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Chinese Yuan Fell to a Four-Year Low

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Chinese yuan

Chinese yuan fell to a four-year low after the central bank said the currency shouldn’t be measured by its moves against the dollar alone, a statement that is being interpreted as a sign it will allow further declines.

Exchange rates are a reflection of trade and investment with multiple countries and the market has to take into account the yuan’s fluctuations against a basket of currencies, the People’s Bank of China said on Friday. The China Foreign Exchange Trade System, which is run by the PBOC to facilitate interbank trading, published a new yuan index composed of 13 currencies, with the dollar accounting for 26.4 percent.

The yuan dropped 0.06 percent to close at 6.4591 a dollar in Shanghai, according to CFETS prices. It earlier declined to 6.4665, the weakest since July 2011. While the currency has retreated 3.9 percent against the greenback this year, it has advanced against 11 of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The PBOC on Monday cut its reference rate by 0.21 percent to a four-year low of 6.4495.

“The latest move suggests the PBOC will allow weaker yuan fixings,” said Tommy Ong, managing director for treasury and markets at DBS Hong Kong Ltd. “The yuan is also under pressure as the U.S. is likely to hike rates this week.”

Weakening Signals

The central bank has lowered the reference rate, which limits the onshore currency’s moves to 2 percent on either side, on eight of the 10 trading days since winning reserve-currency status at the International Monetary Fund on Nov. 30. This fueled speculation that the authority is trying to release pent-up depreciation pressure before the Federal Reserve meets Dec. 15-16.

In Hong Kong’s offshore market, the yuan dropped 0.27 percent to 6.5497 a dollar as of 4:46 p.m. local time, extending a six-day decline to 1.6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That took its spread to the onshore spot rate to 906 pips, above an average of 511 pips in the past month. The PBOC has been seen propping up the yuan’s exchange rate in Hong Kong periodically to narrow the difference.

The yuan’s one-month implied volatility, a gauge of expected price swings, surged 68 basis points on Monday to 6.72 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It earlier rose to 6.76 percent, the highest since August.

“With the wider spread between onshore and offshore yuan, the intervention risk in the offshore market is now higher and will be more likely to happen after the Fed meeting this week,” said DBS’s Ong.

Easing Controls

The PBOC on Friday also released guidelines on free trade zones in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian as well as Tianjin city, granting companies registered in the area up to $10 million in capital-account convertibility quotas. In the Guangdong zone, individuals can borrow yuan funds from Hong Kong and Macau for property purchases within the area, the central bank said.

The introduction of a multi-currency index helps guide the public view of the yuan’s exchange rate, which will contribute to keeping the currency “basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level,” the PBOC said on Friday. That reinforces other recent statements suggesting an increased focus on broader moves rather than just against the dollar, according to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. note. It forecast that the yuan will weaken to 6.6 a dollar in a year.

Referencing the yuan to a list of currencies doesn’t mean the exchange rate is pegged to that basket, according to an article published on the PBOC website and written by an unidentified CFETS commentator. China’s ample foreign-exchange reserves and trade surplus should keep the yuan reasonably stable at a reasonable level, it said.

“This underscores how China’s authorities are increasingly looking at the currency in a much broader context, moving away from a focus on the dollar, and so too should market participants,” HSBC Holdings Plc analysts included Paul Mackel wrote in a note dated Dec. 12. “But this does not mean China is going to formally target a currency basket like Singapore does. We see the yuan at 6.50 by end-15 and 6.70 end-16, amid greater two-way volatility.”

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

Naira Remains Flat Against US Dollar, Euro

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500 and 1000 naira bills (Nigerian currency)

Naira Exchange Rate Remains Flat Against US Dollar and Euro on Black Market

The Naira remained unchanged on Tuesday despite the curfews and social unrest that grounded the nation’s economy.

Naira traded at N463 against the United States dollar on the black market on Tuesday morning, the same rate it exchanged on Thursday.

Against the European common currency, the Nigerian Naira exchanged at N540 to a single Euro.

