Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Naira stable as markets tremble over Trump’s Iran decision

Naira stable as markets tremble over Trump’s Iran decision
May 09
16:16 2018
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In a move that dealt a painful blow to global sentiment, President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that the United States will be pulling out of the “defective” Iran nuclear deal.

US stocks ended mixed on the news while oil prices fluctuated in each direction, as investors considered the potential negative ramifications of Trump’s decision. The US president adopted a very aggressive rhetoric during the announcement and failed to hold back from his view that the 2015 agreement was “defective” at its core.

While it was widely anticipated that Trump would pull out of the Iran agreement, what is likely to leave a lasting impact on the markets is the threat that he would also penalize those who help Iran. These overall risks are encouraging traders to price in some new geopolitical risk premium, and his threat can potentially be a blow for US allies. There is a threat of Trump’s stark tone questioning US relations with its European allies, especially given that the likes of France and the United Kingdom had appealed for Trump not to withdraw.

It should also be noted that both China and Russia are also part of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Relations between Trump and both these nations have been questionable in recent weeks.  What this all likely means to the financial markets is that anxiety could be heightened over a new round of geopolitical tensions. This will not have been helped by Iran immediately stating that it was preparing to restart uranium enrichment, which is key for making nuclear weapons.

The prospect of heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East following Trump’s departure from the nuclear deal is seen as encouragement for risk aversion. A risk-off environment is likely to attract the flight to safety mindset from traders, where both Gold and the Japanese Yen would be potential beneficiaries.

Naira steady against Dollar

The Naira held its ground on Wednesday despite the Dollar Index rallying to a fresh 2018 high.

With the Dollar heavily supported by expectations of higher U.S interest rates and risk aversion souring appetite for riskier assets, emerging market currencies such as the Naira could feel the heat. However, the Naira could remain supported by appreciating oil prices following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

The main event risk for the Nigerian economy this week will be the inflation figures that are scheduled for release on Friday. Any signs of inflationary pressures cooling could support expectations that the CBN will announce an interest rate cut this year.

Dollar jumps to fresh 2018 highs

It is shaping up to be another heavily bullish week for the Dollar which has sprinted above 93.25, its highest level this year against a basket of major currencies.

Thanks to a hawkish Federal Reserve, interest rate differentials are moving in favour of the Dollar. Price action suggests that bulls are back in town, with further upside on the cards amid growing expectations of higher US interest rates.

Looking at the technical picture, the Dollar Index remains firmly bullish on the daily charts. A decisive breakout and daily close above 93.00 could encourage an incline higher towards 93.50.

Commodity spotlight – WTI Crude

Oil bulls entered the scene on Wednesday morning after Trump deserted the Iran nuclear deal. WTI Crude has scope to venture higher in the near term, as fears of heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East fuel concerns of potential supply disruptions.

Looking at the technical picture, WTI Crude remains firmly bullish on the daily charts. There have been consistently higher highs and higher lows while the MACD trades to the upside. A solid daily close above the $70.00 level could invite an incline higher towards $71.10. Alternatively, if bulls are unable to keep prices above $70.00, the next key level of interest will be at $69.30.

Gold punished by strengthening Dollar

An aggressively appreciating US Dollar is likely to continue punishing Gold this week.

Although the yellow metal was initially boosted by market jitters following Donald Trump’s Iran announcement, gains were later capped by a strengthening Dollar. Gold remains vulnerable to downside losses, especially when considering how Dollar strength remains a dominant market theme.

Looking at the technical picture, previous support around $1324 could transform into a dynamic resistance that encourages a decline towards the psychological $1300 support level.

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Exchange Rates

September 20, 2018USDGBPEUR
INTERBANK360.45480.18420.32
LAGOS360485425
KANO361483423
PH362482423
ABUJA362481423
NOTE: The black market rates represent the most prevalent. They could be slightly higher or lower among different sellers.
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