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Dollar Jumps to 7-Week High as June Fed Rate Hike Seen in Play

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Dollar

The dollar rose to a seven-week high after Federal Reserve meeting minutes boosted speculation that the central bank will raise interest rates as soon as June.

The U.S. currency extended gains against most of its major peers after the release of policy makers’ deliberations indicated they are moving closer to further tightening after raising rates for the first time in a decade last December. Emerging-market currencies slumped on the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates, with the Brazilian real, South Africa’s rand and the Russian ruble pacing declines.

“The greenback should be bid here,” said Bipan Rai, executive director of foreign-exchange strategy at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. “The minutes suggest that the odds of a June hike or even a signal in June for a July hike are more likely than the market was prepared for.”

 The greenback has advanced for the past two weeks in its longest run of gains since January as traders boosted expectations for the U.S. central bank to raise borrowing costs. The currency has pared its 2016 loss to 3 percent amid comments from regional Fed presidents that at least two rate increases this year may be warranted.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback versus 10 peers, climbed 0.8 percent as of 5 p.m. in New York, reaching the highest level on a closing basis since March 28. The U.S. currency added 0.9 percent to $1.1216 per euro and advanced 1 percent to 110.19 yen.

“This is really going to give the market some renewed confidence in the dollar,” said Lennon Sweeting, a corporate dealer in Toronto at the foreign-exchange transfer company USForex Inc. “We saw a couple of nice comments from the Fed, they recognize the fact that the market’s been wanting to hear a clear, concise message.”

Hedge funds reduced bets for the U.S. currency to weaken versus eight other currencies last week, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. After surging more than 20 percent against the euro in the past two years, strategists project the dollar staying near its current level of $1.12 per euro through year-end.

The likelihood of the Fed raising rates at its June 14-15 meeting more than doubled from Tuesday to 32 percent, while the chances of a move by September rose to 62 percent from 47 percent the previous day, according to data based on fed fund futures compiled by Bloomberg.

Fed officials “have been building the case for a potential June hike over the past few weeks, with more hawkish undertones in their speeches,” said Minh Trang, a senior foreign-exchange trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California. “They may not want to make the mistake of waiting too long, only to see the environment weaken and lose an opportunity to hike.”

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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Forex

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

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United States Dollar - Investors King Ltd

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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