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April currency review

Not for the first time, the Venezuelan bolivar was the world's weakest currency during April, while Argentina's peso also continued to lose ground. Regular readers will know all about the ongoing economic crises in those two countries. Meanwhile, the Angolan kwanzaJamaican dollar and Haitian gourde all fell heavily (see first table below) as markets corrected following recent gains for all three currencies.

The other big loser in April was the Myanmar kyat. Three months after the army engineered a coup and retook control from Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD government, setting back all the progress made in the last decade, people continue to brave soldiers' often deadly fire by protesting in the streets on a daily basis. Many workers from both public and private sectors are still refusing to work as part of a defiant stance of non-cooperation with the military government. Ethnic conflicts have flared up again in various regions too. The economy has largely ground to a halt, foreign investors (and expatriate staff) are pulling out and the local currency value is plummeting accordingly. Inflation is sure to rise. It is hard to see an end to the current stalemate, or to predict when international assignees might return to Myanmar, if ever. What is more certain is that we will be revisiting it in these blog pages soon.

Countries experiencing largest currency losses in April

Country

Currency code Movement v EUR
5 Apr - 3 May 2021 (%)
Inflation
(%)
Angola AOA -7 27.3
Argentina ARS -5 42.6
Haiti HTG -9 17.9
Jamaica JMD -7 4.5
Myanmar MMK -12 1.0
Venezuela VES -27 3012.2

There was considerably more positive news from the Seychelles in April, which reopened to tourists and whose currency, the rupee, was consequently the world's strongest during the month (see next table). It has now - just! - made up all of the losses it suffered in the last year during the coronavirus pandemic

Hopes of renegotiating the nuclear deal Iran signed in 2015, which was subsequently dumped by the United States under Trump, lifted the Iranian rial (please note, the 11% gain was on the 'open-market' rate rather than the 'official' rate). If the deal can be rekindled, it would mean the removal of various international sanctions against Iran and much better prospects for its economy.

The Mozambique metical, meanwhile, gained considerably for the second month in a row, as government forces continued to reimpose control over the Cabo Delgado region, where a violent insurgency had threatened major gas projects. 

Apart from Brazil's real, no other currency gained more than 1% against the euro in April.

Countries experiencing largest currency gains in April

Country

Currency code Movement v EUR
5 Apr - 3 May 2021 (%)
Inflation
(%)
Brazil BRL +3 6.1
Iran IRR* +11 49.5
Mozambique MZN +9 5.8
Seychelles SCR +27 9.6

* 'Open-market' rate

Finally, here is this month's selected currency movements table:

Selected currency movements (v EUR)
Country Currency code % movement to 3 May 2021 v EUR since: Latest official annual inflation (%)
    5/4/21
(1 month)
1/2/21
(3 months)
2/11/20
(6 months)
4/5/20
(12 months)
 
Argentina ARS -5 -7 -18 -35 42.6
Australia AUD -1 +2 +6 +8 1.1
Brazil BRL +3 +2 +4 -8 6.1
Canada CAD 0 +5 +5 +4 2.2
Chile CLP -2 +4 +5 +7 2.9
China CNY -1 0 0 -1 0.4
Egypt EGP -2 +1 -3 -10 4.5
India INR -4 -1 -3 -9 5.4
Indonesia IDR -2 -2 -1 -6 1.4
Japan JPY -1 -4 -8 -11 -0.1
Kenya KES -2 +2 -3 -10 5.9
Korea Republic KRW -1 +1 -2 0 1.5
Mexico MXN -2 +1 +2 +10 4.7
Nigeria NGN -2 +1 -3 -7 18.8
Norway NOK +1 +4 +10 +12 3.1
Philippines PHP -2 0 -3 -5 4.5
Poland PLN +1 -1 +1 0 3.2
Russia RUB -1 +2 +2 -10 5.7
Singapore SGD -1 0 -1 -3 1.3
South Africa ZAR -1 +5 +9 +15 3.2
Sweden SEK +1 0 +2 +6 1.7
Switzerland CHF +1 -2 -3 -4 -0.2
Turkey TRY -4 -11 -2 -23 16.2
United Kingdom GBP -2 +2 +4 +1 0.7
United States of America USD -3 0 -3 -10 2.6
Venezuela VES -27 -31 -81 -94 3012.2
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