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How do exchange rates work and how to get the best one – News Ghana

Susan Sitemere Country Manager Zimbabwe South Africa Blue Background Min X
Susan Sitemere Country Manager Zimbabwe South Africa Blue Background Min X

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Byline: Susan Tanaka Sitemere, Country Manager, Zimbabwe and South Africa, WorldRemit

HARARE, Zimbabwe, 21 September, 2022,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Transferring money abroad and exchanging currency has become a common practice among many living in Zimbabwe. But even those who transfer money abroad regularly might find it hard to understand how the exchange rate works

Exchange rates are crucial in impacting the trade and economic performance of a country and often, they indirectly impact many different areas of your day-to-day life, from the cost of your groceries at the local market, to the cost of fuel, job opportunities and even the interest rate on your bank loans.

To help you get a good deal on your next money transfer, Susan Tanaka Sitemere, Country Manager, Zimbabwe and South Africa, WorldRemit shares some insights into how the exchange rate works.

What is an exchange rate?

The exchange rate is the amount that one currency is worth when compared to another currency. For many of us the only time we deal with them directly is when it comes to traveling or sending money overseas.

What’s better – a high or low exchange rate?

A higher exchange rate is better if you’re buying or sending currency, as it means you get more currency for your money. A lower rate is better if you’re selling the currency. This way, you can profit from the lower exchange rate.

What is FOREX?

FOREX (foreign exchange market or FX) is a global market for currency trading used by individuals, businesses, and banks. If you make a transaction that requires a currency conversion, FOREX determines how much value you get for your money.

To put it in perspective, if you bought a car from a dealer in Harare and paid in US Dollars, you made a FOREX transaction. However, a significant portion of the foreign exchange happens for practical purposes – for example, when you’re travelling or buying foreign goods. However, a majority of currency conversion is made to earn a profit.

How often do exchange rates change?

The FOREX market never sleeps; it is active all day and all night. Exchange rates don’t change once a day or even once an hour; they are constantly fluctuating in response to the Zimbabwean economic, political changes and developments as they occur around the world.

What is a floating exchange rate?

A floating exchange rate is where the currency price of a nation is set by the forex market based on supply and demand relative to other currencies. This is in contrast to a fixed exchange rate, where the government determines the rate. Most countries around the world use a floating exchange rate and when a country uses this kind of an exchange rate, its government actions can only influence the rate, not regulate it.

What is a fixed exchange rate?

A fixed exchange rate is a currency that isn’t influenced by FOREX. Instead, the government controls the rate and regulates its value. Countries with fixed exchange rate like Hong Kong, Denmark, or Saudi Arabia, usually peg the exchange rate against an internationally popular currency (US Dollar or Euro). The country’s government then holds an abundant supply of both of these currencies. This allows them to buy and sell currency as required to keep their exchange rate at a fixed value.

What is an interbank rate?

Interbank rate, sometimes also referred to as the mid-market rate, is used when banks exchange currencies between themselves. This rate is usually better than the rate consumers receive. This is because currency exchange services aim to profit and often add fees or a mark-up to their exchange rate.

What factors influence the exchange rate?

Here is a brief explanation of some of the critical factors that help to determine the exchange rate.

  • Supply and demand – If there’s plenty of currency to go around and low or average demand, then the exchange rate is usually low. If there is less currency in circulation and the demand is high, then the exchange rate increases.
  • Consumer confidence – When a country’s population is confident in its economy’s stability (low unemployment or inflation), consumer spending and investment tends to be higher. This makes the currency more attractive to investors resulting in a higher exchange rate.
  • Balance of trade – A country’s balance of trade looks at the value of exports compared to the value of imports. If the balance is not equal, then this will affect the exchange rate. If exports are higher than imports, then the country is sending more of its currency abroad. And the higher the supply of currency, the lower the demand and exchange rate.
  • Inflation – Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services are rising over time within an economy. When a country has a consistently low inflation rate, its currency is generally more valuable, resulting in a higher exchange rate.
  • Interest rates – Interest is the fee that banks charge consumers to borrow money. The higher the interest rate is, the more you will be charged.
  • Political unrest – Political upheaval causes uncertainty, which can put FOREX traders off, lowering demand for the country’s currency and decreasing its value.
  • Country’s debt – If a country is in debt, then its currency is considered a riskier option by foreign investors. This can cause the country’s currency to decrease in value and the exchange rate to fall.

Where to get the best exchange rate?

A good exchange rate is as close to the interbank rate as possible. You can find out what the current interbank rate is with a quick search online. And although you can’t control the currency market, you can choose who you transfer or exchange your money with. The two main options for sending money abroad are bank wire transfer or online money transfer.

