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Investors Jump Back Into the Euro as Going Short Proves ‘Lethal’

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  • Investors Jump Back Into the Euro as Going Short Proves ‘Lethal’

Hedge funds. Asset managers. Central banks. These are just some of the players in the $5.1 trillion-a-day currency market who are buying the euro after shunning it over the past three years.

The shared currency has snapped its losing streak to become the best performer among Group-of-10 peers in 2017. After plunging to a 14-year low in January, the currency has staged a stunning comeback, rising to $1.1910 on Aug. 2, a level not seen since January 2015.

“To be short euros here is absolutely lethal,” said Ulf Lindahl, chief executive officer of A.G. Bisset Associates, who manages about $1 billion from Norwalk, Connecticut. He expects the currency to rise to $1.30 by the end of the year, if not sooner. Even after its 3.6 percent rally in July, investors and analysts are predicting further gains. So who’s buying euros, and why?

Hedge Funds

Hedge funds initially missed out on the euro rally by holding net-bearish bets until May before jumping in, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Since then, speculators have piled headlong into bullish bets, building up the biggest net-long position in six years.

Fast-money traders who use momentum and trend-following strategies were well positioned for the rally, said James Kwok, London-based head of currency management at Amundi SA, which manages about 1.3 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion).

The “euro has been suffering for quite a few years,” Kwok said. “The political risk has diminished a lot and the economic momentum is getting better, and so now is the time for the euro to get back from the undervaluation level.”

U.S. Investors

U.S. investors will “increasingly look overseas for returns,” spurring flows into euro-denominated investments, said Lee Ferridge, head of macro strategy for North America at State Street Global Markets in Boston. They’ll probably do so without hedging against a weaker dollar, which would boost profits earned abroad, he said.

“The biggest potential driver of equity inflows into Europe would be U.S. investors,” which would tend to support the euro, said Alessio de Longis, a New York-based money manager in OppenheimerFunds Inc.’s global multi-asset group. That’s because dollar-based investors would have to buy euros in order to settle stock trades in the common currency, he said.

Euro three-month risk reversals, a barometer of medium-term directional bias, remain staunchly positive, with euro calls at premium levels last seen in 2009.

European Investors

Rising confidence in the European economy recovery gives investors there a good reason to buy assets closer to home, bolstering the euro, State Street’s Ferridge said.

The euro has shaken off its status as a second fiddle as European growth and inflation recovered, while political risks subsided after the election of French President Emmanuel Macron, spurring bets that the European Central Bank will pare stimulus.

Local investments allow traders to sidestep currency risk from overseas bets, said Amundi’s Kwok. He sees the euro rising to a range of $1.20 to $1.25 for the rest of the year and is keeping a close eye on whether Macron can implement economic reforms.

At the same time, European corporations that earn revenue in U.S. dollars will look to hedge against any gains in the euro, said Lindahl at A.G. Bisset.

Central Banks

Reserve managers could be another key buyer of euros in the months ahead, according to Kwok and State Street’s Ferridge. Central banks have boosted the euro’s share of their holdings in recent quarters after reducing holdings in 2014 and 2015 when concerns about Greek debt and political turmoil diminished its appeal as a reserve currency.

While the outlook for Europe has stabilized, U.S. political drama has escalated. Against this backdrop, reserve managers may opt to rebuild their euro holdings, which would cause yet more strength for the currency.

“The whole European project looks to be on stronger footing politically,” Ferridge said. In the U.S., “we have an administration that’s pretty inexperienced politically, and I think the changes that we’ve seen in the administration, the uncertainty, it’s not going to sit will with reserve managers. The euro would be a beneficiary from that.”

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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Forex

Banks CEOs Declare Readiness, Assured No Hidden Charges In Forex Sale

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Naira Dollar Exchange Rate - Investors King

Chief executives of banks have assured no hidden charges in the sale of foreign exchange as they declared their readiness to meet the demands of Forex in the country.

The CEOs under the aegis of the Committee of Chief Executives of Banks at a virtual parley with the media also said they are not interested in procuring bureau de change licenses to dispense the new responsibility thrust on them by the central bank of Nigeria (CBN)

At a media briefing chaired by the chairman, and the managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, other CEOs in attendance include Segun Agbaje of GTCO, Yemisi Edun of FCMG amongst others.

