As US Vice-President Kamala Harris wraps up her Asia tour this week, I was curious to see how currency prices have moved since the Biden-Harris administration took office on 20 January 2021. I see a battle for currency preference between the United States, the Eurozone, and China and so far, seven months into the Biden-Harris administration, the Eurozone is being left behind.
Where the dollar, the yuan, and the euro are priced in terms of the ringgit, Indian rupee, and the yen, the yuan has seen the greatest price increase since 20 January 2021. For example, during the period 20 January 2021 to 25 August 2021, USD/JPY increased 6%; USD/MYR increased 4%, and the USD/INR increased 1.8% for an average of 3.93%.
During the same period, the CNY/JPY increased 6%; CNY/MYR increased 14%; and the CNY/INR increased 1.6% for an average of 7.2%.
Meanwhile, the euro got the least love with EUR/JPY increasing 2.9%; EUR/MYR relatively flat at 0.008%; and EUR/INR decreasing by 1.29%. Using this bucket of Asian currencies, average euro increase is around .54%
In the immediate run, I don’t see dollar or euro prices in terms of the ringgit, yen, or Indian rupee increasing especially if Asian economies are somehow able to increase their respective economies productive capacities and increase trade with each other, taking advantage of their resource-rich environments. The Harris-Biden administration’s fall in polling numbers as a result of perceived mismanagement of American withdrawal from Afghanistan and less than stellar campaign to get more of the American population vaccinated may likely weigh on the effectiveness of Ms Harris’ attempt to garner strategic trading partners in the region.
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Foreign exchange rates of interest as of 10:20 am EST
House votes resolution asking Pence to use 25th amendment to remove Trump
Last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed the following House resolution in its attempts to remove President Donald Trump prior to the end of his term. House Res 21 reads as following:
“This resolution calls upon Vice President Michael R. Pence (1) to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments to declare that the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office, and (2) to transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House notice that he will be immediately assuming the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.“
Vice-President Pence has reportedly said that he does not intend to invoke the 25th Amendment. This means that the House will likely move to the next stage of its strategy which is to vote articles of impeachment against Mr Trump. Given the Democrats majority in the House, passage is expected.
The articles of impeachment would then move to the Senate for a trial. Indications are that, unlike last year’s attempt to remove the President from office via impeachment where a Republican-controlled Senate voted not to remove the President, there may be enough support on the part of Senate Republicans to find Mr Trump liable for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, the standard under the U.S. Constitution for removal. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that Mr Trump’s behavior, where allegedly encouraged supporters to march last week on the Capitol, amounted to an impeachable offense.
The establishment wing of the Republican Party, now in damage control as a result of the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters and the resulting deaths of five people, would like nothing more than to move on from the Trump era and start laying the groundwork for the 2022 mid-term elections.
I don’t expect impeachment actions to have any bearing on pending policy actions designed to impact the economy. With only seven days left until the change in government, attempts to remove Mr Trump are designed to score political points with an electorate, a significant amount of whom believe the actions of individuals storming the Capitol amounted to an insurrection attacking the country’s representative institutions of democracy.
This morning I decided to take a look at how the U.S. dollar is faring this week against the Ghanaian, Nigerian, and Kenyan currencies in comparison to the Swiss franc, Chinese yuan (offshore), and the British pound. In my opinion the United States hasn’t demonstrated that it wants to be a significant trading partner with the African continent, but with a new administration and China’s well documented economic forays on the Continent, that may change.
Meanwhile, as the count in Georgia comes to a close, yields on longer term notes begin to increase as the Senate gets closer to a 50-50 split and the likelihood of more spending under a Biden administration ….
Federal Reserve as of 4 January 2021
Bloomberg as of 6 January 2021 10:30 am AST
Federal Funds Rate
Source: Federal Reserve, OANDA
And the buzz phrase again mid-week is dollar weakening as exchange rates for a number of foreign exchange pairs continues to fall. This in light of disappointing jobs numbers from ADP where the payroll company determined that 123,000 jobs were lost in December 2020.
According to data from OANDA, a foreign exchange brokerage, the US dollar has showed slight weakness when compared to the Jamaica dollar. During the period 1 December to 5 December 2020, the US dollar priced in Jamaica dollars fell 0.950% from 145.195 JMD to 143.815 JMD. The British pound did not fare much better, falling .5456% from 194.220 JMD to 193.160 JMD.
The Jamaica dollar price for the China yuan fell .292% from 22.1260 JMD to 22.0613 JMD.
The JMD-priced euro saw some gain, climbing in price by .069% from 174.173 JMD to 174.294 JMD.
The inter-bank rate has held at .50% since August 2019 with the Bank of Jamaica targeting an inflation range of four to six percent.
While the US dollar has been declining against a number of currencies, the Kenya shelling does not appear to be one of them, at least during the first week of December. According to data from OANDA, a foreign exchange brokerage, from the period 1 December through 5 December 2020, the Kenya shelling price of a US dollar increased 0.625% from 109.268 KES on 1 December 2020 to 109.951 KES on 5 December 2020. The current Bank of Kenya exchange rate is 1 USD for 111.0618 KES.
The Kenya shilling price for the euro, British pound, and Chinese yuan also increased during the same period. The euro shilling price ticked up from 131.076 KES to 133.253 KES (1.660%). The pound-shilling price advanced 1.0358% from 146.162 KES to 147.676 KES while the Chinese yuan advanced 1.2936% from 16.6311 KES to 16.8665 KES.