Bank or building society wire transfers

Making the international transfer with your bank or building society may sound like a simple option, but the service comes with its price.

Some banks charge fixed fees for sending money abroad, which can end up being too expensive if you’re only sending a small sum of money. Many banks also offer low exchange rates, a tactic used to charge further ‘hidden fees’ on international transfers.

On top of this, wire transfers can be slow – sometimes taking days to arrive with the recipient, and not all recipients want or can receive money in their bank account.

Online money transfer services

Online money transfer services, like WorldRemit, tend to provide a quicker, more cost-effective way of transferring money overseas. A good online money transfer service will only make you pay a small fee and will offer a fair exchange rate, with any costs shown upfront. They will also often offer a variety of pay-out options, like cash pick up, bank account transfer, mobile money or airtime top up.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of WorldRemit.

About WorldRemit

We’re a leading global payments company and, along with Sendwave, part of Zepz, a group powering two global payments brands.

We disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transfers online – making them safer, faster and lower-cost. We currently send from 50 countries to recipients in 130 countries, operate in more than 5,000 money transfer corridors worldwide and employ over 1,200 people globally.

On the sending side WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom with regional offices around the globe.

www.worldremit.com

Media Contact

WorldRemit Press Office

media@worldremit.com

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British pound stabilizes, but turmoil still roils UK economy – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Associated Press


LONDON: The British pound stabilized Tuesday as U.K. authorities tried to ease investor concerns after the biggest tax cuts in 50 years sent the currency tumbling to a record low the previous day.

The turmoil is already having real-world effects, with several British mortgage lenders pulling offers from the market amid expectations the Bank of England will sharply boost interest rates to offset the inflationary impact of the pound’s recent slide.

It was trading at around $1.08 on Tuesday, after plunging as low as $1.0373 early Monday. The British currency is still down 4% since Friday, when Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans for 45 billion pounds ($49 billion) of unfunded tax cuts. The pound has fallen 20% against the dollar this year.

Kwarteng’s announcement, which comes at the same time the government plans to borrow billions to help shield homes and businesses from soaring energy prices, sparked concerns that the new government’s policies would swell government debt and further fuel inflation.

Late Monday, the central bank said it was “closely monitoring” financial markets and was prepared to boost interest rates “as much as needed” to curb inflation, which is already running at 9.9%, the highest among major economies. The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee isn’t scheduled to meet until Nov. 3.

“There is no rate increase today and speculators will enjoy the prospect of two months of Bank of England inactivity if the statement is taken at face value,” said Alastair George, chief investment strategist at Edison Group.

The U.K. Treasury also sought to reassure investors, saying it would set out a more detailed fiscal plan and independent analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility on Nov. 23.

“We have responded in the immediate term with an expansionary fiscal stance on energy because we had to. With two exogenous shocks — Covid-19 and Ukraine — we had to intervene. Our 70-year-high tax burden was also unsustainable,″ Kwarteng said in talks with investors on Tuesday following the so-called “mini-budget″ last week.

“I’m confident that with our growth plan and the upcoming medium term fiscal plan — with close cooperation with the Bank — our approach will work,” he said.

That did little to quiet criticism of the government’s policies.

Lawrence Summers, who served as U.S. Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, said he was surprised that the International Monetary Fund hadn’t spoken out because a currency crisis in Britain could have worldwide consequences and affect London’s viability as a global financial center.

“I was very pessimistic about the consequences of utterly irresponsible U.K. policy on Friday,” Summers tweeted Tuesday. “But, I did not expect markets to get so bad so fast.”

Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister on Sept. 6, are betting that lower taxes and reduced bureaucracy eventually will generate enough additional revenue to pay for the tax cuts announced Friday.

But many economists say it is unlikely the gamble will pay off.

Torsten Bell, who heads the Resolution Foundation, a think tank focused on economic inequality, said the markets were looking at the government’s plans “and saying that is not what serious policymaking looks like.”

Market reaction to Friday’s announcement will hurt consumers by fueling inflation in the short term, leading to higher mortgage payments in the medium term, and boosting government borrowing in the long term, the foundation said Monday.

“The world we are heading for is a bumpy few weeks,” Bell told Sky News. Kwarteng “is now going to have quite a tough time because he has now set out plans to balance the books in November. That is going to be very hard.”

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Lifeline for locals seeking specialist medical services – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube , Victoria Falls Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS seeking specialised healthcare outside the country especially in India could get a lifeline as a Botswana health institution Francistown Academic Hospital (FAH) is seeking partnerships with local health service providers for locals to get medical help in the neighbouring country.

