Toward Public Policy Support for High-value Trade

21 August 2021

I prefer a society that is biased toward trader/merchants; where one lives on the spread and retains the majority of her earnings.  Wage earning is a fancy term for slavery where many in the labor market are subjugated to selling a precious commodity over which they have illusionary control: time.

The irony is that what one earns for their time is inversely related to the wealth of knowledge they have amassed over time.  Unfortunately for the wage earner, the valuation of their labor is made not by the ultimate end user of their product but by the middle man corporation that employs them.  Rather than selling time to the corporation, time should be another input that labor uses to create and sell their product.

Today’s technology makes such a self-ownership approach increasingly feasible depending on the wage earner’s vocation.  Some of us can transition from wage earner to merchant due to digitalization and that sector of the information/knowledge/problem solving industry that we sit in.  So used are we to selling time that we must now start to think of the utilities, database subscriptions, and equipment costs incurred in producing an information product and sell that product at a sufficient margin; to live via the “carry trade.”

The trader wants a profitable balance sheet, one where she has a healthy surplus.  Bankers that provide liquidity to traders also want traders to enjoy a profitable balance sheet because it assures repayment of leverage.

But bankers also want to fund activities generating high returns and I think to ensure that traders are disciplined enough to seek out information on high return activity, banks will want to assess higher interest rates and other margin requirements in order to weed out low-return low value activity.  The Federal Reserve could encourage high-value search behavior by increasing the fed funds and discount window rates.  The Federal Reserve could also start driving up rates by unwinding its monthly purchases of $120 billion in US Treasury and agency-backed mortgage securities.

Higher rates will encourage living on the spread and the seeking of higher returns.

For a consultation on any regulatory or legislative discussions or announcements, please reach out to us at altondrew@altondrew.com for information on consultation rates and to reserve an appointment.

Interbank Market News Scan: Banks as currency agents, foreign exchange, Federal Reserve

The Publisher’s Note: Banks as currency agents …

Banks should think of themselves as the private sector currency agents of the State.  The currency encapsulates the economic, commercial, and social value of a political economy.  A State-issued currency ties the State’s citizens to a particular value system while providing a mechanism that accounts for a citizen’s wealth and serves the citizen as a medium of exchange for goods and services, including the payment of taxes to the State.

Banks help distribute State-issued currency primarily through the creation of credit.  Banks are a “port of call” for currency; receiving deposits from its customers, capital from its investors, and placing State-issued Treasurys, underwritten by the central bank, into its investment portfolio.  Banks issue loans to their customers creating money in the process.  This money can be deposited at other banks or used by consumers or businesses for purchases.  The fees for financial services provided to consumers and the interest earned from lending to end users and producers provide the banks with income that, along with the income generated by businesses financed by banks, can be taxed by the State.

The fallout from the 2007-2008 financial meltdown has created a narrative that banks are entities separate from the State; private sector “bad boys” whose reckless behavior from creating financial instruments doomed to perform poorly caused people to lose jobs and credit to freeze.  The narrative had citizens questioning why these misbehaving banks received bailouts from the U.S. government while ordinary citizens had to bear the brunt of the rippling effects throughout the economy. 

The answer is simple.  Selling debt instruments and earning fees for placing these instruments into the hands of investors part of the implicit agreement between the State and the banks as currency agents.  Even as elected officials such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, argue for increased regulation of America’s larger banks, the truth of the matter is that dismantling the mechanisms of banking would be too costly to the State’s currency distribution system.  The State would have to re-write its laws to support an alternative system and for all the noise against the current system, seems to be in no rush to replace it.    

Links to follow …

Interbank. Orum, which aims to speed up the amount of time it takes to transfer money between banks, announced today it has raised $56 million in a Series B round of funding. https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/29/orum-raises-56m/

Interbank. The overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), which measures the borrowing cost of China’s interbank market, increased 38.2 basis points to 2.177 percent Wednesday. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/30/content_77597450.htm

Foreign exchange. The Central Bank of The Bahamas says the restrictions placed on foreign exchange outflows at the onset of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will end this week. https://www.nycaribnews.com/articles/foreign-exchange-restrictions-eased-in-bahamas/

Central banks. Investment decisions over the next three months will be influenced by forward guidance from central banks, according to global fund managers in Reuters polls who recommended increasing equity exposure and lowering bond holdings in June. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/funds-eye-central-banks-guidance-124802638.html

Central banks, Federal Reserve. “[D]eveloping a CBDC could, I believe, pose considerable risks.”—Randal Quarles. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/quarles20210628a.htm

Banks as currency agents …

Banks should think of themselves as the private sector currency agents of the State.  The currency encapsulates the economic, commercial, and social value of a political economy.  A State-issued currency ties the State’s citizens to a particular value system while providing a mechanism that accounts for a citizen’s wealth and serves the citizen as a medium of exchange for goods and services, including the payment of taxes to the State.

