Currency Speculators Struggles To Survive; Forbes  Advisor Australia  Lists 10 Strongest Currencies Out of the 180 Recognised Worldwide

By Eizabeth Chukwuma

Currency speculators who over the last eight years have been accumulating the North American country of the United Stated States, US dollar,  described as the 10th strongest  currencies out of the 180 recognised   worldwide   to turn the Nigerian currency,  naira as a worthless legal lender  under President Bola Ahmed Tinunubu are in  for a shocker. Forbes Advisor Australia  had ranked the  naira as  the 96th in  rank out of the 180 world recognised  legal tenders.

 Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the economy and Olayemi Michael Cardoso, a one -time Head of Citi bank in Nigeria and now governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, appears to have taken advantage of the free hand given to them and other political appointees by the Nigerian President   to operate and deliver on their mandate to pull the  rug  under the foot of the currency speculators  who over the years have  been dictating the value of the naira at the parallel, popular, black mark foreign exchange rate and which in turn affects the official  and Import  and Export Window exchange rates.

Michael Cardaso” Governor, CBN

There is no gain saying the fact that most currencies used in the global economy   are’’ floating’’, meaning  their  valuates  depends  on the demand on supply  at the foreign exchange  market  while some other currencies  are pegged, meaning that  their value   relative to another currency  , particular, the US. Dollar is fixed at agreed rate.

At present, the Nigeran government operates both the official and the Autonomous foreign exchange market which had informed while the naira exchange rate over the last six months had remained unstable. The exchange rates, according to financial analysts affect the cost of goods and services puchased  in foreign currency. This may have informed why at any time the naira weakens against the US dollar , prices of goods and services goes up within the country.

A currency dealer at Apapa, one of the major trading hubs in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre who spoke to The value news on Saturday, November 4, 2023, disclosed that the business is scaling down as their forex suppliers are not currently meeting up their daily demands. Many of the currency speculators, more than ever before it was learnt, face the risk of losing their funds which they have hoarded over the years   as the Cardoso led CBN has risen up to the challenge.

The value News online Magazine was informed that the total inflows of the US dollar, which is the most traded foreign exchange in global market declined by over six percent to $1.23 billion in October after   it had pivoted from a three-month high of $1.31 billion the previous months.

Phoenix had reported that foreign exchange inflows from foreign investors in the month of September 2023,  had declined to  $1.07 billion  . It was said to have declined further in this month of November, which the currency speculators may not have found funny.

   Indeed, the free hand  given to the duo, Edun, the minister of Finance and Coordinating minster of the economy and Cardoso, the  apex bank governor, may have given  duo the courage to initiate  bold economic  initiatives of ‘’deliberate action plans’’  that would shore up the naira in the coming  months to the surprise of the speculators who had thought that the Nigerian government would not be  able to effectively  fund the  official foreign exchange market to give room to those that source for forex urgently to patronise the black market and thus push up the exchange  rate  .

The CBN, under the Leadership of Cardoso, may have sent a message to the speculators ‘’ to be careful in their accumulation of forex’’’’  to standardise the naira  as the bank has  the capacity  and strategy  to sustain the naira’s recovery rate  at the official and parallel market foreign exchange markets’’.  

The apex bank may have confirmed its stand to fund the forex market with the  payment of the outstanding   $6.7 billion overdue forward foreign exchange  contracts  that had matured as it settles  Citibank,  Stanbic  IBTC  and Standard Chartered Bank , described as the biggest players  in the Forex business and other creditors.

  The payments  of the outstanding  forex to the creditorsmay have shored up the value of the naira in the recent time to the surprise of the speculators . This is evident as most traders were said to have quoted  N950.00 to one US dollar  for buying and N1050 for selling between Friday, November 3, 2023 and Sunday, November 5, 2023.

Aminu GwadAbe,   President, Association  of Bureau De Change Operators  of Nigeria, ABCON,  had said that the CBN, could keep  the naira stable  for now  because ‘’ it was not only boosting  the US dollar liquidity  in the country’s official foreign exchange market but  also mopping  up cash  through interest rates hike’’

The ABCON President  had said that the move  by the  CBN to stabilise the naira became more pronounced as  dealers at   the Investors and Exporters, I&E, window , official   forex market  to the  naira  on Friday, November 5, 2023, had traded at N776.14  to one US . dollar with $99 million transaction volume. Gwadebe , the ABCON , President was emphatic that  the appreciation of the naira at the official and parallel  foreign exchange markets   ‘’stems from  ‘’the double edged  sword dollar liquidity   injection into the economy  and the mopping of the naira  through interest rate hikes’’.

He had said  that the major problem the speculators are facing currently  at the Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market,  was that they  are ‘’more interested  in the elements  of sustainability  of the  feat already achieved in the market dictating the value of the naira that forex market to remain  in the business and thus have resorted to panic  selling  as against panic buying to remain  in the business.

The CBN Authorities deliberate action plans to stabilise the naira may have forced the speculators to go back to the drawing board to still dictate the value of the local currency at the forex market. On Monday, November 6, 2023,  the naira  , was said to have  depreciated  across all segments of the forex market  as it settled for N1000.00 to  US $1  in the major trading hubs in Lagos metropolis.

