Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean, foreign exchange …

10 June 2021

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

Today, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange reported that the following securities were exchanged on 9 June 2021:

800 East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd shares traded at $4.00 per share, falling $.48, or 10.71%, from its previous price;

3,500 S.L. Horsford & Company Ltd shares traded at $2.00 per share with no change from yesterday’s price;

1,298 TDC shares traded at $1.25 per share, down 3.85% from its previous price; and

80 shares of Cable & Wireless St.Kitts & Nevis Ltd traded odd lot at $3.65 per share.

 On the Regional Government Securities Market, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s 365-day Treasury bill auction raised $10 million with a discount rate of 4.30622%.

Scheduled for today, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica is expected to auction 91-day Treasury bills at EC$20 million at a maximum rate of 5%.

Source: Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank recently announced that DCash, the digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC), is set to go live in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines by the end of June.  According to the ECCB:

“The immediate objective of launching DCash in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is to allow for the exchange of DCash for physical cash via the DCash Merchant-Teller network. These authorised entities will facilitate DCash to physical cash exchanges, thereby allowing faster, safer and cheaper cross-border person-to-person remittances. Emphasis will also be placed on establishing the DCash merchant network with focus on getting essential service providers DCash-ready. In addition, other DCash users will be able to send funds directly to users in SVG.”

Since 31 March 2021, the countries of St.Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada, have been using DCash.

Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

European Central Bank

Today, the European Central Bank reported no change in its accommodative approach to stimulating the European economy.  The ECB will maintain the rates for its main refinancing operations at 0%; its marginal lending facility at .25%; and its deposit facility at -.50%. 

The ECB indicated in its statement that there will be acceleration of asset purchases under the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) at a total of EUR1,850 billion through March 2022.  The ECB hopes to balance purchase of assets and reinvestment of proceeds from the assets in such a way as to move as close to a two percent inflation point without exceeding that level.  Net monthly purchases under PEPP are expected to be maintained at EUR 20 billion through 2022.   

Source: European Central Bank

Foreign exchange rates of interest…. 

Source: OANDA

Currency PairsRates as of 11:30 am AST 10 June 2021Rates as of 10 June 2020Change in rates
XCD/EUR0.30400.3275(7.2%)
XCD/GBP0.26180.2915(10.2%)
XCD/USD0.37040.3704flat
XCD/CAD0.44810.4970(9.8%)
XCD/NGN152.4650143.05106.6%
XCD/CNY2.36632.6215(9.7%)
XCD/PLN1.35671.4530(6.6%)
XCD/PEN1.44281.257714.7%

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

9 June 2021

Links you should follow …

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange.  No trades were made by the end of the trading day, 8 June 2021. https://www.ecseonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ECSE-DAILY-TRADE-REPORT-8Jun21.pdf

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange. S.L. Horsford & Company Limited to hold 30th annual general meeting. https://www.ecseonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/SLH_NoticeofAGM_2021.pdf

Banks.  The St.Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited to hold its 50th annual general meeting. https://www.ecseonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/3-6-21_SKNANB_Notice-of-Meeting.pdf

Remittances. Dominicans living abroad have not only sent more remittances to the country between January and April of this year when compared to the same period in 2020, with a growth of 64.8%, but they have also increased the amount by transactions. https://dominicantoday.com/dr/uncategorized/2021/06/08/dominican-republic-remittances-jump-64-8-to-april/

Foreign exchange. UK businesses which make regular overseas payments are losing out on hundreds of pounds per transaction thanks to inferior foreign exchange rates charged by Britain’s biggest banks.  https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/smallbusiness/article-9625805/Is-bank-ripping-business-costly-foreign-exchange-mark-ups.html

Interbank. LIBOR offered interbank rates. https://www.brecorder.com/news/40098690/libor-interbank-offered-rates

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. DCash, the digital version of the EC dollar, is set to go live in Saint Vincent and The Grenadines by the end of June. https://www.eccb-centralbank.org/news/view/eccb-to-launch-dcash-in-saint-vincent-and-the-grenadines-in-june

Foreign exchange rates of interest…. 

