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Asian Stocks Gain, Dollar Weakens While Oil Slides

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Asian Stocks
  • Asian Stocks Gain, Dollar Weakens While Oil Slides

Asian equities rose and the dollar weakened at the start of an important week for global monetary policy settings, with central banks in Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. all meeting. Oil slid for a sixth straight day.

Tokyo shares extended the biggest rally in a month while South Korean equities rose to the highest since May 2015. Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong rallied after officials gave an upbeat picture of the economy. The Australian dollar led gains against the U.S. currency, which fell against most major peers. Oil kept sliding below $50 as U.S. drillers continued to boost activity, countering OPEC’s efforts to drain a global glut.

Global equities are trading near a record high as indications of firming growth in the U.S. and Europe coincide with China’s economy showing signs of improvement in the first two months of 2017. U.S. jobs data at the end of last week cleared the way for the Fed to raise interest rates on Wednesday without forcing it to accelerate the pace for future tightening. The euro built on gains from Friday, when European Central Bank policy makers were said to have considered their ability to raise rates before a bond-buying program comes to an end.

“There’s some initial upside from the jobs report but most people are waiting and watching to see what the central banks say later in the week,” said Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group Ltd. in Hong Kong.

What’s on traders’ watch lists this week: 

  • The Bank of Japan’s policy decision is due on Thursday. The BOJ is set to keep its rates and yield-curve policy unchanged. Still, recovering capital outlays and signs that consumer prices are inching up may augur for asset-purchase tapering sooner rather than later.
  • The Bank of England, Swiss National Bank and Bank Indonesia are also expected to stand pat with policy decisions this week.
  • The Netherlands’ election takes place March 15 amid a growing diplomatic spat with Turkey.
  • Earnings reports are due this week from firms including Oracle Corp., Tiffany & Co., and Prudential Plc.
  • G-20 finance ministers gather in Germany for a series of meetings.

Here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent as of 12:14 p.m. in Tokyo.
  • Japan’s Topix rose 0.2 percent, after the gauge jumped 1.2 percent on Friday to the highest level since December 2015.
  • The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index added 1.4 percent. China’s macroeconomy stabilized in the beginning of 2017, Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said at the sidelines of the annual legislature meeting in Beijing on Sunday.
  • South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.1 percent, led by a 1.7 percent gain in Samsung Electronics Co.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent.

Currencies

  • The Australian dollar advanced 0.4 percent, following Friday’s 0.5 percent gain.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell less than 0.1 percent, after dropping 0.6 percent on Friday. The yen was little changed at 114.82 per dollar.
  • The euro added 0.3 percent to $1.070, extending its 0.9 percent surge on Friday.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Australian government bonds slid three basis points to 2.95 percent, tracking a rally in Treasuries on Friday.
  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed less than one basis point to 2.58 percent.
  • The Bank of Japan could consider adopting a range for its 10-year bond yield target when it eventually looks to increase rates or needs to manage market volatility, according to people with knowledge of discussions at the central bank.

Commodities

  • Oil dropped 0.9 percent to $48.08 a barrel. Crude has lost almost 10 percent over the past six days.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Naira

Naira’s Recent Gain Reflects Policy Direction, Says CBN Chief Olayemi Cardoso

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

Olayemi Cardoso, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has explained that the recent surge in the Naira is a testament to the positive direction of government policies rather than active intervention to defend the currency’s value.

Addressing attendees at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, Governor Cardoso underscored that the CBN’s intention is not to artificially prop up the Naira.

He clarified that the fluctuations observed in the country’s foreign exchange reserves were not aimed at defending the currency but rather aligning with broader economic goals.

Over the past month, the Naira has experienced a notable uptick in value against the dollar, signaling a reversal from previous declines. Data from Bloomberg reveals a 6.4% decrease in liquid reserves since March 18, coinciding with the Naira’s rebound.

Despite this decline, Cardoso pointed out that around $600 million had flowed into the reserves in the past two days, reflecting confidence in the Nigerian market.

Governor Cardoso articulated the CBN’s vision of a market-driven exchange rate system, emphasizing the importance of allowing market forces to determine exchange rates through willing buyers and sellers.

