Interbank Market News Scan: Is Jeff Bezos on the way to building a digital country?

27 July 2021

Links to follow

However, what fewer people are aware of is the way that the app world has transformed the forex industry. Forex trading apps have proliferated in recent years, and it’s easy to see why: these apps offer a chance to keep up to date with the latest events in the market, and make the taking of real-time trading decisions possible. https://techbullion.com/how-foreign-exchange-apps-are-changing-the-trading-industry/

Speculations about Amazon set to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment by the end of the year have been growing, following a job posting for a “Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead.” Bitcoin Prices Surge Thanks to Amazon Rumors (yahoo.com)

El Salvador is the first country to declare bitcoin legal tender. But the experiment raises big questions about what will happen next — for bitcoin and the country itself. El Salvador made bitcoin a legal currency. Now it gets interesting (cnbc.com)

Six things that happened in crypto this past week. Crypto news: bitcoin rally, Amazon digital currency expert, tether probe (cnbc.com)

The Takeaway: Is Jeff Bezos on the way to building a digital country?

There is some buzz about possible acceptance by Amazon of bitcoin as digital payment for its goods and services.  The speculation is in part a result of Amazon’s recruitment of a digital currency and blockchain product lead.  However, Amazon’s global delivery platform combined with its own digital token could take Amazon to heights higher than its New Shepard rocket.  Futures commission merchants and retail foreign exchange dealers (brokerages and brokers) should envision such a digital token as a significant future foreign exchange trade.

How soon this trade comes about depends on how quickly Amazon can design, test, and deploy a token.  I believe enough of a platform necessary for supporting a digital token is already in place.  Let us start with an important consumer item: food. 

A digital country will need a food distribution system to sustain it.  Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods in 2017 gave the company at the time of the acquisition a retail footprint and distribution network valued at $14 billion.  With its goal of being “the Earth’s most customer-centric company”, encouraging farmers and other food processing vendors to use its digital tender creates currency agents that can trade that valuable token with other commercial entities. 

In addition to food distribution, lying at the heart of the Amazon economy are the transactions conducted on its network.  Merchants of all stripes trade on Amazon’s network.  Amazon’s attempts at facilitating trade by creating an online space for vendors who would otherwise be frozen out of a traditional brick and mortar business due to costs are generating revenues for the company and enhancing its brand as merchant centric.  Like farmers and food processors, merchants who choose to use an Amazon token become currency merchants for the company by turning around and trading the tokens into consumer, other retailer, and wholesale markets.

Lastly, pushing up Amazon’s value further will be its data and information services game.  Amazon’s cloud services and its electronic devices such as Kindle and Alexa collect data and make that data available for sale.  Allowing consumers, governments, and commercial enterprises to purchase Amazon data products and output with its tender will only help increase a digital token’s value.

It is tempting to say that there is a way to go before Amazon comes up with a digital token of their own to rival bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but with technology, “long way off” is around the corner.

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.

— Alton Drew

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 26 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 1:39 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
Source: *Reuters

Interbank Market News Scan: What traders need to know about politics …

What Traders Need to Know About Politics: Capital Hates Labor

Regurgitating textbook definitions of economic growth i.e., growth in employment or gross domestic product, etc., only throws you off the mark leaving you frustrated as you ask yourself, “Why are more people being left behind while others see growth in their stock portfolios?”

Economics has never been about growth in employment. Economics is about managing capital with the appropriate amount of labor and technology such that asset values grow. It means pushing the envelope on returns to capital by raising prices so that when discounted by some rate, the present value of the asset can increase thus increasing the value of an individual’s portfolio so that they can leverage the portfolio as collateral for borrowing money at low rates and buying bonds and stocks generating a yield greater than the interest they borrowed at.

In short, today’s economics is about optimizing the carry trade.

This approach to economics was exposed in 2007 and 2008. If this growth in income and asset value (the only inflation that matters) can be achieved without hiring another soul, the wealthy would be happy.

The politician’s job is to distract the low and middle-income populace with narratives of “attacks on democracy” “diversity and inclusion” and “climate change.” Throw in “gun violence” policy and attacks on the big banks ala Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and the masses really keep their eyes off the ball.

The politicians that are shedding crocodile tears over today’s inflation figures are either ignorant as to true economics or are putting on a show scripted by their supporting political action committees in order to throw the electorate off of the scent. Needless to say, I think it is the latter.

