The "big" move in the USD we have witnessed over the last 6 months is only just the start of a major move
It took less than 2 months for Goldman's Top Trade Recommendation #6: i.e., going short the CHFSEK, to implode in truly spectacular fashion, in the process bankrupting any number of levered FX investors, who suffered an unlevered loss of 16.5% (add leverage, annualize, and you end up with the worst trade "Top" reco perhaps in history). Less than three weeks later, Goldman feels the urge to take the flow on the other side of its clients' trades, and sure enough, here is Goldman's brand spanking new Top Trade, this time #9, one which recommends going long the USD against an "equally weighted basket of ZAR and KRW for a target of 110."
The rally that was sparked by yesterday's late-day FT report had all but fizzled overnight, replaced by more concerns about the state of the global economy when Austrialia's central bank surprised the world (just 9 of 29 analysts had expected this move) by becoming the 15th in a row to ease in 2015 (the list: Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and now Australia), cutting the cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25%, and sparking more concerns about a global currency war or rather USD war against every other currency, when the USDJPY algos woke up again, and did everything they could to re-defend the critical 117.20 level in the USDJPY which has proven critical in supporting the market in recent weeks, once again using the Greek "softening tone" story as the basis for the ramp as Europe woke up, which in turn sent the DAX promptly to new all time highs, while the Athens stock market surged by 9% at last check.
In a stunningly honest reflection on itself (and its peer group of professional prognosticating panderers), The Federal Reserve's San Francisco research group finds that - just as we have pointed out again and again - that since 2007, FOMC participants have been persistently too optimistic about future U.S. economic growth. Real GDP growth forecasts have typically started high, but then are revised down over time as the incoming data continue to disappoint. Possible explanations for this pattern include missed warning signals about the buildup of imbalances before the crisis, overestimation of the efficacy of monetary policy following a balance-sheet recession, and the natural tendency of forecasters to extrapolate from recent data. The persistent bias in the track records of professional forecasters apply not only to forecasts of growth, but also of inflation and unemployment.
ZIRP in essence is deflationary in nature, it becomes a self-fulfilling, reinforcing slippery slope of “Monetary Extremism” and should be rejected at all costs!
It will be politics rather than economics (or Q€) that drives the shorter-term outlook in Greece. Goldman Sachs warns that the new Greek government’s position is turning more Eurosceptic and confrontational than most (and the market) had anticipated ahead of last weekend’s election. This increases the risk of a political miscalculation leading to an economic and financial accident and, possibly, Greek exit from the Euro area (“Grexit”) and while many assume European authorities have the 'tools' to address market dislocations arising from this event risk, Goldman expects significant market volatility. Rather stunningly, against this background, and in spite of Q€, recommends closing tactical pro-cyclical exposures in peripheral EMU spreads (Italy, Spain and Portugal) and equities (overweight Italy and Spain).
The overnight session had been mostly quiet until minutes ago, when unexpectedly WTI, which had traded down as low as the mid $46 range following the weakest Chinese manufacturing data in two years, saw another bout of algo-driven buying momentum which pushed it sharply, if briefly, above $50, and was last trading about 2.6% higher on the day. In today's highly correlated market, this was likely catalyzed by a brief period of dollar weakness as well as the jump of EURCHF above 1.05, within the rumored corridor implemented by the Swiss National Bank, which apparently has not learned its lesson and is a glutton for a second punishment, after its hard Swissy cap was so dramatically breached, it hopes to repeat the experience with a softer one around 1.05. Expect to see even more FX brokers blowing up once the EURCHF 1.05 floor fails to hold next.
Until now, central banks have restricted monetary policy to domestic economic management; this is now evolving into the more dangerous stage of internationalisation through competitive devaluations. The gold price is an early warning of future monetary and currency troubles, and it is now becoming apparent how they may transpire. The ECB move to give easy money to profligate Eurozone politicians is likely to have important ramifications well beyond Europe, and together with parallel actions by the Bank of Japan, can now be expected to increase demand for physical gold in the advanced economies once more.
