Thursday to N620 on Friday, signaling rising demand for forex amid persistent scarcity.
Experts have attributed the surge in demand to the usual push for the end of the year sales by importers and businesses looking to close the sales gap created by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The local currency plunged against global counterparts by the most in recent months on Friday. The Naira declined by N13 against the European common currency to exchange at N570.
Similarly, the Naira lost another N4 against the United States dollar to exchanged at N484, further down from N480 it was sold on Thursday.
Experts are predicting further decline for the Nigerian Naira, largely due to the weak macro fundamentals, overexposure to crude oil uncertainty and US Dollar.
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