Biden’s strategy on Ukraine can push Russia to find an alternative to SWIFT and price oil in yuan …

Elected officials and financial analysts have been expressing concerns that China’s currency, the yuan, could become the world’s reserve currency, replacing the American dollar as the go-to currency when seeking out a safer haven of assets like U.S. Treasurys or American real estate. In response to Russia’s invasion into Ukraine last weekend, the United States and a number of its European allies announced an initiative to remove certain banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a financial communications network used by 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries for the movement of financial transactions. The United States, as a leader of the effort, hopes to hasten Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine by making it very expensive for Russia to maintain a military presence in the country.

It’s not like Russia has been opting for staying in reactive mode to such a move. Russia and the rest of the world watched as the United States was able to persuade other SWIFT members to give Iran the boot.

Russia has a number of alternatives, albeit slower in today’s world of digital communications including telex, phone, and email. Russia also has the Structured Financial Messaging Solution, a communications system similar to SWIFT but used inside the country.

But what about cross-border payments? SWIFT connected Russian banks to 11,000 other financial institutions in 200 countries. SFMS is not comparable. But suppose Russia was amenable to pricing and selling its oil in yuan versus rubles? That would facilitate the use of a neighbors cross-border payments system–CIPS.

CIPS, the Cross Border Interbank Payments System, facilitates international payments for the People’s Republic of China. Twenty three Russian banks are already connected to the network, connecting these banks with between 1,189 and 1,253 financial institutions in over 100 countries.

And I should mention that the world’s second largest country, India, is also exploring a cross border financial communications network where Russia could be incentivized to circumvent SWIFT by importing more India goods.

Politically, an aggressive move to implement these alternatives to SWIFT could serve to weaken President Biden’s weaponized finance option. If Russia is able to sell oil priced in yuan and China is able to persuade more countries to use yuan for payment of exports, Mr Biden may have to convince his “coalition of the willing” to put boots on the ground to end Mr Putin’s “war of choice.” Mr Biden would also be the president who governed during the dollar’s fall from reserve currency grace.

Alton Drew

01.03.2022

Interbank Market News Scan: Remittances to Pakistan decline; Chinese bonds offering safe haven for investors concerned about volatility …

Interbank, Ghana, cedi. “Uncertainties surrounding the country’s ongoing access to forex are causing speculations on the FX market which has effectively driven the spread between cedi depreciation on the interbank and the retail markets.” See article here. Source: GhanaWeb

Interbank, China, yuan. “Holdings of Chinese government bonds by offshore investors rose in January despite a steep drop in yield premiums over U.S. government debt, as investors continued to seek safe havens from inflation and rising rates afflicting other markets.” See article here. Source: Nasdaq

Interbank, Pakistan, rupee. “Rupee slipped 0.13 percent (-23 paisa) against the US dollar last week despite recent inflows from the International Monetary Fund.” See article here. Source: Daily Times

Interbank, China, bonds. “China’s interbank treasury bond index in net price opened at 996.19 points Monday, lower than the previous close of 997.24 points, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.” See article here. Source: China.org.cn

Foreign exchange rates and dollar index as of 5:20 am EDT

EUR/USD=1.13456

GBP/USD=1.35484

USD/MXN=20.5234

USD/GTQ=7.51781

USD/NGN=416.51

USD/GHS=6.32313

USD/VND=22,686.8

USD/JPY=115.451

USD/KRW=1,199.56

USD/INR=75.412

USD/BTC=0.00002

USD/ETH=0.00034

Source: OANDA

Dollar Index=96.29

Source: MarketWatch

Candidates for Georgia governor should be mindful of price appreciation for yuan vs dollar.

I was curious about demand for the U.S. dollar versus the Chinese yuan in terms of the British pound, the euro, and the Indian rupee. Given the state of Georgia’s export efforts, I wanted to determine what Georgia should be keeping its eyes open for when it comes to competition between the dollar and the yuan.

