The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday left interest rate unchanged, even though the Federal Open Market Committee argued that the case for rate hike has strengthened, they agreed that further evidence of continued growth is needed to validate current economic progress. Also, the committee lowered its expectations for both inflation and economic growth this year, citing weak business fixed income and international developments (Brexit and slowdown in China) while hoping that “as the transitory effects of past declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further” the 2 percent inflation target would be achieved.
However, housing starts declined by 5.8 percent to 1.14 million units in August, while building permits fell 0.4 percent to 1.14 million-unit rate. Even though, unemployment claims improved by 8,000 to 252,000 last week, the disparity in the data continued to create a mixed picture of the American economy. Particularly, when the drop in consumer spending that has been supporting the economy is factored-in. Hence, investors will look to seek clarity on future monetary policy when Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard speaks on Wednesday.
Also, the data for durable goods, new home sales, consumer confidence and final GDP that are due this week are other key economic data needed to decipher the economic direction going forward.
In Japan, the Bank of Japan left interest rate unchanged, but took a different turn when it introduced “yield curve control”, a policy that was formulated to keep the 10-year Japanese government bond yield at zero percent from the usual negative yield (a situation where bond buyers pay to lend Japanese government money) to steepen the difference between the yields of short-term bonds (which are negative in Japan) and long-term bonds.
While some analysts have said the whole policy is a sign that the Haruhiko Kuroda led team is running out of policy options, it was implemented in an effort to increase banking activity and subsequently boost their profitability through wider spread in rates to arbitrage profits. This is because an increase in banking activity means greater economic activity and higher consumer prices, but because the detail of the yield curve control was vague it is hard to succinctly tell to what degree the BOJ planned to steepen the yield curve or if the apex bank will expand its stimulus.
Nevertheless, the industrial production declined by 0.3 percent from 0.0 percent recorded previously. This signaled that the world’s third largest economy is still struggling with weak exports due to the continuous gain of the Japanese yen that has sapped profits of manufacturing companies.
In Canada, the economy is not just running at a 10-month low inflation rate (0.2%) but also weak retail sales (-0.1%) as consumers are not spending even after the federal government revamped its child benefit plan and distributed cheques in July. The same month, the consumer spending dipped against a widely forecast increase in retail sales, this was after the economy recorded its worst contraction since 2009. If global oil gut continued to weigh on growth, it is likely that the Bank of Canada will cut rates to stimulate the economy, maybe not in October meeting but in the fourth quarter if no improvement in key indicators.
Overall, the Bank of Japan will need the Federal Reserve to raise rates in order to halt the yen gains and boost its exports. However, the financial markets remained vague and highly speculative as central banks (US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa) refrain from excessive stimulus, but without clear cut monetary policy. This week, NZDJPY and NZDUSD top my list.
After the New Zealand’s second quarter GDP expanded at 0.9 percent three weeks ago, which was less than the 1.1 percent expected by economists. The New Zealand dollar has continued to slide against the Japanese yen, this I expect to boost the NZDJPY sell-off this week as Japanese yen continued to strengthen after the BOJ refused to expand its monetary policy.
Technically, this pair has been selling for the past three weeks and lost 309 pips in total. This week, as long as 73.90 resistance holds I am bearish on NZDJPY with 72.34 as the first target and 69.94 as the second target.
Although, various US data due this week could damp this pair outlook. I still believed that the US dollar is attractive enough to extend its gains against the New Zealand dollar. Nevertheless, it is advisable to monitor those data and FOMC speakers this week.
This pair peaked at 0.7484 three weeks ago, but since then it has lost 241 pips and closed as a bearish pin bar last week. This week, as long as 0.7362 resistance holds, I am bearish on this pair with 0.6989 as the target.
Bureau De Change Operators Begs CBN to Approve Electronic Forex Trading
BDCs Seek CBN Approval Electronic Forex Trading
Bureau de change operators (BDCs) on Wednesday begged the Central Bank of Nigeria to approve the usage of electronic foreign exchange trading to ease demand pressure and facilitate comfort.
Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, the President of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), made the appeal during a webinar organised by its member with the theme ‘The Impact and Roles of BDCs Challenges and Way Forward.’
Gwadabe urged bureau de change operators to adhere to the rules guiding forex transactions by selling at an appropriate rate stipulated by the CBN.
Gwadabe said: “Technology is a threat whether we like it or not and we have been urging the CBN to allow us operate within the payment space. Our request to the CBN and the federal government is to continue to empower us more especially in the payment space.
“The world is now in the fourth generation and it is no more in the traditional method of doing business even agriculture is digital, so we are appealing to the CBN to allow us be on the digital payment space. As this will deepen the economy, further converge the rate, further deepen liquidity and empower the BDC.”