Source: OANDA

Currency PairsRates as of 11:30 am AST 9 June 2021Rates as of 9 June 2020Change in rates
XCD/EUR0.30410.3279(7.3%)
XCD/GBP0.26170.2916(10.3%)
XCD/USD0.37040.3704flat
XCD/CAD0.44790.4962(9.7%)
XCD/NGN152.3500143.11806.4%
XCD/CNY2.36872.6201(9.6%)
XCD/PLN1.35781.4524(6.5%)
XCD/PEN1.44431.261714.4%

Interbank Market News Scan: Canada sees no rush to issue a central bank digital coin …

Links you should follow ….

Foreign exchange. Luis Costa outlines commodity currencies that he is trading. This strategist outlines which currency commodities he’s trading (msn.com)

Foreign exchange. The Bank of Canada is thinking in more concrete terms about how its digital currency might look and work but it does not currently see a strong case for issuing one, a deputy governor said on Wednesday. Bank of Canada does not see currently see strong case for issuing digital currency | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange. After more than a year of slumber, investors are preparing for currency volatility to come roaring back to life. Currency FX Volatility Set for a Comeback on Looming Policy Shifts – Bloomberg

Foreign exchange. A dovish Federal Reserve and accelerating growth abroad are weighing on the dollar, a move that could be a boon for stocks and other assets. Analysis-Floundering dollar falls to bottom of global currency heap (msn.com)

Foreign exchange, cryptocurrency. ‘Bitcoin isn’t even a reliable hedge for risk-off events, let alone inflation shocks. It’s actually highly pro-cyclical…In difficult times, crypto assets don’t go up; they go down.’— Nouriel Roubini. Bitcoin isn’t a currency or financial asset, but ‘looks like a bubble’: Roubini (msn.com)

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Changes in currency tails comprised of the euro, US dollar, and Canadian dollar and currencies out of the Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica remained relatively flat over the last 24 hours. Any tightening of rates on the part of major central banks is expected to have a significant impact on Caribbean currencies thus the purchasing power and cost of remittances sent back to the Caribbean.

Currency PairsRates as of 12:00 pm AST 27 May 2021Rates as of 10:45 am AST 26 May 2021
EUR/XCD3.30073.3055
USD/XCD2.70002.7000
CAD/XCD2.22492.2402
EUR/JMD182.7800181.2040
USD/JMD147.9460148.0130
CAD/JMD122.3780122.8050
USD/DOP56.479956.4454
USD/HTG88.663488.6591
Source: OANDA

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: Yellen appoints a new Comptroller of the Currency chief …

Links of interest to follow …

Trading desks, investment banks. Barclay’s CEO Staley on trading revenue, compensation costs, and return to office. Barclays CEO Jes Staley Staley on Trading Revenue, Compensation Costs, Return to Office: Video – Bloomberg

Trading desks, banks. Citigroup, Nuveen accused of mishandling evidence in muni brawl. Citigroup, Nuveen Accused of Mishandling Evidence in Muni Brawl – Bloomberg.

Trading desks, banks, blockchain. European debt pioneer trumpets revolution coming from blockchain. EIB’s Richard Teichmeister Says Revolution to Come From Blockchain – Bloomberg

Banks.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to make her mark by naming a new supervisor for a major U.S. banking regulator that Democrats say was too friendly to large banks under the Trump administration, according to two people familiar with the matter. Yellen to Shake up U.S. Bank Regulator With New Appointment – Sources | Investing News | US News

Banks, central banks. The U.S. nonprofit Digital Dollar Project said on Monday it will launch five pilot programs over the next 12 months to test the potential uses of a U.S. central bank digital currency, the first effort of its kind in the United States. Digital Dollar Project to launch five U.S. central bank digital currency pilots | Reuters

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 11:05 pm EST 3 May 2021
EUR/USD1.2047
GBP/USD1.3879
AUD/USD0.7742
USD/CAD1.2293
USD/JPY109.1900
USD/NOK8.2964
USD/CHF0.9124
USD/SEK8.4250
USD/MEX20.2220
Source: Reuters

Interbank Market News Scan: France takes a closer look at Apple, Google as payment systems, platforms …