So, when your favorite politicians are telling you that they are looking out for your economic well-being by offering you $300 tax credits and promising you that they will beat up on the banks that are raising your interest rates on the adjustable-rate mortgage you foolhardily took out or dragging supermarkets into a hearing for raising the price on your T-bone steaks, ignore them. Their job is to ensure the distraction by cheerleading the greatness of their fiscal policies that eventually result in higher taxes or their social programs purposefully designed to be effective no more than eighteen months, assuming they are effective at all….

Meanwhile, replace fluffy concepts such as “economy” and “fiscal policy.” Accept that “socialism” and “capitalism” are policy terms designed more to divide, conquer, and garner votes versus helping put food on your table. Learn to accept that “capital” despises “labor” and her goal is to exterminate you or relegate you to an Andrew Yang universal basic income scheme. Stop repeating what you’ve read in a textbook. All lies. Either you have something of high value to trade for low value currency or you don’t. That is as “economy” as you need to get.

Exchange rates of interest as of 9:52 am AST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7422
EUR/USD*1.1793
GBP/USD*1.3804
USD/CAD*1.2593
USD/CHF*0.9182
USD/JPY*110.1900
USD/XCD+2.7000
USD/NGN+409.8540
USD/MXN*19.8603
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 15 July 2021)

Effective Fed Funds Rate: 0.10%

Discount Window:  0.25%

Prime Bank Rate: 3.25%

3-month Treasury bill: 0.06%

6-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

1-year Treasury bill: 0.08%

Interbank Market News Scan: Powell to deliver testimony before Congress on monetary policy …

14 July 2021

Federal Reserve chairman today speaks on state of monetary policy.

Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell today will share with Congress his outlook on monetary policy as the United States economy continues to pull itself out of the economic doldrums imposed on it by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Mr Powell will share his observation that as the American economy continues to move toward levels of pre-pandemic economic performance, it will climb through transitory periods of inflation.  Increases in consumer prices may primarily be due to restraints on supply due in part to stressed supply chains.

Mr Powell will testify that the Federal Reserve is still focused on its long-term inflation goal of two percent.  Mr Powell will also note that asset valuations are increasing which in turn is feeding risk appetite amongst investors.  Mr Powell will also advise Congress that the Federal Reserve will continue to maintain its current policy of purchasing Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities currently amounting to $120 billion per month until labor market and other economic factors such as stable prices improve.

Mr Powell’s semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress is submitted pursuant to Section 2B of the Federal Reserve Act. The monetary policy report did not go into any detail regarding international trade or exchange rates.

For a consultation on any regulatory or legislative discussions or announcements during today’s hearing, please reach out to us at altondrew@altondrew.com to reserve an appointment.

Exchange rates of interest as of 12:15 pm AST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7478
EUR/USD*1.1819
GBP/USD*1.3879
USD/CAD*1.2454
USD/CHF*0.9163
USD/JPY*110.1200
USD/XCD+2.7000
USD/NGN+410.3770
USD/MXN*19.9560
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 13 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: 0.07%

Interbank Market News Scan: Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases consumer survey …

12 July 2021

Links to follow …

Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released the June 2021 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which shows an increase in the median inflation expectations at the short-term horizon, while inflation expectations at the medium-term horizon remained unchanged. Consumers’ Short-term Inflation, Income, and Spending Expectations Continue to Rise – FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK (newyorkfed.org)

Bank of International Settlements. “We have learnt that deep recessions, especially if accompanied by severe financial distress, may have long-lasting effects on potential output, in particular through a reduction in the speed and quality of capital increase.” — Ignazio Visco. Ignazio Visco: Introductory remarks – Annual Conference of the Global Forum on Productivity (bis.org)

Exchange rates of interest as of 1:00 am AST

Currency pairExchange rate
USD/XCDXCD 2.7000
USD/MXNMXN 19.8943
USD/JMDJMD 149.5790
USD/DOPDOP 56.5778
USD/HTGHTG 92.2640
USD/NGNNGN 409.9330
USD/GHSGHS 5.9082
USD/INRINR 74.3350
Source: OANDA

No interbank market related legal news to report …

Interbank Market News Scan as of 3:01 pm AST; foreign exchange, interbank

11 July 2021

Links to follow ….

