It takes a bold and courageous man to go against the consensus, especially when the consensus view equals “evil manipulative trader types got what they deserved with that $4.3bn fine for fx rigging!”
In this case that bold man is Matt Levine, columnist at Bloomberg and long-time communicator of logic and sense, who made the brave assertion on Wednesday that commentary surrounding this entire rigging episode may be losing sight of the core fundamentals of the case. Namely, that in terms of money made, there’s no escaping the fact that this was possibly the least successful manipulation attempt of recent times. Read more
Jens Nordvig of Nomura reports a frequent question from clients: can the recent dollar rally turn into a big change in the currency’s value, similar to those that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s?
Answer: maybe, but it is worth remembering just how big those dollar moves were. See if you can spot them in the long term dollar index chart:
We’re talking retail forex trading here — through legitimate, authorised forex trading houses, not fraudsters.
Do places like the UK need hard leverage caps — like those imposed in the US — to cut the abuse of naive speculators?
The stat in the headline is from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the French regulator, which has made rather more effort than others in Europe in trying to combat online financial spivvery. Read more
FX vol is edging back and we have the notes to prove it.
The question is whether they are reflecting an overreaction to a small jump, after a period of slumped volumes and returns, or a real shift with further to go? Read more
This retrospective on predictions made in the 2003 Essay on the Revived Bretton Woods System by Deutsche’s Dooley, Folkerts-Landau, and Garber is brought to you by Deutsche’s Dooley, Folkerts-Landau, and Garber.
Their premise was and is that we are part of an international system characterised by newly industrialised countries pegging their currencies to the dollar at an undervalued exchange rate in pursuit of export-led growth furnished by an excess supply of labour. Those developing countries then ship their gains back to the US et al as a form of collateral against new lending as the net foreign assets of poor countries support the risks taken by their richer brethren.
More so, they suggested that we were in the China phase of this system, that it would last for 10 years-ish… Read more
From BofAML’s David Woo, with our emphasis:
A major consensus this year was that this was going to be a rates-centric year. Eight months into the year, many investors continue to believe that with QE3 winding down, all markets will be taking their cues from the US rates market sooner than later. Currency investors are no exceptions. USD bulls have built their investment thesis on the assumption of higher US rates and have been waiting for rates to climb to establish or add to long USD positions.
… and back on the “buy foreign bonds” option. Never mind the former might never happen, let alone happen when the ECB meets next week and does its best not to disappoint.
From Morgan Stanley’s FX team: Read more
How quiet is too quiet?
A reaction we keep hearing to the fact that volatility has seeped out of a lot of markets is that comparative calm should be expected. The supportive actions of central banks fit with the encouragement to keep taking risk, at least for now, as the unconventional easing policies should persist for a while. Read more
The influence of the ‘China factor’ on currency markets is waning.
That at least is the view of HSBC’s FX strategy team, headed by David Bloom. Read more
We all know the role played by the vendor financing feedback loop of hell in dotcom bubble mark 1.
Quickly summarised, tech equipment suppliers became overly dependent on sales to internet startups funded through vendor financing, a situation which saw them lending money to companies with dubious track-records for the purpose of buying equipment directly back from them. It didn’t end well.
Nevertheless, it’s still a model replicated on a consumer level in the west, whether it’s through car company lending money to customers so that they can buy their cars or sofa company loans for purchases of sofas. Read more
Magic mirror on the wall, where’s the fairest value for commodities overall?
Or, as BoAML notes on Thursday:
Commodities may be soft in USD terms, but for anyone living in South Africa or Turkey they are back to the record highs of the ominous summer of 2008 (Chart of the Day). In contrast, in PLN and RUB they are as low as they have not been since 2010. This divergence will have a significant impact on growth and inflation in 2014: weak pricing power means that higher commodity prices act as a tax on demand, slowing down growth and thus ultimately reigning in current account deficits and inflation. For now, markets focus primarily on the short-term inflation uplift, but we believe FX pass-through will prove self-deflating, and rebalancing will materialize.
At least for the majors. Just some annotated charts courtesy of HSBC, click to enlarge:
The BIS quarterly review came out this weekend, providing some good analysis of the FX and OTC derivative data which was gathered by the Triennial Central Bank survey.
