‘How Nigerians in diaspora can help in economic development’ – The Guardian

By Kingsley Jeremiah  

Nigerians living abroad have key roles to play in the future of country, particularly in the area of economic development, Director, United Kingdom, UK Department for International Trade, Ahmed Bashir has said.

Speaking in Lagos at the Presidential Dinner of the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Bashir, who is currently Acting Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, was optimistic necessary business ideas could be transferred into the country through the diaspora community.

He sees the diaspora as a community that must be tapped to grow the country’s economy.“Nigeria’s diaspora is an asset that can make a big difference in Nigeria. Our interviews with Nigerian entrepreneurs indicate that the diaspora have a keen interest in transferring business ideas and practices from the UK into Nigeria,” Bashir said.

 

The UK is second largest destination after the United States, US for the millions of Nigerians, who live abroad. Other countries that followed closely are South Africa, Gambia, and Canada respectively.

Bashir further harped on the need to support the diaspora and guide them to make an even bigger impact in the country.He said the UK remains committed to supporting the country’s effort to manage oil price slump, the current recession and the challenges of transforming the economy towards a more diversified, inclusive economic base.

“We know the task is difficult, but the UK-Nigeria relationship spreads widely, encompassing security, infrastructure, skills and capacity development, and enhanced trade relations that will help Nigeria recover, prosper and realise the potential we all know this great country has,” Bashir said.

Reiterating that the bilateral trade relationship between Nigeria and UK would remain strong, he stressed that Britain’s exit from European Union would not affect the relationship.

President of NBCC, Dapo Adelegan, said the chamber had made stride in 2016 aimed at garnering business sustainability in different sector of the nation’s economy.He disclosed that the chamber would boost its footprints through the establishment of a London and Abuja secretariat as it plans to mark 40th anniversary in 2017.

How Nigeria’s economic challenges affect West Africa – ECOWAS – Premium Times

The depreciation of the naira and other economic challenges affecting member states have slowed down ECOWAS economic integration and the adoption of a single currency, the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports.

This was one of the main issues discussed at the technical meeting of the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Policy Committee on Multilateral Surveillance in Abuja on Thursday.

The out-going Chairperson of the committee, Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said that it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic challenges.

Ms. Ndaiye, however, noted that the commission had made progress in its macroeconomic policies.

“The depreciation in value of the naira and other economic factors in Nigeria are affecting ECOWAS.

“We all know that whatever happens in Nigeria weighs heavily on our economies.

“If there are challenges there, it would reflect on the region,” she said.

She urged the committee to make recommendations that would strengthen sub-regional economic integration and development that could also be implemented through the economic policies of member states.

 

The ECOWAS Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Mamadou Traore, said that the 2015 report on the macroeconomic convergence for the region showed a slowdown the growth of the economy compared to 2014.

Mr. Traore said the lack of raw materials, poor state of infrastructural development in member states and the depreciation in value of the naira contributed to the slow growth rate.

He said that that despite measures put in place by the commission, the ECOWAS economy “is still vulnerable to external shocks”.

He called on member countries to do in-depth analyses to determine the growth factors that made the sub-region vulnerable.

“Member states should get an update of implementation of the ECOWAS single currency programme.

“The deadline for the adoption of single currency is fast approaching; this committee should set an agenda to look into the progress made so far and identify challenges that may hinder its smooth operation.”

He urged member states to regularly update their databases on measures that drive economic growth in their countries.

The commissioner stated that the two-day meeting would review the 2015 report, evaluate and make recommendations that would drive the economies of member states.

He also said that the meeting would discuss the status of the implementation of the ECOWAS Common external Tariff.

NAN reports that ECOWAS has set 2020 to achieve the adoption of a single currency for the region.

(NAN)

Confusion Reigns in Markets as ECB QE Changes Spark Wild Swings – Bloomberg

By  Stefania Spezzati  and  Anooja Debnath

  • German 10-year bund yield climbs to highest since January
  • Euro slides as ECB says it can increase buying if needed
 As the European Central Bank laid out its revamped asset-purchase program, different investors seized upon different parts — leaving the overwhelming result one of market confusion.

