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
As a special treat, the below podcast.
FT Alphaville reporter David Keohane met Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon. They geeked out on various FX topics. 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
It’s Swiss National Bank reserve figures Wednesday! That glorious day when we get to see how exactly the ingredients of the SNB’s cake have changed. Or to put it more literally, how have they been dealing with the masses of euro assets they are collecting.
Here’s the table in question. What it shows is that the SNB has cut its euro share of FX reserves to 48 per cent from 60 per cent in the second quarter of 2012 while the proportion of sterling and dollars being held increased.
Gasp? Well… yes. 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
There’s basically nothing happening. Sure we’ve got plenty of rhetoric, a Swiss franc floor and QE — but FX volatility is touching recent lows:
Commerzbank is arguing that we should all forget about the eurozone crisis for a bit where euro-dollar is concerned (with our emphasis):
At the same time a further improvement of the Spanish and Italian yield premiums no longer supports EUR-USD (see chart 1). Why? From the market’s point of view the crisis has eased sufficiently for German CDS to ease below 30bp for the first time since April 2010. That means the crisis is no longer sufficiently virulent to affect EUR-USD to the same extent as it did over the past 12 months.
There have been a few estimates of large scale capital flight out of China recently that don’t exactly tally with other signals. The strength of the yuan is among them, though it admittedly may be explained by myriad other factors.
Capital flight has largely been calculated by movements in China’s FX reserves, with reference to other variables such as the trade surplus, FDI and movements in exchange rates. Read more
There may be a new China to consider but its signs are not very easy to discern. The yuan is on a roll against the dollar, hitting multiple new highs since July but somewhat confusingly, estimates suggest that in the 12 months through September, some $225bn flowed out of China — that kind of outflow doesn’t square with the yuan’s recent strength. Read more
… just as it becomes the new China, which is no longer the old China. Ok? Probably not, but we may as well go through the argument anyway. The idea is that Japan, sick of yen strength which it struggles to combat in a risk-driven world, sticks a Swiss-style floor under its currency.
It’s not the newest idea and there are suggestions that a de facto floor is already in place anyway but the argument, from Société Générale, is worth running through as there is certainly more chance of an explicit floor being announced now than there was when we last visited the idea. Read more
This is just a lovely chart from the FX team at HSBC (click in to see — tis just too big for an excerpt to handle):
What it, and its fellow soon to be introduced below, do is call further into question the US dollar’s status as a haven currency; one which will benefit in periods of risk aversion. They do so by looking at the performance of G10 currencies against the S&P500. It’s a timely query considering the approaching fiscal cliff… and, well, lots of other stuff. Read more
Hyperinflation or not. Immediate collapse of the regime or not. This situation is scary if what is coming out of Iran is accurate.
This is from the FT’s Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Iran:
“Chi mikhad beshe?” – what is going to happen? – is the most common question Iranians ask each other. It is asked in taxis, grocery stores, hairdressers and in the queues to buy bread. No one, however, seems to know the answer.
So much for the one sided debate about the Swiss National Bank’s bond purchases. JP Morgan’s Flows and Liquidity team argued over the weekend that while it is true that FX reserves are absorbing a significant part of the supply of high-quality AAA/AA bonds , they are still taking up less than half of the issue. And significantly reserves managers are big participants in securities lending… which includes the SNB.
Almost everywhere, the fall of the Iranian rial is being interpreted as a huge problem for the incumbent Iranian regime — one that could bitterly undermine economic stability in the country.
Ehad Mostaque of Religare Capital Markets, however, posits a different view. Read more