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 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.

Foreign exchange rates; Pandemic stimulus bill passes Congress

Pairs Federal Reserve as of 18 December 2020 OANDA as of 21 December 2020 
GBP/USD 1.3497 1.33499 
USD/CAD 1.2776 1.28559 
USD/CNH 6.5395 6.53668 
USD/DKK 6.0798 6.09401 
EUR/USD 1.2236 1.22056 
USD/INR 73.5300 73.7333 
USD/MXN 19.9813 20.1582 
USD/JPY 103.3500 103.4600 
USD/NOK 8.5959 8.6862 
USD/SEK 8.2786 8.2959 
USD/CHF .8850 .8865 
Sources: Federal Reserve and OANDA

Legal/Political news impacting foreign exchange

Congress passes $900 billion relief package

Reuters reporting that the United States Senate has passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package which includes a one-time $600 payment to eligible American taxpayers. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation later today.

11:02 pm 15 November 2020, Foreign exchange rates between U.S. and select countries in East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia

As of 11:02 pm EST, 15 November 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 .76105 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 1.31301 CAD

CAD/USD=0.76105   USD/CAD=1.31301

CNH/USD= 0.15159   USD/CNH=6.59332

EUR/USD= 1.18326   USD/EUR=0.84472

DKK/USD =0.15884     USD/DKK=6.29161

NGN/USD= 0.00261    USD/NGN=377.495

JPY/USD=0.00955      USD/JPY=104.59

INR/USD=0.01340       USD/INR=74.3780

JMD/USD=0.00672     USD/JMD=145.859

GYD/USD=0.00469       USD/GYD= 204.822

GHS/USD=0.17046     USD/GHS= 5.81740

XCD/USD=0.37037        USD/XCD= 2.70

KES/USD = 0.00909       USD/KES= 108.341

Source: OANDA

Major political/legal event in the United States

Reuters reporting that President Donald J. Trump has yet to concede the presidential election to presumptive president-elect Joseph R. Biden.  Over the weekend President Trump appeared to conceded the election to the former vice-president but has since backtracked vowing to continue on with a number of state court challenges to the election.

Source: Reuters

10:37 am 13 November 2020, Foreign exchange rates between U.S. and select countries in East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia

As of 10:37 am EST, 13 November 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 .76327 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 1.30996 CAD

CAD/USD=0.76327   USD/CAD=1.30996

CNH/USD= 0.15112   USD/CNH=6.61616

EUR/USD= 1.17938   USD/EUR=0.84780

DKK/USD =0.15838     USD/DKK=6.31214

NGN/USD= 0.00262    USD/NGN=380.053

JPY/USD=0.00950      USD/JPY=105.23

INR/USD=0.01340       USD/INR=74.4783

JMD/USD=0.00671     USD/JMD=145.880

GYD/USD=0.00469       USD/GYD= 204.829

GHS/USD=0.17098     USD/GHS= 5.81812

XCD/USD=0.37037        USD/XCD= 2.70

KES/USD = 0.00909       USD/KES= 108.088

Source: OANDA

Major political/legal event in the United States

Yesterday in attempt to address attacks on American national security, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order prohibiting transactions in publicly traded securities of Chinese military companies.  President Trump argues that capital raised via transactions in the securities of these companies is eventually channeled into financing improvements in Chinese military intelligence gathering.

Source:  Executive Office of the President

Update: Dollar continues depreciation against a number of currencies in face of more elections legal action by President Trump

As of 8:21 pm EST, 5 November 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 .76351 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 1.30955 CAD

CAD/USD=0.76351   USD/CAD=1.30955

CNH/USD= 0.15097   USD/CNH=6.62248

EUR/USD= 1.17863    USD/EUR=0.84834

DKK/USD =0.15827     USD/DKK=6.31674

NGN/USD= 0.00260    USD/NGN=382.756

JPY/USD=0.00962       USD/JPY=103.98

INR/USD=0.01349       USD/INR=73.9934

JMD/USD=0.00678      USD/JMD=144.450

GYD/USD=0.00478       USD/GYD= 209.187

GHC/USD=0.00002       USD/GHC= 58,277.2

XCD/USD=0.37037        USD/XCD= 2.70

Source: Bankrate

Major political/legal event in the United States:  Ballot counting is continuing in the U.S. presidential elections. Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden reportedly has 264 unofficial Electoral College votes while Republican candidate Donald J. Trump has 214 unofficial Electoral College votes.

The official declaration of President-Elect is scheduled for 14 December 2020.

Today, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System decided to maintain its target range for its inter-bank rate between 0 and .25%.

Also, today, President Donald J. Trump held a press conference expressing concern about how ballots were being counted in a number of states.  He indicated that he was prepared to pursue legal action to ensure that ballot counts were conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

Source: Bloomberg, Federal Reserve

Foreign exchange rates: Joe Biden holds on to projected Electoral College lead …

As of 2:32 pm EST, 4 November 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 .75909 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 1.31720 CAD

Major event in the United States:  Ballot counting is continuing in the U.S. presidential elections. Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden is projected to win 227 Electoral College votes while Republican candidate Donald J. Trump is projected to garner 214 Electoral College votes.

CAD/USD=0.75909   USD/CAD=1.31720

CNH/USD= 0.14962   USD/CNH=6.68236

EUR/USD= 1.16900    USD/EUR=0.85533

DKK/USD =0.15697     USD/DKK=6.36901

NGN/USD= 0.00260    USD/NGN=383.455

JPY/USD=0.00956       USD/JPY=104.64

INR/USD=0.01342       USD/INR=74.3949

JMD/USD=0.00679      USD/JMD=144.248

Source: Bankrate

Are currency traders willing to pay more for the US dollar in face of US election? ….