For bond bears, the reduction in pace of the ECB’s monthly purchases to 60 billion euros gave the first hints of a future without quantitative easing. For the bulls, the lifting of the deposit rate floor and drop in the lower-maturity bound for buying brought a raft of new securities into the central bank’s shopping basket. Currency traders also initially focused on the reduction of monthly purchases, before zeroing in on the longer-than-expected extension.

The result: confusion and wild fluctuations in the market. German 10-year bund yields climbed to the highest since January, two-year notes rallied, before giving up gains. Meanwhile the euro, which spiked higher after the ECB announced its decision, tumbled, causing the shared currency to swing in a range of more than 2.5 U.S. cents.

“It’s all over the place at the moment,” said Jens Peter Sorensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “First everyone was disappointed about going from 80 billion to 60 billion, everybody writes ‘tapering’. Then comes the buying below deposit rate, that means suddenly we don’t have this potential squeeze in German bonds, so that gives you a correction in yields.”

While most economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted ECB President Mario Draghi would announce an extension to the bond-buying program, which was scheduled to run until at least end-March, a majority of the analysts forecast six additional months at the current pace of 80 billion euros. Three quarters of the respondents in the Bloomberg survey said the central bank would start tapering its purchases by late 2017, given the slowly accelerating inflation and a moderate, but steady, economic recovery. 

“It always has to be confusing,” Danske’s Sorensen said. “They cannot do anything with clarity and transparency. Draghi is trying to satisfy both the other central banks, where some are very much against this whole program, and on the other hand trying to satisfy the public about still giving stimulus. That’s a difficult task and that is why it always becomes a little bit complicated with the ECB.”Market Reaction:

  • Benchmark German 10-year bund yields rose nine basis points to 0.44 percent as of 2:56 p.m. in London, after touching 0.46 percent.
  • The yield on 30-year bonds surged 14 basis points to 1.16 percent, while that on two-year notes fell two basis points to minus 0.69 percent.
  • The euro dropped 1.1 percent to $1.0637, having earlier climbed to $1.0874, the highest since Nov. 11.
  • Bonds with a market value of 1.3 trillion euros had yields below the minus 0.4 percent deposit rate on Dec. 6, data compiled by Bloomberg show, making up about 22 percent of the region’s total. Still, not all those bonds become eligible due to other eligibility criteria.

 

Pound Surges Ahead of Analyst Forecasts That Predict 2017 Slide – Bloomberg

By Charlotte Ryan

  • Median estimate puts sterling at $1.21 by second quarter 2017
  • ‘Broad dollar appreciation’ seen weakening pound: Millennium
The pound’s recovery may be getting ahead of itself.

That’s according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey, who see sterling dropping about 4 percent to $1.21 by the second quarter of 2017. The pound, which has been buffeted by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, is currently exceeding forecasters’ estimates for that period by close to the most in three months.

Sterling climbed 2.2 percent against the dollar in November, posting its first monthly gain since April. Still, it has slumped 15 percent since the U.K. referendum in June, making the pound the Group-of-10’s worst-performing currency this year.

Richard Benson, London-based managing director and co-head of portfolio investment at Millennium Global Investments Ltd., sees the triggering of the U.K.’s exit from the EU by March, a strong dollar and weaker U.K. data helping to push sterling lower in 2017.

“It seems reasonable that the pound would head lower as part of a broad dollar appreciation,” he said. “The moment Article 50 is triggered the clock is counting down. Having recovered like we have done, most outcomes are somewhat negative from here.”

  • Day By Day is the most bearish forecaster, predicting sterling will fall to $1.03 by the second quarter. Bayerische Landesbank, which was among the top 10 most-accurate forecasters in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg rankings, is next, with $1.12.
  • The pound rose 0.2 percent to $1.2652 as of 7:18 a.m. in London, having touched $1.2775 on Tuesday, the highest since Oct. 4.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May won lawmakers’ backing to trigger the start of Britain’s exit from the EU by the end of March on Wednesday.

