Currency fixing probe extends to Nam

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The Bank of Namibia (BoN) is awaiting the South African Competition Commission (SACC) to conclude its investigation into 17 commercial banks implicated in alleged South African Rand (ZAR) and US Dollar (USD) currency manipulation in that country, to ascertain whether Namibian commercial banks are tangled up in the intricate web.Some Namibian banks could be implicated by virtue of their parent companies in SA. Of the 17 banks under investigation, Standard Bank is one of three South African Banks licenced to operate in Namibia. “Based on the information at our disposal, the Bank of Namibia does not have any substantive evidence and/or reasons to conclude whether any Namibian Bank was directly or indirectly involved in the USD/ZAR foreign exchange deal manipulation or not,” reads a statement from BoN. BoN said it is aware that Standard Bank Namibia handles big volumes of USD/ZAR transaction as a result of its relationships with major exporting firms, but pointed out that foreign exchange transaction from Namibia are significantly low compared to global trades. “We hope that more details on the Commission findings will be unearthed at the Tribunal. That way, the BoN will be able to ascertain that the conduct of standard Bank Namibia has been above board in this regard,” said BoN. The SACC announced in February this year that the 17 banks succeeded in colluding in price fixing and market allocation in ZAR and USD currencies using communication tools through Bloomberg and Reuters Currency Trading Platforms. The implicated banks are said to have refrained from trading, creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times, taking turns in transactions and fixing prices which led to the misrepresentation of the demand and supply of the two currencies. Currency manipulation, driven primarily by profit motives, also affects consumers, importers and exporters and ultimately the economy of a country.