As of 5:51 pm AST, foreign exchange rates as Congress ponders additional relief …

Pairs Federal Reserve as of 23 December 2020 OANDA as of 23 December 2020 OANDA as of 28 December 2020 
GBP/USD 1.3510 1.3449 1.35603 
USD/CAD 1.2841 1.2872 1.28619 
USD/CNH 6.5400 6.5323 6.51546 
USD/DKK 6.0989 6.1031 6.10186 
EUR/USD 1.2194 1.2185 1.21836 
USD/INR 73.7700 73.7316 73.4122 
USD/MXN 20.0800 20.0878 19.8603 
USD/JPY 103.5200 103.50 103.63 
USD/NOK 8.6307 8.6886 8.62746 
USD/SEK 8.2841 8.3036 8.24517 
USD/CHF .8882 .8886 .89037 

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, OANDA

Legal/Political Events Impacting Foreign Exchange Rates

U.S. House considers increasing dollar amount of pandemic relief payments to taxpayers

The U.S. House of Representatives is, at the time of this writing, considering a vote to increase the amount of pandemic relief to individual taxpayers from the current $600 to $2,000. President Trump and House Democrats are aligned on this issue, but the increase is expected to face considerable push back in the Republican controlled U.S. Senate. Mr Trump argued yesterday that the pandemic relief passed by Congress over the weekend contained unnecessary spending and argued that these funds be reallocated to American taxpayers.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives

As of 1:12 pm AST, foreign exchange rates in reaction to Trump signing pandemic relief bill …

Pairs Federal Reserve as of 18 December 2020 OANDA as of 18 December 2020 OANDA as of 28 December 2020 
GBP/USD 1.3497 1.3520 1.35603 
USD/CAD 1.2776 1.2760 1.28619 
USD/CNH 6.5395 6.5197 6.51546 
USD/DKK 6.0798 6.0731 6.10186 
EUR/USD 1.2236 1.2248 1.21836 
USD/INR 73.5300 73.4139 73.4122 
USD/MXN 19.9813 19.8978 19.8603 
USD/JPY 103.3500 103.35 103.63 
USD/NOK 8.5959 8.5878 8.62746 
USD/SEK 8.2786 8.2747 8.24517 
USD/CHF .8850 .8844 .89037 

Legal/Political Event Impacting Foreign Exchange Rates

Trump signs pandemic relief package

Yesterday, President Donald J Trump reluctantly signed into law a $900 billion pandemic relief package with a core provision of a $600 payment to eligible taxpayers. Mr Trump advocated for increasing the payout from $600 to $2,000 for eligible taxpayer. In his statement Mr Trump promised to continue his fight for the increase as the Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote today on increasing the amount. Resistance to an increase is expected in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Foreign exchange rates; Pandemic stimulus bill passes Congress

Pairs Federal Reserve as of 18 December 2020 OANDA as of 21 December 2020 
GBP/USD 1.3497 1.33499 
USD/CAD 1.2776 1.28559 
USD/CNH 6.5395 6.53668 
USD/DKK 6.0798 6.09401 
EUR/USD 1.2236 1.22056 
USD/INR 73.5300 73.7333 
USD/MXN 19.9813 20.1582 
USD/JPY 103.3500 103.4600 
USD/NOK 8.5959 8.6862 
USD/SEK 8.2786 8.2959 
USD/CHF .8850 .8865 
Sources: Federal Reserve and OANDA

Legal/Political news impacting foreign exchange

Congress passes $900 billion relief package

Reuters reporting that the United States Senate has passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package which includes a one-time $600 payment to eligible American taxpayers. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation later today.

Georgia’s congressional delegation should express more interest in the C-Band

Georgia’s congressional delegation demonstrated very little interest in H.R. 4855, the Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment Act, a bill that would have cleared and made available for auction between 200 and 300 mega hertz of spectrum in the C-Band.  The C-Band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum falling between four to eight gigahertz.  This portion of spectrum is used for satellite communications, some Wi-Fi devices, some cordless phones, and for surveillance and weather radar systems.