What Denmark has just done is "back-door QE", because as some forget, there are two ways to push the price of an asset higher (thus pushing its yield lower in the case of a bond): increase demand, which is what conventional QE does when central banks buy bonds, or reduce supply. Which is what Denmark just did by completely cutting off all Treasury issuance "until further notice". As a result, paradoxically, increasingly more speculators are betting that the "Trade of 2015" could be doing precisely the opposite of what the Danish central bank is hoping will happen: i.e., shorting the EURDKK (or going long the DKKEUR) in hopes that when the Danish peg finally does break, it too will result in long Swiss France-type profits.
Swiss National Bank Scraps Hard Franc Ceiling, Replaces With Soft Ceiling Instead Local Press ReportsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/01/2015 10:59 -0500
Three weeks ago, what the SNB really did was be the first developed central bank to admit defeat in the global currency wars, realizing that contrary to "popular" Magic Money Tree opinion, it does not have an infinite balance sheet. And now the time has come to pay the price for delaying reality by over three years. To many this was a welcome move as it means after several years of horrendous monetary policies, Switzerland has finally regained some monetary sense, and while the near-term economic (and stock market) pain may be acute, the long-term will be thankful. And then, earlier today, we read that the SNB didn't learn its lesson after all, and instead of a hard EURCHF 1.20 floor, it is now unofficially targeting an exchange rate of 1.05-1.10 per Euro, aka a "soft", kinda/sorta Swiss Franc cap, according to Schweiz am Sonntag.
The grand central banking experiment being conducted around the globe right now will not end well. With little more than a lever to ham-fistedly move interest rates, the central planners are trying to keep the world's debt-addiction well-fed while simultaneously kick-starting economic growth and managing the price levels of everything from stocks to housing to fine art. The complexity of the system, the questionable credentials of the decision-makers, and the universe's proclivity towards unintended consequences all combine to give great confidence that things will not play out in the way the Fed and its brethren are counting on.
Funding Markets just called The FOMC's bluff. Policymakers are acting out rational expectations theory or at least how they see it. In other words, their job is not to analyze actual economic conditions, but to condition economic thought toward the end goal. If they convince you that they believe the economy is on track they further believe you will act accordingly (“you” being both investor and economic agent). The more the economy diverges from the “preferred” projection, the more emphatic the cries of “recovery” become. At some point, desperation becomes palpable.
"It may work out just fine, but there’s a risk to that strategy... we’re in some sense distorting what might be the normal market outcomes at some point, we’re going to have to stop doing it. At some point the pressure is going to be too great. The market forces are going to overwhelm us. We’re not going to be able to hold the line anymore. And then you get that rapid snapback in premiums as the market realizes that central banks can’t do this forever. And that’s going to cause volatility and disruption." - Charles Plosser
Echoing Elliott's Paul Singer's "greatest irony of politicians railing against inequality," former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman raged that when it comes to inequality, everyone can see the symptom, but "President Obama is clueless as to the cause," blasting that the problem is not capitalism, "the problem is in the Eccles Building and the 12 people sitting there thinking that zero interest rates are some magic elixir that will cause this very toubled economy to revive.! It won't, "these people are dangerous and destructive," Stockman exclaims, and sooner or later the inequality they have created is going to cause a huge political reaction.
Today's Brazilian economic data follows up quite well to our article from a month ago "Brazil's Economy Just Imploded" and as the earlier article on the crashing Brazilian Real hinted, things for the Brazilian economy how gone from imploding to, well, worse because not only did the twin fiscal and current account deficits rise even more, hitting a whopping 11% of GDP - the worst since August 1999, but its government debt soared to 63.4% in 2014, up from 56.7% a year ago, and the highest since at least 2006. In short - the entire economy is now on the verge of total collapse.