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Offshore Yuan Falls for Second Day

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  • Offshore Yuan Falls for Second Day

The yuan’s volatile start to 2017 showed no signs of abating, with the offshore currency tumbling for a second day as China’s central bank weakened its fixing by the most since June.

The exchange rate fell 0.6 percent to 6.8883 per dollar as of 1:58 p.m. in Hong Kong, extending a 0.9 percent drop on Friday that was the biggest in a year. The offshore yuan is set to post a daily move of 0.5 percent or more in four of the six trading sessions so far this year, a magnitude it only surpassed 11 times in all of 2016.

Yuan bears were confronted by a short squeeze last week, with soaring funding costs helping the offshore currency to a record weekly advance. National Australia Bank Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank strategists are among those who say the gains won’t last, predicting a return to yuan weakness on the back of dollar strength. The People’s Bank of China weakened the currency’s daily reference rate by 0.87 percent on Monday after the greenback rallied.

“Most people are quite realistic in expecting the firmer dollar environment to weigh on the yuan,” said Christy Tan, head of markets strategy in Hong Kong at National Australia Bank. “The liquidity conditions have not normalized yet, but expectations have not shifted drastically even with the recent bout of strong yuan appreciation.”

Falling Rates

Offshore liquidity improved on Monday. The overnight yuan interbank rate in Hong Kong, known as Hibor, fell 47.3 percentage points to 14.05133 percent, while the offshore yuan’s overnight deposit rate slumped to 12.5 percent after reaching a record 105 percent on Friday. The onshore yuan was little changed at 6.9334.

Risk reversals show bearish bets on the currency rose, with the six-month rate rising to 2.085 percent from 1.970 percent on Friday. Other indicators showed some traders are betting the surge in volatility won’t last long. While expectations for swings in the currency over the next month jumped by 1.2 percentage points last week, a gauge tracking wagers for yuan turbulence over six months fell and is now near a one-year low relative to the short-term measure.

China’s foreign-exchange reserves fell for a sixth straight month in December, dropping $41.1 billion to a five-year low of $3.01 trillion, which was in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg’s survey of economists. The PBOC’s effort to stabilize the yuan was the main reason for the drop last month and last year, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement.

“With FX reserves dropping toward $3 trillion, FX intervention becomes less palatable to them,” said Eric Robertsen, Singapore-based head of global macro strategy and currency research at Standard Chartered Bank, in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Over time, we expect that with further dollar strength, the yuan should continue to weaken.”

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

Nigeria’s Diaspora Remittances Decline by 28 Percent to $16.8 Billion in 2020

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US dollar - Investors King

Nigeria’s diaspora remittances declined by 27.7 percent or $4.65 billion from $21.45 billion in 2019 to $16.8 billion in 2020, according to the World Bank Migration and Development report.

A critical look into the report shows remittances to sub-Saharan Africa declined by 12.5 percent in 2020 to $42 billion. This was largely due to the 27.7 percent recorded by Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, which accounted for over 40 percent of the total remittance inflows into the region.

The report noted that once Nigeria’s remittance inflows into the region are excluded, remittances grew by 2.3 percent in 2020 with Zambia recording 37 per cent.

Followed by 16 percent from Mozambique, 9 percent from Kenya and 5 percent from Ghana.

The decline was a result of the global lockdown that dragged on the livelihood of most diaspora and unclear economic policies.

In an effort to change the tide, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a Naira 4 Dollar Scheme to reverse the downward trend and boost diaspora inflows into the economy.

However, the reports revealed that other external factors like insecurities, global slow down, weak macroeconomic fundamentals, etc continue to discourage capital inflows.

On Tuesday, the CBN, in a new directive, announced it has halved dollar cash deposit from $10,000 to $5000 per month.

The move is geared towards discouraging overreliance on the United States Dollar and encourage local patronage and production.

Mr. Guy Czartoryski, Head of Research at Coronation Asset Management, had said in the report, “We looked at the top 10 banks and the breakdown of their deposits showed that 40 per cent of their deposits are in dollars and it is quite astonishing.”

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Forex

Deposit Money Banks Reduce Dollar-Cash Deposits by 50 Percent to $5000/Month

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United States Dollar - Investors King Ltd

Nigeria’s Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have reduced the amount of United States Dollars that customers can deposit into their domiciliary accounts by 50 percent from $10,000 to $5,000 per month.

A bank official who preferred not to be mentioned confirmed the new policy to Investors King.

He, however, stated that the new policy does not apply to customers making electronic transfers as well as oil and gas companies and dollar payments into government accounts.

Checks revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the new policy to discourage the strong appetite for the United States Dollar, which has continued to rise.

A recent report has shown that despite persistent dollar scarcity, around 40 percent of bank deposits in the nation’s top ten banks were in dollars.

Mr. Guy Czartoryski, Head of Research at Coronation Asset Management, had said in the report, “We looked at the top 10 banks and the breakdown of their deposits showed that 40 per cent of their deposits are in dollars and it is quite astonishing.”

According to an analyst at ARM Securities Limited, Mr. Olamofe Olayemi, “this has to do with how much confidence the people have in the naira. Over time, we have seen significant depreciation in the naira.

“If you look at what happened in 2020, no one expected that the naira would be devalued twice in that year and even the outlook, this year is suggesting further depreciation in the naira.

“So, it makes sense to a lot of people to store their money in dollars. But, from the CBN standpoint, you agree with me that there is dollar scarcity.”

He, therefore, argued that the new policy might discourage financial inclusion and encourage cash outside the banking system.

Again, it is important for the flow of money to be captured in the system,” he said.

The CBN had extended its Naira 4 Dollar Scheme last week to further encourage dollar inflow into the Nigerian economy.

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Naira

Naira Closed at N411.25 to US Dollar at NAFEX Window

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

The Nigerian Naira declined further against the U.S Dollar on Tuesday ahead of the Ramadan holiday to trade at N411.25 to a single U.S Dollar at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window.

The local currency plunged as low as N420.23 per dollar during the trading hours of Tuesday despite opening the day at N410.33/US$ before settling at N411.25 to a US dollar.

Investors on the window exchanged $98.33 million on Tuesday.

At the parallel section of the foreign exchange, Naira traded at N483 to a United States Dollar; N673 to a British Pound and N580 to a Euro.

Foreign exchange rates remained largely unchanged at the bureau de change section, with the Naira trading at N482 to a U.S Dollar; N674 to a British Pound and N584 to a Euro.

Several factors continue to weigh on the Nigerian Naira, especially with the foreign reserves hovering around record low and crude oil output not at an optimal level.

Other factors like rising inflation rate and drop in economic activity due to COVID-19 effect on the economy and lack of enough fiscal buffer to cushion the economy.

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