Banks help distribute State-issued currency primarily through the creation of credit.  Banks are a “port of call” for currency; receiving deposits from its customers, capital from its investors, and placing State-issued Treasurys, underwritten by the central bank, into its investment portfolio.  Banks issue loans to their customers creating money in the process.  This money can be deposited at other banks or used by consumers or businesses for purchases.  The fees for financial services provided to consumers and the interest earned from lending to end users and producers provide the banks with income that, along with the income generated by businesses financed by banks, can be taxed by the State.

The fallout from the 2007-2008 financial meltdown has created a narrative that banks are entities separate from the State; private sector “bad boys” whose reckless behavior from creating financial instruments doomed to perform poorly caused people to lose jobs and credit to freeze.  The narrative had citizens questioning why these misbehaving banks received bailouts from the U.S. government while ordinary citizens had to bear the brunt of the rippling effects throughout the economy. 

The answer is simple.  Selling debt instruments and earning fees for placing these instruments into the hands of investors part of the implicit agreement between the State and the banks as currency agents.  Even as elected officials such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, argue for increased regulation of America’s larger banks, the truth of the matter is that dismantling the mechanisms of banking would be too costly to the State’s currency distribution system.  The State would have to re-write its laws to support an alternative system and for all the noise against the current system, seems to be in no rush to replace it.     

Interbank Market News Scan: Federal Reserve, foreign exchange, central banks …

28 June 2021

Links to follow ….

Interbank. China is taking another step to loosen its capital controls and in the process is giving onshore investors greater access to a previously hard-to-reach bond market.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-27/how-china-is-cracking-a-window-for-its-bond-investors-quicktake?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. Only half of loan investors believe their instruments have robust fallback language designed to ensure a smooth transition from the London interbank offered rate, according to a recent survey from Barclays Plc. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-25/libor-fears-persist-for-loan-market-with-six-months-to-deadline?sref=oriheOus

Foreign exchange. Deutsche Bank AG compensated a Spanish company for losses the firm made after purchasing foreign-exchange derivatives from the German lender, people familiar with the matter said. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-28/deutsche-bank-compensates-firm-over-fx-derivatives-mis-sales?sref=oriheOus

Central banks. They spent 2020 uniting to fend off a historic recession, but central banks are slowly starting to take different paths in 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-06-28/what-s-happening-in-the-world-economy-peak-central-bank-stimulus?sref=oriheOus

Central banks. Inflation is now an “influencer” of the Fed and the other central banks, but no more than that. The real question is how the central banks will respond to it, if at all, past their public comments. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4436858-central-banks-claim-check

Central banks, Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced it will extend for a final time its Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility, or PPPLF, by an additional month to July 30, 2021. The extension is being made as an operational accommodation to allow additional processing time for banks, community development financial institutions, and other financial institutions to pledge to the facility any Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans approved by the Small Business Administration through the June 30 expiration of the PPP program. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20210625a.htm

U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) applauded the bipartisan House passage of their resolution to repeal the Trump Administration’s so-called True Lender Rule through the use of the Congressional Review Act. This regulation, finalized in the last months of the prior Administration, allows predatory lenders to skirt state laws meant to curb interest rates on loans and opens the doors for these lenders to prey on vulnerable consumers. The legislation now heads to the President’s desk for signature.  https://www.banking.senate.gov/newsroom/majority/house-passes-van-hollen-brown-legislation-to-strike-down-trump-era-rent-a-bank-rule-sending-it-to-the-presidents-desk

U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.  This week, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement on the House floor urging the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 15, a resolution that invalidates the Trump Administration’s “True Lender” rule. https://financialservices.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=408055

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean, foreign exchange, banks …

Links to follow …

Banks. The stock market has been volatile, but it’s been a very solid year on -— and for — Wall Street. https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/21/investing/bank-stocks-economy/index.html

Banks.  Bitcoin has fallen below $30,000 for the first time in more than five months, hit by China’s crackdown on the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. https://news.yahoo.com/china-tells-banks-stop-supporting-044021987.html