Some companies that offer wireless broadband internet access are interested in this piece of spectrum real estate in order to meet the increasing demand for “Internet of Things” services and the Fifth Generation wireless platforms they are expected to ride on.

H.R. 4855 may have been more of a prodding rod than a leading initiative.  Back in June the Federal Communications Commission announced that repurposing of the C-Band would move at an accelerated pace.  Five eligible satellite carriers: Eutelstat, Intelstat, SES, Star One, and Telesat, agreed to an accelerated schedule for clearing and relocating frequencies in exchange for $9.7 billion in relocation payments upon completion of the reallocation.  Clearing out and relocating their frequencies make available mid-band spectrum for wireless company use.

While H.R. 4855 would give the Commission until 30 September 2022 to clear, reallocate, and auction the C-Band spectrum,  the Commission’s order would give satellite operators until 5 December 2023 to clear and relocate their operating frequencies.

While Georgia has its urban centers i.e. Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, Augusta, it still has a significant agricultural base and rural communities.  The current COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws and gaps in service delivery and has likely widened the gap between broadband urban haves and rural broadband have-nots.   Congressmen from Georgia’s rural areas should remain mindful of this gap and take every opportunity to lead on congressional initiatives that could spurn broadband deployment in rural Georgia.

For example, H.R. 4855 had only three sponsors.  None were from Georgia.  In addition, a scan of the internet found no media coverage containing any discussion about the C-band by any members of Georgia’s congressional delegation.  Georgia’s congressional delegation should remain engaged in discussions about the benefits advanced communications can bring to taxpayers and Georgia’s industries.

 

 

Balkanizing internet regulation is out of step with the uniformity needs of financial technology

Analysis

The eye-catcher ….

In two weeks, state utility regulators will convene in San Antonio, Texas for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners annual meeting to discuss how they can leverage a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals-DC Circuit that the Federal Communications Commission cannot preempt state regulation of concerns over consumer access to and privacy on the internet via broadband.

Some states such as California have moved ahead with their own net neutrality laws, hoping to enforce consumer protections by prohibiting internet access providers from lowering traffic speed from certain websites or preventing internet service providers from favoring their own content by blocking a consumer’s access to content that the consumer prefers.

The state-by-state approach problem

The problem with a state-by-state approach for a financial technology firm is the uncertainty that data and capital face when they traverse state borders. Will a content delivery firm tasked with storing and transmitting financial data on behalf of a financial technology firm have to enter into different interconnection agreements per state because of the differing consumer privacy laws encountered in each state?  Will differing requirements on paid prioritization result in financial data traffic slowing down depending on which state border it crosses?

There is an irony that on a global basis, the United States is a staunch proponent of freer cross-border data flows, but would run the risk of subjecting those same data flows to a hodge-podge of regulations that create digital toll roads for financial data traffic.

The changing consumer taste in banking

What federal and state policy makers should be focusing on is ensuring the amount of bandwidth necessary for digital transmission of financial data and capital is available.  Our use of digital banking services will not be shrinking anytime soon.  MediaCom Business cited data in a blog post that 92% of millennials make their choices as to where to bank based on the digital services a bank offers.  Legacy banks hoping to compete with digital upstarts are accepting this type of demand an, as found by consulting firm Accenture, are exploring how best to integrate and deploy technology necessary for meeting this demand.

Recommendation: Seamless versus Balkanization

The supply of digital banking and payment systems services combined with increasing demand for these services means more bandwidth is needed in order to optimize the consumer experience.  State and federal policy makers can facilitate this need for increased bandwidth by focusing policy on ensuring the delivery of this infrastructure.  Coming up with 50 different rules on net neutrality is more distraction than help.

What should be spawned in next month’s NARUC meeting is a recommendation for national legislation on consumer privacy.  Consumer privacy concerns should no longer be leveraged to create 50-plus fiefdoms for net neutrality.  Transmission of information, data, and knowledge should be a seamless experience for consumer and firms that use financial technology to transmit value and capital.