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/

Would Virgin Islanders prefer to be an American outpost?

Growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands I noticed the rift between those who considered themselves ancestral Virgin Islanders and those of us who were either born in or children of people born in the Eastern Caribbean.  This rift, in my opinion, was fueled by the native Virgin Islander belief that being citizens of the United States gave them a certain privilege or right to be condescending to anyone else from the Caribbean.  It was never surprising to hear a “local” refer to down-islanders as “garrot” or “islo” in reference to the fact that the person being persecuted came from further south and east in the Lesser Antilles.

It is no wonder so many of our families started separate civic organizations like the Nevis Benevolent Society or formed churches such as the Bethel Baptist Missionary Baptist Church whose membership was comprised mostly of individuals who hailed from the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, and Antigua.

On the other hand, arguably this behavior from native-born Virgin Islanders, albeit condescending and disrespectful of those whose lineage did not historically run through the Virgin Islands from birth, may be part of a native attempt to maintain a Virgin Islands identity unique from other Caribbean nations and territories. 

Virgin Islanders have likely struggled with identity dualism since the territory was formally transferred to the United States from Denmark in March 1917.  The identity struggle likely intensified as the U.S. Virgin Islands found itself surrounded by a Caribbean tossing off governance from European powers and going their own way.  Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962.  Barbados and Guyana also broke from the United Kingdom in 1966.  St. Vincent and the Grenadines went their own way in 1979, while Antigua and Barbuda and St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis gained independence in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

The schizophrenia of being a Virgin Islander and an American tends to be received with more indifference and a smirk from Caribbean nations versus respect as a Caribbean neighbor.   

This schizophrenia apparently seeped into the constitutional politics of the Virgin Islands.  In its fifth attempt in 2010 to draft a constitution for the US Virgin Islands, the constitutional drafting committee ran afoul of the US Department of Justice by recommending tax exemptions for ancestral native Virgin Islanders and native Virgin Islanders.  A native Virgin Islander is defined as someone born in the Virgin Islands on or after 28 June 1932.  An ancestral native Virgin Islander is defined as someone born in the Virgin Islands prior to and including 28 June 1932 as well as descendants of such individuals whether residing in the territory or not.

Under the proposed constitution, ancestral native Virgin Islanders and their descendants would receive a tax exemption on ownership real property.  This exemption would not flow to native Virgin islanders or any non-Virgin Islander domiciled in the territory.  A law distinguishing who would receive and not receive a tax benefit based on place and timing of birth, in the opinion of the Justice Department, would create multiple tiers of citizens. These designations, apparently not tied to a legitimate governmental interest, would run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Department of Justice was also concerned with the drafting committee’s apparent attempt to usurp United States sovereignty over the coastal waters of the Virgin Islands.  In its constitutional proposal, the committee provided language that the Virgin Islands would exercise sovereignty over its inter-island waters and over waters extending twelve nautical miles from each island’s coast up to the borders with international waters.  The lack of mention of US sovereignty over this twelve-mile area, in the Justice Department’s opinion, raised the concern that such a measure, if enacted, would violate federal law.  

At the end of the day, the initiative to draft a constitution adds weight to what University of the Virgin Islands professor Paul Leary identified in a 2020 opinion piece discussing the feasibility of an independent U.S. Virgin Islands.  The Virgin Islands is experiencing “the absence of a clear national identity.”  His observation is a reminder that a national identity is the platform upon which a country must be built.  The Virgin Islands are way too small to play “nation-state” politics.  The size of the territory would only lead to more intense conflict among groups of native and non-native Virgin Islanders trying to divide up a near non-existent pie.

The cohesiveness necessary for nationhood in the U.S. Virgin Islands may be two to three generations away, but given the economic circumstances of the territory, where young people constantly move to the mainland for work and business opportunity, the development of a cohesive nation may experience unacceptable delay.  In the meantime, the Virgin Islands of the United States may have to optimize its status as an American outpost in the Caribbean; subject to scorn from its independent neighbors, relying on the United States for its identity, and pushing away its Caribbean brethren.      

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean; foreign exchange, Caribbean development …

18 June 2021

Links to follow …

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. The ECCB two-month and three-month fixed deposit rates remained at 0%.  The ECCB discount rate remained at 2%.

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange. No securities trades or bond issues to report.