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank-interest rates

ECCB Fixed Deposit Rate-1 month0%
ECCB Fixed Deposit Rate-2 months0%
ECCB Fixed Deposit Rate-3 months0%
ECCU (1) Minimum Savings Deposit Rate2%
ECCB Discount Rate2%
Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
  • (1) Eastern Caribbean Currency Union

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

Bank share prices as of 22 June 2021

The Bank of Nevis Ltd.$3.75
Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines$6.70
East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd$4.00
Grenada Co-operative Bank Ltd.$8.88
Republic Bank (Grenada) Ltd.$45.00
St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank Ltd.$2.80
Source: Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Currency PairsRates as of 1:15 am AST 23 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3109
XCD/GBP0.2662
XCD/USD0.3704
XCD/CAD0.4577
XCD/NGN152.0730
XCD/CNY2.3974
XCD/PLN1.4063
XCD/PEN1.4522
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: How will G7, NATO impact China-Caribbean trade relationship; foreign exchange …

15 June 2021

News from the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

On 28 June 2021, the Government of St. Lucia will auction a 180-day Treasury bill estimated to raise ECS$10 million.  The Bank of St. Lucia and First Citizens Investment Services are the broker firms.

Food for Thought: On China and the Caribbean

The NATO and G7 meetings held one thing in common other than the membership of a number of rich industrialized countries: China.  While the NATO meeting fell short of calling China an “adversary”, the consensus, especially among the leading industrialized nations, is that China, at a minimum, is a competitive economic threat.

One example of its economic threat is Huawei, a Chinese telecom equipment provider accused of ties to the Chinese military.  Huawei provided less expensive telecom equipment to Europe in direct competition with American telecom equipment providers.  The United States, which banned use of Huawei equipment from its telecom networks, chided its European allies for allowing a threat to privacy via Huawei equipment.  Turning a back on Huawei expectedly gives US companies a wider door to enter through into European markets.

It may be too early to determine the impact on the Caribbean a widening rift between China and the US may present.  By our estimate, using CIA data, at least 12 Caribbean countries have a trading relationship (import only, export only, or both) with China.  Whether the Caribbean will tack away from a relationship with China as a result of moves made by the G7 or NATO remains to be seen.

 Import-Export relationship between CARICOM nations and China

Source: CIA World Factbook

CountryImport from ChinaExport to China
St. LuciaNoNo
Trinidad and TobagoYes (USD366 million)Yes (USD595 million)
SurinameYes (USD168 million)No
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesYes (USD23.7 million)No
MontserratNoNo
GuyanaYes (USD8 million)No
GrenadaYes (USD16 million)No
DominicaYes (USD12 million)No
BelizeYes (USD11 million)No
BarbadosYes (USD136 million)No
Antigua and BarbudaYes (USD39 million)No
The BahamasNoYes (USD33 million)
Cayman IslandsNoNo
HaitiYes (USD795 million)No
St. Kitts and NevisNoNo
JamaicaYes (USD804 million)No
British Virgin IslandsNoNo
Turks and CaicosNoNo
BermudaNoNo
AnguillaNoNo

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Source: OANDA

Currency PairsRates as of 11:15 am AST 15 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3057
XCD/GBP0.2625
XCD/USD0.3704
XCD/CAD0.4500
XCD/NGN152.3900
XCD/CNY2.3692
XCD/PLN1.3776
XCD/PEN1.43619

Links to follow ….

Caribbean Development. A high-level panel of government and business leaders will explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Caribbean in the opening seminar of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 51st Annual Meeting. https://www.caribank.org/newsroom/news-and-events/cdb-annual-meeting-seminar-discuss-policies-economic-recovery-covid-19-and-more-resilient-caribbean

Interbank. China’s interbank treasury bond index in net price opened at 982.99 points Tuesday, lower than the previous close of 983.65 points, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/15/content_77568539.htm

Interbank. The Korea Interbank Offered Rates (KORIBOR) as posted by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news and information arm of Yonhap News Agency, at 11:00 a.m. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210615004100320

Banks. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is very bullish on the future of DeFi, or decentralized finance, and DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/14/mark-cuban-banks-should-be-scared-of-defi.html

Interbank Market News Scan: Payments, remittances; Banks increasing hiring in Hong Kong

Links you should follow ….

