Foreign exchange rates of interest to the Caribbean as of 8:40 am AST

EUR/USD=1.13241

GBP/USD=1.35801

USD/CAD=1.27485

USD/MXN=20.3133

USD/BSD=1.000

USD/HTG=103.034

USD/DOP=55.9896

USD/JMD=154.514

USD/XCD=2.70

USD/BBD=2.00

USD/TTD=6.66109

USD/GYD=200.694

USD/VEF=438,256

Source: OANDA

Realizing that we are not American is the first step toward USVI integration into the Caribbean …

Commentary

One day while heading out of my apartment on an errand, I met a young lady seemingly out on a walk for exercise. We exchanged pleasantries and inquired about where we were both from.  She said she was from Guyana. I told her I was from the Virgin Islands.  She replied, “But you guys aren’t Caribbean.”  She was taken aback by my indignation. “Of course, we’re Caribbean!”, I said.  She quickly headed on her way with the clear message that I was insulted.  This was many years ago. After a couple decades of mellowing out (although I refuse to apologize for any passion I express regarding politics), I can see why West Indians, especially those residing in independent Caribbean island-nations, would take the position that the U.S. Virgin Islands is more American colony than Caribbean.

 All one has to do is to follow residents of the USVI on social media to realize how immersed Virgin Islanders are in American society and politics.  From American football (full disclosure. I am a 50-year Dallas Cowboys fan), baseball (you are either a Yankees or Dodgers fan), and partisan politics, Virgin Islanders have an opinion on all things American.  Peruse the local print media and you’d swear the rest of the West Indies did not exist, even with a significant portion of the territory’s population either hailing from or directly descended from parents who were born on other islands.

Virgin Islanders are not the only West Indians suffering from cultural cognitive dissonance. The people of Barbados have always been viewed as being more British than the British.  Guadeloupe is a French department, fully incorporated into France. You are in France when you visit Guadeloupe.  The British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are still crown colonies of Great Britain. But just because other territories may suffer from dependency and cognitive dissonance issues doesn’t mean the Virgin Islands has to marinate in that infirmity.  Snapping ourselves out of this malaise is increasingly imperative given the cultural shifts I am seeing in the United States.

America is a divided nation.  According to data from Pew Research, approximately 77% of Americans believe the United States is more divided now than it was prior to the outbreak.  At the core of this division are differences over ideology, race, and religion.  The American Democratic Party is seen as tending toward more progressive or liberal views on ideology, race, and religion.  While the Democratic Party itself has its underlying fissures led by its distinct internal factions, its prevailing narrative is based on responsible and increasingly regulated capitalism, voting rights reform, racial equity and equality, and religious tolerance.  The Virgin Islands political landscape is dominated by the local Democratic Party, but other than the moniker “Democratic”, that is about where any serious similarities end.

The non-relatability of the vast majority of Virgin Islanders to the Republican Party is understandable.  I am to this today amazed that the Republican Party still exists in the USVI.  The narrative they have been painted with by the left—that they are racist and support corporate greed—has seeped in to the sub-conscious of a Virgin Islands with a population that is 79% Afro-Caribbean and is not a haven (yet) for corporate activity that has positively impacted USVI residents.

But the notion that USVI residents should latch on to the national Democratic Party is also puzzling. Having observed the national Democratic Party up close and personal here on the mainland, I can tell you that the national party and its ideology has nothing in common with the mores of the people of the USVI.  Virgin Islanders are, again, majority Afro peoples; they are religiously conservative; and, ironically, vehemently opposed to wasteful government spending, especially where benefits are not apparently flowing to the population. “Where deh money?” is still a refrain in VI politics, and vehemently so given the territory’s small and intimate population.

This unfounded allegiance, I believe, stems from the USVI not only appreciating its place in the Caribbean, but failing to establish a national identity of its own.  Since the territory officially transitioned on 31 March 1917 from the Danish West Indies to the Virgin Islands of the United States, it has gradually pursued Americanism.  As American ascendancy increased seemingly exponentially from World War I into the late 1960s, the Virgin Islands rode that wave.  Virgin Islanders, especially older ones, fail to see that the wave has long crested and that America’s place in the world is under severe challenge. 