Continuing, Gwadabe said: “Some of us want to be ungodly and trading on parallel market rate is highly unacceptable. The CBN has said it is highly unacceptable, ABCON has said it is highly unacceptable and so we are calling on all the directors of BDCs to please ensure that you don’t sell to willing customers. Any willing customer that says he wants to buy at N465 is not your customer and they would land you sanctions and get penalties.”
He added that monies found on operators carrying out illegal trades would be seized by the relevant authorities.
He said: “Any dollar you found trading on the street is going to confiscated and would become federal government’s property. Any dollar you try to courier via border movement at the airport is also government property.”
Naira to Dollar Exchange Rate in 2020
Naira to dollar exchange rate in 2020 declined by N73 from N306 Central Bank of Nigeria sold it in the beginning of the year to N379 and N386 on the investors and exporters forex window.
The Naira to dollar exchange rate in 2020 has been marred by a series of economic uncertainties and weak macro fundamentals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of the year, the official Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira to dollar exchange rate stood at N306 to a US dollar, while on the parallel market popularly known as the black market, the local currency was exchanged between N350 to N360 per US dollar.
On the investors and exporters’ foreign exchange window instituted by the central bank to mirror a free market, the naira was exchanged at N325 to a United State dollar.
However, unclear economic direction amid a 50 percent increase in Value Added Tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent and border closure hurt the Nigerian economic outlook and plunged investors’ confidence in the economy even before COVID-19 outbreak.
This weak sentiment metamorphosed into broader economic decline when COVID-19 broke out in the country on February 27 2020 as investors that were doubting President Buhari economic path see no reason to wait any longer or believe Nigeria has what it takes, in terms of the health system, to contain an impending health catastrophe.
The surged in demand for US dollar by those looking to move their funds out of the country compelled Governor Godwin Emefiele led central bank to adjust the Nigerian Naira foreign exchange rate from N306 to a US dollar to N360 in order to discourage capital flight while simultaneously sustain dwindling foreign reserves.
But with global oil prices plunging to as low as $15 per barrel, below Nigeria’s $17 per barrel cost of production and demand for the commodity, especially Nigeria’s crude oil at almost zero during the peak of COVID-19, foreign investors were willing to lose N54 per US dollar to exit the Nigerian market.
According to a JPMorgan report, central bank forex backlog was over $5 billion, yet foreign reserves continues to drop. Left with little to no choice, the federal government approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $3.4 billion financial assistance while the apex bank devalued the Naira again to the currency $379 to a US dollar and N386 on the investors and exporters window.
Despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the Nigerian people and the broad-based decline in economic activities that saw the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracting by 6.10 percent in the second quarter of the year and the unemployment rising as high as 27.1 percent or 21.8 million people in an import-dependent economy, the apex bank did not just devalue the Naira twice, the Federal Government raised electricity tariffs and remove subsidy in an economy with very weak consumer spending.
With the series of economic uncertainties, investors in forex forward market in London started offering Naira future contracts for N545, saying the apex bank no longer have the resource to support the Naira given the current global situation.
True to their words, Naira to Dollar exchange rate in 2020 plunged to N480 on the black market amid persistent forex scarcity before recently moderating to N467 when the central bank resumed forex sales to the bureau de change operators across the country.
Also, with the economy expected to plunge into an economic recession for the second time in four years in the third quarter of 2020, the Naira to Dollar exchange rate is expected to suffer even further in 2020.
Naira Drops N2 on Black Market Even With 11.5% Interest Rate
Naira Declines on Black Market Despite Lower Interest Rate
Nigerian Naira traded at N467 to a US dollar on the back market on Wednesday despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s led monetary policy committee lowering the interest rate by 100 basis points after months of saying NO.
The local currency declined by N2 from N465 it exchanged on Tuesday to N467 on Wednesday as investors doubt the new interest rate would be effective given the size of the nation’s economic woes.
Also, the central bank rate adjustment was seen by most as recession validation. Experts and even the apex bank had predicted that except the nation recorded strong growth in the third quarter, Nigeria would slide into recession for the second time in four years.
This was after Nigerian currency was devalued twice to accommodate the nation’s weak foreign reserves in the wake of low oil prices and the drop in demand for the commodity.
Since then, the central bank has injected a total sum of N3.5 trillion into the economy to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the nation and support gradual improvement in productivity.
However, the decision of the Federal Government to raise electricity tariffs and remove petrol subsidy at a time when 27.1 percent of the working population or 21.8 million people are out of jobs with COVID-19 eroding consumer buying power, further weighed on sentiment and send the wrong message to potential investors and businesses.
Against, the British pounds the Nigerian Naira traded at N600 while it was exchanged at N545 to a European Union common currency.
With labour declaring a nationwide industrial action starting from Monday September 28, Nigeria’s detoriating economic outlook may further plunge the Naira value against global counterparts.
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