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.
“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.”
Naira Gained Slightly at I&E Forex Window to N412.81/$US
Despite the Nigerian Naira trading at a record-low across the nation’s unregulated black market, the embattled currency opened slightly higher at N412.81 to a United States Dollar on Monday at the Investors and Exporters Forex Window, representing an increase of 0.08 percent when compared to the N412.88 it closed on Friday.
The improvement in Naira value was after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed all depoisit money banks operating in the country to freeze bank accounts linked to Oniwinde Olusegun Adedotun, the founder of www.abokfx.com, a forex rate publishing platform.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, CBN had blamed black market and bureau de change operators for the constant plunge in Naira value against its global counterparts and insisted that forex rates remained the apex bank stipulated rates and not the unregulated rates imposed by speculators and hoarders and published to the public by Abokifx and other business platforms.
“There was a particular time I asked our colleagues to call the so-called owner of abokiFX, that we want to understand his model and how he came about advertising those rate, we find him as someone, a Nigerian who lives in England and conducts this nefarious activity on our economy.
“It is economic sabotage and we will pursue him, wherever he is, we will report him to international security agencies, we will track him, Mr Oniwinde, we will find you, because we cannot allow you to continue to conduct an illegal activity that kills our economy.” Emefiele said.
The governor further stated that the website was set up primarily manipulate and speculate forex rates. He said “they get naira loans, use to purchase dollars, take a position, change the rate over a given period, sell the dollars they purchased and make a profit, this is completely illegal, unacceptable and we will pursue them.”
On Friday, the last time Abokifx published unregulated forex rates, Naira was qouted at N570 to a United States Dollar while the British Pound and the Euro were quoted at N770 and N655, respectively.
U.S Dollar Jumps to Three Weeks High on Better Than Expected Retail Sales
The United States Dollar rose to a three-week high after data from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S retail sales rebounded in the month of August despite falling consumer confidence.
The US Dollar Index rose to 93.40 on Monday to extend Friday breakout above the 93.00 key resistance level.
U.S retail sales jumped to its highest in five months in the month of August to beat 0.8 percent decline predicted by experts. Retail sales grew by 0.7 percent in August to increase the odds of the US Federal Reserve announcing tapering during next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.
“U.S. consumption is not slowing as quickly as it appeared a month ago despite the fading stimulus, and the Delta variant did not much affect the industries feeding into retail sales,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial in New York. “The economy continued to hum in August.”
Against the Japanese Yen, the U.S dollar strengthened to 109.48 from 109.91 attained on Friday on broad-based selloff during London trading session, while heavy selloff plunged British pound against the U.S dollar 1.36610 before reboundling slightly to 1.36946.
The Euro dropped from 1.17883 recorded on Friday to 1.16995 on Monday during London trading session.
Naira Exchange Rates Today, Friday, September 17, 2021
Naira continued its downward trend against other currencies on Friday as it plunged to N570 against the United States Dollar at the black market. The local currency traded at N770 and N655 to British Pound and Euro, respectively.
Persistent forex scarcity amid a series of in effective policies have made access to forex impossible for most of businesses that operates in largely import dependent African biggest economy.
Nigeria’s forex reserves, the means in which the nation, service its dollar consuming 200 million population has been on a decline in recent weeks despite crude oil trading at over a year high of $73 a barrel. Some of the factors that have crippled the ability of central bank to cushion the economy with enough forex is low crude oil production, partly due to production cap, weak local manufacturing sector that has made the nation a huge import dependent economy, the ongoing crisis between herders and farmers, rising costs even with falling inflation, etc.
At the bureau de change section, Naira exchanged at N565, N775 and N655 to a United States Dollar, British Pound and Euro common currency.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had stopped the sale of forex to the bureau de change operators to plug forex leakages and curb activities of criminal elements, the decision has worsen forex availability. See other forex rates below.
Naira Black Market Exchange Rates
Morning * Midday** Evening *** Final Rates
Bureau De Change Naira Rates
Central Bank of Nigeria’s Official Naira Rates
|9/16/2021||SOUTH AFRICAN RAND||28.3101||28.3446||28.3792|
N.B: These tables are updated three times a day.
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