Euro Falls After ECB Meeting – WSJ

ECB said it would extend its bond-purchase program to the end of 2017, but reduce the amount of its monthly purchase

 

 

The euro tumbled against the dollar Thursday as investors digested the European Central Bank’s plans to extend its quantitative easing program but lowered the amount.

The euro was recently down 1% to $1.064. The common currency was down 0.7% against the Japanese yen to Y121.33.

At the close of its latest meeting, the ECB said it would extend its bond-purchase program by nine months to the end of 2017, but reduce its monthly purchase volume to €60 billion from €80 billion ($86.2 billion) as of April. The move came as a surprise to many investors and analysts, who had largely expected the bank to extend the program but keep the pace of its monthly purchases steady.

The euro tumbled against the dollar after the European Central Bank said it would extend its stimulus program to the end of 2017, but scale back the amount of monthly bond purchases.PHOTO: MIGUEL MEDINA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Investors initially sent the euro to a two-month high against the dollar after the ECB decision, as a reduction in quantitative easing was seen as positive for the euro.

But investors quickly focused on comments suggesting the central bank could extend its easing program even further, said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

“The fact that the bank has left the door open to extending the purchases beyond December 2017 and that it emphasized its ability to increase the monthly purchases at any time quickly sent the euro, and German bond yields sharply lower,” he wrote in a research note.

The euro’s weakness helped propel the dollar higher. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against 16 others, rose 0.7% to 91.49.

Investors have grown increasingly confident that the Federal Reserve will raise interest-rates at its meeting next week.

Fed-funds futures showed that investors assigned a 97% probability of a rate increase this month. Higher rates boost the dollar by making the currency more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

 

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at Chelsey.Dulaney@wsj.com

Reps to Buhari: Suspend ban on importation of cars through land borders – The Nation

By: Dele Anofi, Abuja 

President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the House of Representatives to suspend the ban on importation of new and used cars through land borders.

The ban that was announced on  December 5, 2016 by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) was due to take off from January 1, 2017.

The lawmakers however said the policy was too harsh as it is bound to pile more economic miseries on the majority of Nigerians that are already groaning under the prevailing economic recession.

The decision of the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion by Abdulahi Salame (APC, Sokoto) who noted that the percentage of Nigerians who can afford cars has declined drastically following the decline in the value of naira, inflation, unemployment and high cost of living that has bedeviled Nigeria where over 80 percent of the population live below $200 a day.

Salame noted that, “With its powers under Section 18 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, the government can restrict the movement of goods into and out of Nigeria by land or inland waters and to appoint customs stations, but similar exercise of such powers on rice importation through the land borders in April 2016, has led to untold hardships on Nigerians as a bag of rice now sells for between N20, 000 and N23,000  as against N8,000 few months ago.

“We are also aware that the government has not put in place alternative measures to ensure that Nigerians will have access to cars since it is cheaper to buy cars from neighbouring countries and still generate revenue by ensuring that our borders are secured to prevent smuggling and also that there will not be job losses.

“Meanwhile, some of those making these policies have failed to patronize made-in-Nigeria goods, especially Nigerian assembled vehicles which are, in any case unaffordable to over 80 percent of Nigerians who can only afford fairly used imported cars.

“It is of concern that despite the pitiable state of most Nigerians occasioned by unemployment, lack of funds for survival and high cost of living which has sent many to their early graves, the government is adopting a policy that will further increase the sufferings of the masses at this critical time the country is in recession.

“It is equally worrisome that the ban will cause more harm than good as it will certainly lead to increase in smuggling, deprive poor Nigerians of access to acquiring vehicles, skyrocket the price of cars cleared at the wharf, increase inflation and further mount pressure on the already weak naira and lead to idleness, insecurity and criminality at the border points”.

Lawmakers that spoke in favour of the motion noted that it is the masses that would be affected more by the new policy.

According to them, the reason put forward about payment of duties was not enough to punish the entire country because non-payment of duties was carried out with the active connivance of security officials at the borders.

The lawmakers also argued that the ban was against the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols on movement of goods and services.

 

The lawmakers said to implement the policy at a period of recession amount to Nigerians paying for the irresponsibility of agencies that should collect port duties on imported cars.

