Who says there's no such thing as miracles from Heaven?
Six months ago, Zambia appealed to a higher power to intervene in lifting its flailing currency, the kwacha. Now, the unit has seen a head-spinning reversal of its fortunes, becoming one of the world's best performing currencies. Over the last six weeks, the kwacha has become the top performing frontier currency, soaring by nearly 23 percent, according to data from Rhombus Advisors, an emerging markets advisory firm.
Whether divine intervention is the proximate cause, the kwacha's recovery has surprised some of even the most jaded observers of the fast-moving foreign exchange market, which sees $5.3 trillion in average daily turnover.
"The currency has performed quite well this year, benefiting from some recovery in the copper price this year as well as exporters liquidating FX as the currency strengthened positively," said Brian Mugabe, a Johannesburg-based analyst with Momentum SP Reid Securities.
So did a national day of prayer in Zambia, whose official religion is Christianity, help rescue its currency? Not necessarily. According to some analysts, the booming kwacha owes its turnaround to something decidedly less supernatural: central bank intervention.
Amid a fight with inflation and slumping commodity market weighing on sentiment, Zambia's central bank began an aggressive rate hike campaign back in November.