Georgia’s gubernatorial campaign is heating up. It has been my experience that candidates nary make mention of export efforts. If you are going to talk about exports, you have to talk about currencies. From what I have gathered so far, only Libertarian Party candidate Shane Hazel has provided serious discussion about currencies. Democratic Party candidate Stacey Abrams and the Republican incumbent governor Brian Kemp have been pretty much mum on the topic.

Now, using data from OANDA, a look at the numbers. During the period 11 February 2021 to 11 February 2022, the price of the US dollar in terms of the British pound has appreciated two percent in price from GBP0.72283 to GBP0.73733. In terms of the euro, the dollar has appreciated six percent over the same period from EUR0.82467 to EUR0.87449. In terms of the Indian rupee, we see price appreciation of three percent from INR72.8104 to INR74.9521.

Compare the above with appreciation of the dollar price in terms of the yuan. Between 11 February 2021 and 11 February 2022, the price of the Chinese yuan in terms of the British pound rose just over three percent from GBP0.11207 to GBP0.11593. In terms of the euro, the yuan appreciated over seven percent from EUR0.12786 to EUR0.1375. Lastly, in terms of the Indian rupee, the yuan appreciated over four percent from INR11.2885 to INR11.7846.

There is a currency war brewing between China and the United States. This war tends to get mentioned in passing during broader political discussions in Washington, DC about the economic and competitive threat China poses to the United States. What gets overlooked is Europe’s political and geographic middle position. Europe has been buying less expensive technology from China; thus has a demand for Chinese currency. In addition, with the Federal Reserve preparing to hike overnight interbank lending rates as early as next month, Georgia’s exporters may be seeing an increase in the cost of doing business and may seek assistance from the state to help keep their prices competitive globally.

The candidates should be contributing to the conversation on trade, preferably encouraging policies that facilitate infrastructure investment. The conversation should begin with an appreciation for what’s happening in the currency markets.

Alton Drew

02.11.2022

Interbank Market News Scan: Dollar, yuan see similar price increases in terms of Asian currencies. Euro has to play catch up.

25 August 2021

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.  

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.

 Foreign exchange rates of interest as of 10:20 am EST

Currency PairFederal ReserveReuters
AUS/USD0.71330.7254
USD/BRL5.39905.2419
USD/CAD1.28531.2623
USD/CNY6.50126.4771
USD/DKK6.36126.3337
EUR/USD1.16901.1739
USD/HKD7.78977.7840
USD/INR74.350074.2250
USD/JPY109.7700109.9300
NZD/USD0.68300.6949
USD/MYR4.23854.2020
Sources: Federal Reserve, Reuters

As of 2:06 am AST, a week that may see impeachment so far has no impact on currencies …

PairsFederal Reserve as of 8 January 2021OANDA as of 11 January 2021OANDA as of 13 January 2021 2:06 am AST
GBP/USD1.35831.35031.3588
USD/CAD1.26981.27691.2751
USD/CNH6.47506.47826.4582
USD/DKK6.06976.11156.1137
EUR/USD1.22521.21671.2165
USD/INR73.310073.409373.2619
USD/MXN19.941020.120319.9592
USD/JPY103.8900104.1600104.1100
USD/NOK8.40748.51598.5070
USD/SEK8.20858.28078.2834
USD/CHF0.88430.88920.8893
USD/BTC0.00000.0000
USD/ETH0.00090.0009
Sources: Federal Reserve, OANDA

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 thHouse 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.