The lawmakers that supported the policy however noted that most policies of the administration of President Buhari were aimed at correcting fundamental and structural anomalies inherent in the system.

While they regretted that policies of this administration were often misunderstood and attacked, the antagonists of the bill recalled that three decades ago, Nigeria was the hub of economic activities in the sub-region, an advantage that has now been eroded due to reckless importation of unnecessary goods and services.

According to the lawmakers, this has reflected in job loss, with Nigeria not only becoming a dumping ground but also losing its technological development potentials to her neighbours.

They noted that as long as the government refused to do what it supposed to do by taking hard decisions, the country will remain on the path that has taken Nigeria nowhere so far.

As part of their resolution, the lawmakers urged the Federal government to ensure that the law enforcement agencies, especially those working at the borders, are diligent in their duties by ensuring that import charges through the land borders are paid when due and remitted to the government.

The House also urged the Federal government to install border security and surveillance equipment for effective monitoring to address the recurring menace of smuggling and ensure a maximum revenue generation on all lawfully imported goods.

The lawmakers equally urged the Federal government to expand its plan on youths empowerment programs by developing skills acquisition centers in border areas so as to enable the youth to acquire skills necessary for the type of businesses that are being carried out in the border areas and also employ more people from those areas into the border security agencies as they have relevant experiences on how goods are being moved in and out of the country.

Committees on Governmental Affairs and Customs and Excise were mandated to ensure implementation of the resolutions and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

WEAKAHEAD-AFRICA-FX-Nigeria’s naira seen steady from diaspora dollar inflows – Reuters

LAGOS Dec 8 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s naira is likely to tread water next week on dollar inflows from Nigerians visiting home during the holidays against waning demand, while the Kenyan shilling could weaken as the flow of greenbacks dries up. 

NIGERIA

The naira is expected to hold steady around its present level against the greenback in the parallel and official interbank market as dollar flows from Nigerians living abroad who are expected to visit home during the December holidays.

The local currency fell 1.78 percent week-on-week on Thursday to 485 to the dollar on the parallel market from 480 a dollar last week, while it was quoted by commercial lenders at 315 a dollar on the official interbank market.

The naira has, however, consistently closed around 305.5 a dollar level since August via the official window.

“Demand for the dollar is seen dropping ahead of the Christmas as businesses gradually wind down, while dollar flows from Nigerians in Diaspora visiting home on holiday is expected to increase supply in the market,” one dealer said.

KENYA

The Kenyan shilling could weaken due to a decrease in dollar sales from charities and horticultural export earnings as the year comes to an end, traders said.

At 1125 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 101.85/102.05 to the dollar, little changed from last Thursday’s close of 101.80/102.00

“Activity on the supply counter remains muted this time of year,” said a trader from a commercial bank.

TANZANIA

The Tanzanian shilling could hold steady, supported by foreign exchange flows from the agriculture sector amid subdued demand for greenbacks.

Commercial banks quoted the shilling at 2,174/2,184 to the dollar on Thursday, stronger than 2,180/2,183 a week ago.

“The shilling will likely remain at current levels next week due to a slowdown in demand for dollars,” said a dealer at a commercial bank.

“We are also seeing inflows from the agriculture sector, corporates and NGOs which are selling dollars to clear payments in local currency before the end of the year.”

ZAMBIA

The kwacha is expected to remain steady due to subdued market activity as the year comes to an end.

At 1235 GMT on Thursday, the currency of Africa’s No. 2 copper producer was quoted at 9.8600 per dollar from a close of 9.9850 a week ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“We don’t anticipate any significant departure from the current levels because there isn’t much activity,” one senior commercial bank trader said. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa, John Ndiso, Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala, Chris Mfula; Compiled by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by James Macharia)

 

FOREX-Euro inches up, hovers near 3-week high as focus shifts to ECB – Reuters

* Euro clings to previous day’s gains, eyes on ECB

* Dollar nurses losses after U.S. bond yields slip

* Euro back within sight of Monday’s near 3-week high

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Dec 8 The euro held firm near a three-week high versus the dollar on Thursday, as investors turned their attention to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later in the day, and as the greenback was dragged down by a drop in U.S. bond yields.

