As Africa embarks on a new trade bloc, time to take closer look at its currencies …

PairsOANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 5 January 2021Notes
USD/KES108.391108.391Dollar weakening
USD/NGN384.938384.938Dollar strengthening
USD/GHS5.85245.85238Dollar weakening
USD/CDF1950.611950.61Dollar flat
USD/AOA648.310648.310Dollar weakening
USD/ZAR14.630914.6309Dollar flat
Source: OANDA

Political/Regulatory/Legal News Impacting US-Africa Foreign Exchange Pairs

No information to share at this time

As of 9:59 an AST, foreign exchange in holding pattern as the United States watches the U.S. senate run-offs in Georgia

PairsFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 5 January 2021
GBP/USD1.36621.36331.36329
USD/CAD1.27531.27261.27260
USD/CNH6.52506.45526.45524
USD/DKK6.08396.06576.06566
EUR/USD1.22301.22641.22636
USD/INR73.010072.936772.9367
USD/MXN19.892019.838219.8382
USD/JPY103.1900103.02103.02
USD/NOK8.57578.53008.53002
USD/SEK8.20958.20918.20912
USD/CHF0.88410.88150.88150
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, OANDA

Regulatory news impacting foreign exchange

None at this time…

A quick thought: Quieted by a 50-50 Senate split …

“A 50-50 split in the Senate with a reduced Democratic majority in the House not only puts the GOP back into their familiar position as “obstructionist”, but gives Biden-Harris some cover to not present as progressive an agenda as the Far Left would like to see. Centrist and center-right senators like Angus King, Susan Collins, Rand Paul, and Joe Manchin will take more of the spotlight.

Mitch McConnell will still play the “parliamentarian” role, using Senate rules to delay floor debates, filibuster, or, if he is lucky, table certain items.

The last thing Kamala Harris will want, as president of the Senate, is the optics of having to do a yay or nay on any progressive legislation. She’d rather Collins, Paul, and Company head off any controversial bills before they hit the floor for a vote. She can’t afford to enter the 2024 presidential race inaccurately labeled a progressive.

Commodity, currency, and energy traders may get over their initial nervousness about the volatility a liberal Congress may introduce when they realize that the “adults” are finally in charge … 

Opinion: Black Americans and Bitcoin. Playing it Wrong from the Beginning and How to Play it Right Now

A few years ago, I saw a number of Black Americans on Facebook touting bitcoin as the path to wealth. What bothered me that in all the hype being expressed that there was nary a discussion on what currency actual meant. No discussion as to the economics. No discussion as to the political-economic philosophy that undergirds a currency. 2017 saw the bitcoin bubble burst and the chit chat by those same Black Americans faded away like the unrealized gains they promoted.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been touted by some proponents as the way to introduce underbanked or unbanked minorities into the credit system. Some Black Americans may have bought into this although the leading Black advocate organizations i.e. National Urban League, NAACP, Color of Change, Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council, to name a few, have been relatively silent on the benefits of crypto as a banking and payment system. No surprise their since when it comes to technology, Blacks have consistently taken a consumer position versus a producer position. And given that these legacy organizations are lead by the older generation, leadership’s inability to wrap its head around the true underlying economic benefits of cryptocurrency is a direct result of leadership being out of step with technology overall and how technology lies at the core of America’s economic exceptionalism.

In addition to consumerism, Black Americans still emphasize allegiance to the American political economy instead of a more skeptic, independent view of it. Again, its current leadership emphasizes inclusion and diversity as benefits without discussing its costs: that not everyone will benefit from such an approach. A truly inclusive approach to the political economy would be one where Black Americans view themselves not as a community, but as a nation within an American confederation. The advantage of that approach, a national approach, would require that Black Americans re-evaluate the meaning of economic value and the technology or mechanisms for capturing, storing, expressing, and transporting that economic value, particularly in a digital age. Cryptocurrency can be a vehicle for capturing, storing, expressing, and transporting Black economic value.

The upfront work will be the hardest, that being to identify and “mine” that value and quantifying it into a digital asset like cryptocurrency. But by doing so, by tying it to a Black economic engine, Black Americans can provide a blueprint for moving cryptocurrency from merely a speculative commodity to a true currency that can be used in the mainstream to buy and sell any and all goods. Unless crypto can demonstrate its utility in trade, then Nouriel Roubini’s description of cryptocurrency as shit coins will take hold as truly appropriate by most observers. Creating that value means taking a “nationhood” approach. It means connecting all productive assets within Black America to its current banking assets, identifying the economic value within Black America, issuing coin based on that value, ane getting members of its community to buy off on that value.

