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.
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.
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. 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. 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
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%.
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….
Rates as of 8:45 am EST 22 April 2021
Rates as of 9:55 am EST 21 April 2021
Percentage change in rates
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.