The notion of democracy itself is under challenge globally.  China’s ascendance adds to skepticism that democracy must accompany capitalism in order for an economy to grow.  In addition, the likelihood of China and Russia aligning to create and deploy their own communications system for moving capital and currency is increasing.  And even in the Virgin Islands own Caribbean backyard, the idea of regional economic integration is moving from the backburner to the oven.

The Virgin Islands cannot take advantage of the shift in global economic, social, and cultural attitudes if it insists on maintaining ties with a giant sitting on its laurels.  The United States will be forced into isolationism either by its own choice or when the rest of the globe turns its back on America.  When that happens, it will be forced to cut costs and a territory that does not bring the US tax revenues and is no longer needed as a military deterrent to World War II German submarines will be on the chopping block.

To prepare for what I see as inevitable, the Virgin Islands of the United States will have to look within, create a national identity narrative, and use its labor talent and natural resources, and go its own way.  There is a waiting Caribbean region for us to integrate into.

Alton Drew

21.02.2022         

Interbank Market News Scan: Foreign exchange rates of interest to Atlanta’s immigrant community as of 7:50 am EDT…

Business News

EUR/USD=1.13649

GBP/USD=1.36048

USD/CAD=1.27003

USD/INR=74.9424

USD/NGN=415.459

USD/GHS=6.44983

USD/DOP=56.2751

USD/JMD=155.493

USD/GYD=200.426

USD/TTD=6.65983

USD/XCD=2.70

USD/BTC=0.00002

USD/ETH=0.00033

Source: OANDA

Dollar Index=95.81

Source: MarketWatch

What could bitcoin represent to the Eastern Caribbean trader? Actual underlying trust and societal efficiencies …

If I traded a bitcoin for an Eastern Caribbean dollar, I would receive, according to data from OANDA, EC118,665. (Forgive me for using “EC” versus “XCD”. I am old school). If I then attempt to transact business in the United States or Europe, what could that bitcoin buy for me?

According to the website Decrypt, there are a growing number of vendors that accept bitcoin in exchange for their products. The categories include:

Used automobiles;

Private aircraft;

Houses;

Real estate investment trusts;

High-fashion clothing;

Restaurant food;

Virtual private networks and web services;

Booking hotels and flights; or

Commodities (gold, silver, platinum, etc.).

To profit from the aforementioned trade, I would wish to purchase goods and services that I would not be able to get in the Eastern Caribbean; purchase items at a cost lower than what I would face in the Eastern Caribbean; or, at the end of the day, convert that bitcoin into EC greater than EC118,665.

More importantly, as an independent trader, I could finance directly trade that I enter into with vendors in countries that accept bitcoin as legal tender, such as El Salvador. Rather than going to a bank and converting my EC for El Salvador’s colon, I could pay an El Salvador vendor directly with bitcoin, the country’s other legal tender.

Bitcoin could represent greater efficiency in trade between countries by turning a trader with the financial wherewithal into a “mini-bank.” The value of the currency he uses for trade, bitcoin or some other crypto, would be based on the underlying value of his services, goods, or knowledge, rather than on the general good faith and trust underlying fiat currencies. Blockchain ledger characteristics aside, a cryptocurrency capturing the trader’s reputation, insights, knowledge would go a much longer way with me where I can put together and engage with my own mini-community of traders in the goods and services I listed above. I could put together a community of actual producers and deal efficiently and directly with them, cutting out unnecessary middlemen along the way.

Could society benefit from such direct-financed trade? I think yes, particularly where cost savings flow to retailers and end-users. Eastern Caribbean traders should explore this model.