Interbank. Biden issues executive order addressing bank mergers, competition. Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy | The White House

Foreign exchange. The first country to get hit by the pandemic has become the first global economy to stumble as the world begins to heal, pushing investors to reconsider where China fits on the old-fashioned continuum of emerging and developed markets. China’s Easing Forces Traders to Rethink How They Label Markets – Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today announced that the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) will begin gradual sales of its corporate bond holdings on July 12, 2021. The New York Fed also released an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the sales of these assets. New York Fed Announces the Start of Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility Corporate Bond Sales on July 12 – FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK

Exchange rates of interest as of 3:00 pm AST

Currency pairExchange rate
USD/XCDXCD 2.70
USD/MXNMXN 19.8440
USD/JMDJMD 149.3260
USD/DOPDOP 56.7350
USD/HTGHTG 92.2640
USD/NGNNGN 409.5000
USD/GHSGHS 5.8993
USD/INRINR 74.3350
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Libor coming to an end. China’s RMB hopes to take out the dollar …

9 July 2021

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency pairExchange rate
USD/XCDXCD 2.70
USD/MXNMXN 20.0188
USD/JMDJMD 148.6230
USD/DOPDOP 56.6164
USD/HTGHTG 92.0194
USD/NGNNGN 411.2120
USD/GHSGHS 5.9153
Source: OANDA

News links of interest …

Interbank. With the end near for the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday told banks and other financial institutions to stop using the benchmark as soon as possible and mandatorily by December 31 and move to any Alternative Reference Rates (ARR). https://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/rbi-to-banks-phase-out-libor-soon-move-to-alternative-reference-rates-121070900016_1.html

Interbank. The booming collateralized loan obligation market faces a chaotic end to 2021, when the benchmark London interbank offered rate is retired for new loan contracts. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-08/growing-clo-market-has-a-libor-transition-problem-on-horizon?sref=oriheOus Interbank. Sri Lanka’s central bank said it will dip into its foreign exchange reserves to partly repay $1 billion of bonds maturing later this month, seeking to allay investors’ concern about a possible default. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-08/sri-lanka-keeps-rate-on-hold-as-focus-shifts-to-debt-repayment?sref=oriheOus

Foreign exchange, China. The following are the central parity rates of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, against 24 major currencies announced on Friday by the China Foreign Exchange Trade System: Market exchange rates in China — July 9 – Xinhua | English.news.cn (xinhuanet.com)

Foreign exchange. Could the RMB dislodge the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Could the RMB Dislodge the Dollar As a Reserve Currency? – BRINK – Conversations and Insights on Global Business (brinknews.com)

Cryptocurrency.  Why China wants to undermine Bitcoin. Currency and control: why China wants to undermine bitcoin (msn.com)

Cryptocurrency.  The future is far from stateless. Cryptocurrencies’ dream of escaping the global financial system is crumbling | Quinn Slobodian | The Guardian

Interbank Market News Scan: Federal Reserve releases minutes; New York Fed unwinds corporate bonds.

Interbank. At the end of 2021, most term loans, lines of credit or other debt instruments with variable interest provisions tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) will need to switch to an alternative benchmark. https://www.telegraphherald.com/magazine-websites/biztimes/finance/article_eb0ab61c-9dfb-5dab-a4d8-30d4713f1c39.html

Interbank. China’s government bonds rallied, sending the benchmark 10-year yield to the lowest level since August, after the government indicated that the central bank could loosen its policy to support the economy. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-08/china-s-traders-race-to-buy-bonds-on-policy-easing-signals?sref=oriheOus

Interbank.  Here’s what went wrong with LIBOR. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-06-29/here-s-what-went-wrong-with-libor-video?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. Only half of loan investors believe their instruments have robust fallback language designed to ensure a smooth transition from the London interbank offered rate, according to a recent survey from Barclays Plc. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-25/libor-fears-persist-for-loan-market-with-six-months-to-deadline?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. A key gauge of funding conditions in Europe suggests money markets are pricing in an eventual end to the region’s unprecedented liquidity glut. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-02/europe-s-money-markets-prepare-for-world-without-unlimited-cash?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. Look for dollar strength into 2022. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-07-08/look-for-dollar-strength-into-2022-ubs-global-wm-s-schnider-video?sref=oriheOus

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.  Minutes of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee. https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/fomcminutes20210616.pdf

Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today announced that the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) will begin gradual sales of its corporate bond holdings on July 12, 2021. https://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/news/markets/2021/20210708

8 July 2021

Interbank Market News Scan: Banks as currency agents, foreign exchange, Federal Reserve

The Publisher’s Note: Banks as currency agents …

Banks should think of themselves as the private sector currency agents of the State.  The currency encapsulates the economic, commercial, and social value of a political economy.  A State-issued currency ties the State’s citizens to a particular value system while providing a mechanism that accounts for a citizen’s wealth and serves the citizen as a medium of exchange for goods and services, including the payment of taxes to the State.

