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Pound Traders Brace for Months of Swings as EU Vote Called

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Barclays UK

Pound traders are expecting little respite from the currency’s volatility after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called a referendum on the nation’s European Union membership for June 23.

The pound jumped the most in more than two weeks against the dollar after Cameron finalized a deal with EU leaders on Britain’s relationship with the rest of the 28-nation bloc in the closing hours of trading in New York on Friday. Still, a measure of traders’ expectations for price swings in the pound against the euro during the next six months remained at the highest since 2011. The deal Cameron secured means he is recommending the U.K. should stay in the EU, he said on Saturday.

Although the announcement of the date removes one aspect of ambiguity for traders, they now face months of polls and campaigning that could boost volatility further. With traders already pushing back bets on the timing of a Bank of England interest-rate increase, the prospect of Britain leaving the world’s largest single market had been causing further concern, helping push down the pound against most of its Group-of-10 peers this year.

“The pound’s weakness is a product of uncertainty of the U.K.’s ongoing membership of the union, not the timing of the poll,” said David Page, a senior economist at AXA Investment Managers in London. “Weakness is likely to reflect any increased perception of the likelihood to leave and as such is likely to be a constant feature over the coming months.”

The pound climbed 0.5 percent to $1.4406 as of 5 p.m. New York time on Friday. While the currency is down 2.2 percent this year, it has rebounded from an almost seven-year low of $1.4080 reached in January.

“The pound is likely to bounce near term” as investors see the deal “as increasing the prospects of Britain voting to stay in,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, senior markets strategist in Singapore at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. Still, “as we get closer towards June 23, investors are likely to become increasingly nervous,” he said.

Higher Volatility

Sterling added 0.2 percent to 77.29 pence per euro on Friday, paring its drop this year to 4.6 percent. Six-month implied volatility for the pound versus the euro, a measure of price swings based on options, was at 12.10 percent, the highest level since September 2011, based on closing prices.

The uncertainty over the vote hasn’t had the same impact on equities. While U.K. stock swings have increased this year, FTSE 100 Index implied volatility remains lower than for the euro area. And the weakening of the pound has actually helped the gaugeperform better than any other major market in the region. Even small- and mid-cap companies, deemed more at risk in a “Brexit” scenario, have fallen less than their European peers. Pictet Asset Management says U.K. stocks are not reflecting the true danger of an exit.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said earlier this month that if Britain quits the EU sterling could fall to $1.15-$1.20 — levels last since in 1985. HSBC Holdings Plc said in January that a forecast for a jump to $1.60 by year-end relied on the nation remaining in the 28-member club.

“The uncertainty will persist” into the vote, said Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA in London. “Sterling was the weakest major last week and probably remains under pressure.”

Ministers’ Stance

Traders’ attention may now turn to the stance of ministers who, while given a free hand by Cameron to campaign against the government’s position, were asked not to announce their intentions until after the cabinet meeting.

Cameron was given a fillip on Saturday when Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Theresa May, both seen as wavering over which way to vote, threw their support behind the campaign to remain. Six ministers, including Justice Secretary Michael Gove, were later pictured at the headquarters of one of several groups campaigning to leave the EU.

The support of London Mayor Boris Johnson for either side may prove key to sterling, given his popularity with the British public, according Morgan Stanley. Should he choose to publicly back the exit campaign, “the pound should come under immediate pressure,” analysts led by Hans Redeker wrote in an e-mailed report Friday.

/Bloomberg

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 market.

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Forex

Naira Slides to N475 Against US Dollar on Black Market

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Nigeria 500 naira notes

Naira Trades at N475 Against US Dollar

Persistent dollar scarcity continues to hurt the value of the Nigerian Naira against its global counterparts across the nation’s forex segments.

The local currency declined to N475 to a US dollar on the parallel market, known as the black market. This represents a N1 decline from the N474 it traded on Thursday.

Against the British Pound, the Naira remained at N600. The same rate it exchanged on Friday. The local currency has lost N20 against the British Pound in the last three weeks amid rising unclear economic path.

The Naira declined by N5 against the Euro common currency to N550, down from N545 it sold on Thursday.

On the Investors and Exporters Forex Window, the local currency improved with the surge in turnover. Naira gained about N3 from N389 it exchanged against the US dollar on the I&E fx window last week to N386 on Friday.

Investors traded $92.22 million on Friday, up from the $18.83 million exchanged on Monday August 3, 2020.

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Naira Plunges Against British Pound to N600 on Black Market

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pound-sterling

Naira Falls  by N20 Against British Pound to N600

Economic uncertainties amid low oil prices weighed on the Nigerian Naira against its global counterparts.

The Naira plunged against the British Pound by N20 from N580 it exchanged two weeks ago on the black market to N600 on Thursday and remained at the same rate on Friday morning.

The local currency has remained under pressure since Coronavirus disrupted global economics and demand for global oil earlier in the year. Nigeria, an oil-dependent economy, was one of the nations affected by the low oil prices and disruption of global supply chain and logistics.

This coupled with a series of local challenges like the rising cost of servicing debt to revenue, weak manufacturing sector that depends on importation for most of its raw materials, unclear economic direction that deterred foreign investors and eventually weighed on the nation’s foreign direct investment and capital importation hurt the nation’s economic outlook and investment sentiment.

Against the Euro common currency, the Naira declined by N35 to N545 on Thursday, down from N510 it traded about three weeks ago.

This decline continues against the United States dollar as the local currency traded at N474 to a US dollar, down from N465 it was exchanged three weeks ago.

The inability of the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the local currency through sufficient dollar liquidity continues to impact the manufacturing sector and other key sectors that depend on importation for operations.

Also, the scarcity dictates the Naira exchange rate to its counterparts, especially after a recent report showed foreign investors are looking to access the US dollar to repatriate their funds.

Other factors, like the recent Shoprite announcement that it was pulling out of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, due to falling revenue and challenging business environment compounded the nation’s woes.

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Naira Declines Slightly on the Black Market to N474/$

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ATM at lagos

Naira Drops Marginally on the Black Market to N474 Against US Dollar

Nigerian Naira declined marginally on Tuesday on the parallel market, popularly known as the black market.

The local currency declined by N1 to N474 per US dollar, down from the N473 it traded on Monday.

This was coming after Shoprite announced it would be exiting Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. The announcement further damped the nation’s economic outlook amid the already heighten economic uncertainties.

Nigeria continues to struggle with low dollar availability after low oil prices and weak global demand for the commodity eroded the nation’s foreign revenue generation.

On the Investors and Exporters Forex window, the Naira remained pressured at N389 to a US dollar, better than the N389.25 it exchanged on Monday but more than the N381 stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Total turnover traded by investors rose from $18.83 million traded on Monday to $24.66 million on Tuesday.

Experts have said the series of bad news emanating from the country will continue to deter potential investors and hurt capital importation necessary to boost dollar liquidity.

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