Foreign currency exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 10:28 am EST 28 April 2021Rates as of 9:13 am EST 29 April 2021Increase/decrease in pips
EUR/USD1.18771.1877No change
GBP/USD1.38961.3831-65
USD/CAD1.25461.2551+5
AUD/USD0.76130.7625+12
USD/JPY110.6250110.0830-5,420
USD/NOK8.51948.5035-159
USD/CHF0.92950.9135-160
USD/SEK8.71668.7177+11
USD/MEX20.257120.2571No change
USD/XCD2.70002.7000No change
USD/JMD147.1020145.180-19,220
USD/DOP56.157556.1575No change
USD/HTG79.338283.8141+44,759
USD/BSD1.00001.0000No change
Source: OANDA

News links you should be following …

Payment systems. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today launched the linkage of Thailand’s PromptPay and Singapore’s PayNow real-time retail payment systems. In a joint statement, the BoT and MAS said the linkage, the first of its kind globally, will enable customers of participating banks in Thailand and Singapore to transfer funds of up to S$1,000 or 25,000 baht daily across the two countries, using just a mobile number. Thailand, Singapore launch world’s first linkage of real-time payment systems | The Edge Markets

Payment systems. The launch of Saudi Arabia’s first instant payments system is another step towards the kingdom’s ambitious proposals to have a 70 percent cashless society as part of the Saudi’s Vision 2030, according to Takreem El-Tohamy, general manager, IBM Middle East and Africa. Saudi launches instant payment system in drive towards cashless society – Arabianbusiness

Payment systems. Embracing new payment rails, and enhancing the value of existing ones, remains a key part of promoting overall payment innovation. But as real-time payment networks proliferate, a new challenge is on the rise: enabling interoperability between these rails on both a domestic and international scale. Real-Time Payments Seek Interoperability | PYMNTS.com

Payment systems. Digital payment services developed by U.S. tech giants such as Apple and Alphabet’s Google risk reinforcing their market power by giving them greater sway over consumers’ data, France’s antitrust authority said on Thursday. French watchdog warns of big tech’s sway over payment services (yahoo.com)

Payment systems. The government is committed to implementing the electronic wages or “e-wages” system as soon as possible to ensure employees get paid in “real-time”, following the wake of the apparent suicide of a foreign worker several weeks ago over allegations of unpaid wages. HR minister vows e-wages system to ensure ’real-time’ payment, after employee’s death (msn.com)

Central banks. Cryptocurrencies aren’t going anywhere in the coming years, but their usage will probably decline when central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are eventually rolled out, according to Deutsche Bank International Private Bank. Cryptocurrencies will survive the rise of central bank-backed digital coins, but their use will likely decline, Deutsche Bank says | Currency News | Financial and Business News | Markets Insider (businessinsider.com)

Central banks. Central bank digital cash could give new types of businesses access to ultra-cheap central bank funding and lessen the role of big banks in settling large transfers, a senior Bank of France official said on Thursday. Central bank e-cash could ‘challenge’ role of big banks, Bank of France says | Reuters

Cryptocurrency, ether, bitcoin. Ether hit an all-time high Thursday as bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency market declined. The world’s second-largest digital currency by market value surged to a fresh record of $2,774 Thursday morning, according to data from Coin Metrics. Bitcoin, the top digital coin, was slightly lower at a price of $54,471. Digital currency ether hits a record high, stealing bitcoin’s limelight (msn.com)

Interbank Market News Scan: Awaiting the Fed; Central banks consider or start their asset purchase taper as they increase interest in central bank digital currencies …

Foreign currency exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 6:20 am EST 27 April 2021Rates as of 10:28 am EST 28 April 2021Increase/decrease in pips
EUR/USD1.18971.1877-20
GBP/USD1.38551.3896+41
USD/CAD1.25681.2546-22
AUD/USD0.76130.7613No change
USD/JPY110.6250110.6250No change
USD/NOK8.51868.5194+8
USD/CHF0.94210.9295-126
USD/SEK8.71668.7166No change
USD/MEX20.295320.2571-382
USD/XCD2.70002.7000No change
USD/JMD145.1800147.1020+19,220
USD/DOP56.316456.1575-1,589
USD/HTG79.085979.3382+2,523
USD/BSD1.00001.0000No change
Source: OANDA

