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Helicopter Money Predictions Are Still Flying High in Japan

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Yen surges to 18 months high against the dollar

Speculation of helicopter money refuses to die in Japan, despite repeated denials by Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

From Japan-based economists to global investors including Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius, there’s a reluctance to rule out the controversial policy coming as soon as next month amid the monetary authority’s struggles to stoke growth and inflation. Kuroda has said at least four times since April that helicopter money is not under consideration, and is prohibited by current law. He repeated over the weekend that there remains “ample space for additional easing” under the existing policy framework.

“It’s unthinkable that nothing would happen in September,” said Daiju Aoki, an economist at UBS Group AG in Tokyo. “The most likely measure would be pseudo-helicopter money where the BOJ will commit to holding Japanese government bonds for a long time.”

UBS is in good company. Mobius also said last week that direct financing of government spending could be imminent, while Aberdeen Asset Management said Japan is the most likely location for such an initiative. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of global rates and currencies research David Woo said on Bloomberg Television this month that helicopter money is probably the only option left on the table.

The introduction of a negative deposit rate this year sent benchmark government bond yields tumbling to a record low of minus 0.3 percent last month. They have since retraced more than two thirds of that — and the policy failed to weaken the yen for more than a day. The 10-year sovereign yield was at minus 0.075 percent on Wednesday in Tokyo.

Talk of the BOJ needing to change tack has grown since Kuroda announced a comprehensive review of current measures for the Sept. 20-21 policy meeting, with a gauge of inflation expectations less than a sixth of the way to the 2 percent target. While Kuroda’s most recent comments underline his stance that the review won’t mean any reduction in stimulus, doubts have grown about the policy’s sustainability.

Helicopter money, a kind of last resort in unconventional monetary policy, comes in several forms. The most simple is printing money and giving it to the public in the hope they’ll spend it: equivalent to dumping cash from choppers in the air. Others include putting money directly into the hands of companies or financing state spending by having the BOJ buy bonds straight from the government.

Speculation about the policy peaked in July after a visit to Tokyo by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke during which he met separately with Kuroda and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He floated the idea of selling perpetual bonds directly to the central bank during discussions in Washington with one of Abe’s key advisers in April.

While Kuroda reiterated last month at a Group-of-20 meeting in Chengdu, China that helicopter money is not an option, he has changed course without warning before. He announced a negative interest rate policy in January after ruling it out the previous month.

“Given Abe’s popularity, he’s in a pretty good position to change the law if he wanted to,” Michael Moen, a Sydney-based investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, said in a phone interview last week. “If you were going to pick a central bank around the world and a government that was going to use helicopter money, I think Japan is clearly at the top of that list.”

While Moen doesn’t expect to hear the whirl of chopper blades anytime soon, Templeton’s Mobius suggests it could come next month.

BOJ Ammunition

“They’re really beginning to think what ammunition they have,” he said during a visit to Tokyo last week. “The first reaction is to say, OK, let’s go for helicopter money, let’s get money directly into the hands of consumers.”

Quantitative easing is also showing signs of approaching its limit as banks run out of securities to sell.

“It’s an extremely dangerous game the market is playing, but speculation of helicopter money will never go away completely,” said Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo. “Japan needs to think now about how it would use the policy, before the time comes when it might have to deploy it.”

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 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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Naira

Dollar to Naira Today December 23, 2021

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

Investors King will present the latest rate of the Dollar to Naira, both at the official market and the parallel market. 

How much is the exchange rate of Dollar to Naira today?

Below is the performance of the Naira against the dollar, as recorded on Wednesday 22nd December 2021:

Dollar to Naira at the Black Market

On Wednesday, the black market saw the dollar being bought at a rate of N562 per dollar, and then sold at N565 per dollar.

Dollar to Naira at the Official Fx Window

The Dollar to Naira rate as at the close of business on Wednesday remained the same as the rate on Tuesday, settling at N415.10 per dollar, according to the Investors and Exporters window where the Naira is traded officially.

Wednesday’s opening saw the Dollar to Naira rate sit at N414.04 per dollar, but by Thursday the opening rate recognised a marginal rise to sit at N413.77 per dollar.

The Spot rate and Forward rate of the Dollar to Naira started to take shape again on Wednesday, returning to rates which for a long time were considered to be the usual for both rates.

The Spot rate traded at a very recognisable high of N404 per dollar, maintaining the low of N444 per dollar which it has seen for most, if not all of this week. The Forward rate has seen multiple fluctuations this week, unlike the Spot rate which has remained largely stable.

The Forward rate recorded a high of N411.35 per dollar, which is similar to a rate at which it sat consistently a few weeks back. It also recorded a highly familiar low of N453 per dollar, also from a few weeks ago.

The official daily turnover of the dollar on Wednesday sat at $215.29 million, more than $100m lower than the turnover recorded on Tuesday.

Heading into the festive period, this week has been one of consistency for the Dollar to Naira at the official fx window. The Naira maintained a similar range this week in all its openings and closing, not going beyond N413 – N415 per dollar.

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