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The Euro’s Worst Year in a Decade is Looking Even Grimmer

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Euro

The euro’s worst year in a decade is looking even grimmer after the Chinese yuan’s inclusion in the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies.

The 19-nation currency’s weighting in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket will drop to 30.93 percent, from 37.4 percent, the organization said Monday. The yuan will join the dollar, euro, pound and yen in the SDR allocation from Oct. 1, 2016, at a 10.92 percent weighting.

The euro has tumbled 13 percent against the dollar this year, the most in a decade, and central banks have reduced the proportion of the currency in their reserves to the lowest since 2002. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled on Oct. 22 that policy makers are open to boosting stimulus, after embarking on a 1.1 trillion-euro ($1.2 trillion) asset-purchase program in March.

“The euro will get the most impact from this weight adjustment,” said Douglas Borthwick, head of foreign exchange at New York-based brokerage Chapdelaine & Co. “The IMF is taking from euro to give to China; the other rebalancing amounts are largely negligible.”

China’s currency will exceed yen and sterling in the new basket. The levels will be 41.73 percent for the dollar, 8.33 percent for the yen and 8.09 percent for the British pound, the IMF said. The dollar currently accounts for 41.9 percent of the basket, while the pound accounts for 11.3 percent and the yen 9.4 percent.

It’s the first change in the SDR’s currency composition since 1999, when the euro replaced the Deutsche mark and French franc. It’s also a milestone in the yuan’s decades-long ascent toward international credibility. The currency was created after World War II and for years could be used only domestically in the Communist nation. The IMF reviews the composition of the basket every five years and rejected the yuan during the last review, in 2010.

Alternative reserve currency

“The more likely impact is on euro holdings as the yuan, over time, is seen as the main alternative reserve currency to the dollar, replacing the euro in that role,” said Mansoor Mohi-uddin, senior markets strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. in Singapore. “Further, in 1999 when the euro was introduced, it still took reserve managers four years before they started diversifying into the single currency. So, we shouldn’t expect strong inflows into the yuan in the near term from risk-averse reserve managers.”

The euro has dropped 5.4 percent this quarter against the dollar, the most among 10 developed-market peers. The shared currency was at $1.0580 as of 12:18 p.m. in Tokyo after reaching a seven-month low of $1.0558 on Monday. The yield on Germany’s two-year note was at minus 0.42 percent Monday.

“I do not think it means central banks will decrease euro reserves dramatically near-term but the changes to the SDR and, perhaps, the prevalence of negative rates at the short-end of the euro rate curve more especially, suggests the euro may be less favored among reserve-asset managers,” said Shaun Osborne, chief foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto.

@NettyIsmail

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.

Finance

CBN Directs Banks to go After COVID-19 Financial Criminals

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Godwin Emefile

Central Bank Asks Banks to Stay Abreast Frauds and Rising COVID-19 Financial Crimes

The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed all financial institutions in Nigeria to update alert protocols in their Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism monitoring tools, in accordance with emerging trends of rising COVID-19 related financial crimes.

In a circular titled, ‘Administrative letters to all banks and other financial institutions’ issued on Monday and signed by J.M. Gana, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, the apex bank said changes in business activities and financial transactions due to the shift caused by COVID-19 pandemic have led to the surge in financial crimes globally.

Therefore, it said financial institutions must now adapt quickly and keep abreast of the new emerging financial risks and other developments to arrest this new and emerging ML/TF.

According to the circular, this includes strategic investment in data mining and artificial intelligence software to monitor financial transactions effectively and report as quickly as possible.

The central bank said the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, the central repository of suspicious transactions and other financial information, had released a comprehensive report on STRs and others.

It stated that the NFIU had identified cybercrimes, frauds, counterfeiting and substandard goods, diversion of public funds and misuse of non-government organisations funds as some of the ongoing crimes that banks across the nation need to stay abreast and report.

Other suspicious transactions and red flags identified in the report were some e-commerce companies with little or zero history or internet presence suddenly receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties.

Similarly, it said individuals with zero or little history of financial transactions receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties. It also noted that customers who suddenly start delaying in the supply or purchases of medical supplies and payment of goods linked to known brands, yet the beneficiary is an individual, not a corporate company should be flagged.

The measures, the apex bank said were necessary due to the rising numbers of unusual transactions from banks’ customers and unscrupulous individuals.

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Union Bank Secures US$40 Million Facility from IFC Global Trade Finance

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Union Bank Secures US$40 Million Facility from IFC Global Trade Finance

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc said it has secured a US$40,000,000 finance guarantee facility from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

In a note to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the lender said the facility would help boost access to finance for local businesses and enable increased international trade for Nigeria.

It explained that the facility “will support Union Bank to establish working partnerships with nearly 300 major international banks within the GTFP network, thereby broadening access to finance and reducing cash collateral requirements for Nigerian businesses.

“The facility will enable the continued flow of trade credit into the Nigerian market at a time when imports are critical, and the country’s exports can generate much-needed foreign exchange.

Under the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) terms of the agreement, GTFP offers benefiting banks partial or full guarantees covering payment risk on Union Bank’s trade-related transactions.

Accordingly, these guarantees are transaction-specific and may vary depending on underlying instruments like letters of credit, trade-related promissory notes, guarantees, bonds, and advance payment guarantees.”

Emeka Emuwa, Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, said, “Union Bank is pleased to join the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. This is a significant achievement as we continue to expand our trade financing offerings to our
customers. Even in these peculiar times, we remain focused on contributing to economic growth by developing tailored solutions that help our customers harness the teeming opportunities that still exist in the Nigerian market.

Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Keeping trade moving is essential to growth and job creation, especially during the challenging economic times we are living through today. We welcome Union Bank to IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program and value a partnership that will make a positive impact on Nigeria’s economy.

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Apapa Customs Command Generate N367.6bn in Nine Months

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Nigeria Customs Service

Customs Command Apapa Realises N367.6bn Between January and September

The Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Command, said it generated N367.6 billion in the nine-month ended September 2020.

Mohammed Abba-Kura, the Customs Area Controller, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.

He said a total of 328 containers of goods worth N19.5 billion were seized during the period. This, he said represents an increase of 37 containers when compared to the same period of 2019.

Speaking further, Abba-Kura said the N367.6 billion realised in the first nine months of the year, represented a 17 percent or N54.1 billion increase from N313.5 billion it collected during the same period of 2019.

The Apapa Command generated N14.3 billion as revenue in the third quarter from customers’ duty and other charges.

He said “The difference recorded was made possible as a result of resilience of officers in ensuring that importers and agents are made to do proper declarations, adhere strictly to import/export guidelines in tandem with extant laws.”

Commenting on the seizures, Abba-Kura said, “These items were seized mainly because of various forms of infractions which range from false declarations, non-adherence to import/export guidelines and failure to comply with other extant regulations as enshrined in the Customs and Excise Management Act.

“In the area of export trade, the period under review recorded exportation of goods worth N26,273,706,822 exported from the country.”

“These exported goods include mineral resources, steel bars, agricultural products among others with a total tonnage of 378,447 million tonnes free on board value of $85.8m. Similarly, the volume of export from January to September 2020 stood at N78.6bn with FOB $257,003,965.”

He added that the compliance level rose to about 60 percent during the period, highlighting the reason for the surge in the number of seizures made.

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