Capital abhors a vacuum and even with the U.S. general election three days away, capital will try to cut through the campaign noise and seek out a return. From a political and legal event perspective, traders should assess the strength of legal challenges to voting, especially challenges raised by the Republican Party.

Republicans and Democrats have been building their legal teams for over a year and both will be on the lookout for voting irregularities including evidence of voter suppression or voter fraud. Republicans are expected to challenge authenticity of mail-in ballots and the deadlines for when these ballots are expected to be received. Traders should be particularly mindful of the intensity of Republican challenges given that incumbent president Donald J. Trump is running behind Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden in national polls.

Real Clear Politics has Mr Biden polling at 51.3% versus Mr Trumps 43.5% during the period 21 October to 30 October 2020. PredictIt is pricing a .65 probability of a Democratic takeover of the White House versus a probability of .40 that the Republican Party maintains control of the Oval Office.

But the foreign exchange markets appear to see the value of the US dollar priced in various currencies increasing as we get closer to the election.

Country/Currency24 October25 October26 October27 October28 October29 October30 October31 October
Mexico (MXN)20.921020.840820.847620.966720.927121.169421.310121.2962
Canada (CAD)1.313611.311911.312201.318291.317761.325551.332211.33172
Japan (Yen)104.72104.66104.67104.87104.61104.30104.44104.49
China (Yuan)6.677336.676806.676806.699166.705156.716726.711576.68746
Euro.84496.84274.84288.84578.84622.85056.85398.85694
Eastern Caribbean Dollar2.702.702.702.702.702.702.702.70
Brazil (BRL)5.601805.618405.618185.621155.644745.722425.758215.76506
Price of US Dollar in selected exchange rates 24 October to 31 October 2020

With the exception of Japan and the Eastern Caribbean, the prices in foreign currency offered for a US Dollar have been inching up over the last week. Traders in the above nations reflect a number of major US trading partners and the increase in the amount traders in these countries are willing to offer a seller of the US dollar tells me that at a minimum, they have positive expectation in the potential for growth in the US and that public policies offered by Mr Biden might not deter expected growth or value of the dollar.

Again, traders should be on the lookout for any legal, legislative, or regulatory actions that thwart the ability of Mr Biden to garner enough votes to win the Electoral College.

Additional source: OANDA.com

Will regulating social media benefit content providers in the African Diaspora?

Late last May, President Donald Trump stepped up his battle with social media by issuing an executive order intended to prevent the censure of political speech expressed on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.  Mr Trump allegedly saw the last straw when Twitter showed the nerve to fact check the President by attaching a number of links to some of Mr Trump’s tweets.  He didn’t like that.

Mr Trump is not alone in his frustration with social media.  Other Republicans and conservatives have complained in recent years about what they deem as bias against conservative political viewpoints and alleged liberal political positions taken up by executives at the social media companies.

To combat the alleged bias, Mr Trump issued an executive order that would call for the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules that clarify portions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (47 USC 230).  The Act excludes Twitter, Facebook, and other interactive computer services from civil liability where they exercise good faith in removing and otherwise not accepting certain harmful content.  Taking censorship action beyond the scope of the “Good Samaritan” exceptions would paint them as publishers and cost them their protection from civil liability claims.

Specifically the Act reads as follows:

(c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1)Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2)Civil liability. No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A)
any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B)

any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

Mr Trump would like rules that clarify the interaction between section (c)(1), exemption from treatment as a publisher, and section (c)(2), exemption from liability of a publisher, of the Communications Decency Act.  My issue is whether Mr Trump’s proposed path of action in any way hinders the ability of the African Diaspora community to exchange ideas and content for commercial purposes?

Maya Dollarhide defines social media as a:

” …. computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. By design, social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content. Content includes personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Users engage with social media via computer, tablet or smartphone via web-based software or web application, often utilizing it for messaging.”

A high percentage of adults within the African Diaspora use social media.  According to Pew Research, 69% of African American adults use at least one social media site compared to 73% of whites.  Whites and blacks appear on par when it comes to social media usage.

When it comes to commercial reasons for using social media, 29% of consumers use social media platforms to research or buy products and services.  Although the “social” or lately the “political” component of social media gets a lot of attention these days, there is a marketing component to social media where these networks allow for businesses to engage with their customers.  Social media provides a relatively lower cost alternative to traditional media marketing mechanisms.  A well done social media campaign can have information go “viral” about goods or services, and send this information instantaneously around the globe.

We have to be mindful that the drafting and implementation of rules to be used to keep social media companies in compliance with the Communications Decency Act may not come to pass depending on the outcome of this fall’s election.  Should Mr Trump lose in November, the Democratic victor will likely put in place a Democratic chairman and along with his or her Democratic colleagues squash the idea of going forward with any rules that give the impression that the Commission has entered the business as social media speech police.

Even if Mr Trump wins and a Republican majority remains in place at the Commission, I believe the Commission will craft very narrow rules in order to prevent any First Amendment violations.  More importantly, rules that keep social media companies from acting as editors benefit the global exchange of commercial information between members of the African Diaspora.

While I doubt that it is ever in the best interest of Facebook to edit or alter purely commercial communications, advertisements, etc. between an African American wholesaler in Atlanta, Georgia and potential retail distributors and/or end users in Accra,  Ghana, added protections that keep communications unimpeded cannot hurt.

The narrower the rules, the better it is for our self-interests.