The briefing was in reaction to the CBN circular with Ref No: BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/14/052 which gave a directive to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to set up teller points at designated branches and sell Foreign Exchange customers in need.

The directive in the circular signed by Haruna Mustafa, Director, Bank Supervision Department, was a follow up to the stoppage by the CBN, of the sale of forex to the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country.

With this development, banks are now to attend to legitimate FX requests for Personal Travel Allowance, Business Travel Allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

The regulator also disclosed that a toll-free line had been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests.

Speaking at the media briefing, Herbert Wigwe assured of the readiness of the banks to meet the demands of the customers without any additional costs, noting that they have more capacity than the BDCs

“Banks have broader network than the previous sources and if you look at the branch network of all the banks in the country, I am not sure that the alternatives have resources like banks to provide this service to everybody”.

He allayed the fear of hidden charges said the transaction comes at no additional cost to the customers.

“There is no one-cent additional charge. It is unfortunate that bankers always come under pressure every time because of accusations of hidden charges. There is no additional charge in this service,” he stated.

Segun Agbaje, the group managing director of GTCO, promised that the banks will provide several channels for the customers to get their supply for their needs as he assured of the readiness of the banking system.

“They can start to come from today. We are ready to fund their demands”. stating that different banks have different strategies to ensure there are no hitches.

He stated that the control is centralised in each bank while the service is decentralised so as to be able to cater to many at the same time.

“We will run a transparent system and the compliance will be very strict because there will be sanctions. Anyone that refuses to comply with the rules will be sanctioned by the regulator and the law enforcement agencies” as he warned those that could want to come with fake documentation or passport to beat the process.

In her contribution, Yemisi Edun of FCMB assured that customers will have the same experience across the board irrespective of the bank as she allayed that the services may be poor in some banks.

“We have done this with remittance where we dedicate desks to attend to customers and customers will be directed to the desks once they have proper documentation.

In conclusion, Wigwe stated that apart from the injection that could be coming from the CBN, the banks also have their sources for foreign exchange which include from International Monetary Transfer Organisation, Diaspora remittances, and others from where they can meet the customer’s demands.

“We are putting structure and infrastructure in place to meet the demands of the customers but they should come with proper documentation” Wigwe stated

The apex bank expects the DMBs to adequately publicize the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and/or electronically in compliance with extant regulations,

While CBN said the banks should ensure that no customer was turned back or refused FX provided that documentation and all other requirements are satisfied, it also outlaws undue delays, rationing and/or diversion of FX while it compels DMBs to establish electronic application and alert systems to update customers on the status of their FX requests, the circular added.

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BDCs Continues To Provide Forex Services After CBN Halts Sales Of Forex To Operators

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The recent announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) suspending dollar sales to Bureau de Change Operators would not stop the forex retailers from conducting their services in line with their operating licenses and guidelines.

According to a statement by the President of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, BDCs will continue to provide foreign exchange services to the public.

“BDCs are licensed to provide retail FX services, including buying from the public and also selling to end-users for allowable transactions namely Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), payment of medical and school fees,” Gwadabe said.

He added that while the dollar sale from CBN had helped in enhancing supply, the fact remains that BDCs are empowered to source FX from other sources and also to provide various services to members of the public.

“While the CBN has stopped dollar sale to BDCs, it has not canceled their operating licenses, or banned them from providing FX services to members of the public”, he added.

“At ABCON, we urge our members to see the CBN pronouncement as a wake-up call and opportunity to widen their customer base and deepen their business.

“ABCON has always worked with the CBN to ensure proper working of the FX market and in line with this principle, we will engage with the apex bank to address and resolve all the issues that led to the recent action, including identification and sanctioning of earring BDCs, where necessary.

“In addition to this, and in view of the fact that BDCs have been very effective in ensuring stable exchange rate, ABCON will work with relevant stakeholders including law enforcement agencies to develop a National BDC Policy with the aim of enhancing the contribution of the BDC subsector to the nation’s economy”, he said.

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Naira

Naira Exchange Rates Today, Friday, July 30, 2021

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BDC Operators - Investors King

Naira gained N5 against the United States Dollar on Friday morning to N520 at the parallel market popularly known as the black market.

