- Brexit Plans Rattle Pound and Stocks as Gold Rises
The pound fell, equities slid and gold climbed on concern U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to lead Britain out of the European Union’s single market and as the U.S. President-elect suggested other countries could break from the bloc.
Sterling fell below $1.20 for the first time since October after the Sunday Times said May is ready to withdraw from tariff-free trade with the region in return for the ability to curb immigration and strike commercial deals with other countries. Banks led European stocks lower after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, citing exposure to volatile politics. U.S. bond markets are closed Monday due to a holiday.
Caution dominated markets amid tough talk from May and Donald Trump about Europe’s economic and political institutions. British government officials trying to limit damage to the pound will speak to major banks in London before the U.K. leader sets out her vision for leaving the bloc in a speech on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the situation. Meanwhile Trump predicted that Britain’s exit will be a success that will encourage others to do the same. He also branded NATO obsolete.
“Markets are trading in risk aversion mode,” said Neil Jones, the head of hedge-fund sales at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in London. “Investors and corporates around the world are concerned by the prospect of a hard Brexit. Pound rallies are limited and weak, while plunges are harsh and prolonged.”
Here are the main moves for the major asset classes:
- The U.K. currency traded 1.1 percent lower to $1.2052 at 10:49 a.m. in London after touching $1.1986, its weakest level since October. Overnight implied volatility in the pound against the dollar climbed to a five-month high before May’s speech. The measure exceed 30 percent, a level only breached before three events in 2016 — Britain’s EU vote and the Bank of England’s July and August meetings.
- The euro dropped 0.5 percent to $1.0588. The yen rose 0.2 percent to 114.25 per dollar, extending gains for the longest winning streak since June.
- Turkey’s lira weakened 1.2 percent. The currency jumped 3.7 percent over Thursday and Friday after the central bank took steps to prop it up by tightening liquidity.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.5 percent after retreating as much as 0.8 percent.
- Lenders and insurers led losses in Europe. Royal Bank of Scotland slid 2.8 percent.
- The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dropped less than 0.1 percent, poised to halt a record streak of daily gains and 10 consecutive all-time highs.
- S&P 500 futures expiring in March declined 0.2 percent to 2,267, with stock markets in the U.S. closed for a holiday.
- Yields on the U.K.’s 10-year government bonds fell five basis points to 1.31 percent after climbing seven basis points on Friday.
- Italy’s bonds underperformed their euro area peers after DBRS Ltd. downgraded the nation to BBB High, a move which will mean the securities will be subject to a higher haircut when used as in European Central Bank operations.
- Gold climbed 0.4 percent, extending last week’s surge to trade at $1,202.25 an ounce.
- Oil rose 0.3 percent to $52.51 a barrel.
- Iron ore futures jumped as much as 6.4 percent to $82.12 a metric ton, the highest level since October 2014.
Naira Plunges to Record Low of N422/US$1 at Official Market
The Nigerian Naira extended its decline to N422 to a United States Dollar at the official forex market, the investors and exporters forex window managed by the FMDQ Group.
Naira opened the day at N413.50 to a US Dollar before plunging to as low as N436 at the spot forex market and N446 at the forward market. The local currency eventually closed the day at N422.07 per US Dollar.
Investors at the window traded $141.94 million during the trading hours of Thursday.
The decline was after Vice President Osinbajo asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rethink its current forex policy and allow the Naira to reflect market conditions. This, the Vice President said will help close the current gap that exists between the official rate and black market rate.
Media outlets had interpreted the Vice President position as a call for further devaluation of the Nigerian Naira. However, in a statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Akande explained that Osinbajo is simply calling for a single forex rate to dislodge the activities of speculators and hoarders at the various unregulated black market.
He added that the 40 percent or N160 arbitrage difference between the official rate of N410 and N570 offered at the black market will continue to encourage corruption in the forex market.
“For context, the Vice President’s point was that currently the Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to obtain the dollar at N410, some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!
“This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.”
At the black market, traders exchanged Naira at N565 to a United States Dollar on Thursday.
Osinbajo Explains Why Forex Policy Should Discourage Arbitrage and Corruption
Following Vice President Yemi Osinbajo suggestions that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should rethink its present forex policy that encourages arbitrage and corruption and allow the Nigerian Naira to reflect market realities that were misconstrued as devaluation by the media, the Vice President has now come out to clear the air that he is not calling for a devaluation of the embattled Naira but to close the arbitrage gap of 40 percent gain that existed between CBN rate of N410/US$1 and the black market rate of N570.
In a statement released by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, the Vice President position was that the current Naira exchange rate benefits only those who are able to access the US Dollar at N410, “some of who simply turn round and sell to the parallel market at N570. It is stopping this huge arbitrage of over N160 per dollar that the Vice President was talking about. Such a massive difference discourages doing proper business, when selling the dollar can bring in 40% profit!,” the statement reads.
It continues “This was why the Vice President called for measures that would increase the supply of foreign exchange in the market rather than simply managing demand, which opens up irresistible opportunities for arbitrage and corruption.
“It is a well known fact that foreign investors and exporters have been complaining that they could not bring foreign exchange in at N410 and then have to purchase foreign exchange in the parallel market at N570 to meet their various needs on account of unavailability of foreign exchange. Only a more market reflective exchange rate would ameliorate this. With an increase in the supply of dollars the rates will drop and the value of the Naira will improve.
“The real issue confronting the economy on this matter is how to improve the supply of foreign exchange, but this will not happen if we do not allow mechanisms like the Importers and Exporters window to work. If we allow this market mechanism to work as intended, we will find that the Naira will appreciate against the dollar as we restore confidence in the system.”
Dollar Rate to Naira Today at Official Forex Window
The Dollar rate to Naira closed 0.10 percent lower on Wednesday at the official forex window despite supply rising by over 100 percent.
Naira dipped at the official forex exchange window to N414.73 against the United States Dollar on Wednesday, down from N414.30 it closed on Tuesday.
The Dollar rate to Naira opened the day at N414.33 before dropping to as low as N415.20 during the trading hours of Wednesday. Investors traded $266.32 million on Wednesday, against $122.15 million exchanged on Tuesday.
At the unregulated forex section, the black market, the Naira was exchanged at N565.00 and N568.00 to a US$ on Wednesday in Abuja.
In Uyo, forex dealers said the Naira exchanged at N580 to a U.S dollar N580.00 due to increase in demand they experienced on Wednesday.
“We bought at N570.00 and sold at N572.00 per $1 on Tuesday, but today, we sold at N578.00 and even N580.00 at some point because the demand was much and people were selling as they see deemed fit, ” the anonymous dealer stated.
However, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s exchange rates remained largely unchanged as shown below.
Central Bank of Nigeria’s Exchange Rates
|10/6/2021||SOUTH AFRICAN RAND||27.0668||27.0998||27.1328|
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