Banks help distribute State-issued currency primarily through the creation of credit.  Banks are a “port of call” for currency; receiving deposits from its customers, capital from its investors, and placing State-issued Treasurys, underwritten by the central bank, into its investment portfolio.  Banks issue loans to their customers creating money in the process.  This money can be deposited at other banks or used by consumers or businesses for purchases.  The fees for financial services provided to consumers and the interest earned from lending to end users and producers provide the banks with income that, along with the income generated by businesses financed by banks, can be taxed by the State.

The fallout from the 2007-2008 financial meltdown has created a narrative that banks are entities separate from the State; private sector “bad boys” whose reckless behavior from creating financial instruments doomed to perform poorly caused people to lose jobs and credit to freeze.  The narrative had citizens questioning why these misbehaving banks received bailouts from the U.S. government while ordinary citizens had to bear the brunt of the rippling effects throughout the economy. 

The answer is simple.  Selling debt instruments and earning fees for placing these instruments into the hands of investors part of the implicit agreement between the State and the banks as currency agents.  Even as elected officials such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, argue for increased regulation of America’s larger banks, the truth of the matter is that dismantling the mechanisms of banking would be too costly to the State’s currency distribution system.  The State would have to re-write its laws to support an alternative system and for all the noise against the current system, seems to be in no rush to replace it.    

Links to follow …

Interbank. Orum, which aims to speed up the amount of time it takes to transfer money between banks, announced today it has raised $56 million in a Series B round of funding. https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/29/orum-raises-56m/

Interbank. The overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), which measures the borrowing cost of China’s interbank market, increased 38.2 basis points to 2.177 percent Wednesday. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/30/content_77597450.htm

Foreign exchange. 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/

Central banks. Investment decisions over the next three months will be influenced by forward guidance from central banks, according to global fund managers in Reuters polls who recommended increasing equity exposure and lowering bond holdings in June. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/funds-eye-central-banks-guidance-124802638.html

Central banks, Federal Reserve. “[D]eveloping a CBDC could, I believe, pose considerable risks.”—Randal Quarles. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/quarles20210628a.htm

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

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean, foreign exchange …

24 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 (1) Minimum Savings Deposit Rate2%
ECCB Discount Rate2%
Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
  • (1) Eastern Caribbean Currency Union

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Where base currency is XCDRates as of 1:15 am AST 24 June 2021Where term currency is XCDRates as of 1:30 am AST 24 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3103EUR/XCD3.2222
XCD/GBP0.2653GBP/XCD3.7689
XCD/USD0.3704USD/XCD2.7000
XCD/CAD0.4556CAD/XCD2.1946
XCD/NGN151.8860NGN/XCD0.0066
XCD/CNY2.3986CNY/XCD0.4168
XCD/PLN1.4026PLN/XCD0.7122
XCD/PEN1.4509PEN/XCD0.6771
Source: OANDA

Foreign exchange. On 26 May 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the Resolution adopted a Resolution setting out the procedure the tax authority should use to fine legal entities for violating currency legislation. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b6a6e9df-ddaa-49c7-821a-355d5b0cf097

Foreign exchange. The U.S. dollar vacillated below an 11-week high versus major peers on Thursday as traders attempted to navigate conflicting signals from Federal Reserve officials on the timing of a withdrawal of monetary stimulus. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/24/forex-markets-dollar-us-federal-reserve.html

Interbank. Flour millers in Nigeria are turning to the street market for dollars to buy wheat after the central bank restricted the use of the U.S. currency to buy grain imports, according to the country’s third-largest operator. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-23/nigeria-flour-millers-squeezed-by-central-bank-ban-on-imports?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. The overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), which measures the borrowing cost of China‘s interbank market, decreased 9.3 basis points to 2.208 percent Wednesday. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/23/content_77581796.htm Interbank. China’s central bank boosted its short-term cash injection for the first time since March as it sought to cater to a growing demand for liquidity while keeping leverage in check. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-24/china-lifts-short-term-cash-injection-for-first-time-since-march?sref=oriheOus