As of 10:59 am AST, dollar shows some strengthening as yields increase

PairsFederal Reserve as of 8 January 2021OANDA as of 11 January 2021OANDA as of 12 January 2021 10:59 am AST
GBP/USD1.35831.35031.35026
USD/CAD1.26981.27691.2769
USD/CNH6.47506.47826.4782
USD/DKK6.06976.11156.1115
EUR/USD1.22521.21671.2167
USD/INR73.310073.409373.4093
USD/MXN19.941020.120320.1203
USD/JPY103.8900104.1600104.1600
USD/NOK8.40748.51598.5159
USD/SEK8.20858.28078.2807
USD/CHF0.88430.88920.8892
Sources: Federal Reserve, OANDA
RatesFederal Reserve as of 8 January 2021Bloomberg as of 12 January 2021 10:59 am AST
Federal Funds Rate0.090.08
Prime Rate3.253.25
3-month Treasury0.080.08
2-year Treasury0.140.15
10-year Treasury1.131.17
30-year Treasury1.871.89
Sources: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg

The Africa Play …

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.

Pairs4 January 20215 January 20216 January 20217 January 2021Notes
CNH/KES16.787916.840516.837316.8373.3% increase in exchange rate
USD/KES108.391108.461108.500108.500.1% increase in exchange rate
GBP/KES147.768147.472147.723147.723Flat
CHF/KES122.931123.285123.497123.497.5% increase in exchange rate
Source: OANDA
Pairs4 January 20215 January 20216 January 20217 January 2021Notes
CNH/NGN59.620659.264058.808258.80821.3% decrease in exchange rate
USD/NGN384.938381.690378.964378.9641.5% decrease in exchange rate
GBP/NGN524.784518.974515.960515.9601.7% decrease in exchange rate
CHF/NGN436.578433.856431.344431.3441.2% decrease in exchange rate
Source: OANDA
Pairs4 January 20215 January 20216 January 20217 January 2021Notes
CNH/GHS0.90640.90940.90740.90740Flat
USD/GHS5.85245.85695.84735.84735Flat
GBP/GHS7.97857.96357.96127.96118.2% decrease in exchange rate
CHF/GHS6.63756.65746.65566.65558.3% increase in exchange rate
Source: OANDA

US waits for Senate election results from Georgia; strength of US dollar against European, African currencies a mixed bag …

PairsOANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 6 January 2021Notes
USD/KES108.391108.461Dollar flat
USD/NGN384.938381.690Dollar weakening
USD/GHS5.85245.85693Dollar flat
USD/CDF1950.611950.01Dollar flat
USD/AOA648.310649.149Dollar flat
USD/ZAR14.630914.8552Dollar strengthening
Source: OANDA

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 ….

RatesFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021Bloomberg as of 6 January 2021 10:30 am AST
Federal Funds Rate0.090.08
Prime Rate3.253.25
3-month Treasury0.090.08
2-year Treasury0.110.13
10-year Treasury0.931.02
30-year Treasury1.661.78
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.

PairsFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 6 January 2021 10:45 am AST
GBP/USD1.36621.36331.35967
USD/CAD1.27531.27261.27269
USD/CNH6.52506.45526.43929
USD/DKK6.08396.06576.05823
EUR/USD1.22301.22641.22774
USD/INR73.010072.936773.0696
USD/MXN19.892019.838219.9091
USD/JPY103.1900103.02102.36
USD/NOK8.57578.53008.50760
USD/SEK8.20958.20918.20299
USD/CHF0.88410.88150.87959
Source: OANDA

As of 9:59 an AST, foreign exchange in holding pattern as the United States watches the U.S. senate run-offs in Georgia

PairsFederal Reserve as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 4 January 2021OANDA as of 5 January 2021
GBP/USD1.36621.36331.36329
USD/CAD1.27531.27261.27260
USD/CNH6.52506.45526.45524
USD/DKK6.08396.06576.06566
EUR/USD1.22301.22641.22636
USD/INR73.010072.936772.9367
USD/MXN19.892019.838219.8382
USD/JPY103.1900103.02103.02
USD/NOK8.57578.53008.53002
USD/SEK8.20958.20918.20912
USD/CHF0.88410.88150.88150
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, OANDA

Regulatory news impacting foreign exchange

None at this time…