News links you should be following …

Payment systems. SIBS actively pursues its contribution to payments digitization on a global scale with the development and operationalization of a new payments platform in the African continent, supporting the national payment system of São Tomé and Príncipe. Sibs to launch payments system in São Tomé and Príncipe (finextra.com)

Payment systems. Jim Aramanda, president and CEO of The Clearing House, explains why the RTP (Real-Time Payments) network is the payments system built for the 21st-century digital economy. In this excerpt from The Connected Economy’s Power Source – CEO Edition, Aramanda shares his insights on the growing need for financial inclusion and greater payments control for consumers. 21st-Century Payments System For Digital Economy | PYMNTS.com

Central banks. The Bank of Canada set the taper ball rolling last week, becoming the first major central bank to cut back on pandemic-era money-printing stimulus programmes. So who’s next? The Great Exit: Central Banks Line up to Taper Emergency Stimulus | Investing News | US News

Central banks. The world’s biggest central banks are revving up work on issuing digital cash, aiming to fend off emerging threats to traditional money and to make payments systems smoother. Explainer: an E-Yuan, Euro or Dollar? Central Banks Get to Grips With Digital Cash | Technology News | US News

Central banks. JPMorgan has created a new company to tackle cross-border payments using blockchain technology with Singapore state-backed fund Temasek and DBS. JPMorgan launches blockchain venture with Temasek for central bank digital currencies – Financial News (fnlondon.com)

Central banks. Egypt’s central bank kept its key interest rates on hold on Wednesday, the bank said in a statement. Egypt’s central bank keeps key interest rates on hold – statement | Reuters

Interbank Market News Scan: Iran finds an end around on US sanctions by providing crypto an underlying economy…

Foreign exchange rates of interest ….

Currency PairsRates as of 4:46 pm EST 26 April 2021Rates as of 6:20 am EST 27 April 2021Increase/decrease in pips
EUR/USD1.18901.1897+7
GBP/USD1.38691.3855-14
USD/CAD1.25681.2568No change
AUD/USD0.76020.7613+11
USD/JPY110.5960110.6250+290
USD/NOK8.52458.5186-59
USD/CHF0.94170.9421+4
USD/SEK8.71778.7166-7
USD/MEX20.284420.2953+109
USD/XCD2.70002.7000No change
USD/JMD144.9940145.1800+1,860
USD/DOP56.316456.3164No change
USD/HTG79.085979.0859No change
USD/BSD1.00001.0000No change
Source: OANDA

News links you should be following …

Payment systems. The share of Russian exports settled in US dollars has dropped below 50%. The decline, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflects Moscow’s policy of cutting the Russian economy’s reliance on the greenback. Most Russian exports have now kicked reliance on US dollar as payment currency — RT Business News

Payment systems. Amazon is expanding its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the company announced Wednesday, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations. Amazon will initially roll out Amazon One at the Whole Foods in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, not far from the company’s headquarters, before launching the system at seven Seattle-area Whole Foods in coming months. Amazon is bringing palm-scanning payment system to Whole Foods stores (msn.com)

Payment systems. Business technology company Deluxe (DLX) has agreed to acquire First American Payment Systems for $960 million in cash, the company said in a statement. Deluxe believes that this deal will accelerate the company’s transformation into a leading payments technology company as part of its “One Deluxe” strategy. Deluxe To Buy First American Payment Systems For $960 Mln Cash | Nasdaq

Central banks, Riksbank. Sweden’s central bank kept monetary policy unchanged on Tuesday as expected, vowing to support the economy as long as needed amid uncertainty over the speed of recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Swedish central bank leaves policy unchanged amid COVID uncertainty | Nasdaq

Central banks, Central Bank of Iran. A developing strategy to mitigate the crippling effect of economic sanctions could see cryptocurrencies being used by Iranian firms to pay for imports such as raw materials and electronics. Iran is continuing to explore the potential use of cryptocurrency as a tool for mitigating the devastating impact of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.  Iran’s central bank says officially mined crypto can be used to pay for imports (cointelegraph.com)

Central banks, Riksbank. A period with inflation over the 2% target of the Swedish central bank would not be a big problem, Governor Stefan Ingves said on Tuesday after the central bank kept policy unchanged. Swedish c.bank’s Ingves says not big worry if inflation overshoots (msn.com)

Interbank Market News Scan: China is graying and will need to revamp its demographic policies ….

