Commitment of Traders
Is the dollar trending or is it moving broadly sideways?
It is the yen, not the dollar, that is the key currency in the foreign exchange market.
In the last 20 years, Silver shorts (in Silver futures, based on the Commitment of Traders data) has only been as high as it is currently for five periods. Four of those five periods were followed by considerable rallies in silver prices. The one period where prices flatlined (fell modestly) was a slow and steady rise in shorts (as opposed to the spike-like move currently). Of course, with near record amounts on the short side of the boat, it would seem clear where Silver should go next but this time is different we will be told.
The downside technical correction in the dollar that we have been anticipating appears to have begun against most of the major currencies. The drift lower against the yen over the past month has ended, and although we are skpetical of the impact of the stimulative monetary and fiscal policies in Japan, technically it is difficult to resist the momentum for additional yen weakness.
An oveview of the technical condition of the major currencies. Offered as a compliment to macro analysis.
An overview of the technical condition of the major currencies. See why we anticipate a heavier US dollar in the week ahead.
A weekly overview of the technical condition of a number of currencies against the US dollar. It is meant to compliment and supplement fundamental analysis. We retain a mostly favorable outlook for the US dollar, though skeptical of the scope for additional significant gains against the Japanese yen.
We have one simple question - does the following small drop (which we happen to have seen before) in Gold ETFs, which at least according to the mainstream media, has been responsible for the recent slide in the price of gold, appear to justify the absolute surge in gold futures and options short exposure as per the Commitment of Traders report, which for yet another week, saw the biggest net short positioning since 1999. And no, we are not really confused - as we said "according to the mainstream media"...
The US dollar rose to new multi-month highs against several of the major currencies, including the euro, Swiss franc, British pound and the Japanese yen. The BOJ, BOE and ECB meet last week and none changed policy. The Swiss National Bank meets on March 14 and is also unlikely to change policy. The Federal Reserve meets the following week and is widely expected to stay its course. It is not monetary policy then providing the new trading incentives.
Nor can the dollar's gains be attributed to political uncertainty in Europe stemming from the inconclusive Italian elections, as was the case previously. The immediate shock has worn off and Italian stocks and bonds have recovered the lion's share of those initial losses.
Overview of the drivers of the fx market, a discussion of the price action and a review of the latest Commitment of Traders report from the futures market. Contrary to ideas that QE3+ is the dominant force and dollar negative, the net speculative position is now long dollars against all the major currency futures but the Australian dollar and Mexican peso. The dollar's gains though appear to be a function of events outside the US.
Instead of looking at the daily bar charts for the major currencies that we provide every week, given the large moves, we thought it might be helpful to look at the longer term charts. It is one thing for pundits and other observers to argue that QE drives currencies down, it quite another to operationalize and use that as a decision-making rule for investing or trading the foreign currencies. The way people make money in the markets is not being right more often, but disciplined risk management. Technicals allow one to quantify risk and admit where one can be wrong.
An overivew of the price action in the foreign exchange market and what it might mean in the week ahead.
Here is a review of the technical condition of the major currencies. In my professional experience, I know few purist fundamental traders in the foreign exchange market. Even for those, like myself, who study the macro economic and political fundamentals, technical analysis allows us to quantify the risk. Those who make money in the markets, do not do so because they are right more often, but rather they are disciplined risk managers. Technical analysis provides a way to manage the risk by helping to identify where we are wrong. It is offered here not as a substitute for fundamental analysis, but as a complement.
Here is an oveview of the forces that are driving the foreign exchange market and price targets for the euro and yen. We identify the ECB meeting as a potential challenge to the existing price trends, but expect it to see the tightening of financial conditions in the euro area as partially a reflection of positive forces, especially that banks have reduced, on the margins, the reliance on ECB for funding. Draghi will likely attempt to calm the market down with words not a rate cut. Also we see the "currency wars" as being exaggerated, not just because the foreign exchange market has alsways been an arena of nation-state competition, but that it is primarily in the realm of rhetoric among the G7 countries. Few, including Germany, who have expressed concern about what Japan is doing, have objected to the Swiss currency cap. There is not a bleeding over into a trade war. The push back against the Japan (among the G7) appears to have slakcened a bit. Officials prefer Japan not provide price targets for bilateral exchange rates (like dollar-yen), but if stimulative monetary and fiscal policy weakens the yen, that is ok.
Here is a weekly over view of the currency market from a technical perspective. The divergence between the performance of the dollar against the euro-bloc, with the exception of sterling, and the other major currencies is noteworthy. In the analysis, I suggest a few opportnities for near-term contrarians. I fully appreciate that some readers eschew technical analysis and regulate it to the same space as numerology and witchcraft. Yet, even still, it is useful to recall Keynes' view that the markets are like a beauty contest and the trick is not to pick who one thinks is the most beautiful, but to pick who others will think most beautiful. Moreover, technicals allow one to quantify how much one is willing to lose in a way that fundamental macro-economic analysis doesn't. It is a tool then for risk management.