Against the British Pound, the local currency dropped N5 from N710 recorded on Wednesday to N715 on Friday, while against the European it remained at N600, the same rate it traded in the last three days.

The Naira plunged against its global counterparts after the Central bank of Nigeria accused Bureau De Change Operators (BDCs) of illicit money flows and market manipulations that over time have sustained the unregulated black market section of forex.

Operators at the bureau de change section of forex had been accused of being the main source of forex for speculators and hoarders that manipulate forex rates at the unregulated black market, this the CBN plans to curb by cutting its weekly forex supply to BDCs but focus on servicing the economy through the banks.

Naira Black Market Exchange Rates

Morning * Midday** Evening *** Final Rates

Date USD GBP EURO YUAN Canadian Australian
NGN BUY/SELL BUY/SELL BUY/SELL BUY/SELL BUY/SELL BUY/SELL
30/07/2021 512/520* 705/715* 590/600* 70/75 410/420 300/325
29/07/2021 512/520 705/715 590/600 70/75 410/420 300/325
28/07/2021 515/525 700/710 590/600 63/70 410/420 300/320
27/07/2021 500/505 695/703 585/592 62/69 407/415 300/320
26/07/2021 500/504 695/703 585/592 62/69 407/415 300/320
23/07/2021 500/504 698/705 588/595 62/69 407/415 300/320
22/07/2021 498/503 695/703 585/590 62/69 407/415 300/320
19/07/2021 495/503 698/705 585/592 62/69 407/415 300/320
16/07/2021 502/506 700/708 590/596 62/69 407/415 300/315
15/07/2021 500/505 700/708 590/596 62/69 407/415 300/320
14/07/2021 500/505 702/708 590/595 62/68 407/415 300/320
13/07/2021 500/505 702/708 590/595 62/68 407/415 300/320
12/07/2021 500/505 700/708 590/595 62/69 407/415 300/320
09/07/2021 500/505 700/708 588/593 62/69 407/417 300/320
08/07/2021 499/503 700/708 588/593 62/69 407/417 300/325
07/07/2021 499/503 700/710 588/593 62/69 407/417 300/325
06/07/2021 499/503 698/710 590/595 62/69 407/417 300/325

Bureau De Change Naira Rates

Date USD GBP EURO
NGN BUY/SELL BUY/SELL BUY/SELL
30/07/2021 510/525 705/715 590/602
29/07/2021 510/525 705/715 590/602
28/07/2021 510/520 695/706 585/600
27/07/2021 490/500 690/700 580/595
26/07/2021 490/500 694/705 580/595
23/07/2021 490/500 694/705 580/595
22/07/2021 490/500 690/705 580/595
19/07/2021 490/500 690/707 580/595
16/07/2021 490/500 700/710 585/600
15/07/2021 490/500 698/710 585/600
14/07/2021 490/500 698/710 590/595
13/07/2021 490/500 697/710 585/600
12/07/2021 490/500 698/710 585/600
09/07/2021 490/500 698/710 585/600
08/07/2021 490/500 697/710 585/600
07/07/2021 490/500 697/710 585/600
06/07/2021 490/500 697/710 585/600
05/07/2021 490/500 700/714 585/600

Central Bank of Nigeria’s Official Naira Rates

Date Currency Buying(NGN) Central(NGN) Selling(NGN)
7/28/2021 US DOLLAR 409.16 409.66 410.16
7/28/2021 POUNDS STERLING 567.8322 568.5261 569.22
7/28/2021 EURO 483.0543 483.6446 484.2349
7/28/2021 SWISS FRANC 446.8276 447.3736 447.9196
7/28/2021 YEN 3.7163 3.7208 3.7253
7/28/2021 CFA 0.7176 0.7276 0.7376
7/28/2021 WAUA 580.7934 581.5032 582.2129
7/28/2021 YUAN/RENMINBI 62.9303 63.0077 63.085
7/28/2021 RIYAL 109.0919 109.2252 109.3585
7/28/2021 SOUTH AFRICAN RAND 27.6161 27.6498 27.6836

N.B: These tables are updated three times a day.

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