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Goldman Sachs Calls Dollar Bottom as Economic Concern Subsides

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says the dollar slump is over.

The greenback has rallied almost 1 percent from a one-year low reached last week, even after April payrolls data showed the weakest job growth in seven months. Goldman Sachs says the rally is a sign that market expectations for growth and Federal Reserve interest-rate increases have fallen too far, too fast, positioning the currency for a rebound. Strategists at Societe Generale SA and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. are less bullish, saying a broader dollar recovery will depend on further economic data.

“We remain dollar bullish and think the trajectory is higher from here,” Robin Brooks, Goldman Sachs’s New York-based chief currency strategist, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “The reaction on Friday to a meaningfully weaker-than-expected payrolls was telling: We had a disappointing jobs number and the dollar actually bounced.”

Brooks estimates that the dollar will advance 15 percent during the next two years as U.S. monetary policy normalizes, he said in a report Tuesday. This isn’t the first time Goldman Sachs has reiterated its dollar-bullish stance in recent months, a view that hasn’t always panned out. The bank closed a dollar position against a equally weighted basket of euro and yen in February, one of its top trade recommendations for 2016, with a potential loss of about 5 percent.

The greenback saw its biggest advance in six months last week, paring its 2016 decline to 4.1 percent. The dollar fell for a third straight month in April, the longest stretch since before it embarked on a 20 percent rally in July 2014, on speculation the Fed will take a slower path to raising rates as it factors in headwinds from slowing global economic growth.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback versus 10 peers, was little changed as of 11:52 a.m. in New York, after climbing 1.5 percent last week, the most since Nov. 6. The U.S. currency rose 0.8 percent to 109.17 yen, touching the highest since April 27.

Market Outlook

While Fed policy makers have recently talked up the potential for rate-hikes in the near term, reiterating that June’s FOMC meeting will be “live” and forecasting two potential rate increases this year, markets aren’t convinced.

Traders have already heavily discounted the likelihood of any Fed action before the fall, predicting just a 4 percent change of a rate hike next month — evidence, Goldman Sachs says, that markets are increasingly looking away from the Fed and to other central banks to set the dollar in motion.

“The key issue facing the foreign exchange market is whether the modicum of strength the U.S. dollar demonstrated last week is the beginning of a sustainable move,” Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy in New York at Brown Brothers Harriman, wrote in a report. “It is possible that the market is again at a juncture in which the price action will drive the narrative rather than the other way around.”

Do you agree the dollar slump is over, even after disappointing employment report?

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Forex

Nigeria’s Diaspora Remittances Decline by 28 Percent to $16.8 Billion in 2020

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US dollar - Investors King

Nigeria’s diaspora remittances declined by 27.7 percent or $4.65 billion from $21.45 billion in 2019 to $16.8 billion in 2020, according to the World Bank Migration and Development report.

A critical look into the report shows remittances to sub-Saharan Africa declined by 12.5 percent in 2020 to $42 billion. This was largely due to the 27.7 percent recorded by Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, which accounted for over 40 percent of the total remittance inflows into the region.

The report noted that once Nigeria’s remittance inflows into the region are excluded, remittances grew by 2.3 percent in 2020 with Zambia recording 37 per cent.

Followed by 16 percent from Mozambique, 9 percent from Kenya and 5 percent from Ghana.

The decline was a result of the global lockdown that dragged on the livelihood of most diaspora and unclear economic policies.

In an effort to change the tide, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a Naira 4 Dollar Scheme to reverse the downward trend and boost diaspora inflows into the economy.

However, the reports revealed that other external factors like insecurities, global slow down, weak macroeconomic fundamentals, etc continue to discourage capital inflows.

On Tuesday, the CBN, in a new directive, announced it has halved dollar cash deposit from $10,000 to $5000 per month.

The move is geared towards discouraging overreliance on the United States Dollar and encourage local patronage and production.

Mr. Guy Czartoryski, Head of Research at Coronation Asset Management, had said in the report, “We looked at the top 10 banks and the breakdown of their deposits showed that 40 per cent of their deposits are in dollars and it is quite astonishing.”

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Deposit Money Banks Reduce Dollar-Cash Deposits by 50 Percent to $5000/Month

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Nigeria’s Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have reduced the amount of United States Dollars that customers can deposit into their domiciliary accounts by 50 percent from $10,000 to $5,000 per month.

A bank official who preferred not to be mentioned confirmed the new policy to Investors King.

He, however, stated that the new policy does not apply to customers making electronic transfers as well as oil and gas companies and dollar payments into government accounts.

Checks revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the new policy to discourage the strong appetite for the United States Dollar, which has continued to rise.

A recent report has shown that despite persistent dollar scarcity, around 40 percent of bank deposits in the nation’s top ten banks were in dollars.

Mr. Guy Czartoryski, Head of Research at Coronation Asset Management, had said in the report, “We looked at the top 10 banks and the breakdown of their deposits showed that 40 per cent of their deposits are in dollars and it is quite astonishing.”

According to an analyst at ARM Securities Limited, Mr. Olamofe Olayemi, “this has to do with how much confidence the people have in the naira. Over time, we have seen significant depreciation in the naira.

“If you look at what happened in 2020, no one expected that the naira would be devalued twice in that year and even the outlook, this year is suggesting further depreciation in the naira.

“So, it makes sense to a lot of people to store their money in dollars. But, from the CBN standpoint, you agree with me that there is dollar scarcity.”

He, therefore, argued that the new policy might discourage financial inclusion and encourage cash outside the banking system.

Again, it is important for the flow of money to be captured in the system,” he said.

The CBN had extended its Naira 4 Dollar Scheme last week to further encourage dollar inflow into the Nigerian economy.

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Naira

Naira Closed at N411.25 to US Dollar at NAFEX Window

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira declined further against the U.S Dollar on Tuesday ahead of the Ramadan holiday to trade at N411.25 to a single U.S Dollar at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window.

The local currency plunged as low as N420.23 per dollar during the trading hours of Tuesday despite opening the day at N410.33/US$ before settling at N411.25 to a US dollar.

Investors on the window exchanged $98.33 million on Tuesday.

At the parallel section of the foreign exchange, Naira traded at N483 to a United States Dollar; N673 to a British Pound and N580 to a Euro.

Foreign exchange rates remained largely unchanged at the bureau de change section, with the Naira trading at N482 to a U.S Dollar; N674 to a British Pound and N584 to a Euro.

Several factors continue to weigh on the Nigerian Naira, especially with the foreign reserves hovering around record low and crude oil output not at an optimal level.

Other factors like rising inflation rate and drop in economic activity due to COVID-19 effect on the economy and lack of enough fiscal buffer to cushion the economy.

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