Global investors are encouraged to buy naira assets barely two months after the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced forex flexibility policy.
Most of the investors that fled during capital controls and fixed exchange rate have been told by Exotix Partners LLP and Standard Bank Group Ltd. to start buying naira assets again, according to a Bloomberg report.
“The cheap naira is attracting foreign investors,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a money manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment, which oversees about $12 billion of assets. “At 325 per dollar, the naira is too weak” and Landesbank anticipates a rebound,” he said. Roehmeyer’s funds have since doubled its holdings of naira debt to $9.2 million this month.
While firms like Landesbank, Exotix Partners and Standard Bank Group are saying the naira has fallen enough, others are saying the local currency will weaken to 400 by year-end and around 515 by the first half of 2017.
“Restoring oil output would help assuage our concerns,” said Brett Rowley, a managing director at Los Angeles-based TCW Group Inc., which oversees $185 billion of assets. “The combination of cheaper naira and higher yields on naira paper are tempting, but we remain comfortable on the sidelines.”
The naira which rose 3.6 percent to 318 against the US dollar on Tuesday after falling to a record 350.25 on Aug. 19, has been constantly propped up by the central bank to aid its value against the dollar. A method investors said they are not convinced allow the naira to truly floats.
“You can’t really call it a normally-functioning exchange rate yet,” said Andrew Howell, a New York-based frontier-markets analyst at Citigroup Inc., the world’s biggest foreign-exchange trader. “The exchange rate is closer to fair value in the eyes of most investors, but there still aren’t many inflows.”
But Stephen Bailey-Smith, a senior economist at Copenhagen-based Denmark’s Global Evolution Fonds A/S, which manages $3.2 billion of assets, said bond investors are closer to jumping in now than they were a year ago, but they had even been more confident if they were able to mitigate the risk of further depreciation by buying the naira-settled futures introduced in June.
Nigerian local currency bonds have gained 11.5 percent this quarter, while the yield on benchmark government notes due in January 2026 has climbed 226 to 15.08 percent.
“If you can get a yield above 20 percent and hedge the FX risk, it’s not a bad trade at all. The futures market is intended to help you do that, but it’s difficult to buy them,” says Bailey-Smith. “We haven’t come back in to the local market yet, but we’re looking at it closely.”
Nigerian currency is starting to reap from its record low as the “worst-performing currency” among more than 150 this year, after losing about 38 percent of its value against the greenback since the central bank abandoned its fixed rate.
Gold Prices Rise as Soft Dollar Supports Safe-haven Appeal
Gold prices firmed on Monday, propped up by a subdued dollar and slight retreat in the U.S. Treasury yields, with investors gearing up for a week of speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers for cues on the central bank’s rate hike path.
Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,759.06 per ounce, as of 0400 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,759.00.
While the dollar index softened, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting their highest since early-July. A weaker dollar offered support to gold prices, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies.
“Gold is still looking slightly precarious where it is right now, and it’s probably bouncing off key technical level around $1,750,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.
“Gold remains an yield story and that yield story is very much tied back to the tapering story.”
A slew of Fed officials are due to speak this week including Chairman Jerome Powell, who will testify this week before Congress on the central bank’s policy response to the pandemic.
“There’ll be a lot of questions being put to Fed speakers about what the dot plots implied last week and weather there is higher risk of heightened inflation going forward and that rate hikes could be coming in the first half of 2022,” Rodda added.
A pair of Federal Reserve policymakers said on Friday they felt the U.S. economy is already in good enough shape for the central bank to begin to withdraw support for the economy.
Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.
Investors also kept a close watch on developments in debt-laden property giant China Evergrande saga as the firm missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 0.1% to 993.52 tonnes on Friday from 992.65 tonnes in the prior session.
Silver rose 0.9% to $22.61 per ounce.
Platinum climbed 1.3% to $994.91, while palladium gained 0.7% to $1,985.32.
Brent Crude Oil Near $80 Per Barrel Amid Supply Constraints
Oil prices rose for a fifth straight day on Monday with Brent heading for $80 amid supply concerns as parts of the world sees demand pick up with the easing of pandemic conditions.
Brent crude was up $1.14 or 1.5% at $79.23 a barrel by 0208 GMT, having risen a third consecutive week through Friday. U.S. Oil added $1.11 or 1.5% to $75.09, its highest since July, after rising for a fifth straight week last week.
“Supply tightness continues to draw on inventories across all regions,” ANZ Research said in a note.
Rising gas prices as also helping drive oil higher as the liquid becomes relatively cheaper for power generation, ANZ analysts said in the note.
Caught short by the demand rebound, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, have had difficulty raising output as under-investment or maintenance delays persist from the pandemic.
China’s first public sale of state oil reserves has barely acted to cap gains as PetroChina and Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totalling about 4.43 million barrels.
India’s oil imports hit a three-month peak in August, rebounding from nearly one-year lows reached in July, as refiners in the second-biggest importer of crude stocked up in anticipation of higher demand.
Oil Holds Near Highest Since 2018 With Global Markets Tightening
Oil held steady near the highest close since 2018, with the global energy crunch set to increase demand for crude as stockpiles fall from the U.S. to China.
Futures in London headed for a third weekly gain. Global onshore crude stocks sank by almost 21 million barrels last week, led by China, according to data analytics firm Kayrros, while U.S. inventories are near a three-year low. The surge in natural gas prices is expected to force some consumers to switch to oil, tightening the market further ahead of the northern hemisphere winter.
China on Friday sold oil to Hengli Petrochemical Co. and a unit of PetroChina Co. in the first auction of crude from its strategic reserves said traders with the knowledge of the matter. Grades sold included Oman, Upper Zakum and Forties.
Oil has rallied recently after a period of Covid-induced demand uncertainty, with some of the world’s largest traders and banks predicting prices may climb further amid the energy crisis. Global crude consumption could rise by an additional 370,000 barrels a day if natural gas costs stay high, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“Underpinning the latest bout of price strength is a tightening supply backdrop,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.
Various underlying oil market gauges are also pointing to a strengthening market. The key spread between Brent futures for December and a year later is near $7, the strongest since 2019. That’s a sign traders are positive about the market outlook.
At the same time, the premium options traders are paying for bearish put options is the smallest since January 2020, another indication that traders are less concerned about a pullback in prices.
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