A measure of overnight potential price swings for the pound against the dollar approached the highest closing level since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June as traders braced for the Bank of England’s policy decision Thursday, which most economists forecast will bring the first interest-rate cut in seven years.
Sterling fell versus all but one of its 16 major peers as swaps pricing showed a 100 percent chance of a rate cut. While all except two of 52 analysts in a Bloomberg survey forecast a reduction, there are a suite of other measures, including an expansion of its bond-purchase program, which the BOE may adopt to tackle a Brexit-induced fallout which are more difficult to predict.
Some economists said they would not rule out the possibility that the BOE will keep its powder dry at this meeting, as it did in July, while awaiting a clearer economic picture.
“There is quite a lot of speculation regarding what the BOE might do today, so the short-term volatility is to be expected,” said Mark Dowding, a London-based partner and money manager at BlueBay Asset Management LLP. “We doubt the BOE would be opposed to the idea of the pound falling further as it would support the growth outlook, which is deteriorating markedly. We see the pound falling to $1.20 or lower by the end of the year.”
Sterling fell 0.3 percent to $1.3287 as of 7:41 a.m. in London. It dropped to a 31-year low of $1.2798 on July 6. The U.K. currency weakened 0.2 percent to 83.85 pence per euro.
Overnight implied volatility for the pound versus the dollar, a measure of anticipated price swings based on options, was at 31 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It touched the highest level on record on June 23, the day of Britain’s EU referendum, and spiked again before the BOE’s July meeting, its first since the historic vote.
The pound has been the biggest loser versus the dollar among major currencies since Britain voted to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc. The Bloomberg Pound Index, which measures the currency against its major peers, has fallen almost 11 percent since the referendum.
Recent economic data suggested Britain’s decision to leave the EU is taking its toll on business confidence and that’s further supported by a report Wednesday that confirmed U.K. services shrank last month at the fastest pace in seven years. Swaps pricing showed a 100 percent chance of a rate cut by the BOE Thursday, compared with about 15 percent before the vote.
“I expect a 25 basis-point rate cut and 100 billion pounds” in QE, said Richard Benson, managing director and co-head of portfolio investment at Millennium Global Investments in London. “However, it is very popular to be fading the BOE and buy the pound. I do not think it’s the correct trade. The post-Brexit depreciation of around 10 percent seems too little to me.”
Naira Exchange Rate Improves as CBN Plans to Flood Economy With $20 Billion Diaspora Remittances
The Naira to US Dollar exchange rate improved by N10 to N490 on Tuesday following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new directive that allows recipients of diaspora remittances to receive their fund in foreign currency (US Dollar) or via their ordinary domiciliary account.
The move was after the apex bank blamed the parallel market for the wide foreign exchange rate and cautioned analysts for using speculative rates as the real Naira/US dollar rate.
Therefore, the apex bank decided to inject $20 billion annual diaspora remittances into the real sector of the economy and hurt the activities of unscrupulous individuals at the parallel market.
Investors King expects this to gradually moderate the nation’s foreign exchange rate against global counterparts, deepen business activities and fast track economic recovery.
CBN Amends Forex Receipt as Naira Hits Record Low
In a bid to simplify and finally liberalize the receipt of diaspora remittances, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has amended its receipt procedures to allow beneficiaries of diaspora remittances receive such inflows in foreign currency (US Dollars).
The apex bank stated in a circular signed by Dr. O.S. Nnaji, Director Trade and Exchange Department, CBN.
In the circular, recipients of remittances can now receive funds in either foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.
While the International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) will henceforth receive diaspora remittances in foreign currency through the designated bank of their choice.
The CBN plans to ease forex scarcity, speed up the recovery process and checkmate the activities of speculators and hoarders at the black by injecting diaspora remittances estimated at about $20 billion per year into the real economy.
This is expected to not just improve business activities but also moderate foreign exchange rate from the current N500/US$ and move the central bank a step closer to unifying the nation’s foreign exchange rates.
The circular partly reads “In an effort to liberalize, simplify and improve the receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wishes to announce as follows;
“Beneficiaries of Diaspora Remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) shall henceforth receive such inflows in foreign currency (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account. Such recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving these funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.”
Naira Devaluation Pushed Exchange Rate to N500/US$ at Black Market
Naira to United States Dollar exchange rate plunged to N500 on Monday after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) devalued the Naira by N6 on Friday amid growing scarcity.
At the current rate, the local currency has lost N140 per US dollar when compared with N360 it was sold in the same month of 2019 and N5 compared to N495 it exchanged on Friday.
In an effort to ease pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves and unify foreign exchange rates in line with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s requirement for loans, the CBN devalued the official exchange rate by N6 from N379/US$ to N385/US$ and directed bureau de change operators to sell at N392/US$, up from N386/US$.
However, with importers and businesses looking to meet the usual high demand for goods in December pushing demand for the United States dollar off the roof, Naira’s value has continued to plummet despite efforts by the CBN to prop up its value.
Against the British Pound, the Naira declined to N650, down from N620 it exchanged last week. This depreciation continues against the Euro common currency as the local currency declined to N585.
Lack of liquidity due to the weak foreign reserves, low oil prices and weak demand for the commodity amid production cuts by OPEC and allies is hurting CBN’s ability to effectively intervene at the nation’s foreign exchange markets.
The apex bank usually sells forex to dealers to ease scarcity and facilitate trades. However, lack of foreign revenue generation has forced the CBN to reduce its weekly forex sales to $10,000 per bureau de change operator despite reopening of the economy pushing demand for forex further up.
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