Interbank Market News Scan: Nothing from the European Central Bank indicates the EUR-USD won’t stay flat …

The EUR-USD market …

The EUR-USD was trading around 1.1813 about 10:00 pm EST and I read nothing out of the European Central Bank this week that could impact the interbank market today.  The most recent comments out of the ECB regarding the European economy came during a speech by Isabel Schnabel, a member of the ECB’s Executive Board.

Ms Schnabel’s general assessment was that the economy is brightening for the Euro area and although Covid-19 is resurging, consumers and businesses appear upbeat about future economic performance.  Inflation, the universal economic buzzword, is at 3% per an August print, thus exceeding the ECB’s two-percent target rate.  Inflation, according to Ms Schnabel, is likely to keep growing through the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, real interest rates in Germany remain in the negative.  The rate for the ECB deposit facility is at -.50%.  This is the policy rate at which bank excess funds are deposited overnight with the ECB.  Banks, in essence, are paying the ECB to hold their excess funds.  

Contrast the ECB rate with the overnight interbank rate (fed funds rate) of the Federal Reserve which currently has a target rate of 0 to .25%. 

Ms Schnabel warned against premature tightening of rates.  She noted that while inflation may increase through the rest of the year, it may abate around the beginning of 2022.  She also cautioned that while inflation appears high, the economy is coming off of a pandemic-induced slow down and in real terms inflation is still low.

Ms Schnabel was kind enough not to use the word, “transitory.”

Otherwise, the ECB so far has been mum. So has the Federal Reserve as it gets ready for its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on September 22-23.  

Ms Schnabel’s comments also did not veer off from last week’s monetary policy decision to maintain the ECB’s €20 billion in monthly asset purchases while modifying the pace at which the ECB would make asset purchases.

Data from OANDA has the EUR-USD flat lining since 14 September but also reflecting a slight raise in the exchange rate since Ms Schnabel’s speech. While I do not expect the rate to fall below 1.1800, I don’t see an argument for now as to why the exchange rate will not continue to fall below 1.1800 by month’s end.  Like everyone else, I do not have a crystal ball.

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Interbank Market News Scan: I expect that the GBP-USD will continue inching up

As of 10:03 am EST, I haven’t seen any news out of the Bank of England discussing modifications to findings in its August monetary policy report.  The current bank rate set by the Bank of England is 0.1% with a target rate of inflation at 2.0%.  The Bank of England currently purchases GBP895 million in government bonds in an attempt to keep borrowing rates low for consumers and businesses. 

The Bank of England expects inflation to continue rising over the Bank’s current 2.0% target for the next two years before falling back to the target.

OANDA reports a .41% increase in the GBP-USD exchange rate between 30 August and 7 September with an exchange rate of 1.3839 as of 10:03 am EST.  As of 10:17 am EST, Reuters reports an exchange rate of 1.3780 while Bloomberg reports an exchange rate of 1.3787.

There is a hearing scheduled at 11:00 am EST on 8 September 2021 to discuss the Bank of England’s August monetary policy report.  The London market closes today at 11:30 am EST.    

Alton Drew

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Interbank Market News Scan: China tightens regulations on foreign exchange market….

5 September 2021

Interbank. Chinese officials to tighten foreign exchange market supervision. https://www.forexlive.com/centralbank/!/chinese-officials-to-tighten-foreign-exchange-market-supervision-20210905

Interbank. Nigeria. Naira. Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Dr Obadaiah Melafia weekend attributed the dip of the naira in the foreign exchange market to the bad policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the tensions across the country. “Nigeria is a failed state.” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/09/dip-of-naira-in-foreign-exchange-market-due-to-buharis-bad-policies-mailafia-alleges/

Interbank. Forex. So what fundamentals are impacting the foreign exchange markets? https://finance.yahoo.com/news/introduction-major-fundamental-influences-forex-080046373.html

Interbank. India. India’s management of foreign exchange reserves results in supporting 18 months of imports. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/management-of-foreign-exchange-reserves-1026066.html

Interbank. Russia. Russia’s central bank provides alternative economic forecast for the next 18 months; one of a severe down-turn vs. moderate inflation. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/09/03/world-economy-could-face-2008-meltdown-russias-central-bank-warns-a74962