Over the years, many Zimbabweans have been referred by doctors to India for specialist surgeries.

The common surgeries people travel to India for include open heart and liver surgery, cardio and vascular surgery, kidney transplant, neurosurgery, radiation surgeries and intestines laparoscopic among other services.

Some people have died after failing to raise money for transport, accommodation, food and surgery running into thousands of United States dollars.

Few that have been lucky have been assisted by well-wishers to raise the money.

Government is encouraging partnerships in the health sector while efforts are also being made to come up with a National Health Insurance towards a universal health service.

FAH is a subsidiary of Indus Healthcare in India, a one-stop medical facility with a variety of services, most of which are demanded by Zimbabweans.

FAH has partnered the Association of Health Funders Association of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) in an effort to work with local health care service providers to improve access to health services for Zimbabweans.

The organisation attended the recent AHFoZ annual conference in Victoria Falls where Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro, who was representing Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga as guest of honour, said such a partnership will be beneficial to Zimbabweans.

Acting President Constantino Chiwenga

“This is interesting and will reduce costs for our people who go out of the country to seek medical services especially in India,” said Dr Mangwiro during a tour of exhibition stands where FAH was exhibiting.

FAH business development and marketing manager Mr Nonofo Brian Molatlhegi said Zimbabweans will be able to use their medical aid if the organisations strike deals with local schemes.

“This is a subsidiary of Indus Group with six hospitals in India and we facilitate treatment or make payment terms for clients in Francistown instead of going to India.

“We offer a wide range of services where pre-operation procedures will be done in Francistown and if need be the patient will be airlifted to India but reviews and follow-up surgeries will be done in Francistown where patients get the same help they would have gotten if they were in India. This is a win-win situation as people will save on money and will be able to save life,” said Mr Molatlhegi.

The Government of Botswana is an equity partner in the hospital.

Mr Molatlhegi said instead of patients flying to India, FAH can also fly Indian doctors to Francistown.
Most people who travel for treatment in India are accompanied by a relative who will be taking care of them and that increases costs.

“This is what we are selling to Zimbabwean medical providers that clients should not go to India where they are unknown. When there are many clients we collect the cases and fly doctors to Francistown to do surgeries. The patients share the cost of flying a doctor and that will be cheaper than going there individually,” Mr Molatlhegi.

FAH was opened in 2020 and targets the Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe markets and Zambia before spreading to the whole continent.

AHFoZ is a member of Health Funders of Southern Africa and International Federation of Health Plans in UK as the health sector continues to strike partnerships. [email protected]

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Parly and ZELA draft laws to curb illicit financial flows – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Thobekile Khumalo


PARLIAMENT, in partnership with Zimbabwe Environmental Law Agency (ZELA), is working on crafting laws to curb illicit financial flows (IFF) manifested by loopholes in policies contributing to the crippled economy and underdevelopment in the country.

IFFs worsen poverty and are mainly exacerbated by the mining sector where gold is not submitted to Fidelity Gold Refineries but sold to the black market that offers a higher rate. This has necessitated the formalisation of small scale and artisanal miners as a way of preventing resource leakages.

In an interview with the vice chairperson of Africa Parliamentarians Against Illicit Financial Flows, Member of Parliament (MP) Vimbai Matevere said as law makers they should make sure they do not only enact legislation, but give solutions to problems.

“As Parliament we’re not only suppose to create laws but also be giving solutions so that we make our country go forward. So, here we are discussing about illicit financial flows because it cripples the economy.

“The moment that we have a lot of illicit financial flows going out of the country, we realise it reduces the amount that we’re supposed to have as a country.

“Our revenue collection then reduces from the intended ways that we want it to,” she said.

Matevere said they are working on certain laws that are able to curb illicit financial flows.

“We need to appreciate that there are certain sectors in the economy which include mining, tourism and agriculture which are the bases of National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and when we look at them we need to find out ways for them to become effective,” she said.

She added: “We are also talking about formalising gold mining, especially that is now small scale miners, it’s a matter of us having some cultural mindset which makes it important to understand why it is important to formalise the artisanal and small scale miners.

“We need to understand their contribution to economic development and we also need to appreciate that its also important for us to have a holistic approach so that we understand that it will go from generation to generation because we understand that land is an infinite resource and also the same with the mines and also the minerals that we have.

“We need to understand that we create mechanisms that make us be able to sustain our operations going forward as a country. So these are some of the objectives that also made us be able to get here.”

According to a 2013 African Development Bank report, Zimbabwe had lost a cumulative US$12 billion in the last three decades through lFFs, ranging from opaque financial deals to tax avoidance and illegal commercial activities.

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