Japanese investors are a powerful bunch in world markets. For a microcosm of this, just look at Australia; Japan plays a big role here in debt and in turn, in currency; and it’s a market that has been very attractive to foreigners of late, keeping the currency stubbornly high regardless of price changes in the country’s key exported commodities. BUT, as with everything yen at the moment, there is a serious shift going on. Read more
The currency war meme rumbles on as the G7 does its very best to avoid a coherent message amid arguments about whether drawing a distinction between “domestic objectives” that weaken a currency and just plain weakening it actually matters. Ho hum. Read more
First we had this rather bland statement from the G7 — “domestic objectives” etc — and now this:
12-Feb-2013 13:56 G7 OFFICIAL SAYS G7 IS CONCERNED ABOUT UNILATERAL GUIDANCE ON THE YEN, JAPAN WILL BE IN SPOTLIGHT AT G20 MEETING IN MOSCOW
12-Feb-2013 13:56 – G7 OFFICIAL SAYS G7 STATEMENT WAS MISINTERPRETED, STATEMENT SIGNALED CONCERN ABOUT EXCESS MOVES IN JAPANESE YEN
G7 statement just out on Tuesday: Read more
“Oh, Hollande…” said Mario Draghi as the rest of us wondered if he had or hadn’t entered the supposed currency wars. Or if, in fact, the question was redundant.
The euro’s dive on Thursday was impressive and clearly the result of ECB president Draghi’s comments after the ECB’s rate setting meeting. But whether it was justified or not is very much contested. Read more
Japan’s Masaaki Shirakawa gave notice on Tuesday that he would be leaving his post as governor of the Japanese central bank on March 19, three weeks earlier than slated.
Can we blame Shirakawa? His departure now coincides with that of two deputy BoJ governors who would be replaced by Abe-nominations (we resisted the urge to go for ‘Abominations’; it wasn’t easy.).
If Shirakawa had stuck around he presumably would have found himself the head of an increasingly mutinous court. Read more
For US dollar pairs at least…
From the Danish central bank:
Effective from 25 January 2013, Danmarks Nationalbank’s interest rate on certificates of deposit and the lending rate are increased by 0.10 percentage point. The discount rate and the current account rate are unchanged.
We have Weidmann worrying the currency wars are kicking off again with Japan leading the way and a whole host of others either joining in and/ or complaining hypocritically. Read more
Here’s the Swiss franc at its weakest level against the euro since the Swiss National Bank put its cap into place in September 2011:
The ‘currency wars’ are usually a bit more abstract than this.
Just as the Japanese look to be finally weakening their stubborn yen and spur some inflation in a stagnant economy, there is a suggestion, just a suggestion mind, that a deliberate plan to scupper, or at least hinder, that plan might be afoot. Read more
Oh look, it’s the Abe effect. How exciting. From Reuters:
RTRS – BOJ TO MULL SETTING 2 PCT INFLATION TARGET AT JAN 21-22 MEETING, DOUBLE CURRENT PRICE GOAL – SOURCES
China snuck something out last Friday that just might be pretty significant…
From the FT: Read more
The landslide win for the Shinzo Abe-led Liberal Democratic party in Japan at the weekend pushed the Japanese yen to its weakest level against the dollar since April 2011 (inverted chart, don’t ya know):
The Australian Financial Review is reporting that some central bankers are encouraging the Reserve Bank of Australia to consider heavy intervention rather than cut rates, if it wants to bring down the value of the Australian dollar, which is at its highest in months. Read more
Obvious dovishness + Draghi’s admittance that the ECB is operationally ready for negative deposit rates = that. Read more
Are you a Swiss bank? Do you have haven appeal? Want to make some quick, easy money? Then keep reading…
Credit Suisse has decided it will start charging negative rates on Swiss franc cash balances above a certain threshold. From CS: Read more
So, would a sovereign downgrade hurt sterling? And if so, how much? It’s hard to model this as historic comparisons are muddy and sterling crosses each obviously carry their own difficulties. Consider this chart from Morgan Stanley, by way of illustration:
THE YEN IS DOOMED, don’t ya know? And, to be fair, the longer term arguments are hard to fight against but the risk of a near to medium-term yen bounce is significant. Read more
Oh dear, many an FX trader is gonna be disappointed by this one — history suggests FX volatility is heading down, not up, as we exit November.
From Deutsche Bank’s Alan Ruskin… Read more
Not many people seem bothered by France’s overnight downgrade by Moody’s. The euro shrugged and French bond yields crept upwards at a snail’s pace.
But one place the downgrade might have a real and lasting impact is within the Swiss National Bank. They have a predilection for core eurozone bonds and the downgrade might just prompt them to ditch what holdings they have and/or stop loading up on French debt.
This is from RBC’s Adam Cole who has been trying to get WOOT (World of One Trade) into the FX psyche for a while. So, l33t research indeed, but RoRo was always gonna be a tough meme to contend with.
Anyway… Cole’s point is that that there are more currency pairs uncorrelated to equities right now than at any time for five years. In fact, he says, correlations have started to break down to the extent that a majority of G10 currency pairs were uncorrelated with equity returns over the last three months. Another false dawn or an actual end to the dominant RoRo paradigm? Read more
The Bank of Japan’s unprecedented joint statement with the Japanese government after the central bank’s October meeting raised eyebrows around the world. The BoJ was already widely seen as having come under increased political pressure in recent months as the country’s economy had slowed; so what did the joint statement mean?
The statement contained a couple of key declarations: “The Bank strongly expects the Government to vigorously promote measures for strengthening Japan’s growth potential”, and “The Government strongly expects the Bank to continue powerful easing as outlined in section 2 until deflation is overcome.” Read more
Well, we’re cheating a bit here as the anniversary was two days ago, but it still allows for a discussion of the “government versus the central bank” thing going on in Japan and gaining traction everywhere else. It’s been just over a year since Japan’s Ministry of Finance last threw a whole heap of yen at the US dollar — the selling started on October 31 and ended on November 4. Read more
So, Fitch has become the first of the ratings agencies to upgrade Turkey to investment grade, giving it its first such rating since 1994. It’s been a while coming and the Turkish lira jumped at the news — up 0.9 per cent at pixel time against the dollar to a three month high:
So far, so rosy… if unsurprising. But there may be an interesting by-product of this overdue upgrade. Namely, it might force the Turkish central bank into a smidgen of FX fiddling. That is, if the upgrade actually matters and inflows really step up. Read more
So the Bank of Japan basically did what what was expected of it as did the yen, which gained 0.5 per cent against the dollar as traders saw massive selling of dollar-yen going through as the Bank’s decision hit the wires.
So far, so predictable. We thought UBS’ Paul Donovan summed up the BoJ’s move fairly well:
Japan saw the Bank of Japan defy government pressure to increase the asset purchase program by JPY10tn. They increased it by JPY11tn. No doubt this will be as effective as all the previous actions which have already raised the level of the BoJ balance sheet to 32% of GDP.
But the increasing pressure that is being piled on the Bank by the government is worth drawing attention to. As well as the Bank’s attempts to shift it right back to the government. Read more
Here’s a chart from Nomura:
As Neil picked up on already there is a suggestion that the Reserve Bank of Australia is practising some ‘passive intervention’ to hamstring the Aussie’s strength a touch.
It’s easy enough to see why this conclusion has been drawn, even as questions abound about China’s demand, its effect on commodity prices which Australia relies s0 heavily upon and the RBA repeatedly cuts still high interest rates the Aussia has stubbornly refused to fall versus the US dollar:
But there is a potential difficulty attaching the label intervention, even ‘passive’, to this build up at so early a stage. Read more