Interbank. Brazil. Digital real. The Central Bank of Brazil is still studying the creation of a Digital Real, according to statements given by Fabio Araujo, a representative of the institution. https://news.bitcoin.com/central-bank-of-brazil-researches-creation-of-digital-real/

Interbank. Dollar Index. As of 10:33 pm EST, the Yahoo Market Watch Dollar Index was at 92.16. https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/index/dxy/charts?mod=mw_quote_tab

Central bank decisions as of 5 September 2021, 11:25 pm EST

AUD/USD 0.7437

As of 11:01 pm EST, no Reserve Bank of Australia decisions impacting rates.

NZD/USD 0.7137

As of 11:13 pm EST, no Reserve Bank of New Zealand decisions impacting rates.

USD/JPY 109.8100

As of 11:20 pm EST, no Bank of Japan decisions impacting rates.

USD/CNY

As of 11:24 pm EST, no People’s Bank of China decisions impacting rates.

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.

Please support my efforts by making a donation via PayPal or visiting our advertisers.

Alton Drew

Interbank Market News Scan: Dollar, yuan see similar price increases in terms of Asian currencies. Euro has to play catch up.

25 August 2021

As US Vice-President Kamala Harris wraps up her Asia tour this week, I was curious to see how currency prices have moved since the Biden-Harris administration took office on 20 January 2021.  I see a battle for currency preference between the United States, the Eurozone, and China and so far, seven months into the Biden-Harris administration, the Eurozone is being left behind.

Where the dollar, the yuan, and the euro are priced in terms of the ringgit, Indian rupee, and the yen, the yuan has seen the greatest price increase since 20 January 2021.  For example, during the period 20 January 2021 to 25 August 2021, USD/JPY increased 6%; USD/MYR increased 4%, and the USD/INR increased 1.8% for an average of 3.93%.

During the same period, the CNY/JPY increased 6%; CNY/MYR increased 14%; and the CNY/INR increased 1.6% for an average of 7.2%.

Meanwhile, the euro got the least love with EUR/JPY increasing 2.9%; EUR/MYR relatively flat at 0.008%; and EUR/INR decreasing by 1.29%.  Using this bucket of Asian currencies, average euro increase is around .54%

In the immediate run, I don’t see dollar or euro prices in terms of the ringgit, yen, or Indian rupee increasing especially if Asian economies are somehow able to increase their respective economies productive capacities and increase trade with each other, taking advantage of their resource-rich environments.  The Harris-Biden administration’s fall in polling numbers as a result of perceived mismanagement of American withdrawal from Afghanistan and less than stellar campaign to get more of the American population vaccinated may likely weigh on the effectiveness of Ms Harris’ attempt to garner strategic trading partners in the region.  

Alton Drew

 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.

 Foreign exchange rates of interest as of 10:20 am EST

Currency PairFederal ReserveReuters
AUS/USD0.71330.7254
USD/BRL5.39905.2419
USD/CAD1.28531.2623
USD/CNY6.50126.4771
USD/DKK6.36126.3337
EUR/USD1.16901.1739
USD/HKD7.78977.7840
USD/INR74.350074.2250
USD/JPY109.7700109.9300
NZD/USD0.68300.6949
USD/MYR4.23854.2020
Sources: Federal Reserve, Reuters

Interbank Market News Scan: Waiting for Jackson Hole while Kamala Harris attempts to keep the US out of a global trading hole.

24 August 2021

The Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, is set to begin on 26 August 2021 with oral and written presentations focused on macroeconomic policy in an uneven economy.  Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell will make a presentation on 27 August.

Since the Federal Reserve released its minutes of the 27-28 July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the biggest buzz has been speculation s to when the Federal Reserve would begin easing back on its $120 billion per month purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasury securities.  These purchases have been instrumental in keeping interest rates low during the Covid-19 pandemic with the intent of spurring business spending and investment, sustaining consumer demand, and maintaining certainty in the financial markets.