Alton Drew

02.17.2022

Foreign exchange rates of interest to Atlanta’s immigrant community as 6:44 am EDT …

EUR/USD=1.13684

GBP/USD=1.35643

USD/MXN=20.3469

USD/GTQ=7.52098

USD/NGN=415.318

USD/GHS=6.47201

USD/INR=74.9746

USD/XCD=2.70

USD/DOP=56.479

USD/JMD=155.725

USD/GYD=200.6

USD/BTC=0.00002

USD/ETH=0.00032

Source: OANDA

Dollar Index=95.81

Source: MarketWatch

Foreign exchange rates of interest to Atlanta’s Caribbean community as of 7:48 am EDT …

EUR/USD=1.13392

GBP/USD=1.35376

USD/CAD=1.27315

USD/TTD=6.67034

USD/JMD=155.736

USD/GYD=200.632

USD/DOP=56.6531

USD/XCD=2.70

USD/BTC=0.00002

USD/ETH=0.00033

Source: OANDA

Dollar Index=95.87

Source: MarketWatch

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean, foreign exchange …

2 July 2021

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Where base currency is XCDRates as of 9:30 am AST 2 July 2021Where term currency is XCDRates as of 9:30 am AST 2 July 2021
XCD/EUR0.3125EUR/XCD3.2000
XCD/GBP0.2686GBP/XCD3.7231
XCD/USD0.3704USD/XCD2.7000
XCD/CAD0.4596CAD/XCD2.1754
XCD/NGN152.1010NGN/XCD0.0066
XCD/CNY2.3938CNY/XCD0.4174
XCD/PLN1.4111PLN/XCD0.7081
XCD/PEN1.4229PEN/XCD0.6963
Source: OANDA

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 Minimum Savings Deposit Rate2%
ECCB Discount Rate2%
Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

Links to follow …

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) recorded a net profit of $25.2 million for the year ended 31 March 2021, a 60.1 per cent decrease from the profit reported in the prior year. https://www.eccb-centralbank.org/news/view/eccb-records-profit-for-financial-year-2020-2021

European Central Bank. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) today published a joint report that takes a closer look at how a broadened set of climate change drivers affects millions of global firms and thousands of financial firms in the European Union (EU). https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2021/html/ecb.pr210701~8fe34bbe8e.en.html

Interbank. The yuan’s share of the world’s central banks’ reserves is at 2.45%. https://illinoisnewstoday.com/chinese-yuan-share-of-world-foreign-exchange-reserves-hits-new-highs/279603/

Interbank. 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/

Interbank Market News Scan: The Caribbean, foreign exchange …

25 June 2021

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 Minimum Savings Deposit Rate2%
ECCB Discount Rate2%
Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

*Eastern Caribbean Currency Union

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Where base currency is XCDRates as of 1:03 am AST 25 June 2021Where term currency is XCDRates as of 1:03 am AST 25 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3104EUR/XCD3.2216
XCD/GBP0.2657GBP/XCD3.7634
XCD/USD0.3704USD/XCD2.7000
XCD/CAD0.4559CAD/XCD2.1932
XCD/NGN152.1620NGN/XCD0.0066
XCD/CNY2.3963CNY/XCD0.4169
XCD/PLN1.4038PLN/XCD0.7118
XCD/PEN1.4613PEN/XCD0.6723
Source: OANDA

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.  The Eastern Caribbean Partial Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECPCGC) announces two new products aimed at helping regional Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) rebound and grow their businesses. https://www.eccb-centralbank.org/news/view/ecpcgc-offers-additional-products-to-help-small-businesses

Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday released the results of its annual bank stress tests, which showed that large banks continue to have strong capital levels and could continue lending to households and businesses during a severe recession. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/bcreg20210624a.htm

Foreign exchange. Chinese banks’ stockpile of foreign-currency deposits has surpassed $1 trillion for the first time, creating an opportunity for Beijing to allow greater freedom for capital to flow out of the country. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-24/chinese-banks-stockpile-record-1-trillion-of-foreign-currencies?sref=oriheOus

Foreign exchange. The EU is unlikely to grant U.K.-based financial firms automatic market access in all areas post-Brexit, according to a top British minister. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-24/u-k-says-equivalence-with-eu-unlikely-in-all-areas-of-finance?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. China’s interbank treasury bond index in net price opened at 985.08 points Friday, higher than the previous close of 984.84 points, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/25/content_77586945.htm