However, the local currency dipped slightly against the British Pounds as it exchanged at N595 to a British Pound, representing a N3 decline from N592 it traded on Friday.

Social unrest amid weak economic fundamentals continued to weigh on Nigeria’s local currency, especially with Foreign Direct Investment expected to drop in the final quarter of the year through the first quarter of 2021.

This coupled with weak foreign reserves and a drop in global demand for crude oil is expected to compound Nigeria’s economic woes.

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said Nigeria’s commercial capital needs at least N1 trillion to fix the destruction and vandalisation that trailed the #EndSARS protest in the state. An amount equivalent to the state’s annual budget.

Experts, who spoke on the situation, said it would hurt the nation’s output and may plunge fourth-quarter GDP by as much as 6.9 percent. These rising uncertainties amid the second wave of COVID-19 and possible lockdown in key trading partners could further plunge Naira value against global counterparts in the fourth quarter of the year.

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Transparent Exchange Rate Can Boost Nigeria’s Forex Inflow

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Transparent Exchange Rate Can Improve Nigeria’s Diaspora Forex Inflow

Experts that gathered at a virtual summit organised by Ecobank Nigeria with a theme, ‘Financial Services & Remittance Solutions for Nigerians in Diaspora: Leveraging Ecobank’s Pan-African offering’, have said Nigeria can boost foreign exchange inflow through proper engagement and a transparent exchange rate.

Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, in his opening speech, said growing evidence has shown that diaspora remittances were positively impacting economies of various nations in the world.

Akinwuntan put the total annual remittances to Nigeria at around $20 billion per year, saying it boosts the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

Speaking on how these remittances can be sustained, he said constant engagement with Nigerians abroad is imperative and it is the reason Ecobank is leveraging its digital technology through Rapidtransfer App and Ecobank mobile App to ensure affordable and easy transfer of funds by Nigerians abroad to their home country.

“Our dedicated Rapidtransfer, mobile remittance app is a game-changer for the market. It enables Africans and indeed Nigerians wherever they are to easily and instantly send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash collection in – and across – 33 African countries.

“Historically, the cost of sending cross-border remittances to Africa has been far too high at about 6%-7%. Similarly, the process to send funds has long been inefficient and burdensome, with customers typically needing to go physically to an agent sometimes late in the night or in poor weather with attendant discomfort and risks.

“The Rapidtransfer app remittance solution is a quick, easy and reliable digital solution that removes all of these issues. It is indeed a game-changer for Nigerians and all Africans with its sustainable and standout affordability,” he said.

Speaking on transaction charges, the Ecobank Managing Director said transfer fee range from zero to about 3 percent as compared to 6 – 7 percent charge elsewhere.

He added that the bank’s instant transfer and transparent exchange rate is a unique factor its competitors do not possess.

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Naira to Dollar Rate Today: Naira Exchanges at N463 to Dollar on Black Market

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Naira to Dollar Rate on Black Market Today Stood at N463

The Nigerian Naira to dollar rate slid slightly against the United States dollar on Tuesday on the black market as social unrest continues to weigh on the nation’s economic outlook.

The local currency lost N1 against the US dollar to N463 while against the British pound it remains pressured at N592.

This decline continues against the European Union’s common currency, the Euro. The Naira traded at N540 to a single Euro on the black market.

Naira to dollar rate plunged amid rising economic uncertainties and unclear policy path caused by both COVID-19 and government limited fiscal buffers to cushion the negative impacts of the virus on Africa’s largest economy.

This coupled with the ongoing social unrest by the Nigerian youths to force decorum across the Nigerian Police Force and call global attention to decades of systemic intimidation and harassment of innocent citizens.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has been closing flat since Thursday and continued this week, suggesting that investors are concerns and wary of eventualities as they look to safeguard their investments.

Again, the projected third-quarter recession, low foreign revenue generation, weak consumer spending and the rising cost of living are some of the factors hurting the Nigerian Naira outlook.

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