“China is the ‘grand champions’ of currency manipulation”, says President Trump.

President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, inspite of not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

“Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

But Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday he was not ready to pass judgment on China’s currency practices.

Asked if the U.S. Treasury was planning to name China a currency manipulator any time soon, Mnuchin said he would follow its normal process of analyzing the currency practices of major U.S. trading partners.

The Treasury is required to publish a report on these practices on April 15 and Oct. 15 each year.

“We have a process within Treasury where we go through and look at currency manipulation across the board. We’ll go through that process.

“We’ll do that as we have in the past,” Mnuchin said in his first televised interview since formally taking over the department last week.

“We’re not making any judgments until we go continue that process.”

A formal declaration that China or any other country manipulates its currency requires the U.S. Treasury to seek negotiations to resolve the situation, a process that could end in punitive tariffs on the offender’s goods.

The U.S. Treasury designated Taiwan and South Korea as currency manipulators in 1988, the year that Congress enacted the currency review law.

China was the last country to get the designation, in 1994.

The current situation is complicated because China’s central bank has spent billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves in the past year to prop up the yuan to counter capital outflows.

The International Monetary Fund in 2016 said that the yuan’s value was broadly in line with its economic fundamentals.

The U.S. Treasury also said in its last currency report in October that its view of China’s external imbalances had improved somewhat.

Trump’s pronouncements about the yuan could also complicate matters for Mnuchin as he prepares for his first meeting next month with his Group of 20 finance minister counterparts in Baden Baden, Germany.

 

Source: The Guardian

Naira Is Worst Performing Currency- Bloomberg

The naira is the worst performing currency this year among more than 150 currencies globally, the Bloomberg media has said.
It has depreciated 37 percent against the dollar since the central bank abandoned its peg on June 20, while bond yields have jumped to more than 20 percent. The naira strengthened 4.6 percent to 315 per dollar on Tuesday after falling to a record 350.25 on Aug. 19.

“The cheap naira is attracting foreign investors,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a money manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment, which oversees about $12 billion of assets. “At 325 per dollar, the naira is too weak” and Landesbank anticipates a rebound, he said.
More than two months after Nigeria allowed its currency to devalue, the country is starting to reap some dividends.
In the past two weeks, Exotix Partners LLP and Standard Bank Group Ltd. have told clients, most of whom fled after the country started imposing capital controls from late 2014, that they should start buying naira assets again.
Roehmeyer’s funds have doubled their holdings of naira debt, albeit in the form of bonds issued by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. rather than the Nigerian government, to the equivalent of around $9.2 million this month, he said.
Nigeria’s central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele fixed the currency in February 2015 at 197-199 per dollar to stop it plunging amid the decline in the price of oil, on which Nigeria depends for 90 percent of exports and the bulk of government revenue. He relented after 16 months as the country stumbled toward a recession  and foreign reserves fell to their lowest level in 11 years .
The naira has now weakened more than any other major oil currency since mid-2014, when crude prices started retreating. It’s lost almost half its value against the dollar in that period, compared with 46 percent for Kazakhstan’s tenge and 35 percent for the Colombian peso.
That makes it a good time to buy Nigerian one-year Treasury bills with yields of about 22 percent, Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at Exotix in London, wrote in an Aug. 9 note. The potential return is more than 33 percent if the naira strengthens to its fair value of 290 against the greenback, he said. In April, one-year T-bills yielded just 10 percent.
Investors are also yet to be convinced that the naira truly floats. The central bank sold dollars at 309 last week and may be trying to keep the rate stronger than 320, according to Craig Thompson of Continental Capital Markets SA, based in Nyon, Switzerland. The naira trades at 395 on the black market, 20 percent weaker than the official rate.
Nigerian local-currency bonds have lost 17 percent in dollar terms this quarter, through yesterday, compared with the 3 percent average return for 31 developing nations monitored by Bloomberg indexes. The yield on benchmark government naira notes due January 2026 has climbed 226 basis points since June to 15.08 percent.
“We haven’t come back in to the local market yet, but we’re looking at it closely,” Bailey-Smith said. “If you can get a yield above 20 percent and hedge the FX risk, it’s not a bad trade at all. The futures market is intended to help you do that, but it’s difficult to buy them.”

Credit: DailyTrust

Nigeria Offered $6bn Chinese Loan, Agrees Currency Swap To Shore Up Naira

China has offered Nigeria a $6 billion loan to fund infrastructure projects, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyema, said yesterday in Beijing the Chinese capital.

“It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects,” he told reporters travelling with President Muhammadu Buhari to China.

“It won’t need an agreement to be signed; it is just to identify the projects and we access it,” he said.
The confirmation by Onyema coincided with an agreement reached between Nigeria and China yesterday on a currency swap deal, as it looks for ways to shore up the naira and fund a record budget deficit, possibly by issuing yuan-denominated bonds in China, reported Reuters.

Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in decades as sinking oil prices eat into its foreign reserves and the naira weakens against other currencies.

Nigeria has been for months looking for sources to help plug a projected 2016 deficit of N2.2 trillion ($11.1 billion) as Buhari plans to triple capital spending in the 2016 fiscal year.

According to Reuters, during Buhari’s visit to Beijing, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world’s biggest lender, and Nigeria’s central bank signed a deal on yuan transactions.
“It means that the renminbi (yuan) is free to flow among different banks in Nigeria, and the renminbi has been included in the foreign exchange reserves of Nigeria,” Lin Songtian, Director General of the African Affairs Department of China’s foreign ministry, told reporters.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Credit: Thisday