Interbank. China Development Bank has issued US$2bn of domestic US dollar bonds in China’s interbank market, its first such issuance in six years, according to a statement on its website. https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/cdb-prints-first-domestic-usd-bonds-in-six-years-2021-06-04

Interbank. The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, has urged commercial banks to abandon the London Interbank Offered Rate for dollar-denominated loans having a floating-rate benchmark. http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202106/03/WS60b82ddca31024ad0bac34a6.html Remittances. Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) have sent back nearly $3.3 billion (MAD 28.8 billion) in remittances in the first four months of the year.  https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/06/342716/morocco-sees-45-3-increase-in-remittances-in-first-quarter-of-2021

Banks. The pace of interest rate hikes by emerging market central banks slowed in May as policy makers in developing nations face uneven economic recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.  https://www.reuters.com/article/emerging-rates/graphic-grinding-higher-emerging-market-central-banks-raise-rates-in-may-idUSL5N2NM29S

Banks. If you’ve looked at your savings account statement recently, you may have noticed a lower interest rate than you were expecting. Perhaps as low as 0.06%. This is not a typo. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2021/06/04/why-digital-banks-offer-higher-interest-rates-on-savings-accounts/?sh=325769ed6ccc

Banks. Some global banks, funds and other financial services providers say they are stepping up hiring in Hong Kong, in a sign the city’s unique position as a financial gateway to China is outweighing concerns about Beijing’s tightening grip over it. https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/banks-bulk-up-hong-kong-china-business-overshadows-politics-2021-06-03/

Payment systems. The United States’ restaurant delivery marketplace seems like a complex tangle of emerging and incumbent delivery services, technological platforms and payment methods, but it has nothing on Europe’s. https://www.pymnts.com/restaurant-innovation/2021/limonetik-on-how-payment-methods-can-make-or-break-food-marketplaces-international-expansion/

Payment systems. Russia’s central bank governor, Elvira Nabiullina, has said for CNBC that digital currencies will be the future of financial systems, as the economy moves online. https://thepaypers.com/payments-general/the-digital-rouble-could-help-russia-bypass-the-swift-banking-payment-system–1249437

Foreign exchange rates of interest, 30-day trading range; 5 May 2021 to 4 June 2021

Source: OANDA

Currency PairsRates as of 11:20 am AST 4 June 2021Rates as of 10:30 am AST 5 May 2021Percentage Change
XCD/EUR0.30340.3085-1.7%
XCD/GBP0.26190.2664-1.7%
XCD/USD0.37040.3704flat
XCD/CAD0.44730.4548-1.6%
TTD/EUR0.11910.1206-1.2%
TTD/GBP0.10230.1041-1.7%
TTD/USD0.14490.1448flat
TTD/CAD0.17500.1778-1.6%
GYD/EUR0.00380.0038flat
GYD/GBP0.00330.0033flat
GYD/USD0.00460.0046flat
GYD/CAD0.00560.0056flat

For the period 5 May 2021 to 4 June 2021, the Eastern Caribbean saw a continued fall in exchange rates between the European Union (-1.7%); Great Britain (-1.7%); and Canada (-1.6%).  The XCD is pegged to the U.S. dollar and for that reason remained flat.

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar saw its price fall over the same period in terms of the euro (-1.2%); the pound (-1.7%); and the Canadian dollar (-1.6%).  The U.S. dollar price for the TTD remained flat over that period.

The euro, dollar, pound, and loonie rate of the Guyanese dollar remained flat during the 5 May 2021-4 June 2021 period.

Interbank Market News Scan: American bank CEOs squaring off with Senate banking committee at 10:00 am EST

Links you should follow …

Banks.  Chief executives of the six largest U.S. banks will testify in Congress Wednesday on oversight topics that include their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, diversity efforts and cryptocurrencies. CEOs of 6 biggest U.S. banks to testify in Senate about COVID-19 moves, culture – UPI.com

Central banks. New Zealand followed in the footsteps of Canada to flag a potential interest-rate increase next year as central banks begin to tip toe away from their emergency monetary settings. Slowly But Surely, Central Banks Are Signaling Policy Shifts – Bloomberg

Banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has invested in The Harbor Bank of Maryland and a Washington, D.C., institution as part of a 2020 plan to commit $50 million to Black-owned banks around the country. Wells Fargo & Co. invests in The Harbor Bank of Maryland in commitment to Black-owned banks – Baltimore Sun

Central banks. Regional Federal Reserve Banks are taking an increasingly “alarming” stance on politically charged issues like racial justice, according to Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania who is the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. Wokeness at Fed’s regional banks puts central bank independence at risk | Fox Business 

