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Pound Traders Brace for Months of Swings as EU Vote Called

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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 markets.

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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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Naira Declines on the Black Market on Tuesday

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Naira Plunges Against Global Counterparts on Tuesday on the Black Market

The Nigerian Naira declined on Tuesday on the black market despite efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to prop up the value of the local currency against global counterparts.

The Naira declined by N4 from N457 per US dollar it traded on Friday to N461 on Tuesday morning. Against the European common currency, the Naira fell by N1 to N538 from N537.

However, the local currency improved by N3 against the British pound from N595 it exchanged on Friday to N592 on Tuesday.

Nigeria’s weak economic outlook continues to weigh on the Naira outlook, especially with the economy projected to enter recession in the third quarter.

Despite efforts to cushion the negative effect of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy, unclear policy path amid weak business sentiment and low foreign revenue generation needed to sustain economic productivity in a majorly import-dependent economy drag on Nigerian Naira value and the entire economic outlook.

 

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