jump to navigation

Verbal intervention gives US Dollar (temporary) relief 09/10/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in FX, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama Larry Summers, has re-iterated the administration’s supposed support for a strong dollar, adding to comments made by Ben Bernanke on Thursday who emphasized Fed willingness to raise rates when the economy improves to prevent inflation.  This follows a nervous week as, post G7, policy makers from around have openly expressed concern about the rise in the value of their currencies relative to the US Dollar. Over the last 48 hours one could almost detect a whiff of fear of a run on the dollar, particularly during widespread reports that Asian central banks- among them Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Indonesia- had aggressively intervened to prevent further appreciation in their currencies.

Given the level of concern over the Dollar, one would have expected a sharper reversal than has occurred in the last 24 hours. USDJPY has gained 120 pips since this morning and EURUSD is back below 1.4700 but the market feels primed for more Dollar selling next week. After all, Bernanke’s comments did little more than state the obvious and did not signal any near-term tightening, given the current weakness of the economy.  it is becoming increasingly difficult to figure out what a “Strong Dollar” policy amounts to any more.

This time is different 26/09/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

A new book by Rogoff and Reinhart: “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly” looks pretty damn indispensible if the reviews are anything to go by. I must pick up a copy tomorrow. To file next to Fool’s Gold, The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown and Manias, Panics and Crashes.

One big happy family 18/09/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Germany’s decision to directly intervene in the sale of the European arm of General Motors to Magna by providing state aid has not gone down well in the UK, Spain or Belgium. The European Commission said it would investigate the deal to see if it contravenes EU law on national subsidies influencing company locations.

So long as the global economy continues to grow we may only see a few of these newsworthy protectionist measures every week. US-China relations are a tad frosty following President Obama’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese tyres. The inaugural G20 meeting in Washington late last year led to an agreement by to avoid implementing any protectionist measures. Since then 17 of the member countries have enacted protectionist policies of some kind. If, in 2010, the global recovery proves to be more fragile than the consensus forecasts expect many more headlines of this nature both globally and at regional/ EU level

Why the official silence on the declining dollar? 18/09/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The FT’s Jennifer Hughes argues that:

1. Policymakers have accepted the USD decline as inevitable

2. The recent sell-off is less dramatic than previous dollar declines earlier this year

New Funding Currencies I: The Dollar 17/09/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Much has been made over the last week of a perceived sea change in the currency markets, particularly with regard to the USD. Many currencies are now yield little, if anything, more than the Japanese Yen, a currency used to fund investments in higher yielding currencies- the carry trade. With a pick up in global pick up in economic activity and large amounts of liquidity in the US bond market, investors are resuming the search for yield.

Following the Lehman Brothers turmoil in the last three months of 2009 most analysis of the movement of the USD relative to most other G10 currencies has been focused on risk appetite. The US dollar has had an inverse relationship with the global level of risk appetite. To be sure, it is not alone among G10 currencies in this regard. The Swiss Franc has had a long-standing historical role as a safe haven currency and has performed as expected in the current crisis; enough to lead to the SNB being the only bank in the G10 to directly intervene to prevent further appreciation against the EUR. Similarly, the Japanese Yen strengthened, as interest rate differentials were deemed increasingly irrelevant in a period of heightened volatility. However, against the traditional high yielders- the EUR, GBP, the Scandis and the Commodity currencies, the USD showed considerable strength in the first half of 2009. This was despite worries over the potential inflationary consequences of the fiscal and monetary stimulus and murmurings by Chinese and Russian officials regarding the position of the Dollar’s reserve status.

Well, the USD looks like it’s being routed. A strong rebound in the global economy and a succession of positive economic data from the US has led to greater confidence among investors and a greater appetite for risk. The safe haven status of the US Dollar looks less attractive and so a sell off has ensued. Moreover, the domestic bond market is awash with liquidity with the yield on a two year Treasury- with little sign that the Fed is likely to turn off the taps soon. A cautious attitude prevails among central bankers that the rebound in GDP is on firm footing. The recent G20 meeting of finance ministers in London appeared to confirmed that policymakers are unlikely to exit in the near term. So, with a combination of strong economic growth now being found in many places around the world and US interests at historical lows there is little reason to hold the USD. Indeed, the USD may be turning into a funding currency, the role played by the Yen over the last decade. Similarities between the JPY and the Dollar (plus Sterling) are increasing. Bank of New York in their Daily FX briefing said:

This is  that for the first time in modern financial history, the 3-month offer rates for both the USD and GBP (and, in fairness, the EUR as well) have fallen to the levels that characterised the JPY throughout the period that it became used as a funding currency for carry trade activity. As of this morning the USD 3-month offer rate comes in just above50 bp while that for GBP stands a little above 60 bp.

The US economy is recovering and should post positive economic growth by the end of the year. However, that would simply not have been achieved without the unprecedented amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus enacted earlier this year. Fiscal tightening will almost certainly start to take place next year, and so it will be left to the Fed to support a still weak economy. Rate hikes are not expected soon, and with it the US may begin to experience a very similar situation faced by the Japanese in the middle part of this decade; that of funding the carry trade. Not exactly a pillar of financial stability.

Lehman Aftershock 16/09/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

A fantastic short review by the FT’s John Authers of the three scariest weeks in financial history that followed the Lehman bankruptcy.

FX Daily Update 19/08/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The European morning session has traded in a tight range as traders are waiting for further cues about the sustainability of the Asia-led economic recovery. Yesterday’s higher than expected UK CPI figures and European investor sentiment data alleviated the flight to safety earlier in the week. The most significant move in the FX markets this morning came from sterling, which dropped against the USD following Bank of England minutes showing that three MPC members, including Governor Mervyn King, had been voted down over proposing an even bigger boost to Quantitative Easing than was finally agreed. The overall tone of the minutes was also dovish, with the BoE stating that not enogh stimuli could lead to inflation remaining below the 2% target level.  It said that although the overall level of risk had receded the depth of recession increased the likeliness of slack in the economy. The more dovish than expected sentiment from the MPC led to the GBP slipping below its 50 day moving average (1.6464) to retrace yesterday’s advance against the USD. However, the decline stalled at 1.6375, holding well above the weekly low of 1.6275. Sterling had started its decline from just under the 1.66 handle in anticipation of the release of the minutes.

In the Eurozone a lack of risk appetite in the European trading day led EURUSD to slip from a high of 1.4170 to the 1.4100 level, with German producer prices declining 7.8% versus and expected fall of 6.5%. This is the largest fall in prices in 60 years. EURUSD has remained above the 1.4092 50 day moving average- an imporant support level that, once breached, may lead to a more bearish move in the currency pair.

The USD, which has firmly reestablished its firm inverse relationship with risk sentiment, has been trading strongly on the back of a quiet but cautious trading day.

Fiscal Deficit projections 30/06/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The OECD maps out the fiscal future  G7 countries face over the next 3 years, increasing the pressure on the UK government to map out cuts in public expenditure.

“A historic political week” 03/06/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

FT’s Westminster blog- hardly the most sensationalist forum, captures the frenzied mood in the UK at the moment.

Australia stays out of recession 03/06/2009

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
add a comment

The lucky country posts a better than expected first quarter GDP rise– mostly attributable to an increase in foreign trade. This follows a Q4 2008 GDP fall of 0.6%.