He expressed optimism about a future where the central bank’s intervention in the foreign exchange market would be minimal, except in extraordinary circumstances.

The recent resilience of the Naira follows a period of volatility earlier in the year, marked by a substantial devaluation in January. Since then, the CBN has implemented measures to stabilize the currency, including monetary tightening and initiatives to enhance dollar liquidity.

Cardoso highlighted the transformation in market sentiment, noting that investors now perceive Nigeria’s central bank as committed to stabilizing inflation and fostering economic stability.

As Nigeria continues its journey toward economic recovery and stability, Cardoso’s remarks provide insight into the central bank’s strategy and its impact on the country’s currency dynamics.

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Naira

Dollar to Naira Black Market Today, April 18th, 2024

As of April 18th, 2024, the exchange rate for the US dollar to the Nigerian Naira stands at 1 USD to 1,020 NGN in the black market, also referred to as the parallel market or Aboki fx.

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New Naira Notes

As of April 18th, 2024, the exchange rate for the US dollar to the Nigerian Naira stands at 1 USD to 1,020 NGN in the black market, also referred to as the parallel market or Aboki fx.

For those engaging in currency transactions in the Lagos Parallel Market (Black Market), buyers purchase a dollar for N1,050 and sell it at N1,040 on Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 based on information from Bureau De Change (BDC).

Meaning, the Naira exchange rate improved when compared to today’s rate below.

This black market rate signifies the value at which individuals can trade their dollars for Naira outside the official or regulated exchange channels.

Investors and participants closely monitor these parallel market rates for a more immediate reflection of currency dynamics.

How Much is Dollar to Naira Today in the Black Market?

Kindly be aware that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not acknowledge the existence of the parallel market, commonly referred to as the black market.

The CBN has advised individuals seeking to participate in Forex transactions to utilize official banking channels.

Black Market Dollar to Naira Exchange Rate

  • Buying Rate: N1,020
  • Selling Rate: N1,010

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Naira

Naira’s Upsurge Strains Nigeria’s Foreign-Exchange Reserves

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New Naira notes

As the Nigerian Naira continued to rebound from its record low against its global counterparts, the nation’s foreign exchange reserves has been on the decline, according to the data published by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on its website.

CBN data showed liquid reserves have plummeted by 5.6% since March 18 to $31.7 billion as of April 12, the largest decline recorded over a similar period since April 2020.

The recent surge in the Naira follows a series of measures implemented by the Central Bank to liberalize the currency market and allow for a more flexible exchange rate system.

These measures included devaluing the Naira by 43% in January and implementing strategies to attract capital inflows while clearing the backlog of pent-up dollar demand.

Charles Robertson, the head of macro strategy at FIM Partners, acknowledged the Central Bank’s efforts to restore the Naira to a realistic exchange rate, suggesting that it aims to stimulate investment in the local currency and enhance liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

Despite the rapid depletion of foreign-exchange reserves, Nigeria still maintains a significant cushion, bolstered by a rally in oil prices and inflows from multilateral loans.

Gross reserves of approximately $32.6 billion provide coverage for about six months’ worth of imports, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The Central Bank’s disclosure last month that it had cleared a backlog of overdue dollar purchase agreements, estimated at $7 billion since the beginning of the year, indicates progress in addressing longstanding currency challenges.

However, uncertainties remain regarding the extent of dollar debt retained by the Central Bank as revealed by its financial statements late last year.

Furthermore, the decline in foreign-exchange reserves persists despite a surge in inflows into Nigeria’s capital markets, driven by interest rate hikes and increased attractiveness of local debt.

Foreign portfolio inflows exceeded $1 billion in February alone, contributing to a total of at least $2.3 billion received so far this year, according to central bank data.

Analysts remain cautiously optimistic about the trajectory of Nigeria’s foreign-exchange reserves, anticipating stabilization or potential growth fueled by anticipated inflows from Afreximbank, the World Bank, and potential eurobond issuance.

Also, the resurgence of oil prices and the expected return of remittances through official channels offer prospects for replenishing reserves in the near future.

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