While Speculators are still struggling to control the value of the US $1 to the naira at the parallel foreign market to remain relevant, Lekan Adewoye , Chairman  of the Basic  Metal, Iron and Steel  Products  Sector of the Manufacturers  Association  of Nigeria, MAN, had said that with the continued   rise and fall of the value of the naira  at the official  foreign exchange market  and, the I&E window market, including the parallel forex market , the manufacturers are not being encouraged.

 He noted that the inability of the products manufacturers to assess the  the official or the I&E window  forex market  had put many of them at disadvantage with their competitors  in other West African  countries like Ghana, Coted’Ivore and Togo .

He had said that lack of consultation on major critical issues and decisions on forex by the CBN, Leadership and government policy somersault   had forced  some members of the Association  who had invested  in backward  integration  to regret the move  because  everyone  who can assess  the Forex  market  and will claim  to be an importer, thus forcing  the sincere  manufacturers  to close shop .

US Dollar: Most Traded Currency In The Global Economy

In spite of the fact, the US dollar, is the world’s most traded currency, Forbes Advisor, Australia had reported that  that the greenback  , is not  the strongest of the 180  -odd traditional  fiat currencies  recognised as legal tender  worldwide. Although, the US, is the world biggest economy, but going by Forbes report  has not automatically  translated to the country’s currency value on the global stage.

 Forbes has ranked the US dollar as the 10th strongest currency in the world held by many banks and the currency used  to price many  commodities, including  Crude oil in the international oil market , gold and copper.

Forbes Advisor, Australia, had reported  that  Kuwaiti, a country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq ,  dinar, KWD, introduced in the 1960s ,  which was said to have been initially pegged  to the British pound sterling  and before being  pegged  to an undisclosed  basket of currencies  including the US dollar at  $3.24   US ,dollars or, put  in another way,  US$1 equals  0.31 Kuwaiti  dinars I for now is the strongest currency in the world.

It had reported  that  Bahraini dinar  is the second  strongest  currency  in the world  with I Bahrani dinar  exchanging at   2.65  US dollars at the  country’s foreign exchange market. Bahrain  is an Island  and nation  in the Persian  Gulf  Coast of  Saudi Arabia and earns most of its revenue from oil exports like Kuwait. It had entered into circulation in 1965 and pegged to the US dollars.

Going by the Forbes Adviror, Australian  report,  the Omani, a country between  the United Arab Emirate , UAE, and Yemen  at the tip of  the Arabian penusula, rial, OMR,  is the third  strongest   currency in the world , exchanging  2.60 US dollars   to 0.88 Omani rial. It was said to be  quickly followed  by the Jordanian  dinar , another Middle East country as the fourth strongest currency in the world. At present at the country ‘s Foreign exchange market, 0.71 Jordanian rial equals US $1.41.  

 Jordan, which  is a Landlocked country  in the Middle East    may  not be as lucky as Kuwait, Omani  which depends on export of oil and gas to earn its forex  revenue  but has struggled  with its sluggish  economic growth  and rising foreign debts as its currency which had entered into circulation  in 1950, is pegged to the US  dollar.

Forbes may have surprised many when it reported that that British pound sterling is the fifth strongest currency in the world, stating that  1  British pound  exchanges for US $1.28  . The British pound sterling which was said to have been introduced into the British economy in 1400s before being decimalised in1971,  going by the Forbes report  appears to be  free-floating  and  thus not pegged to other currencies.  Glibratar, located at the southern tip of Spain, pound, according to Forbes Advisor, is the joint  fifth  strongest  currency  in the world  with 1  Gilbratar pound  buying  US1.28 at the country’s forex mrket .

Going by the Forbes Advisor’s reports,  the Cayman Islands dollar, KYD,  is the sixth strongest dollar in the world  as  1  Cayman  Islands dollar exchanges for  US  1.20 at the country’s foreign exchange market. Described as an offshore financial centre, Cayman Islands  is a British  territory  in the Caribbean, the value news findings shows .  

The Seiss Franc , CHF, which is the  official legal tender  of Switzerland  and Liechtenstein, Forbes Advisor, had reported is the seventh strongest currency in the world which exchanges for  1 Swiss franc  to US1.15.The   Euro, EUR, which is the official currency of  the European Union, EU,   comprising 20 out of the 27  countries that form part of the Union , Forbes had reported is the eighth strongest currency in the world, which was said to have entered the market  in 2002 and  currently- free floating . There is no gain sayong the fact that value of  one U dollar to other world recognised legal tenders may have  had appreciable impact to the value of the naira at the country’s official and  parallel  foreign exchange markets. This is where tthe duo , Edun, the minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the economy and Cardoso, the CBN , governor have to  work closely with the Middle East countries  which  currencies have been ranked by Forbes Advisor , Australia as the strongest in the world to know how the various monetary and fiscal policies put in place to strength their respective countries currencies  against other world recognised currencies, particular, the US , ollar.     

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