The minutes from the FOMC meeting has hinted at a possibility of Fed asset purchases tapering off as early as the end of this year and upward pressure on interest rates, especially in the longer-term range, is expected.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris today heads to Vietnam as part of the second leg of a four-day tour of Asia.  Ms Harris’ primary mission appears to include not only the building of relationships with certain Asian countries, but to let Asian countries know that they have an economic partner alternative to China.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative throughout Asia as well as its claims on the South China Sea through which trillions in dollars of commercial trade passes through poses an economic threat to the United States.  Unless the US can pose itself as a reliable economic trading partner to Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan, amongst other nations, then the United States may be locked out of the Asian markets or forced to buy and sell goods and services in the region on onerous terms.

Ms Harris has been making the argument that China’s efforts in the South China Sea are illegal under international law.

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.

Foreign exchange rates of interest as of 9:00 am EST

Currency PairFederal ReserveReutersOANDA
AUS/USD0.71330.72430.7184
USD/BRL5.39905.37895.3793
USD/CAD1.28531.26181.2718
USD/CNY6.50126.47726.4833
USD/DKK6.36126.33596.3399
EUR/USD1.16901.17351.1728
USD/HKD7.78977.78787.7912
USD/INR74.190074.194074.0634
USD/JPY109.7700109.6700109.8400
NZD/USD0.68300.69490.6867
USD/MYR4.23854.21704.2265
Source: Federal Reserve, Reuters, OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: As Afghanistan transitions, currency traders should wait for dust to settle in light of China’s influence …

15 August 2021

Currency pairExchange rate10-year yield, government securities
AFN/CNY0.07982.88
AFN/USD0.012331.28
Source: OANDA

The transition of political power occurring in Afghanistan today should have traders and brokers asking about the currency trade opportunities under a Taliban-led Afghanistan.  The price of the Afghani has been falling in both US dollars and Chinese renminbi over the last 90 days.  I suspect as Afghanistan moves through its transition over the next 48 hours that western investors will wait for the dust to settle on where yields Afghani-denominated securities will fall out.

After two decades in Afghanistan, the lightening quick deterioration in the ability of the government to maintain control of its territory speaks negatively about the United States as a stabilizing force in the region.  That accolade right now may belong more in China’s court than the U.S.  China has stayed engaged with Afghanistan primarily due to three concerns.

First, the protection of small and medium sized Chinese enterprises in Afghanistan; second, to stop the training of Uygur supporting insurgents from an area of Afghanistan that lies along China’s western border; and third, to maintain a vital component of its Belt and Road Initiative, a policy of transportation and communications infrastructure that facilitates the transfer of resources to China.

China is Afghanistan’s largest investor, having provided Afghanistan with telecom equipment and other telecom infrastructure.  China extracts oil in the Amu Daya basin, and also mines lithium and copper, both essential to providing telecommunications equipment and facilities.

Geographically, Afghanistan provides China with the shortest route between China, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea, important for cost effective movement of trade.

And because China has shown no interest in “rebuilding Afghanistan”, including altering its political, social, or ideological institutions, it has been able to maintain a dialogue with the Taliban, important now more than ever as Afghanistan sees a change in leadership.

The takeaway:  Traders should monitor the developing government relationships and take note of relative changes in income, prices, commodity availability, and interest rates.

Alton Drew

Sources:

OANDA

China to ‘capitalise’ on West’s Taliban failure as US geopolitical power diminished | World | News | Express.co.uk 

Why China and Russia might find common security ground in Afghanistan | South China Morning Post (scmp.com)

Slowly but surely, China is moving into Afghanistan (trtworld.com)

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: The Fed speak not providing much to shift foreign exchange markets …

A Bloomberg interview with Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president Robert Kaplan along with remarks by Federal Reserve Board vice-chair Richard Clarida and Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Raphael Bostick did not provide much information to attribute to any shifts in the foreign exchange markets. 

In a 9 August 2021 interview with Bloomberg, Mr Kaplan expressed confidence about where the fed funds rate, the overnight rate for loans between Fed member banks, stood.  The current target range of the fed funds rate is between 0 and .25%. 

Mr Kaplan expressed caution that the fed funds rate and the effects of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve be looked at separately.  Currently the Federal Reserve is purchasing $120 billion a month of US Treasury securities and agency-backed securities as part of a strategy to keep liquidity in the credit markets while keeping borrowing rates low.  The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy is designed to add fuel to U.S. economic growth by making lower cost credit available to businesses.    