Links to follow today ….

Central banks, China. A pension deficit and looming debt crisis driven by a rapidly greying population. That’s the nightmare scenario for Chinese authorities, including the nation’s central bank, who are increasingly worried about the financial implications of the country’s demographic challenges. China population: what’s driving central bank concern about the nation’s ageing workforce? | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

Central banks, CBDCs. The proposed authoritarian evolution of centrally issued digital currencies takes the world closer to dystopia. Central Bank Digital Currencies And The Orwellian New World Order | Nasdaq

Central banks, bitcoin. Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz said Thursday the surge in cryptocurrencies is serving as a referendum on the perceived ability of the Federal Reserve to manage risks facing the world’s largest economy and suggested people continue to buy into bitcoin. Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz says the record-breaking rally in crypto shows a lack of faith in the Fed – and cites central-bank uncertainty as a reason for bitcoin’s latest surge (msn.com)

Central banks, Bank of Canada. The Bank of Canada sent out a warning to investors this week that inflation still matters. In a surprise move, it accelerated the timetable for a possible interest-rate increase and began paring back its bond purchases on Wednesday. That made Canada the first major economy to signal its intent to reduce emergency levels of monetary stimulus. Inflation Forces the Bank of Canada’s Hand Ahead of Fed and ECB (msn.com)

As we enter a new week, the rates to start your day ….

As of 11:30 am EST, Bloomberg reports that the yield on the three-month Treasury note closed at 0.02% last Friday while the two-year note closed at 0.16%. The ten-year and thirty-year Treasurys closed Friday at 1.56% and 2.23%, respectively.

The Federal Funds rate, the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight in support of their reserve requirements, is at .07%, while the Fed Funds target rate is still at .25%. The prime lending rate is 3.25%.

Exchange rates of interest as of 5:30 pm EST….

Currency PairsRates as of 5:30 pm EST 25 April 2021
EUR/USD1.1890
GBP/USD1.3718
USD/CAD1.2568
AUD/USD0.7625
USD/JPY108.0210
USD/NOK8.5402
USD/CHF0.9417
USD/SEK8.7274
USD/MEX20.5078
Source: OANDA

Interbank market news scan: Facebook’s Diem can help the dollar remain the global reserve currency …

Links to follow today ….

Central banks, ECB. Global stocks held steady on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy update and despite COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Europe being extended and cases rising globally. Global stocks stabilize ahead of European Central Bank meeting despite steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Asia | Markets Insider (businessinsider.com)

Central banks, Norway. Norway’s central bank will test various technical solutions for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) over the next two years, it said on Thursday. Norway to test solutions for digital central bank currency | Nasdaq

Central banks, Canada. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada will use drastically different playbooks for the remainder of their nations’ respective economic recoveries. The US central bank has indicated it will leave rates near zero for the foreseeable future, and that it isn’t even considering reining in its emergency asset purchases. Canada’s central bank is taking surprising steps to cool the nation’s red-hot virus recovery – and the approach directly conflicts with the Fed’s ultra-easy stance, even with the US further along (msn.com)

Central banks, remittances, Kenya. Remittance inflows into Kenya in March were up 27% year on year to $290.8 million, the central bank said on Wednesday. Kenya’s remittance inflows in March up 27% yr/yr -central bank | Reuters

Central banks, United Kingdom, ECB. Sterling slipped on Thursday, holding below $1.40 before a European Central Bank meeting, as investors weighed up the outlook for an economic recovery from COVID-19 in the UK. Sterling slips versus euro; currency markets quiet ahead of ECB meeting | Nasdaq

Central banks, Facebook, cryptocurrency. Now known as diem, the Facebook-backed digital coin is expected to launch later this year, albeit in a much more limited form. When it finally arrives, diem won’t come with the same fanfare and controversy of the original idea envisioned by the social media giant nearly two years ago. Facebook-backed Diem aims to launch digital currency pilot in 2021 (cnbc.com)

Central banks, ECB, digital currency. Only a few years ago, central bank digital currency (CBDC) was seen as something exotic. Sweden’s Riksbank was alone among high-income countries in exploring it, a fact attributed to its population’s uniquely low use of cash. Now official e-currencies have gone mainstream. www.ft.com

The market opening. The rates to start your day ….

