FXTM Vice President of Market Research, Jameel Ahmad comments on the US President Donald Trump’s latest comments and escalating geopolitical risks.
The recent escalation of geopolitical risks dominating the financial market headlines has been briefly removed from investors’ radars after US President Donald Trump once again took the markets by surprise.
This time, President Trump made U-turns on several of his previous public views, making investors wonder whether he could be gradually abandoning some of his core election pledges. While it is not a surprise at all to hear the US President make downbeat comments over the Dollar, backing away from labelling China as a currency manipulator and seemingly supporting the need for lower US interest rates is a real surprise.
Trump reversing away from a previously well-documented aggressive stance on China will go a long way to improving his image in mainland China; it will also be seen by many other observers as an attempt towards improving diplomatic ties, following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States.
Away from diplomacy, this shift in tone should be viewed as a positive development for the financial markets, as it reduces the risk of China abandoning its US Treasury Holdings as a result of the previous risk of President Trump beginning a trade war with China.
Most emerging market currencies across Asia have welcomed the latest comments from the US President, with the majority of currencies across the Asian Pacific moving somewhat higher against the Dollar.
Emerging market currencies that are particularly sensitive to speculation around US interest rate rises, such as in Malaysia, Indonesia and perhaps the Indian Rupee, will also applaud comments around the need for lower US interest rates.
It has been noted that the Bond markets have benefitted from Trump’s unexpected comment that he “likes” the Federal Reserve’s low-interest rate policy.
However, the potential for further gains in the Asian emerging market currency space will be attributed to expectations of the Fed pulling the trigger on an interest rate rise once again in June drifting lower and also whether Trump next chooses to take a softer stance on protectionist policies.
While emerging market currencies across Asia have benefitted from Trump’s comments, it has not helped to find a bid for either the South African Rand or Turkish Lira. Both currencies are plagued by political risk, with the upcoming referendum in Turkey this weekend giving possible cause for a major event risk over the Easter weekend.
The Turkish Lira and South African Rand are obviously not correlated in any way, but with both currencies being plagued by political issues, this is impacting investor confidence and weakening economics that includes impending inflation risks.
Inflation risks are going to be a major headline attraction for the Rand over the next couple of months, following the currency being squashed to pieces in recent weeks.
Gold eyes $1300
The 2017 revival in the value of Gold is showing no signs of slipping, after the precious metal climbed to fresh levels not seen since the US Election, getting marginally close to $1290 earlier in trading on Thursday.
These are still uncertain times in the financial markets and some would even add global politics, meaning investors are keeping Gold as a close ally when it comes to hedging.
The combination of uncertainty when it comes to political risks, the upcoming elections in France, rising geopolitical tensions and doubts over Trump’s ability to follow through with his campaign promises presents an ongoing threat to investors entering a period of “risk-off” that is too difficult to ignore when it comes to being encouraged towards Gold.
Sterling Backs Away from Attempt for 1.26
After benefiting from the unwinding of USD positions, it appears that the GBPUSD is at threat of shying away from an attempt to reach 1.26 before the markets close for the Easter holidays. If you ask me, the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit’s direction is still enough motivation to maintain a negative mindset towards the Pound.
Investors are likely to continue utilising sell-on rally opportunities in the Cable, when the pair climbs near 1.25 with this being the mindset traders have exploited for months.
SEC, EFCC Partner Against Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are committed to strengthening the partnership between the agencies with a view to tackling the menace of Ponzi schemes in the country.
This commitment was restated during a courtesy visit by Mohammed Danladi, the Kano Zonal Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to his EFCC counterpart, Sanusi Aliyu Mohammed on Tuesday.
The SEC Zonal Head described his visit to EFCC as an effort to solidify the already existing relationship between EFCC and SEC.
“This visit is nothing more than to solidify the existing relationship between EFCC and SEC which dates back to the inception of EFCC. We are here to renew that relationship, foster it and fight the common enemy together”, he said.
Mr. Danladi expressed concern about his Commission’s challenges dealing with operators of wonder banks which are on the rise especially in the northern part of the country.
According to him, “the operators of the illegal scheme are taking advantage of the financial illiteracy of the public to defraud them in the name of investment”.
He added that most of the Ponzi scheme operators avoid SEC registration because they know they would be monitored.
In his response, Sanusi Mohammed, the EFCC Zonal Head, suggested a joint operation between the two agencies to curtail the spread of Ponzi schemes and prevent the public from falling victims of the scam.
Mohammed further assured the SEC of the Commission’s continued support as the two agencies share common objectives to fight financial crimes. “As long as the mandate of EFCC and that of SEC remain, you cannot separate the SEC and EFCC. We will continue to work together institutionally, “he said.
“Where the SEC’s main concern is to make sure investors are protected from losing their investments, the EFCC’s concern is the protection of the general public from the activities of fraudsters, which are one and the same,” the Zonal Head added.
Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m
Oreoluwa Adesakin, a staff of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been convicted for fraud and handed a total term of 98 years in prison by Justice Muniru Olagunju of the Oyo State High Court.
But she will spend just seven years in jail.
Adesakin was found to have committed financial fraud against First Bank to the tune of N49,320,652.32.
She also stole $368,203.00 belonging to the bank, which she converted to her personal use.
Adesakin, before she was busted by the bank and sacked, was its Money Transfer Operator, saddled with the responsibility of effecting payments through Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram platforms.
The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a 14-count charge, bordering on stealing, forgery and fraudulent accounting.
One of the counts read: “That you Oreoluwa Adesakin sometime between the months of May, 2013 and November, 2013, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a staff of First Bank PLC stole the sum of N25,974,116.13 (Twenty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Thirteen Kobo) from First Bank PLC MoneyGram Payment Naira Account, property of First bank PLC.”
She pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Usman Murtala, prosecution counsel, presented every vital document and witnesses which nailed the convict.
Justice Olagunju noted that the EFCC presented incontrovertible evidence against the convict and did a diligent investigation and prosecution.
He thus pronounced Adesakin guilty of all the counts.
He sentenced her to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 14 counts. The sentencing will run concurrently.
Apart from the jail term, the convict is also to restitute the First Bank, through the EFCC, all the money she stole.
The convict was arraigned April 4, 2014 by the EFCC following a conclusion of investigations against her which arose from a petition from her former employer, dated December 18, 2013.
The bank alleged in the petition that Adesakin fraudulently manipulated its Moneygram accounting and withdrew N49,320,652.32 and another $368,203.00 for herself, which the bank only uncovered while reviewing its internal account.
The EFCC was also able to establish that the convict used part of the proceeds of her crime to acquire landed properties in different parts of Oyo State.
CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider
Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.
The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.
Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.
Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.
He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.
In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.
Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.
“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.
He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).
Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.
The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.
“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.
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