Interbank. The pound’s popularity in cross-border payments tumbled to its lowest level in more than a decade as the U.K. navigates the post-Brexit landscape, while the euro edged out the dollar for the top spot last month. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-17/pound-falters-in-global-payments-while-euro-climbs-to-top-spot?sref=oriheOus

Banks. The European Central Bank said it will grant lenders about 70 billion euros ($83 billion) of capital relief by extending a measure designed to help them keep supplying credit to the pandemic-struck economy. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-18/ecb-to-extend-leverage-ratio-relief-for-banks-by-nine-months?sref=oriheOus

Banks. Most major banks will remain open Friday despite Juneteenth becoming a new federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden. Many remain open as they await direction and grapple with how to proceed after the law was quickly passed this week. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/06/18/juneteenth-2021-banks-open-federal-holiday/7740103002/

Foreign exchange. The pound dropped to the lowest level against the dollar in more than a month as a surge in coronavirus cases dented mounting confidence in the U.K.’s recovery. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-18/pound-tumbles-as-virus-resurgence-clouds-hope-for-u-k-recovery?sref=oriheOus

Caribbean development. The findings of the 2020 Annual Economic and Financial Review reveal that the economies of the ECCU countries suffered significant setback in 2020, mainly because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.eccb-centralbank.org/news/view/2020-annual-economic-and-financial-review-highlights-setback-in-eccu-economies

Caribbean development. A new cooperation is emerging between the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Diaspora and their home countries! https://pressroom.oecs.org/strengthening-ties-with-the-oecs-diaspora

Caribbean development.  Highlighting the importance of restructuring Caribbean economies, the Director of Economics at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Ian Durant says increasing competitiveness has to be the top priority for inducing strong and inclusive growth and overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.caribank.org/newsroom/news-and-events/cdb-calls-improving-competitiveness-strong-inclusive-growth-after-covid-19

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Currency PairsRates as of 9:18 am AST 18 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3100
XCD/GBP0.2654
XCD/USD0.3704
XCD/CAD0.4562
XCD/NGN151.6950
XCD/CNY2.3822
XCD/PLN1.4076
XCD/PEN1.4377
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean

16 June 2021

Links to follow ….

Interbank. China’s benchmark prices for spot interbank gold transactions were lower on Wednesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.  http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/16/content_77571092.htm

Interbank. Many of the issues thrown up in the transition away from sterling Libor appear to have been addressed, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said Monday, delivering a confident assessment of the U.K.’s exit from the discredited benchmark.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-14/boe-s-bailey-says-sterling-libor-switch-is-pretty-much-there?sref=oriheOus

Interbank. Cuba, the island country located where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet, said this week U.S. dollars will be suspended in the country. The mandate comes from the country’s central bank and foreign tourists have been told to leave U.S. dollars at home when visiting. https://news.bitcoin.com/cubas-central-bank-suspends-us-dollar-deposits-nationwide-officials-cite-embargo/

Interbank. The Cayman Islands, U.S. and Gibraltar are the top locations where crypto hedge funds are domiciled, according to a report by PwC and Elwood Asset Management. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cayman-islands-u-gibraltar-top-123005084.html

Interbank. St Kitts and Nevis formalises diplomatic relations with Cameroon, deepening relations with the African continent.  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/st-kitts-and-nevis-formalises-diplomatic-relations-with-cameroon-deepening-relations-with-african-continent-301313009.html

Foreign Exchange rates of interest ….

Currency PairsRates as of 10:32 am AST 16 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3055
XCD/GBP0.2628
XCD/USD0.3704
XCD/CAD0.4507
XCD/NGN152.4750
XCD/CNY2.3707
XCD/PLN1.3822
XCD/PEN1.4302
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: How will G7, NATO impact China-Caribbean trade relationship; foreign exchange …

15 June 2021

News from the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

On 28 June 2021, the Government of St. Lucia will auction a 180-day Treasury bill estimated to raise ECS$10 million.  The Bank of St. Lucia and First Citizens Investment Services are the broker firms.

Food for Thought: On China and the Caribbean

The NATO and G7 meetings held one thing in common other than the membership of a number of rich industrialized countries: China.  While the NATO meeting fell short of calling China an “adversary”, the consensus, especially among the leading industrialized nations, is that China, at a minimum, is a competitive economic threat.

One example of its economic threat is Huawei, a Chinese telecom equipment provider accused of ties to the Chinese military.  Huawei provided less expensive telecom equipment to Europe in direct competition with American telecom equipment providers.  The United States, which banned use of Huawei equipment from its telecom networks, chided its European allies for allowing a threat to privacy via Huawei equipment.  Turning a back on Huawei expectedly gives US companies a wider door to enter through into European markets.

It may be too early to determine the impact on the Caribbean a widening rift between China and the US may present.  By our estimate, using CIA data, at least 12 Caribbean countries have a trading relationship (import only, export only, or both) with China.  Whether the Caribbean will tack away from a relationship with China as a result of moves made by the G7 or NATO remains to be seen.

