Interbank Market News Scan: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

30 July 2021

The Takeaway: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

The past couple posts I have been harping on whether Amazon or Facebook can create a viable digital nation-state.  Right now, I am putting Amazon in lead, but if Facebook can create a more viable transactions-based economy rather than relying on being a pure private data aggregator and reseller, then Facebook may have the potential in the longer run to rival Amazon.

For now, occupants of the digital world are not placing any crypto-monetary value on fiat currencies.  I don’t see this no-value perspective changing any time soon on the part of digital world residents.  For example, according to OANDA data from twelve months ago, USD/ETH was priced at .0031.  Today, the price of USD/ETH is at .0004.  I believe the more closed-loop the digital world can remain, the less the digital world’s demand for fiat currency. 

Holders of cryptocurrency are still interested in holding crypto as an asset versus a medium of exchange for trade even though the rhetoric is quick to describe crypto as a payment system as well. Examples of commercial entities accepting crypto as payment should be discounted by the preference for holding crypto as an asset versus medium of exchange.

On the other hand, I am mindful that on a global basis crypto as a medium of exchange is creeping into consumer mindset with El Salvador’s decision to accept crypto as legal tender.  It is way too early to tell what degree of success crypto will see in the Central American nation.  In the meantime, public policy in the United States is to treat cryptocurrency as a digital asset and until the time comes where legacy nation-states view the digital world as a trade partner, USD/ETH and USD/BTC will be priced at zero for a while.

Alton Drew

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.

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 29 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 9:49 am EST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7371
EUR/USD*1.1884
GBP/USD*1.3965
USD/CAD*1.2434
USD/CHF*0.9061
USD/JPY*109.6500
USD/MXN*19.8480
USD/BTC+0.0000
USD/ETH+0.0004
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: How close is Facebook to becoming a digital nation-state?

The Takeaway: Brokers and traders should pay close attention to how Facebook addresses regulation of Diem

Yesterday I shared some insights about Amazon’s potential for building a digital nation based on the creation of its own digital token.  The company signaled efforts in this area by announcing a search for staff with experience in creating digital currency.  Writing about their efforts naturally led me to thinking about the efforts of another large platform manager, Facebook.

Given over 2 billion subscribers to Facebook’s platform and millions of daily users, The Menlo Park, California-based company seems like another likely candidate for “digital nation” status.  Arguably it is ahead of Amazon in the creation of its own digital currency, the Diem.  But is it ahead of Amazon when it comes to putting in place the transactional environment necessary for a “digital country?”

Facebook’s purported mission, according to its annual report, is to “give people the power to build community and to bring the world closer together.”  Facebook generates almost all of its revenues from advertisement and while it considers Amazon a competitor in the advertisement space, Facebook has not invested in transportation, storage, or distribution systems for goods and services or subscriber content production.  In my opinion, these channels have boosted Amazon’s value as an issuer of digital coins because they represent the underpinnings of a transactional environment.  Transactions are the underpinnings of growth in output and income and while there are notices of items for sale in numerous Facebook groups and advertisement appearing on users’ profiles, Facebook is more of a personal data aggregator than it is a market for trade.

Lastly, what also works against Facebook is its history of data privacy breaches.  Both aisles of Congress have come down on Facebook for its lack of transparency in notifying its subscribers as to how the company uses consumer data.  These privacy concerns have also leaked into Congress’ assessment of how the company’s proposed digital currency would be incorporated into any potential data grabbing strategies.

I believe what is more important to Congress than its rhetoric about consumer protection and privacy is how a digital currency provided by a behemoth digital platform could challenge the United States’ ability as a tax and customs jurisdiction.  Should a significant number of miners, farmers, merchants, and other business entities start using Facebook’s digital currency to exchange among themselves and with Facebook’s end user subscribers, Facebook becomes a new nation-state.

Facebook hopes to have Diem launched by the end of 2021.  What impact the current variation in the corona virus and the ensuing Covid disease will have on deployment is unknown.  Right now, speculators and broker/dealers may not have Diem on their radar, but they should, like Amazon, prepare for a large platform issuing its currency and also determine how Diem should be valued.

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.

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 27 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: 0.08%

Prices

Exchange rates of interest as of 9:02 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
USD/BTC+0.0000
USD/ETH+0.0005

Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Assessing the Legal and Political “Meteorology” of Foreign Exchange

The Morning Takeaway: Assessing the Legal and Political “Meteorology” of Foreign Exchange

Humans have no need to come in contact with each other but for the exchange of value.  How the value deemed from interaction is determined will be based on an individual assessment of how much benefit is to be gleaned from what another has to exchange.

Determining the benefit of what another party has to exchange means incurring costs for gathering information.  The more cogent and clear the better.  Efforts are optimized and the information gathering becomes efficient.  Understanding the environment producing the information is important.  The environment places parameters on any information obtained.  The environment within which the information is produced may lack characteristics necessary for producing the clearest information possible.

The value that is being exchanged also contains information about the environment it is coming out of.  Take corn or any other agricultural commodity.  For optimal growth, the environment that produces corn should provide a certain quality of soil, nutrients, water, and weather to create a quality yield.  What is yielded should be able to provide you with information on the quality of soil, nutrients, water, and weather from whence the yield came. 

This same approach should be taken to another commodity, currency.  The “soil’ for this commodity is a nation’s central bank and to a lesser extent the commercial banks that act as distribution channels for the currency.  The “soil” is impacted by the “weather” and “climate” generated by the level of transactions occurring within multiple markets in the political economy.  These transactions deliver “rain” onto the soil and impact the yield in currency released into the political economy’s blood flow.  And just like a corn crop can provide the farmer or the end user information about the environment that spawned the yield, so to can currency, or specifically, currency price movements, provide the trader with information about the central bank environment.

For the trader, it is important to assess the legal and political “meteorology” of the central bank environment.  Without these assessments, the trader, whether purchasing currency tails for speculation or as part of an international business transaction, risks not capitalizing on the yields that foreign exchange can bring about.

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.

Exchange rates of interest as of 11:45 am AST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7352
EUR/USD*1.1794
GBP/USD*1.3714
USD/CAD*1.2739
USD/CHF*0.9192
USD/JPY*109.3100
USD/XCD+2.7000
USD/NGN+410.9850
USD/MXN*20.0353
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 16 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%

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: 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