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Japan Signals Readiness to Stem Yen Gains

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Haruhiko Kuroda

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary has signaled Tokyo’s readiness to intervene in the market if the yen spikes out of line with fundamentals and defended the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy.

Yoshihide Suga, one of premier Shinzo Abe’s closest aides, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday the government will respond “appropriately” to unwelcome yen gains that hurt growth.

He also stressed the need to respect the BOJ’s independence from political interference, a sign the government will not get in the way if the bank opts to deepen negative rates to stimulate the economy.

Suga’s comments come as Japan struggles to get on a solid growth track. Its economy ground to a halt in April-June and analysts expect any rebound in the current quarter to be modest, as weak global growth and the yen’s 20 percent rise against the dollar this year have hurt exports and capital spending.

He said yen moves were a key debate topic at a regular meeting he created that gathers senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Services Agency and the BOJ.

“Through the meetings, the government will closely watch market moves and respond appropriately,” the top government spokesman said, when asked whether Tokyo could intervene in the market if the yen spikes abruptly.

In a prepared speech later at a Reuters newsmaker event, Suga stressed the government’s resolve to respond “decisively” to excessive market moves.

The comments suggest Tokyo is not letting its guard down against the risk of a renewed yen spike, even as recent hawkish messages from U.S. Federal Reserve officials push up the dollar to around 102 yen, off lows below 100 hit this month.

POLICY COORDINATION INTACT

Japanese officials have repeatedly threatened currency intervention to deal with their headache of a strong yen. But they have held off for fear of infuriating Washington, which has warned against intervention that could be seen as seeking to give Japanese companies an unfair competitive advantage.

The BOJ’s decision in January to adopt negative interest rates has failed to arrest yen gains and drawn market criticism for hurting financial institutions’ profits.

Under pressure from Abe’s administration, the BOJ eased last month by expanding purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF). A majority of economists expect the bank to act again next month.

Asked if the BOJ had room to cut rates further, Suga said negative rates and any other steps the BOJ takes would give financial institutions “huge” benefits if they boost the economy.

On whether Japan could resort to “helicopter money”, or direct central bank underwriting of government debt, Suga said there was no clear definition of what helicopter meant.

He added it was important for the government and the BOJ to work closely together to beat deflation.

“The BOJ will conduct a review of its policies to achieve its 2 percent target. In any case, it’s important not to impair fiscal policy and the BOJ’s independence,” he said.

In a case of coordination last month, the government announced a spending package shortly after the BOJ eased policy, Suga said.

“I’m confident that we will see results if the government and the BOJ coordinate policies,” he said.

Data released on Tuesday showed household spending remained stubbornly weak in July even as the jobless rate hit a 21-year low.

(Additional reporting by Mayu Yoshida, William Mallard and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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

Transparent Exchange Rate Can Boost Nigeria’s Forex Inflow

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Global debt

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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Naira to a Dollar Exchange Rate Dips to N462 at Black Market Amid Social Unrest

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Youth Protests Weigh on Naira to a Dollar Exchange Rate on Black Market

The ongoing youth protest in Nigeria continues to weigh on the economic outlook and investors’ sentiment across the board.

The Nigerian Naira to a US dollar exchange rate declined by N1 from N461 on Tuesday to N462 on Wednesday and in the early hours of Thursday at the black market.

Against the British Pounds, the Naira exchanged at N600, down from the N592 it traded on Tuesday. This decline continues against Europe’s common currency as the Naira dipped against the Euro by N2 from N538 to N540 on the black market.

The nationwide protest by the Nigerian youth to curb police brutality and harassment on daily basis continues to disrupt business activities in Africa’s largest economy.

Nigerian youths are saying enough is enough after the death of several youths by the law enforcement agency, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that was constituted to curb robbery but gone rogue and made extortions, harassments and in some cases killing of innocent citizens their means of livelihood.

Despite the government disbanding the unit and promise to redeploy officers to other existing units, commands and formations, the youths are saying they want a total discharge of corrupt officers and the entire reform of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) before they will even consider backing down on the ongoing protest, especially after politicians started sponsoring thugs to attack peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange closed flat on Wednesday amid rising uncertainty surrounding the government’s ability to de-escalate the situation given the fact that the youths no longer trust the administration or Nigerian government.

The Naira remained weak against global counterparts and expected to plunge further once the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) release third-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report expected by many experts to plunge the nation into its second recession in four years.

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