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Dollar Boosted by Hawkish Fed Comments as Oil Drops With Gold

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Dollar Naira

The dollar strengthened versus all of its major peers as hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve official boosted the likelihood of a U.S. interest-rate increase this year. The yen’s retreat was spurred by prospects for further monetary easing in Japan, while oil dropped with gold.

Dollar index rose to a one-week high after Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Sunday the U.S. economy is already close to meeting the central bank’s goals and that growth will pick up. The yen fell for a second day and Japanese stocks advanced after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda flagged the possibility that the authority’s unprecedented monetary stimulus will be added to in September. Elsewhere in Asia, most shares declined as oil fell to about $48 a barrel. Silver led losses among precious metals.

Global markets have been buffeted by comments from Fed officials flagging the possibility of higher borrowing costs as early as next month, even though minutes of the central bank’s last meeting struck a more dovish tone. The focus will shift to Janet Yellen’s speech this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where top global central bankers will gather for a meeting. Futures traders on Friday assigned a 22 percent probability to a September rate increase by the Fed, up from 16 percent a week earlier.

“Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday will have the biggest impact on short-term market moves, especially if she follows in Stanley Fischer’s relatively hawkish tone,” said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG Ltd. “A week of talking up the U.S. dollar will be good for U.S. financial stocks that would benefit from a rate rise and some of that positivity could spread over into financials globally.”

Currencies

Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4 percent as of 11:16 a.m. Tokyo time, after losing ground in each of the last two weeks. South Korea’s won fell 0.8 percent versus the greenback and New Zealand’s dollar lost 0.7 percent, the biggest declines among 16 major currencies.

“We expect the dollar to consolidate this week with a modest upside bias,” said Elias Haddad, a senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. “There is room for U.S. interest-rate expectations to adjust a bit higher this week.”

The yen dropped 0.5 percent to 100.73 per dollar. Kuroda told the Sankei newspaper that the BOJ is conducting a comprehensive review of Japan’s economy and finances and said there is “sufficient chance” of more easing at next month’s policy meeting. Softer July inflation data this Friday may raise odds for more aggressive BOJ easing, Haddad said.

Forwards on India’s rupee were little changed after India named Urjit Patel to take over from Raghuram Rajan as central bank governor from Sept. 4.

Stocks

Japan’s Topix index added 0.5 percent as the yen’s decline boosted exporters including Toyota Motor Corp., which was headed for its highest close since March.

About three stocks fell for every two that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index, with raw-materials producers leading losses among 10 industry groups. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped from a 13-month high as foreign investors pulled funds from the securities for the first time in a week, while Taiwan’s benchmark was set for its lowest close in a month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent, after retreating from a nine-month high on Friday.

Futures for the S&P 500 Index fell 0.1 percent after the gauge ended last week within 0.3 percent of an all-time high. Pfizer Inc. is close to an agreement to buy Medivation Inc. for about $14 billion and a deal may be announced as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the situation.

Commodities

Crude oil declined 1.1 percent to $48.01 a barrel in New York after Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, said it will boost exports by about 5 percent amid a glut of supply. The price jumped 9.1 percent last week on speculation that OPEC talks next month could lead to an output freeze. U.S. drillers added rigs for an eighth week, the longest run since April 2014, Baker Hughes Inc. data show.

Silver dropped as much as 3 percent to a seven-week low, while gold was down 0.6 percent amid the dollar’s advance. Silver has rallied 37 percent this year while gold jumped 26 percent as the Fed refrained from tightening and other central banks embraced negative rates, benefiting bullion which doesn’t pay interest.

Bonds

U.S. Treasuries due in a decade fell, pushing their yield up by one basis point to 1.59 percent. The yield could climb toward 1.70 percent if Yellen’s remarks are along the lines of those made by Fischer when she delivers her address on Friday, according to Su-Lin Ong, a senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Sydney.

“The market is clearly susceptible to Yellen making similar comments in Jackson Hole,” Ong said. “The most recent lot of Fed speakers — and these are key speakers — have signaled that the market should be putting a greater weight on the risk of a move before year-end.”

Australia’s 10-year bond yield increased by five basis points to 1.91 percent and Japan’s rose by one basis point to minus 0.08 percent.

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

Again CBN Devalues Naira by N6 Ahead of World Bank’s $1.5bn Loan Request

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has once again devalued the Nigerian Naira by N6 to the United States Dollar, making it the third time the apex bank will adjust the Naira exchange rate this year.

The devaluation brings the CBN closer to actualising foreign exchange unification demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April before the $3.4 billion loan was approved.

This same condition was enforced by the World Bank as a prerequisite for approval of $1.5 billion loan request submitted by the Federal Government. The loan the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said she was positive it would be approved by the multilateral institution in the next meeting given that the Federal Government has met all the conditions for the said loan.

24 hours later, the apex bank devalued the Naira official rate by N6 from N379/US$ to N385/US$. While the International Money Transfer Service Operators (IMTOs), all authorised dealers, bureau de change operators and service providers were asked to add N6 across all rates.

The rate for IMTOs against the US dollar has now moved from N382 to N388. Meaning banks will now sell dollar to the CBN at N389, up from the previous N383 to us dollar.

Again, the Central Bank sale of dollar to the bureau de change operators was pegged at N390 to dollar, against the old N384 to US dollar.

The apex bank, therefore, directed the BDCs to sell at not more than N392 per dollar to end-users. The old rate was N386 to a US dollar.

The CBN circlar reads in part, “Weekly Exchange Rate For Disbursement of Proceeds of International Money Transfer Service Operators’ pegged IMTOs sale of dollar to banks at N388 to dollar; banks sale of dollar to CBN at N389 to dollar and CBN sale of dollar to BDCs at N390 to dollar. The BDCs are now expected to sale to end-users at not more than N392 to dollar and each BDC is entitled to buy $10,000 weekly”.

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Forex

More Problem for CBN as Naira Approaches N500/US$ at the Black Market

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Forex Weekly Outlook March 6 - 10

Naira plunged against the United States Dollar to a record low of N495 at the black market on Thursday despite the Central Bank of Nigeria saying it has enough financial means to meet forex demands.

The Naira declined by N12 from N483 it exchanged on Monday amid persistent scarcity and high demands by importers and businesses looking to offset COVID-19 losses with the usual December high demand sales.

Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday blamed the wide foreign exchange rate at the black market on speculators and hoarders looking for personal gain at the expense of the nation.

He went on to caution experts using black market rates to analyse the local currency performance to stop and claimed that section of the forex only accounts for 5 percent of the nation’s total foreign exchange transactions.

While that might be true, it is also true that majority of manufacturers and businesses have turned to the black market for their forex needs in recent months, especially after it became obvious that the apex bank does not have enough liquidity to service the economy.

The nation’s foreign reserves has been battered by the weak oil prices and the continuous production cut by OPEC and allies to artificially support low prices. Nigeria’s foreign reserves is presently hovering between $35 billion and $36 billion after plunging from $45 billion attained in June 2019, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Against the British Pound, the Nigerian Naira depreciated by N15 to N635 from N620 it exchanged on Monday. Another indication of chronic forex scarcity as the local currency also plunged to N580 against the European common currency, the Euro.

The wide forex is expected to further weigh on the nation’s inflation rate and consumer spending this December.

On Tuesday, the apex bank left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent and attributed the rising inflation rate to structural policies, the recent #EndSARS protest and a surging fuel price.

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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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