The euro hit a two-week high on Thursday after the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi left interest rates unchanged and said “no need for extra stimulus for the time being”.
The European Central Bank cut 2018 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast to 1.6 percent from previous 1.7 percent.
The decision to leave rates on hold was expected by almost all 70 analysts polled by Reuters but a sizable minority also expected an extension of the asset purchas program.
The euro gained 0.7 percent on the day to hit $1.1316 after the policy statement, its strongest since Aug. 26. The dollar also hit a two-week low of 94.514 against a basket of major currencies.
“The bank does not mind holding back with respect to (using) more aggressive measures, but the (bigger) question is how long they can afford to wait given that they are very late in the game of QE,” said ThinkMarkets analyst Naeem Aslam.
Traders expected relatively little from a news conference by ECB chief Mario Draghi beginning at 1230 GMT.
“The bar is very, very high for Draghi to be able to deliver any sort of dovish surprise here,” said ING currency strategist Viraj Patel, from London. “It’s really difficult to see him driving the euro lower.”
“Our idea is that it’s going to be a repeat of what we saw in May, with a Draghi disappointment – that’s the balance of risks,” he added.
The euro is barely 3 percent weaker against the dollar than when the bond-purchase program was first announced, in January 2015, and it is up almost 4 percent this year.
The yen edged up 0.2 percent against the dollar to 101.62 yen, clinging to gains of almost 3 percent made in the last four days, after a Bank of Japan deputy governor gave few fresh clues on whether the central bank will expand its monetary stimulus this month.
Analysts said the comments by BOJ Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso seemed similar in tone to remarks by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda earlier this week, which acknowledged the costs of the BOJ’s aggressive stimulus.
“The main message doesn’t seem all that different. The general tone of weighing the costs and benefits were in Governor Kuroda’s comments as well,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX and yen rates strategist for Barclays in Tokyo.
Data showing that China’s imports unexpectedly rose in August for the first time in nearly two years helped lend support to the Australian dollar, which rose half a percent to hit a three-week high of $0.7716 .
Naira Declines to N465 Against US Dollar on Black Market
Naira Falls to N465 Against US Dollar on Black Market
Nigeria’s economic uncertainties continued to weigh on the Nigerian Naira despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s forex sale resumption.
The local currency declined by N3 from N462 a US dollar to N465 on the black market even with over $58 million injected into the forex market through the bureau de change.
Against the British Pound, Naira depreciated by N5 from N595 to N600 on Friday while it dipped by N3 against the European common currency to N548, down from N545 it traded on Thursday.
A series of weak economic fundamentals and anti-people policy continued to hurt the nation’s economic outlook and investors’ confidence.
In a recent event, the Nigerian government simultaneously raised electricity tariffs, pump prices and foreign exchange rates in an economy that depends on imports for most of its supplies.
Also, with the unemployment rate at over 27 percent, inflation rate over 13 percent and the number of companies shutting downing operation rising on a daily bases, foreign investors and even local investors are now holding back on investments needed to support the nation’s weak foreign reserves and cushion the negative effect of COVID-19.
While the exchange rates have moderated slightly from COVID-19 peak, it remains close to COVID-19 record.
Zenith Bank Joins Other Banks to Cap International Spend Limit at $100/Month
Zenith Bank Caps International Spend Limit at $100 Per Month
Following persistent forex scarcity impacting the nation, Zenith Bank has joined other deposit money banks capping international spend limits.
In an e-mail to customers, the lender said “Please be informed that the monthly international spend limit for your Zenith Bank Naira Card has been reviewed to US$100 while the use of Zenith Bank Naira cards for international Automated Teller Machine cash withdrawals is still temporarily suspended.’
It added that this review is in response to change in Nigeria’s macroeconomic factors.
The bank, however, advised those with higher international spend requirements than the US$100 stipulated above to visit any Zenith branch and request a foreign currency debit or prepaid card “which are available in US Dollar, Pounds and Euro variants.”
This is coming a few weeks after UBA, GTBank, First Bank and others capped their international spend limits to $100 for similar reasons. However, Zenith’s decision was after the Central Bank of Nigeria commenced forex sale to the Bureau De Change Operators across the country.
Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Inflows Decline by 43.2% in May
CBN Says Foreign Exchange Inflows Decline to $5.52bn in May
The total foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria in the month of May declined by 43.2 percent, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s report.
The report said the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted capital inflows during the month as the total foreign exchange inflows dropped to $5.52 billion.
It said “Inflows through the CBN and autonomous sources were negatively impacted.
“On a month-on-month basis, foreign exchange flows into the economy declined to $5.52bn in May 2020.
“The decline in inflow, relative to the level in April 2020, was attributed to the lower receipts from oil sources, which fell sharply by 55.2 per cent because of the continued fragility in global crude oil demand.
“Inflow through autonomous sources, particularly invisible purchases, declined by 7.0 per cent to $3.51bn, relative to the preceding month, while there was a 66.2 per cent fall in inflow through the CBN, which stood at $2.01bn in May 2020.”
However, foreign exchange outflows from the country declined by 23.9 percent to $2.50 billion in the month. Likely because of forex scarcity and the central bank forex rate adjustments that curbed outflows by foreign investors.
A break down of the report showed that outflow through the apex bank declined by 30.9 percent to $2.19 billion, below what was recorded in April.
But outflow through autonomous sources, mainly imports and Invisibles, rose by 152.2 percent to $0.32 billion. Higher than the amount reported for the month of April.
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