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Pound Set to Extend Decline as Investors Anticipate BOE Rate Cut

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The pound looks set to extend its decline next week, when traders and economists predict the Bank of England will cut interest rates for the first time in more than seven years.

Sterling, which posted its third consecutive monthly drop against the dollar in July, has weakened versus all of its 31 major peers in the past three months. Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union, along with recent economic data which underscored the ensuing setback to consumer confidence and business activity, have boosted speculation that the BOE will loosen monetary policy on Aug. 4.

All but two of the 46 economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast policy makers led by Governor Mark Carney will cut the key interest rate from a record-low 0.5 percent. While the median estimate in a separate survey was for the BOE to maintain its asset-purchase target at 375 billion pounds ($498 billion), the highest forecast of 525 billion pounds underlined the uncertainty over the extent of the BOE’s stimulus measures. The central bank will also release its quarterly Inflation Report.

“I think it’s a done deal that we’re going to get easing next week, but the question is just how aggressive,” said Lee Hardman, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in London. “If we get a package of measures and not just a rate cut it will reinforce the weakening trend for the pound.”

Monthly Declines

The pound slid 0.3 percent this month to $1.3272 as of 5 p.m. London time Friday, having tumbled almost 9 percent in the previous two months. It dropped to a 31-year low of $1.2798 on July 6. Sterling weakened for a second month versus the euro, losing 0.9 percent to 84.16 pence.

Hardman said the U.K. currency was likely to end the year at $1.24, a level last seen in 1985.

BOE Monetary Policy Committee member Martin Weale shifted from his usually hawkish stance this week and supported immediate stimulus, boosting speculation the central bank will ease policy. Swaps signaled a 100 percent chance of a rate cut next week.
With such odds priced in, there is a risk policy measures fall short of what markets are predicting. The BOE voted 8-1 to refrain from any action this month, which prompted the pound to rally to its highest level in two weeks against the dollar.

‘Shock and Awe’

With traders bracing for the BOE to ease policy next week, Hardman said “it is a higher hurdle for them to out-dove current market expectations” and that could “help to potentially dampen the negative pound reaction.”

Neil Jones, head of hedge-fund sales at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in London, said the BOE may need to do more than the market is predicting to impact heavily on the currency.

“To be more bearish than what is factored, I would suggest a 40 basis-point cut and 50 billion pounds further on the QE front,” Jones said. “That would take it to beyond expectations and should provide a bit of an element of shock and awe. That would probably be the upper limits of what we could expect in terms of further measures.”

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

Naira Gains N1 to N483 Against US Dollar as CBN Warned Speculators of Impending Doom

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Naira Remains under pressure

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.

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Bureaux De Change Association Warns Against Hoarding of US Dollar, Says Speculators will Lose

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate

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.

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Forex Scarcity Plunges Naira to N620 Against British Pound

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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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