There are legal and regulatory hurdles, but the biggest hurdle will be cultural and societal. Black Americans will have to take a more courageous approach to Black economic viability and sustainability. The current political-economic structure has failed them and it will be up to Blacks on their own to reimagine the production and distribution of economic value within their communities.

As of 10:27 am AST, cryptocurrency prices hours before the New Year ….

PairsBTCETH
 BTC/USD=28124.40ETH/USD=733.872
 BTC/EUR=22,895.20ETH/EUR=597.422
 BTC/JPY=2,903,660ETH/JPY=75,767.30
 BTC/CNH=183,043ETH/CNH=4,776.27
 BTC/DKK=170,321ETH/DKK=4444.31
 BTC/CHF=24,829.20ETH/CHF=647.888
 BTC/GBP=20,711.40ETH/GBP=540.437
Source: OANDA

Legal Events Impacting Trade in Cryptocurrency/Digital Assets

None to report.

As of 9:57 am AST, foreign exchange rates show dollar weakness for certain currencies over last eight days.

PairsFederal Reserve as of 23 December 2020OANDA as of 23 December 2020OANDA as of 31 December 2020
GBP/USD1.35101.34491.35772
USD/CAD1.28411.28721.27812
USD/CNH6.54006.53236.50832
USD/DKK6.09896.10316.05598
EUR/USD1.21941.21851.22824
USD/INR73.770073.731673.1525
USD/MXN20.080020.087819.8843
USD/JPY103.5200103.50103.24
USD/NOK8.63078.68868.56439
USD/SEK8.28418.30368.18564
USD/CHF.8882.8886.88284
Source: OANDA, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

Legal Events Impacting Pricing of or Ability to Enter Foreign Exchange Markets

No events to report

As of 3:24 pm AST, foreign exchange rate movement in a wait and see pandemic relief environment of the US Senate

PairsFederal Reserve as of 23 December 2020OANDA as of 23 December 2020OANDA as of 29 December 2020
GBP/USD1.35101.34491.35070
USD/CAD1.28411.28721.28431
USD/CNH6.54006.53236.52721
USD/DKK6.09896.10316.08792
EUR/USD1.21941.21851.22140
USD/INR73.770073.731673.4425
USD/MXN20.080020.087819.9413
USD/JPY103.5200103.50103.64
USD/NOK8.63078.68868.63352
USD/SEK8.28418.30368.26356
USD/CHF.8882.8886.88947
Source: OANDA

Legal/Political Events Impacting Foreign Exchange

US Senate ponder Covid relief bill during rare holiday time in Washington

As of this writing, the U.S. Senate is in session debating the COVID-19 pandemic relief bill. One core issue: whether $600 in taxpayer aid should be increased to $2,000. Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, reiterated that the additional aid is needed immediately and that these funds won’t be put away for a rainy day but will be injected immediately into jump starting the economy. As of 3:30 pm AST, the Senate was still making its quorum call and waiting for additional senators to speak. President Donald Trump threw a wrench into the relief discussions when he expressed support for $2,000 per eligible taxpayer.

Two Republicans in the Senate, brought additional attention to themselves by joining the President in support of increasing monetary support. Senator Kelly Loeffler and Senator David Perdue, both of Georgia, are facing tough run-off elections scheduled for 5 January 2021.

As of 12:07 pm AST, Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange rates as US Senate ponders $2000 checks for hurting households …

BTC/USD=26,950.30ETH=719.429 
BTC/EUR=22,062.30ETH/EUR=588.96 
BTC/JPY=2,792,990.00ETH/JPY=74,558.10 
BTC/CNH=175,910.00ETH/CNH=4,695.87 
BTC/DKK=164,071.00ETH/DKK=4,379.82 
BTC/CHF=23,971.50ETH/CHF=639.912 
BTC/GBP=19,949.70ETH/GBP=532.551 
   
Source: OANDA

Legal/Political Events Impacting Cryptocurrency

No events of significance at this time.

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.