Two notable observations on that front.
One: No mention of virtual currencies.
Two: The BIS’s overview of the ongoing decentralisation of the FX market: Read more
Consider this from Morgan Stanley’s FX team:
A telling chart from Citi’s Steven Englander:
The following is not for distribution in the United States
The triennial central bank survey of foreign exchange and derivatives market activity from the BIS is out.
FX details are here and OTC IR derivatives are here. Oh, and the Bank of England’s parochial summary is here.
But if you are interested in how financial centres stack up against each other you’ll need to consult this table: (Click to enlarge)
As announced amid Raghuram Rajan’s ‘big bang’ on Wednesday — BofAML reckon that this could bring in $10bn for the Indian central bank from non-resident deposits and stabilise the rupee:
That’s the Turkish two-year yield rising above the 10-year earlier on Wednesday — chart via Reuters:
According to Nomura, since 1980, there are only two periods of economic divergence — between the US and Europe and the UK — comparable to what we are observing currently.
The level of debate for a lot of money in emerging markets on Thursday must have been whether or not to hide under the desk with a bottle of bourbon. So, kudos to Olgay Buyukkayali and Tony Volpon, top EM strategists at Nomura, for standing back and raising the tone a little…
The bank’s published a debate between the two about the sell-off. Tony’s vaguely bearish and Olgay’s vaguely bullish. But that doesn’t do justice to what’s quite a nuanced debate on EM: Read more
That’s the new black according to Citi’s Steven Englander:
Since May 1 the median increase in 10-year local bond yields in 47 major EM and developed markets (DM) is 39bps (Figure 1). Among major EM economies (light blue) it is 83bps; among major DM (dark blue) economies it is 29bps. The US 10-year Treasury yield increase (red) is only at the median of developed economies and well below the overall median. In both EM and developed economies, the fat tail of rate increases is to the upside, so average increases are even higher. The paradox is that the run-up in US interest rates, which is arguably the primary driver of these global rate increases, is well below the average and median globally.
Header credit goes to UBS’s Paul Donovan, the source of the piece of Japanese skepticism that follows. He takes us first to Sherlock Holmes’ “Silver Blaze”:
Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
A strong opening gambit, as yen tales go. Read more
By Theo Casey, marketcolor
The loss of simple narratives in forex is something we are learning to deal with together. To continue navigating major and minor crosses we need to make complex narratives more digestible.
Consider dollar-yen. It’s behaving like the bought end of a carry trade. Read more
The yen has gained back 2.4 per cent against the US dollar since it threatened but failed to break Y100 ahead of the most recent, and quiet, Bank of Japan meeting — the first since April 4, when QE on steroids was announced.
Now, we are not suggesting this is definitely the start of a yen correction — if we could predict FX moves for sure we’d be on a yacht, Japan isn’t lacking the political will to give it a further shot, this dip is small in context and we’ve seen its like before — but there is clearly a threat.
Simon Derrick, chief global markets strategist at Bank of New York Mellon, sent through a few thoughts which we think capture that threat quite nicely: Read more
(Or ‘goldilocks syndrome’ if you’d prefer)
An existential cry has been sounded once again in the world of FX which has suddenly been reduced to trading short term signals in a fickle market. Shocking. Gone are the days of simple carry, Risk on-Risk off and easy reifying market stories. And it seems they are missed, almost as much as they were once bemoaned…
From HSBC’s ever excellent FX team: Read more
Something to keep an eye on (the respective reaction of the 6mth, 2-year, 5-year, 10-year and 30-year JGBs to the BoJ’s QE onslaught):
Seemingly everybody is benefiting from the Bank of Japan’s decision to splash the cash. Peripheral bond yields in Europe have fallen and high-yielding carry targets such as Mexico and Brazil are being touted as destinations for Kuroda’s cash.
Where that cash ends up will in many ways define the success or failure of the Abe/ Kuroda push since what really matters is what happens after the cash has left the BoJ. Read more
Gloves off from Kuroda and everyone is very excited…
For those who need a rundown of what the BoJ actually did, here’s a summary from Nomura: Read more