Payment systems. Amazon is expanding its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the company announced Wednesday, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations. Amazon will initially roll out Amazon One at the Whole Foods in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, not far from the company’s headquarters, before launching the system at seven Seattle-area Whole Foods in coming months. Amazon is bringing palm-scanning payment system to Whole Foods stores (msn.com)
Payment systems. Business technology company Deluxe (DLX) has agreed to acquire First American Payment Systems for $960 million in cash, the company said in a statement. Deluxe believes that this deal will accelerate the company’s transformation into a leading payments technology company as part of its “One Deluxe” strategy. Deluxe To Buy First American Payment Systems For $960 Mln Cash | Nasdaq
The market opening. The rates to start your day ….
As of 9:40 am EST, Bloomberg reports that the yield on the three-month Treasury note is at 0.03% while the two-year note comes in at 0.15%. The ten-year and thirty-year Treasurys are trading at 1.56% and 2.25%, respectively.
The Federal Funds rate, the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight in support of their reserve requirements, is at .07%, while the Fed Funds target rate is still at .25%. The prime lending rate is 3.25%.
Exchange rates of interest as of 9:55 am EST….
Rates as of 9:55 am EST 21 April 2021
The Opening Takeaway: Could banks become mere currency agents?
Yesterday I shared my expectations on the possibility of the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and other central banks and finance ministries prohibiting cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange. Using the policy rationale of the government being the sole issuer of currency, cryptocurrency issuers may find themselves limited to generating digital assets for sale as investments or safe havens. But what about the banks? What would their role be?
Wall Street appears to be hedging its bets on digital currencies (see second link above) as they prepare for the disruption a central bank issued digital currency could cause. Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) were receiving big boosts from what appears to be growing acceptance of cryptocurrency as at least a digital asset. Uncertainty in the markets drove capital toward bitcoin and other crypto-assets, making crypto the equivalent of gold in some minds. But with the vaccine rollouts and increases in the number of people, at least in western European countries and the United States on the increase, “risk on” seems to be the quiet rally cry accompanying a pullback in crypto prices. Acompanying the pull back are an increasing number of central banks exploring issuing a digital currency.
One arguable benefit from a central bank issued digital currency is the likelihood of turning more consumers into bank deposit holders. Rather than holding a deposit at a commercial bank, the “unbanked” along with those already holding commercial bank accounts, would have a default account at one of the Federal Reserve’s 12 central banks. yes, more account holders but not necessarily account holders at commercial banks. If the efficiencies promised by a central bank issued digital bank come to fruition, then why bother with holding another account? As part of the payment system, the check I write to and deposit into my son’s account goes through the Federal Reserve’s payment system anyway so why include another middle man? Commercial banks will have to consider these scenarios spawned by digital coin efficiencies when contemplating their new roles.
I see the larger banks easily leveraging their scale to ramp up already existing roles. They could focus more on lending, hopefully in a higher yield environment. They could also lobby for relaxation of Dodd-Frank restrictions on proprietary trading, opening up additional income making opportunities to offset income (if any) made currently from depositors. Large banks will not want to waste investments in their infrastructure by being relegated to mere currency issuer status, competing with check cashing facilities located at Walmart or around the corner at a pawnshop.
For the smaller banks, they will want to leverage their community relationships to counter any new found competition from larger banks as they face the irony of central bank issued digital coin taking away their customers.
Foreign exchange, India. Currency exchange rates can turn out to be a real dealbreaker and can cause a dent in an individual’s pocket who is traveling overseas. Even a difference of a few paise while doing currency conversion can make a huge difference in the budget for the trip. It becomes crucial to be aware of the various options while doing currency exchange. Currency Exchange and the related details (msn.com)
The Takeaway: Soon after issuing a statement on the fed funds rate and how warranted attention paid to rising yields should be, Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell remarked today about the need to further strengthen the global payments system with emphasis on its cross border nature. Mr Powell also provided an update on the testing of central bank digital currencies. Stakeholders in the payments system may want to pay attention to how intermediaries are treated in a central bank digital currency regime.
Central Banks: Both of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England vowed to keep liquidity plentiful and not to taper support in the face of rising inflation until they see prolonged signs of an economic recovery. The FOMC served up a surprise with the majority of the dots flat through 2023. Both USD and GBP fell sharply after their respective central banks’ decisions before later stabilizing. Fed, BoE step back, yields push up (fxstreet.com)
Currency pairs that include top countries with foreign direct investment in the US …
The majority of foreign direct investment in the United States is held by Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Luxembourg. Since the Biden administration has taken office, the dollar-yen and dollar-euro have seen appreciation (4.9% and 1.5%, respectively), while the dollar-pound and the dollar-loonie have fallen, 2.4% and 2.3%, respectively.
20 January 2021
19 March 2021
Source: OANDA (1) The euro is the currency of France, German, and Luxembourg
With expectations for inflation and growth taking flight, traders are signaling that they anticipate the Fed may have to respond more quickly than it’s indicated. Eurodollar futures now reflect a quarter-point hike in the first quarter of 2023, but they’re starting to suggest that it could come in late 2022. Fed officials have projected they’d keep rates near zero until at least the end of 2023. Bond Traders Go All-In on U.S. Treasury Market’s Big Short Bet – Bloomberg
Earlier, there was an impression that it was due to pent-up and festival demand. But now, it is genuine demand that is visible. The vaccination drive is giving greater confidence to consumers, so the demand is expected to sustain. The only downside risk is the recent spike in the number of Covid cases in certain parts of the country. Central banks in no rush to raise rates, will back growth: Shaktikanta Das (msn.com)
Due to bitcoin’s potential to satisfy the three functions of money, bitcoin users expect them to replace paper currency in the long run. However, all of the above may be some of the reasons why Central banks and monetary authorities have been worried about the increasing adoption of Cryptocurrency around the world. Moreover, economists have been worried about how cryptocurrencies could transform the role of Central banks. Wait a minute! Can cryptocurrencies replace paper money? (msn.com)
With insane prices, Bitcoin makes its headlines every year. In fact, we forget that each beginning of the year, Bitcoinsoars to new heights, as investors seek new means and assets on which to bet and scale. This year is no exception, but the increase is stronger than ever. And this is not related to the covid, but rather to its indirect effect on central banks. Bitcoin can thank central banks (housseniawriting.com)
As the world is moving towards a cashless society, the payment system around us is transforming into a digital economy. Currently, only a small percentage of global money is expressed as physical forms of currency, with the majority of money being exchanged electronically through online payment apps, online, or using debit cards. Despite the fact that society today is on the verge of becoming an advanced economy, only a small percentage of people understand how cryptocurrencies vary from fiat currencies. Difference Between Fiat Currency and Cryptocurrency – Goodreturns