In remarks made the following day, Federal Reserve vice-chair Clarida noted that the U.S. was out of the recession precipitated by government lock down of the economy in March 2020.  He expects the economy to continue its expansion through next year while cautioning that growth will be tempered by a variant of the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic.  Vice-chairman Clarida does see unemployment continuing to fall through 2023 along with inflation which he forecasts to be around 2.2% in 2022 and 2023.

The Federal Reserve is today following a flexible rate policy that will allow the economy to run periodically over its inflation target of 2%.  Dallas Fed president Kaplan did note that businesses are expecting to raise prices, in line with Federal Reserve forecasts on inflation.  Mr Kaplan also noted that there was an active debate regarding when the Federal Reserve would start cutting back on its monthly $120 billion a month asset purchases. Mr Kaplan also believes that adjusting asset purchases now would put less pressure on the fed funds rate.

As Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Bostick shared today, the two percent inflation target number is thought by the Federal Reserve to be the appropriate numerical goal to mitigate the risks of deflation.  The rate, as a pre-condition to a healthy economy, is seen as appropriate in assisting households protect themselves from any changes in purchasing power.

The takeaway for traders is that sluggish growth in the US in 2022 and 2023 may result in tempered appreciation of the dollar’s value in those years.  So far, the Federal Reserve is seeing little change in relative income or price changes.  Nor does the Federal Reserve seem to signaling much in relative interest changes, at least in the short to intermediate term.  

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: Reserve Bank of Australia expects upward path on interest rates …

9 August 2021, 9:25 pm EST

AUD/USD

No reports today hinting at any changes in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to reduce weekly bond purchases from AUD5 billion to AUD4 billion.  This contraction in economic stimulus comes as Sydney, Australia’s largest city, and Melbourne have entered lockdowns. The delta variant outbreak is viewed by some as so serious that calls for steel fabricated rings be placed around the city of Melbourne, for example.

The RBA notes that Australia’s move toward economic recovery has been stymied by the delta outbreak.  In its August 2021 Statement on Monetary Policy, the RBA found that, “The near-term outlook is highly uncertain and dependent on health outcomes. Further large outbreaks are possible, but the need for extended lockdowns should diminish as vaccination coverage increases.  The longer the lockdowns continue, however, the more likely it is that jobs are lost.”

The RBA expects recent lockdowns to be less onerous on the economy when compared to lockdowns in the first half of last year.  This is because businesses have adjusted their models to compensate for changes in consumption.

Consumer price index (CPI) inflation was measured at 3.8% last June due in part to reversals in declining prices as the economy started an upward climb.  When volatile items such as petrol, fruits and vegetables are removed from the estimate, inflation was around 1.75%.

The RBA reported strengthening exports with increases in prices for its commodities.  The RBA noted that the AUD continues to depreciate in spite of high prices.  The RBA describes yields and spreads on corporate bonds and interest rates as low.

The RBA expects interest rates to continue on an upward path for advanced economies given bottlenecks in supply chains and rapid re-openings.  Interestingly, the RBA did not specify that such increases would happen in the Australian economy.

On the other hand, Australia may see increases in interest rates as it tapers its bond purchases.

As of 5 August, the yield on the Australian government 2-year bond was .03%.  Bloomberg reports two-year yields on U.S. Treasuries at 0.21%. As of 9:21 pm EST, Reuters reports the AUD/USD exchange rate at 0.7330 USD.

Alton Drew

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: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

30 July 2021

The Takeaway: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

The past couple posts I have been harping on whether Amazon or Facebook can create a viable digital nation-state.  Right now, I am putting Amazon in lead, but if Facebook can create a more viable transactions-based economy rather than relying on being a pure private data aggregator and reseller, then Facebook may have the potential in the longer run to rival Amazon.

For now, occupants of the digital world are not placing any crypto-monetary value on fiat currencies.  I don’t see this no-value perspective changing any time soon on the part of digital world residents.  For example, according to OANDA data from twelve months ago, USD/ETH was priced at .0031.  Today, the price of USD/ETH is at .0004.  I believe the more closed-loop the digital world can remain, the less the digital world’s demand for fiat currency. 

