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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.

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Naira

Naira Slides Marginally Against US Dollar, Exchanges at N415

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira fell slightly against the United States Dollar on Monday, according to the last update from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The local currency was exchanged at N414.89 per dollar on Friday before depreciating by N0.11 or 0.03 percent to N415 on Monday.

It should be recalled that the Naira plunged to N435 against the United States on Friday 31, December 2021 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adjusted its exchange rate by N2 to accommodate the change in Nigeria’s economic realities.

The Naira has now improved by about 4.6 percent against the United States Dollar from the year to date. The improvement was after the market digested and interpreted the CBN action as the usual forex devaluation in line with the apex bank policy.

At the unregulated black market, traders in Abuja sold the greenback at N570 a unit and buy it at N569. CBN had attributed Nigeria’s forex challenges to the activities of black market operators and warned Nigerians to stop patronising that section of forex.

Meanwhile, the crypto space remained bearish across the board ahead of US Federal Reserve rate decisions. Bitcoin to Naira exchange rate declined by 2.5 percent to N17.346 million in the last 24 hours while Eth shed 3.6 percent.

Other cryptocurrencies suffer the same fate as Binance coin, Tether, Cardano and XRP depreciated by 3.70 percent, 0.31 percent, 1.72 percent and 2.93 percent.

Bitcoin looks vulnerable above the $41,000 support level, largely due to the drop in capital inflow into the crypto space ahead of a possible interest rate increase in the world’s largest economy, the United States.

Bitcoin continues to look vulnerable having failed to bounce back strongly off the recent lows. It appeared to be gathering some upside momentum at times last week but it quickly ran into resistance just shy of $45,000 where it had previously seen support. All eyes are now on $40,000 and whether we’re going to see another run at that major support level,” said Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA, in an email to Investors King.

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Naira

Naira Gains 1.58 Percent to N416 at Official FX Market, Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies Plunge

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira gained 1.58 percent or N7.56 against the United States Dollar at the official forex market on Wednesday.

The local currency opened the day at N423.56 to a US Dollar before improving in value to N416 against the greenback. At the official forex window managed by the FMDQ Group, investors traded $114.95 million on Wednesday.

The improvement in Naira value was after the market had digested the Central Bank of Nigeria’s currency adjustment. The central bank had adjusted the Naira to Dollar exchange rate by N2 from N411 to N413 on Friday, leading to devaluation outcry across Africa’s largest economy.

On Friday, the Naira plunged to as low as N435 against the United States Dollar at the official forex trading market and N575 at the unregulated parallel market, popularly known as the black market, before moderating to N416.

Meanwhile, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plunged across the board. Bitcoin depreciated by 7.16 percent to $43,058 per coin in the last 24 hours. The decline does not stop there as the second most capitalised digital asset, Eth dipped by 9.77 percent to $3,441.

Solana, Ripple (XRP), Luna and Cardano (ADA) lost 11.48 percent, 8.13 percent, 9.5 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

The decline was after the US Federal Reserve minutes of December 14 – 15 meeting released on Wednesday revealed that policymakers are planning to raise interest rates as early as March 2022 to curb escalating inflation rate. Generally, hawkish monetary policy is negative for cryptocurrency as it drags on capital inflow into the space and encourages investors to look into more stable assets for higher interest rates.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the “Federal Reserve officials at their meeting last month eyed a faster timetable for raising interest rates this year, potentially as soon as in March, amid greater discomfort with high inflation.

“Minutes of their Dec. 14-15 meeting, released Wednesday, showed officials believed that rising inflation and a very tight labor market could call for lifting short-term rates “sooner or at a faster pace than participants had earlier anticipated.”

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Naira

Naira Opens 2022 at N426.25 Against the United States Dollar at Official Forex Window

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Enaira launching in Abuja - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira opened the new year at N426.25 against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at the official foreign exchange window managed by the FMDQGroup.

The local currency plunged to N435 against the US Dollar on Friday after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adjusted its Naira to Dollar exchange from N411 to N413.49. The adjustment is in line with Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, statement that the country operated a managed-float exchange policy.

Naira pared losses against the US Dollar on Tuesday after forex traders, speculators and hoarders might have analysed CBN forex action and interpreted it as the usual adjustments.

At the unregulated parallel market known as the black market, the Naira plunged to N570 against the United States Dollar on January 4th, 2022. Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) discouraging patronage at that section of forex, many Nigerians still relied on the black market for their forex needs.

However, the adjustment may not be unconnected to the change in Nigeria’s economic fundamentals. For instance, the nation’s foreign reserves used to back the Naira have been on a downward trend since hitting $41.8 billion on October 29, 2021. Presently, the reserves stood at $40.5 billion. This is despite oil prices trading at almost $80 a barrel, the highest in recent years.

But because of Nigeria’s inability to improve its production process, lower cost of production and generally increase crude oil output, it has failed to take advantage of the surge in oil prices. Therefore, the CBN adjusted Naira to Dollar exchange rate to reflect the nation’s economic reality of insufficient forex and also enable it meet demands.

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