The euro has been the main focus for traders this week after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he will resign after suffering a stinging defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform.

After initially dropping on the weekend news, the euro rallied strongly on Monday and has since held below three-week highs against the dollar as investors wait on the ECB.

The ECB is expected to announce a six-month extension to its quantitative easing programme on Thursday, while keeping the size of asset purchases unchanged at 80 billion euros, according to a majority of economists polled by Reuters. 

Emphasising abundant risk, including from forthcoming elections in Europe, ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to argue that premature tapering – or slowly ending – bond-buying could abort a still timid recovery, unravelling the impact of the buys.

The euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.0769 after gaining 0.3 percent on Wednesday. It was trading within sight of Monday’s peak of $1.0797, its highest level since Nov. 15.

On Monday, the euro had initially slumped to $1.0505, its lowest since March 2015 in a knee-jerk reaction to the outcome of the Italian referendum.

It then quickly rebounded as a worst-case political scenario for Rome appeared to have been averted for the time being.

After Renzi’s resignation, most parliamentary factions pushed for an early election in a few months’ time.

While the market remains concerned about the risk of an early election being called in Italy, the focus at the minute was on the ECB meeting, said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX strategist for Barclays in Tokyo.

“The market is concerned about that risk,” Kadota said, referring to the possibility of an early election.

“I think the market will reassess the situation after seeing what comes out of the ECB,” he added.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, stood at 100.09 , down from Wednesday’s intraday high of 100.60.

On Wednesday, the dollar index had slipped by about 0.2 percent as U.S. bond yields slipped back.

The dollar eased 0.1 percent versus the yen to 113.62 yen.

There was limited reaction to a downward revision to Japan’s July-September gross domestic product (GDP) data, which showed lower than expected growth of 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, compared to market expectations for 0.6 percent growth.

In late November, the dollar index had set a 13-1/2 year high of 102.05, having rallied as U.S. bond yields surged on expectations of higher fiscal spending and a faster pace of Federal Reserve monetary tightening under President-elect Donald Trump. (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

As Beijing Battles to Keep Yuan at Home, Chinese Prepare to Sell – WSJ

Foreign-exchange quotas for the public will be reset on Jan. 1, with an outgoing surge of cash expected

SHENZHEN, China—Shen Jia’s New Year’s resolution is to convert as much yuan into U.S. dollars as she can when 2017 arrives.

Like all Chinese, the 36-year-old homemaker is allowed to exchange up to $50,000 worth of yuan a year, and she used up her 2016 quota months ago as the yuan has weakened. So did everyone in her extended family.

As Beijing struggles to slow the outflow of cash and an erosion in its stockpile of foreign currency, the clock is about to restart on individuals’ annual foreign-exchange quotas, which is expected to set off a fresh gush of outflows. The foreign-exchange pile fell by almost $100 billion in January this year, after the quota reset.

 

The pressure to get out of the yuan hasn’t abated. Data from the People’s Bank of China on Wednesday showed that China’s currency holdings shrank by $69 billion in November to $3.052 trillion, the fifth straight month of declines and the worst month since January. The reserves are now at the lowest level since March 2011.

“Everybody is predicting more depreciation to come, so I’d better hurry,” said Ms. Shen, who plans to use the dollars for overseas trips.

The prospect of greater outflows confronts the government with the question of whether to revise the quota. Officials and others in government circles privately brush off that possibility, though they acknowledge the concern.

“If people believe renminbi is a one-way bet on the downside, of course they would want to exchange more,” a government adviser said, using another name for the yuan.

Harrison Hu, China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, predicted that a tightening of the reins on households’ foreign-currency purchases is likely in the coming months. “Banks, under ‘window guidance,’ may apply implicit quantity controls,” Mr. Hu said, referring to possible instructions from regulators.

