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Analysis: Politics and Central Bankers Under Investors Radar

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FXTM Chief Market Strategist Hussein Sayed comments on why politics and central bankers are

Less than a month ago the CBOE volatility index – known as the best indicator of fear in the markets –  dropped to a record low of below 9.

The declines were a result of steady equity markets, low trading volumes and optimism that the markets were heading higher.

This has all changed in the past two weeks, with the fear index rallying from a low of 9.52 to 17.28 – an 81% spike in 4 days from Aug 8 to Aug 11. This was precipitated by rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

These tensions lasted for a couple of days, then eased after both sides backed down. However, the calm didn’t last long, as President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville clash, saw business leaders exiting his advisory councils, and a number of high profile Republicans criticizing and distancing themselves from the President.

The departure of Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was mainly seen as pushing protectionist policies, was not unexpected and was slightly positive for markets, causing U.S. stocks to rally on Friday, but the market ended near lows.

Politics have clearly taken the front seat and another shock will likely lead to a further selloff in equities. Some investors might see the recent fall in prices as an opportunity to buy the dips, but given that valuations are still very high compared to historical averages, many will hold off until seeing meaningful fiscal policy change.

Trump’s administration will be tested as we get closer to hitting the U.S. debt ceiling. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt limit should be raised by mid-October, to avoid defaulting on loan payments, but this time it doesn’t seem a done deal.

Given that the economic calendar doesn’t hold tier-one data this week, investors and traders will be focusing on the Jackson Hole central bank gathering on 24-26 August. The two stars of the gathering will undoubtedly be Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen.

The most recent minutes from the Fed and ECB, shows that inflationary pressures remained absent, despite declining unemployment rates.

When looking at bond yields across the globe, investors seem to be convinced that inflation isn’t returning anytime soon. However, financial asset prices are worrying central bankers, especially the Fed, which sees valuations as elevated.

With ECB’s meeting scheduled on September 7, Euro traders are waiting for signs from President Draghi as to when the central bank will start trimming QE. The single currency managed to overlook ECB’s minutes, which revealed that Euro strength is becoming a concern for monetary policy makers.

If Draghi does not disclose his plan for tapering QE, the Euro might fall towards 1.16, but I would prefer to buy the dips then selling the rallies, as the ECB have no other choice but to tighten policy.

 

 

 

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E-Financial

Vodacom Director Urges Accountants to Leverage Sage/ACCA Partnership

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By peter oluka

Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, the finance director at Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited, has re-emphasised the need for accounting professionals to embrace digital culture.

He made the remark while delivering keynote address at Sage-ACCA Continuing Professional Development (CPA), event held in Lagos Tuesday, which was the launch of partnership between the two entities to provide platform for accountants to embrace digital transformations.

Olanrewaju emphasized that rapid growth and development in information technology has brought about digital revolution in economic, social and cultural fields, and bequeaths today’s accountant with the responsibility to improve on the skills to remain relevant.

With the recognition of the accounting discipline as an information system, he said, the accountants can’t undermine the influence that the changes in processes of carrying out transactions with the usage of IT in business operations.

In a bid to keep up with changing conditions and the enabling inclusion of information era the need to embrace the digital culture in accountancy can’t be overlooked especially in medium to large scale business.

“Technology should not be viewed as a threat rather tools to boost accounting profession. Digitization is the future; as accountants we can’t run from it. Yes, manual processes are ridden with high risks on accounting and costly. Thus, changes is the environment necessitates changes in applicable accounting tools and skills required to carry out accounting roles”, Olanrewaju said.

Determinants of business that qualify as medium to large include: IT staff & skills including several specialists, multiple locations, large capex in relation to other businesses in operation in the same industry and business with main considerations for technology purchases being advanced features and security.

Using the acronym: VUCA- Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous situations, he reminded the participants that, roles of accountants have changed overtime, demanding for real-time ‘results’. “The environment demands you react quickly to ongoing changes that are unpredictable; it requires you to take action. Therefore, there is little you can achieve today in the ‘VUCA’ world without digitization”.

The keynote speaker also applauded Sage X3 offering, such as robust accounting processes; consistency; time saving; delivers visible metrics; helps to improve operational efficiency and assists users to be in line with government regulations and international accounting rules.

Participants at the interactive session with other C-level ACCA members also learnt how Sage X3 offers the bedrock of the adjustments required in today’s accounting field.

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E-Financial

CBN 14% Interest Rate: Investors Still Expecting Cut

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Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

By peter oluka

Nigeria’s central bank has yet again left benchmark interest rates unchanged at 14% in November amid a ‘fragile’ economic recovery.

But, Lukman Otunuta research analyst ForexTimes, in his comment, believes investors are still keen on interest rate cut.

The apex bank also left the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele made this known on Tuesday while announcing the decision of the committee in Abuja.

Emefiele said only one of the nine members of the committee voted against the decision.

“Inflation in particular requires very close monitoring to gain clarity on the medium-term optimum path of monetary policy,” Emefiele told a news conference.

The monetary Policy Committee had begun its last meeting for the year on Monday.

According to the committee, the interest rate was held to prevent exchange rate pressure.

Commenting on the decision by the apex bank, Otunuga said, “With GDP growth in the third quarter rising by 1.40%, it seems that the central bank is hesitant to take action anytime soon.

“I believe that Nigeria’s improving economic landscape, and signs of inflationary pressures easing, are likely to support investor expectations of a rate cut.

“With inflation in Nigeria at 15.91%, there is a suspicion that the CBN may be waiting for a more sustained decline before moving ahead with rate cuts to support economic growth.

“As the year slowly comes to an end, investors will continue to observe Nigeria’s hard economic data and inflation figures for hints as to when the CBN might act in 2018”.

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E-Financial

Bitcoin Smashes Through $8,000 for the First time

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Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading U.S. payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over 2 percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on Nov. 12.

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to muliple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The “market cap” of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242 billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

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