The Federal Reserve could potentially raise interest rates as soon as next month, New York Fed President William Dudley said, warning investors that they are underestimating the likelihood of increases in borrowing costs.
“We’re edging closer towards the point in time where it will be appropriate, I think, to raise interest rates further,” Dudley, who serves as vice chairman of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, said Tuesday on Fox Business Network. Asked whether the FOMC could vote to raise the benchmark rate at its next meeting Sept. 20-21, Dudley said, “I think it’s possible.”
Investors expect about one rate hike between now and the end of next year, according to federal funds futures contracts, and they marked up probabilities only slightly on Tuesday. Dudley said such estimates are “too low” and that “the market is complacent about the need for gradually snugging up short-term interest rates over the next year or so.”
“We are looking for growth in the second half of the year that will be stronger than the first half,” Dudley said. “I think the labor market is going to continue to tighten, and in that environment I think we are getting closer to the day where we are going to have to snug up interest rates a little bit.”
The FOMC left interest rates unchanged when it met last month, but said in a post-meeting statement that “near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished.” The Fed will publish minutes of that meeting Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Washington.
Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, also speaking Tuesday, said he’s confident growth is accelerating, setting the stage for one or two rate increases this year. He said he wouldn’t rule out one coming in September.
“If the meeting were today, I think the economic data stream would justify a serious discussion of a rate increase,” Lockhart, who isn’t a voting member of the FOMC this year, told reporters after a speech in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Now we have more data to come in in the next few weeks before the meeting. We’ll see what that tells us. But I would not rule out September, at least for a serious discussion.”
While U.S. stocks rose to another record high on Monday, the New York Fed chief said he didn’t see any signs of asset bubbles that are “particularly disturbing.” At the same time, the bond market “looks a little bit stretched,” in part because major central banks are “creating a search for yield globally” through their bond-buying programs, he said. That demand is spilling over to the U.S., where Treasury yields are higher than in Japan, Germany and the U.K.
“The 10-year Treasury yield, at 1.5 percent, is pretty low in an environment where we think we are making progress towards our objective, we’re pretty close to full employment, we think inflation is going to trend back to 2 percent over the next couple of years,” Dudley said.
Even so, Dudley struck a cautious tone on the pace and ultimate amount of Fed tightening. He said near-term risks from the effects on financial markets of the U.K. vote in June to leave the European Union had diminished, but added that there were uncertainties about the longer-term economic impact and whether foreign central banks would be able to support global economic growth with negative interest-rate policies.
In the U.S., “there are reasons to think that monetary policy isn’t particularly stimulative right now, and you can sort of judge that by the fact that we only grew at a 1 percent annual rate in the first half of the year,” he said. “So we probably don’t have a lot of monetary policy tightenings to actually do over time.”
A Labor Department report released Aug. 5 showed two straight months of strong job creation in June and July following a tiny increase in May that raised worries about the health of the economy. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, which has been below the central bank’s 2 percent target for four years, has been slow to pick up.
“In my mind, the inflation outlook really hasn’t changed very much,” Dudley said. “The key question is: Are we going to get enough growth to put pressure on resources, pushing up wages and gradually pushing up inflation towards 2 percent? So far we seem to be on that trajectory.”
“Paper Currency Will Soon be Out of Circulation” – CBN Official
Delta State Branch Controller of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Okafor, has revealed that the Paper currency, (Naira) will soon be out of circulation, urging citizens to patronize e-Naira.
Mr Godwin explained this at the famous Ogbogonogo market, Delta, during the market sensitisation on e-Naira.
“We are here at the market today to sensitise the market people on the use of e-Naira. It is fully backed by CBN, unlike Bitcoin which has no legal backing,” he said.
“Paper currency will soon be out of circulation because CBN spent money to print money and people abuse the currency in the market, spraying at the occasion, payment of Okada/tricycle and others and CBN is losing.”
In relation to this, Investors King had reported the President’s statement on the importance of the e-Naira to the country’s economy. President Buhari said the launching of the E-Naira makes Nigeria the first country in Africa and one of the first few countries in the world to launch a digital currency.
He further said he expects the currency to enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for government welfare programs as well as foster cross-border trade and assist in moving many more people and businesses from the informal sector into the formal sector, therefore, increasing the tax base of the country.
Further, he explained that being a digital currency, it has the potential to increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
Dr. Aminu Bizi, a CBN e-Naira expert, said Delta was chosen as the second state after Lagos to sensitize market women on the currency.