 Import-Export relationship between CARICOM nations and China

Source: CIA World Factbook

CountryImport from ChinaExport to China
St. LuciaNoNo
Trinidad and TobagoYes (USD366 million)Yes (USD595 million)
SurinameYes (USD168 million)No
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesYes (USD23.7 million)No
MontserratNoNo
GuyanaYes (USD8 million)No
GrenadaYes (USD16 million)No
DominicaYes (USD12 million)No
BelizeYes (USD11 million)No
BarbadosYes (USD136 million)No
Antigua and BarbudaYes (USD39 million)No
The BahamasNoYes (USD33 million)
Cayman IslandsNoNo
HaitiYes (USD795 million)No
St. Kitts and NevisNoNo
JamaicaYes (USD804 million)No
British Virgin IslandsNoNo
Turks and CaicosNoNo
BermudaNoNo
AnguillaNoNo

Foreign exchange rates of interest

Source: OANDA

Currency PairsRates as of 11:15 am AST 15 June 2021
XCD/EUR0.3057
XCD/GBP0.2625
XCD/USD0.3704
XCD/CAD0.4500
XCD/NGN152.3900
XCD/CNY2.3692
XCD/PLN1.3776
XCD/PEN1.43619

Links to follow ….

Caribbean Development. A high-level panel of government and business leaders will explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Caribbean in the opening seminar of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 51st Annual Meeting. https://www.caribank.org/newsroom/news-and-events/cdb-annual-meeting-seminar-discuss-policies-economic-recovery-covid-19-and-more-resilient-caribbean

Interbank. China’s interbank treasury bond index in net price opened at 982.99 points Tuesday, lower than the previous close of 983.65 points, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-06/15/content_77568539.htm

Interbank. The Korea Interbank Offered Rates (KORIBOR) as posted by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news and information arm of Yonhap News Agency, at 11:00 a.m. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210615004100320

Banks. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is very bullish on the future of DeFi, or decentralized finance, and DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/14/mark-cuban-banks-should-be-scared-of-defi.html

Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean; Dominica issues 91-day T-bill …

Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

Yesterday, on the Regional Government Securities Market, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica issued a 91-day Treasury bill raising $20 million.  The pricing methodology used in the issue resulted in a discount rate of 3.96050%.

Today, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is expected to auction a 180-day Treasury bill at EC$10 million at a maximum rate of 4%.

There were no trades yesterday on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange.

Links to follow …

Banks. “US macro policy and, indeed, the very role of government in the economy, is undergoing its biggest shift in direction in 40 years. In turn we are concerned that it will bring about uncomfortable levels of inflation.” — Deutsche Bank. https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/557743-deutsche-bank-issues-dire-economic-warning-for-america

Banks. Overdraft fees remain a money-making machine for banks and a devastating financial gotcha for poor families and communities of color. https://www.freep.com/story/money/personal-finance/susan-tompor/2021/06/11/ally-bank-pnc-huntington-launch-overdraft-ideas-industry-criticized/7581786002/

Banks. Today the Swiss National Bank announced it’s participating in a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) trial with the Banque de France, and the BIS Innovation Hub. The solution aims to use the digital Swiss Franc and digital Euro to settle cross border trades for financial instruments such as stock or bonds on a blockchain. The central banks don’t want the tests to be interpreted as a decision to launch a CBDC. https://www.ledgerinsights.com/central-banks-of-switzerland-france-in-wholesale-cbdc-trial/

Currency PairsRates as of 11:30 am AST 11 June 2021Rates as of 11 June 2020Change in rates
XCD/EUR0.30430.3259(6.6%)
XCD/GBP0.26200.2904(9.8%)
XCD/USD0.37040.3704flat
XCD/CAD0.44830.4961(9.6%)
XCD/NGN152.3700142.94006.6%
XCD/CNY2.36572.6164(9.6%)
XCD/PLN1.36081.4502(6.2%)
XCD/PEN1.429131.262313.2%

Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Canada sees no rush to issue a central bank digital coin …

Links you should follow ….