Holders of cryptocurrency are still interested in holding crypto as an asset versus a medium of exchange for trade even though the rhetoric is quick to describe crypto as a payment system as well. Examples of commercial entities accepting crypto as payment should be discounted by the preference for holding crypto as an asset versus medium of exchange.

On the other hand, I am mindful that on a global basis crypto as a medium of exchange is creeping into consumer mindset with El Salvador’s decision to accept crypto as legal tender.  It is way too early to tell what degree of success crypto will see in the Central American nation.  In the meantime, public policy in the United States is to treat cryptocurrency as a digital asset and until the time comes where legacy nation-states view the digital world as a trade partner, USD/ETH and USD/BTC will be priced at zero for a while.

Alton Drew

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.

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 29 July 2021)

Effective Fed Funds Rate: 0.10%

Discount Window:  0.25%

Prime Bank Rate: 3.25%

3-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

6-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

1-year Treasury bill: 0.07%

Prices

Exchange rates of interest as of 9:49 am EST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7371
EUR/USD*1.1884
GBP/USD*1.3965
USD/CAD*1.2434
USD/CHF*0.9061
USD/JPY*109.6500
USD/MXN*19.8480
USD/BTC+0.0000
USD/ETH+0.0004
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: How close is Facebook to becoming a digital nation-state?

The Takeaway: Brokers and traders should pay close attention to how Facebook addresses regulation of Diem

Yesterday I shared some insights about Amazon’s potential for building a digital nation based on the creation of its own digital token.  The company signaled efforts in this area by announcing a search for staff with experience in creating digital currency.  Writing about their efforts naturally led me to thinking about the efforts of another large platform manager, Facebook.

Given over 2 billion subscribers to Facebook’s platform and millions of daily users, The Menlo Park, California-based company seems like another likely candidate for “digital nation” status.  Arguably it is ahead of Amazon in the creation of its own digital currency, the Diem.  But is it ahead of Amazon when it comes to putting in place the transactional environment necessary for a “digital country?”

Facebook’s purported mission, according to its annual report, is to “give people the power to build community and to bring the world closer together.”  Facebook generates almost all of its revenues from advertisement and while it considers Amazon a competitor in the advertisement space, Facebook has not invested in transportation, storage, or distribution systems for goods and services or subscriber content production.  In my opinion, these channels have boosted Amazon’s value as an issuer of digital coins because they represent the underpinnings of a transactional environment.  Transactions are the underpinnings of growth in output and income and while there are notices of items for sale in numerous Facebook groups and advertisement appearing on users’ profiles, Facebook is more of a personal data aggregator than it is a market for trade.

Lastly, what also works against Facebook is its history of data privacy breaches.  Both aisles of Congress have come down on Facebook for its lack of transparency in notifying its subscribers as to how the company uses consumer data.  These privacy concerns have also leaked into Congress’ assessment of how the company’s proposed digital currency would be incorporated into any potential data grabbing strategies.

I believe what is more important to Congress than its rhetoric about consumer protection and privacy is how a digital currency provided by a behemoth digital platform could challenge the United States’ ability as a tax and customs jurisdiction.  Should a significant number of miners, farmers, merchants, and other business entities start using Facebook’s digital currency to exchange among themselves and with Facebook’s end user subscribers, Facebook becomes a new nation-state.

Facebook hopes to have Diem launched by the end of 2021.  What impact the current variation in the corona virus and the ensuing Covid disease will have on deployment is unknown.  Right now, speculators and broker/dealers may not have Diem on their radar, but they should, like Amazon, prepare for a large platform issuing its currency and also determine how Diem should be valued.

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.

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 27 July 2021)

Effective Fed Funds Rate: 0.10%

Discount Window:  0.25%

Prime Bank Rate: 3.25%

3-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

6-month Treasury bill: 0.06%

1-year Treasury bill: 0.08%

Prices

Exchange rates of interest as of 9:02 am EST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7381
EUR/USD*1.1802
GBP/USD*1.3826
USD/CAD*1.2543
USD/CHF*0.9162
USD/JPY*110.1800
USD/MXN*20.0290
USD/BTC+0.0000
USD/ETH+0.0005

Sources: *Reuters +OANDA