The cap was increased in 2007 from $20,000 a person each year as part of broader financial liberalization. Lowering it now would send a dire message about the economy and increase the risk of panic selling of the yuan, according to officials and economists. Keeping it as is, however, likely means a big rush of money exiting, putting more downward pressure on the yuan’s value and forcing the central bank to dig further into China’s currency reserves.

So far, China’s foreign-exchange regulator has tried other ways to keep money at home, dismissing speculation that the conversion quota will be reduced. Most recently, the State Council, China’s cabinet, put in place new rules aimed at slowing overseas investments by Chinese companies. In addition, regulators have instructed banks to limit sharply how much companies, both foreign and Chinese, move out of the country and into their other operations around the world.

Officials have also resorted to moral suasion to prevent money from leaving. An article in the official People’s Daily newspaper late last month urged individuals not to “blindly follow the crowd” to convert yuan into foreign currencies.

When Chinese convert yuan to U.S. currency, the PBOC ultimately is the buyer of the yuan for dollars, so that leads to a drop in foreign-currency reserves. And when the Chinese spend those dollars overseas, that is considered an outflow.

The specter of capital flight started to emerge late last year, following the central bank’s surprise devaluation of the yuan in August 2015. To stem the bleeding, the PBOC resorted to heavy market intervention to prop up the currency. A new exchange regime established early this year was also intended to instill stability into the yuan’s exchange rate.

Since early October—immediately after the International Monetary Fund formally included the yuan among its reserve currencies, long a goal for Beijing—the government has shown greater tolerance for a cheaper yuan. That helps boost lackluster exports in a time of economic challenge. After the dollar’s recent surge following Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential election win, the yuan is down about 6% against the dollar this year.

The weakening trend makes it urgent for Chinese with yuan incomes but dollar obligations to use their quota fast. That includes the many parents of Chinese studying in the U.S. Families often pool quotas, say, to allow one member to buy property overseas, according to analysts and bankers.

Everybody is predicting more depreciation to come, so I’d better hurry.

—Shen Jia

Businesses are also trying to hold more foreign currency. Du Yaliang, owner of a toy maker in Shenzhen that sells to the North American market, is putting off exchanging his dollar profits for yuan for as long as possible. Like many other exporters, he has also entered into derivative contracts that enable him to make money if the yuan declines further.

The Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based group of global financial institutions, estimates net capital outflows of $530 billion from China in the first 10 months of the year. But some analysts say the amount could be even greater as more Chinese companies and individuals send or carry yuan funds offshore directly without converting them into dollars first.

Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the PBOC, suggested that the central bank use part of its foreign-currency reserves to maintain market confidence in the yuan, according to a transcript of his remarks at a forum in Beijing over the weekend.

Write to Lingling Wei at lingling.wei@wsj.com

Dollar Eases Against Euro Ahead of Central-Bank Decisions – WSJ

Market awaits results of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting and next week’s Fed parley

 By CHELSEY DULANEY

The dollar fell against the euro on Wednesday, as investors focused on coming central-bank decisions.

The euro rose 0.4% to $1.076. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against 16 others, fell 0.3% to 90.88.

The European Central Bank will announce its latest policy decision on Thursday. Analysts at Credit Suisse say the central bank could deliver some fresh easing at the meeting but signal it is considering tapering easing operations in coming months.

“This type of mixed signal is not easy to decipher,” analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a research note. “A poorly-explained move towards tapering would pose a risk of a European ’taper tantrum’ and a potent euro surge on the day.”

Meanwhile, the Fed holds a policy meeting next week. Markets are pricing in a 93% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates at the meeting, according to CME Group data. Signs the central bank is taking a more hawkish view on future rate increases could boost the dollar and pressure emerging-market currencies, such as the Chinese yuan.

Data released on Wednesday showed China’s foreign-exchange reserves fell faster-than-expected in November, as the Chinese central bank stepped up efforts to defend the sliding yuan. The dollar was recently up 0.2% against the yuan in offshore trading.

The dollar rose 0.1% against the yuan in offshore trading.

Higher U.S. interest rates pressure emerging-market nations by making their assets less attractive to yield-seeking investors and by making their debt more expensive to pay back.

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at Chelsey.Dulaney@wsj.com