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Dollar Boosted by Hawkish Fed Comments as Oil Drops With Gold

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Dollar Naira

The dollar strengthened versus all of its major peers as hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve official boosted the likelihood of a U.S. interest-rate increase this year. The yen’s retreat was spurred by prospects for further monetary easing in Japan, while oil dropped with gold.

Dollar index rose to a one-week high after Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Sunday the U.S. economy is already close to meeting the central bank’s goals and that growth will pick up. The yen fell for a second day and Japanese stocks advanced after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda flagged the possibility that the authority’s unprecedented monetary stimulus will be added to in September. Elsewhere in Asia, most shares declined as oil fell to about $48 a barrel. Silver led losses among precious metals.

Global markets have been buffeted by comments from Fed officials flagging the possibility of higher borrowing costs as early as next month, even though minutes of the central bank’s last meeting struck a more dovish tone. The focus will shift to Janet Yellen’s speech this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where top global central bankers will gather for a meeting. Futures traders on Friday assigned a 22 percent probability to a September rate increase by the Fed, up from 16 percent a week earlier.

“Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday will have the biggest impact on short-term market moves, especially if she follows in Stanley Fischer’s relatively hawkish tone,” said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG Ltd. “A week of talking up the U.S. dollar will be good for U.S. financial stocks that would benefit from a rate rise and some of that positivity could spread over into financials globally.”

Currencies

Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4 percent as of 11:16 a.m. Tokyo time, after losing ground in each of the last two weeks. South Korea’s won fell 0.8 percent versus the greenback and New Zealand’s dollar lost 0.7 percent, the biggest declines among 16 major currencies.

“We expect the dollar to consolidate this week with a modest upside bias,” said Elias Haddad, a senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. “There is room for U.S. interest-rate expectations to adjust a bit higher this week.”

The yen dropped 0.5 percent to 100.73 per dollar. Kuroda told the Sankei newspaper that the BOJ is conducting a comprehensive review of Japan’s economy and finances and said there is “sufficient chance” of more easing at next month’s policy meeting. Softer July inflation data this Friday may raise odds for more aggressive BOJ easing, Haddad said.

Forwards on India’s rupee were little changed after India named Urjit Patel to take over from Raghuram Rajan as central bank governor from Sept. 4.

Stocks

Japan’s Topix index added 0.5 percent as the yen’s decline boosted exporters including Toyota Motor Corp., which was headed for its highest close since March.

About three stocks fell for every two that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index, with raw-materials producers leading losses among 10 industry groups. South Korea’s Kospi index slipped from a 13-month high as foreign investors pulled funds from the securities for the first time in a week, while Taiwan’s benchmark was set for its lowest close in a month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent, after retreating from a nine-month high on Friday.

Futures for the S&P 500 Index fell 0.1 percent after the gauge ended last week within 0.3 percent of an all-time high. Pfizer Inc. is close to an agreement to buy Medivation Inc. for about $14 billion and a deal may be announced as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the situation.

Commodities

Crude oil declined 1.1 percent to $48.01 a barrel in New York after Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, said it will boost exports by about 5 percent amid a glut of supply. The price jumped 9.1 percent last week on speculation that OPEC talks next month could lead to an output freeze. U.S. drillers added rigs for an eighth week, the longest run since April 2014, Baker Hughes Inc. data show.

Silver dropped as much as 3 percent to a seven-week low, while gold was down 0.6 percent amid the dollar’s advance. Silver has rallied 37 percent this year while gold jumped 26 percent as the Fed refrained from tightening and other central banks embraced negative rates, benefiting bullion which doesn’t pay interest.

Bonds

U.S. Treasuries due in a decade fell, pushing their yield up by one basis point to 1.59 percent. The yield could climb toward 1.70 percent if Yellen’s remarks are along the lines of those made by Fischer when she delivers her address on Friday, according to Su-Lin Ong, a senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Sydney.

“The market is clearly susceptible to Yellen making similar comments in Jackson Hole,” Ong said. “The most recent lot of Fed speakers — and these are key speakers — have signaled that the market should be putting a greater weight on the risk of a move before year-end.”

Australia’s 10-year bond yield increased by five basis points to 1.91 percent and Japan’s rose by one basis point to minus 0.08 percent.

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 long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya

Forex

Foreign-Currency Shortages to Render Nigerian Banks Vulnerable -Moody’s

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Forex Scarcity Renders Nigerian Banks Vulnerable

Nigeria’s banks to experience acute funding challenges as the drop in foreign currency deposits hit a record-low following COVID-19 pandemic disruption, stated Moody’s.