Foreign exchange. Luis Costa outlines commodity currencies that he is trading. This strategist outlines which currency commodities he’s trading (msn.com)

Foreign exchange. The Bank of Canada is thinking in more concrete terms about how its digital currency might look and work but it does not currently see a strong case for issuing one, a deputy governor said on Wednesday. Bank of Canada does not see currently see strong case for issuing digital currency | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange. After more than a year of slumber, investors are preparing for currency volatility to come roaring back to life. Currency FX Volatility Set for a Comeback on Looming Policy Shifts – Bloomberg

Foreign exchange. A dovish Federal Reserve and accelerating growth abroad are weighing on the dollar, a move that could be a boon for stocks and other assets. Analysis-Floundering dollar falls to bottom of global currency heap (msn.com)

Foreign exchange, cryptocurrency. ‘Bitcoin isn’t even a reliable hedge for risk-off events, let alone inflation shocks. It’s actually highly pro-cyclical…In difficult times, crypto assets don’t go up; they go down.’— Nouriel Roubini. Bitcoin isn’t a currency or financial asset, but ‘looks like a bubble’: Roubini (msn.com)

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Changes in currency tails comprised of the euro, US dollar, and Canadian dollar and currencies out of the Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica remained relatively flat over the last 24 hours. Any tightening of rates on the part of major central banks is expected to have a significant impact on Caribbean currencies thus the purchasing power and cost of remittances sent back to the Caribbean.

Currency PairsRates as of 12:00 pm AST 27 May 2021Rates as of 10:45 am AST 26 May 2021
EUR/XCD3.30073.3055
USD/XCD2.70002.7000
CAD/XCD2.22492.2402
EUR/JMD182.7800181.2040
USD/JMD147.9460148.0130
CAD/JMD122.3780122.8050
USD/DOP56.479956.4454
USD/HTG88.663488.6591
Source: OANDA

As of 11:34 pm AST, the US dollar in terms of Caribbean currencies is flat to strengthening with some volatility …

Pairs OANDA as of 18 December 2020 OANDA as of 23 December 2020 Notes 
USD/BBD 2.00 2.00 Pegged to the US dollar 
USD/TTD 6.6719 6.68062 Dollar strengthening 
USD/JMD 141.803 141.973 Over the last 30 days, exchange rate fell from 145.825 
USD/XCD 2.70 2.70 Pegged to the US dollar 
USD/GYD 205.239 205.570 Although risen from 204.934 on 23 November, the rise has been accompanied by volatility. 

Source: OANDA

Legal/Political events impacting US-Caribbean foreign exchange

President Trump modifies Harmonized Tariff System to reflect extension of Caribbean Basin Initiative

On 22 December 2020, President Donald J Trump announced a modification of the Harmonized Tariff System for the purpose of including the extension of the Caribbean Basin Initiative signed into law last October. The proclamation read as follows:

“The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, as amended (the “CBERA”), (title II of Public Law 98-67, 97 Stat. 384 (19 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.)), instituted a duty preference program that applies to a product of a Caribbean Basin country that has been designated by the President as a beneficiary country. On October 10, 2020, the President signed into law the Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (Public Law 116-164, 134 Stat. 758), which extends certain preferential tariff treatment accorded under the CBERA to September 30, 2030. I have determined, pursuant to section 604 of the Trade Act, that it is necessary to modify the HTS to reflect the extension of the CBERA.”

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule is made up of a hierarchical structure for describing all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical purposes.

Sources: Executive Office of the President; U.S. International Trade Commission

As of 9:36 am AST 3 December 2020, Foreign exchange rates between U.S., select countries in East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia, and BitCoin; Federal Reserve sees increased bank delinquencies in 2021 …

As of 9:36 am AST, 3 December 2020:

How to read the chart:

CAD/USD: If you come to the United States with one Canadian dollar (CAD)and wish to sell it for a US dollar (USD), the market price is .77302 USD.

USD/CAD: If you take a US dollar (USD) to Canada and wish to sell it for a Canadian dollar (CAD), the market price is 1.29344 CAD

CAD/USD=0.77302   USD/CAD=1.29344

CNH/USD= 0.15265   USD/CNH=6.54972

EUR/USD= 1.20787   USD/EUR=0.82781

DKK/USD =0.16225   USD/DKK=6.16157

NGN/USD= 0.00262   USD/NGN=377.841

JPY/USD=0.00957   USD/JPY=104.50

INR/USD=0.01357      USD/INR=73.5849

JMD/USD=0.00678    USD/JMD=144.553

GYD/USD=0.00469       USD/GYD= 204.916

GHS/USD=0.17049     USD/GHS= 5.82649

XCD/USD=0.37037        USD/XCD= 2.70

KES/USD = 0.00897      USD/KES= 109.505

BBD/USD = 0.50000     USD/BBD = 2.0000

TTD/USD = .14488         USD/TTD= 6.65179

BTC/USD= 17444.40     USD/BTC= 0.00006

Source: OANDA

Major political/legal event impacting foreign exchange

Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book finding moderate, modest US expansion

Yesterday, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released its final Beige Book for 2020.  The Federal Reserve determined that US economic expansion is either moderate or modest at best.  A number of districts, including the Philadelphia district, have observed a slow down in growth with a spike in COVID-19 cases since early November.  Banks expect the number of borrower delinquencies to increase in 2021.  

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System