He said the use of e-Naira was effective, charges free unlike ATM and POS and cannot be hacked by fraudsters.
Secretary to the State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, praised the CBN for the e-Naira project in his remarks.
He expressed his satisfaction with CBN programs, characterizing e-Naira as a “laudable” initiative that has elevated Nigeria’s position in international finance.
Naira Exchange Rate Dips at Official Market and Black Market
The Nigerian Naira opened the week lower against the United States Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) foreign exchange window now adopted as the official forex window and also at the black market.
The local currency opened at N417.30 against the United States Dollar before declining by 0.60% to close the day at N421.50/$ at the I&E window. Forex traders at the window transacted forex worth $70.68 million on Monday.
For banks and international money transfer operators, the Central Bank of Nigeria buys US Dollars at N414.75 and sells at N415.75. The apex bank buys and sells Pounds Sterling N508.2761 and N509.5016, respectively. For the European common currency, the Euro, the central bank sold it at N433.0453 and acquired it at N432.0036 a unit.
At the parallel market popularly known as the black market, the Naira was exchanged at N599 for a United States Dollar in Abuja.
Speaking on why the exchange rate is that high, Abu Abdullahi, a currency trader at Zone 4 in Abuja, said demand for the U.S. Dollar is high despite persistent scarcity.
Crude oil extended its gain in the early hours of Tuesday on optimism that China, the world’s largest importer of the commodity, would see substantial demand recovery after the latest data pointed to slowing COVID-19 infections in the hardest-hit areas.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, gained $2.69, or 2.4% to $114.24 a barrel at 5 am Nigerian time. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $3.71, or 3.4%, to $114.20 a barrel, Investors King understands.
“We are seeing a lot of signals that demand will start returning in that region, supporting higher prices,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.
Finally, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies shake off Luna-led decline to pare losses on Tuesday. Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) announced in the late hours of Monday that it was discontinuing Luna Coin and stablecoin (UST) operations to launch a new blockchain protocol that would focus on developers and building in general.
The announcement marked the end of one of the most promising cryptocurrency projects and once again reminds the world of how vulnerable the cryptocurrency space is — regardless of what creators say.
Bitcoin gained 1.99% to $30,366 per coin while Eth, a token of Ethereum, XRP (token of Ripple) and Solana appreciated by 3.15%, 3.25% and 4.39% to close at $2,084.27, $0.431744 and $55.86, respectively.
Black Market: Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate Remains Under Pressure
1 dollar to naira today on the black market was N585 and purchased at N590 in Ibadan and Lagos
The Nigerian Naira remained under pressure against global counterparts in the Nigerian unregulated parallel market, popularly known as the black market. $1 dollar to naira today on the black market was N585 and purchased at N590 in Ibadan and Lagos.
At the Investors and Exporters’ forex window, the Dollar to Naira exchange rate dipped by 0.24% to N419 from N417.70 it exchanged on Thursday.
For the interbank market, Investors King observed that the Nigerian Naira remained largely unchanged at N415.74 against the U.S. Dollar.
Bitcoin to Naira exchange rate remained subdued as the uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency space surged to a record-high following about a 99% plunge in the value of Terra Luna Coin and its stablecoin, UST.
Bitcoin to Naira exchange rate dropped by 1.49% in the last 24 hours to N17.859 million. While Eth, a token of the Ethereum protocol dipped by 0.34% to N1.232 million, down from about N2 million it traded a few weeks ago.
The uncertainty in the cryptocurrency space also dragged on the Binance coin (BNB) as the coin of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform moderated to N179,834 a coin, a 0.50% decline in its value.
Luna, the cryptocurrency that once again alerted the world to the vulnerability of unregulated space, is presently trading at N0.120 per coin, down from about N57,000 it was trading a week ago.
Oil prices fell on Monday as the uncertainty surrounding China, the world’s second-largest economy, continues to drag on the commodity outlook.
Brent crude, the benchmark for Nigerian crude oil dipped by 0.7%, or 72 cents to $110.83 per barrel at 11:45 am on Monday. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil fell by 0.5%, or 58 cents to $109.91 a barrel.
The decline was a result of the prolonged COVID-19 lockdown in china. China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, is said to have instituted lockdown restrictions in about 46 cities to curb the spreading COVID-19.
However, this lockdown has started disrupting China’s economic activity as retail sales contracted by 11% while factory production dropped by 2.9% in the month of April.
Experts are now predicting that despite Russia’s sanction, crude oil prices could drop further if the Chinese lockdown persists.
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