In a recent report titled ‘Renewed foreign-currency shortages highlight vulnerability for Nigerian banks‘ published by Moody’s Investors Service, a bond credit rating business of Moody’s Corporation, the drop in dollar deposits amid low oil revenue, volatile foreign investment and declined remittances from abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic are threatening to renew forex liquidity crisis of 2016-2017 on Nigerian banks.

“Lower dollar inflows at a time when foreign currency borrowing will likely be more expensive for Nigerian banks will strain their foreign currency funding, despite substantial improvements compared to 2016,” said Peter Mushangwe, Analyst at Moody’s.

“Our moderate scenario where foreign-currency deposits decline by 20%, while loans remain constant, would increase rated banks’ funding gap to NGN1.5 trillion [$3.8 billion], and to NGN1.9 trillion [$5.0 billion] under our severe-case scenario of 35% foreign-currency deposit contraction, creating acute funding challenges.”

According to Moody’s, oil and gas exports account for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign currency revenue. However, with crude oil now trading at around $40 per barrel, far below its average of $65 per barrel in 2019 and $72 per barrel in 2018, Nigeria’s banks are expected to struggle to meet foreign-currency withdrawals in the next 12 to 18 months.

Moody’s said its rated “banks reduced their foreign currency funding gap to a combined NGN354 billion ($984 million) in 2019 from NGN1.436 trillion ($5.5 billion) in 2016. The ratio of foreign-currency loans to foreign-currency deposits at Moody’s rated banks dropped to 106% at the end of 2019 from 135% in 2016 as banks cut back on dollar loans while building up their dollar deposits.

“The smaller funding gap will enable the banks to better withstand unforeseen deposit withdrawals and likely higher borrowing costs. However, in the event of foreign currency deposits contracting by 20% or more, banks’ funding gaps will be significant.”

This further explained why the Nigerian Naira is trading at a record low of N461 against the United States dollar on the black market in recent weeks.

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Naira Records Marginal Gain Against the US Dollar on Thursday

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Naira Gains Marginally  Against the US Dollar On Thursday

The Nigerian Naira gained slightly against the United States dollar both on the black market and Investors and Exporters’ Forex Window on Thursday

On the black market, the local currency gained N1 from the N462 it exchanged against the US dollar on Wednesday to close at N461 on Thursday.

This slight improvement continues against the Euro single currency on Thursday as the Naira gained N2 from N505 it traded on Wednesday to N502 on Thursday.

However, the Nigerian Naira was unchanged against the British Pound. The local currency traded flat at N560 against the British Pound.

On the Investors and Exporters’ Forex Window, the Naira gained 0.13 percent or 50 kobo against the US dollar to trade at N386. This was after trading as low as N389.75 during the trading hours of Thursday.

Activity level rose by almost 2000 percent from $10.37 million turnover recorded on Wednesday to $204.90 million on Thursday.

The Nigerian Naira remained under pressure as dollar scarcity continues to hurt its value and sentiment.

Also, the lack of clear policy direction is one of the reasons Nigeria continues to struggle with needed capital importation and huge forex demand from investors looking to repatriate their funds.

The Federal Government recently raised fuel pumping price at a time when most nations are reducing costs to ease economic burden on their citizens.

This move already rejected by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday highlighted the nation’s lack of economic direction despite numerous announcements by the central bank and federal government to mitigate negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy.

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Naira Exchanges at Record-low Against US Dollar on Black Market

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Naira Trades at Record-low of N462 Against US Dollar

The Nigerian Naira plunged to a record low of N462 against the United States dollar on Wednesday on the black market as scarcity persists.

The local currency lost N2 against the US dollar from the N460 it traded on Tuesday to N462 on the black market on Wednesday. While against the British Pound, the Naira remained unchanged at N560. The same rate it exchanged on Tuesday.

Similarly, the Nigerian Naira remained flat at N505 against the Euro single currency on the black market.

On the Investors and Exporters Forex Window, the local currency remained unchanged at N386.50 to a US dollar, the same rate it was exchanged on Tuesday.

Activity on the platform dropped on Wednesday as daily turnover stood at $10.37 million, below the $14.37 that was exchanged on Tuesday.

Scarcity across key foreign exchange segments continues to hurt the nation’s currency and economic outlook due to the inability of investors and businesses to access foreign exchange needed to import raw materials into Africa’s largest economy.

This was evident in the broad-based decline recorded in the manufacturing sector in the month of June.

Also, the unconfirmed report that the Federal Government is looking to converge the nation’s exchange rate due to the pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added to Naira pressure as speculators and hoarders now have reason to remain in business.

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