As of 8:10 am EST, Bloomberg reports that the yield on the three-month Treasury note is at 0.01%, down from yesterday’s 0.03% while the two-year note remained at yesterday’s 0.15% rate. The ten-year and thirty-year Treasurys are trading at 1.57% and 2.27%, respectively and relatively unchanged from yesterday.

The Federal Funds rate, the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight in support of their reserve requirements, is at .07%, while the Fed Funds target rate is still at .25%. The prime lending rate is 3.25%. All three rates unchanged from yesterday.

Exchange rates of interest as of 8:45 am EST….

Currency PairsRates as of 8:45 am EST 22 April 2021Rates as of 9:55 am EST 21 April 2021Percentage change in rates
EUR/USD1.17931.2024-1.9%
GBP/USD1.37851.3891-.0076%
USD/CAD1.25721.2629-.0045%
CAD/XCD2.14622.1462unchanged
USD/XCD2.70002.7000unchanged
USD/TTD6.66916.6721-.0004%
USD/BBD2.00002.0000unchanged
CAD/TTD5.30125.3050unchanged
CAD/BBD1.58991.5874unchanged
Source: OANDA

The Opening Takeaway: Could Facebook’s cryptocurrency be the longer term digital play?

Facebook appears to be leveraging the experience it has garnered on America’s Capitol Hill. When the Facebook-backed digital coin Libra found itself targeted by backlash from members of Congress, the company and its stable coin project partners had to go back to the drawing board which included a rebrand of the coin (from Libra to Diem); a little reorganizing of the stable coin project’s membership; and pursuing a payment services license from Switzerland’s financial regulators. See Facebook-backed Diem aims to launch digital currency pilot in 2021 (cnbc.com).

By going the stable coin route, where a cryptocurrency pegs its value to the value of a country’s currency, in this case, the United States, Facebook and its Diem partners, knowingly or not, have made baby steps to pacifying government critics in the US who are concerned about Diem’s threat to the stability of the US political-economic system. This is simply code for “We have to stop Facebook from disrupting our tax and customs regime.” The claims of concern over privacy also seem a bit bogus given that Congress has passed up a number of times over the last decade and a half to promulgate any comprehensive laws that would not only have codified network neutrality but also privacy over America’s digital networks. Besides, as the US slowly gets to testing its own central bank issued digital coin, it too will have to address why taxpayers should be less concerned about government intrusion into privacy as opposed to Facebook.

Facebook is in a position to leverage its network effect generated by over 2 billion daily users and its e-commerce and advertising platform. Its subscribers can enjoy some sort of “dual nation” status where they exchange goods and services on Facebook’s platform using Diem, thus creating a sense of exclusivity. Sort of like an Amazon Prime membership on steroids where only members i.e. Diem-using subscribers, can come and play. And knowing that Diem can be exchanged for US dollars will put Facebook subscribers’ minds at ease. If the Facebook subscriber is not concerned about convertibility, then the US government should have less of a consumer protection argument to throw around.

Another potential benefit may carry over to the Federal Reserve. As it hems and haws over the development of a central bank issued digital currency, it could study the Facebook template, observing in real time how a digital nation-state operates. Also, there is the potential for a test case for conducting digital foreign currency exchange made easier due to Diem being a stable coin.

Lastly, from a foreign policy perspective, the US should look favorably on more of the world’s economies having indirect access to the dollar via Facebook’s stable coin. Using, buying, and selling Diem amounts to using, buying, and selling US dollars. This indirect use of the greenback would keep the dollar out front as the world’s reserve currency.

Alton Drew