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Euro-Dollar Bulls and Bears Set To Hibernate Until March

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Euro currency

Currency options show euro-dollar focus is looking past the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve meetings in January and giving a lot more attention on the March policy meetings, Bloomberg strategist Vassilis Karamanis writes. Until then, the euro is likely to trade within a familiar territory versus the greenback, especially as year-end flows may cloud the short-term direction after the Fed liftoff.

Option volatility term structure shows the 3-month tenor is the most demanded across the curve. This is no coincidence as three-month options expire on March 17, the day the Federal Open Market Committee begins its policy meeting while ECB meets on March 5.

Options also suggest that January meetings aren’t particularly ground-breaking for market participants. Fed Funds futures currently show no probability assigned to a January hike, a 40.5 percent chance for a March hike and a 66.7 percent probability for a June rate increase. As inflation is now the main driver of Fed’s dot plot, traders may surmise the Fed would want more than one Consumer Price Index reading before assessing its next move. The next U.S. CPI data is due on January 20.

ECB’s March meeting is pivotal in determining further stimulus chances, as new inflation and growth projections will be available by then to the Governing Council, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Fresh catalysts for the common currency to break out of its recent $1.05/$1.11 range may not be seen for some time after Fed’s Chair Janet Yellen delivered a two-pronged message with the lift-off — the U.S. economy is performing well and the Fed is in no rush to raise rates again.

Year-end flows may also cloud the short-term picture. Two traders in London, who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly, say that corporate year-end orders are significantly greater than those in previous years. Moreover, some investors may feel more comfortable in reacting to Fed’s hike with some delay as not every market participant has a mandate to immediately act upon news releases, one of the London traders adds.

Risk reversals, a gauge of market positioning and sentiment, show euro-dollar bias is slightly skewed to the downside as bullish greenback sentiment is increasing in the short-term while holding steady on the longer tenors.

Note: Vassilis Karamanis is a FX strategist who writes for Bloomberg. The observations he makes are his own and are not intended as investment advice

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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