Banks. Bitcoin’s price has continued to fluctuate, falling by $3,000 in a matter of hours, with big banks divided on how to approach the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin Price Rollercoaster Continues as Banks Unsure How to Approach the Crypto (msn.com)

Central banks. Eric Robertsen of Standard Chartered Bank sees some upside for commodity currencies with inflation rising. He doesn’t expect the Fed to have any “concrete announcement” on tapering before September. A few G10 central banks will ‘dial back’ bond purchasing programs later this year: Standard Chartered (msn.com) Payment systems. Commercial and central banks across the world are now using blockchain technology for payment processing and issuing of their digital currencies. The technology enables cross-border payments that are less expensive and faster as compared to traditional systems. Rapid Demand for Digital Payment Systems Being Fueled by Increasing Market Growth In Blockchain – MarketWatch

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 10:45 am AST 26 May 2021
EUR/XCD3.3055
USD/XCD2.7000
CAD/XCD2.2402
EUR/JMD181.2040
USD/JMD148.0130
CAD/JMD122.8050
USD/DOP56.4454
USD/HTG88.6591
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Remittances, payment systems; Technology facilitates improvements in how we send money home ….

Currency PairsRates as of 1:43 pm GMT 21 May 2021Rates as of 2:00 pm GMT 20 May 2021
GHS/EUR0.14170.1418
GMD/EUR0.01590.0161
NGN/EUR0.00200.0020
SLL/EUR0.00010.0001
KES/EUR0.00750.0075
RWF/EUR0.00080.0008
ZAR/EUR0.05840.0583
MZN/EUR0.01360.0137
XCD/EUR0.30350.3033
USVI/USD0.00010.0001
AfAM/USD0.10000.1000
Source: OANDA, Alton Drew

Links you should follow …

Remittances. Flutterwave has partnered with Amole to facilitate money transfers into Ethiopia. Through this agreement, Amole Wallet users will be able to send money to bank accounts and cash pickup locations at over 2,500 locations across the country. Flutterwave Partners with Amole to Expand Remittances in Ethiopia – IT News Africa – Up to date technology news, IT news, Digital news, Telecom news, Mobile news, Gadgets news, Analysis and Reports

Remittances, payment systems. A forecast of $22 billion inflow from diaspora remittances into Nigeria this year by an African rating agency, Agusto & Co, amid the global meltdown, illuminates the immense benefits that, with creative policies, the country can tap from this revenue stream. Maximising the benefits of diaspora remittances – Punch Newspapers (punchng.com)

Remittances. Wealthier countries can help poorer countries by welcoming immigrants that send money home.  Resilience of remittances proves a lifeline for developing economies | Financial Times (ft.com)

Banks. Very broadly speaking, a big problem that banks have right now is too much money. Banks Don’t Want to Be Paid Back Yet – Bloomberg Banks, payment systems. The shift toward instant payments will undoubtedly provide benefits for consumers, but it is the benefits for institutions and corporates that are likely to revolutionise financial services. However, to reap these benefits financial institutions must navigate the maze of deadlines and coinciding schemes in a proactive manner. EBAday 2021: Driving correspondent banking success through wider adoption of instant payments (finextra.com)

Interbank Market News Scan: Prime brokers, banks, foreign exchange …

News links of interest …

Prime broker. Equiti Capital, a subsidiary of Equiti Group, announced today that its FX Desk has onboarded NatWest Markets as another Prime Broker. Equiti Capital Appoints Another Prime Broker In NatWest Markets (fxempire.com)

Banks. Two regional banks in Japan’s northern prefecture of Aomori said they were considering consolidating, joining a flurry of lenders seeking to survive amid narrowing margins from a rapidly ageing population and ultra-low interest rates. Two Japanese regional banks eye tie-up to fight margin pressures | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange. In criticisms of Federal Reserve actions, legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller highlighted the case for bitcoin to replace the dollar. Legendary Investor Stanley Druckenmiller: USD Will Lose World Reserve Currency Status | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 8:32 pm EST 11 May 2021
EUR/USD1.2146
GBP/USD1.4137
AUD/USD0.7838
USD/CAD1.2095
USD/JPY108.6300
USD/NOK8.2568
USD/CHF0.9034
USD/SEK8.3206
USD/MEX19.9520
Source: Reuters
Selected Rates 
Fed Funds.05
Bank prime rate3.25
Fed Funds target rate.25
2-yr Treasury.16
10-yr Treasury1.63
30-yr2.35
Source: Bloomberg