Yesterday we presented a simplistic analysis of why for Japan "This Time Won't Be Different", a preliminary observation so far validated by the just announced Japanese December current account deficit which was not only nearly double the expected 144.2 billion yen, printing at some 264.1 billion yen, but was only the first back-to-back monthly current account deficit since 1985. But perhaps we are wrong and this time Abe will succeed where he, and so many others, have failed before. And, as is now widely understood, perhaps Japan will succeed in finally launching the necessary and sufficient currency war that would be part and parcel of Japans great reflation, as even various G-8 members have recently acknowledged. The question is will it, and when? One attempt at an answer comes from the fine folks at Bienville Capital who have compiled the definitive pros and cons presentation on what Japan must do, and how it will play out, at least if all goes according to plan.
Six months after the Barclays epic wristslap in which there were none - zero - criminal charges against Libor manipulators, it is time to trot out the same old theatrical song and dance again, this time focusing on bailed out RBS, which the CFTC just fined a whopping sum of $325 million, modestly less than the $16 billion profit the bank made in 2007, followed by the epic subsequent collapse which saw $104 billion in bailouts to keep the bank afloat courtesy of Biritsh taxpayers. In other words: manipulate the world's most sensitive credit-related metric, and you will see either 5% of your peak profits deducted, or we will force you to get even more bailouts.
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.
JPMorgan Sees Gold At $1,800 By Mid 2013 As South Africa “In Crisis” And “Escalating Instability” In Middle EastSubmitted by GoldCore on 02/01/2013 11:29 -0400
Gold fell $11.70 or 0.7% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,664.80/oz. Silver slipped to a low of $31.09 and finished with a loss of 1.66%.
An overview of the fundamental determinants of the foreign exchange market in the week ahead. I look beyond the official rhetoric at what is pushing the yen lower. I also discuss the tightening of European monetary condition. In addition, there is a brief discussion of the key US events this week: the FOMC, Q4 GDP estimate, and US jobs report.
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.
An overview of the key factors and events that are shaping the investment climate in the week ahead. It looks at some emerging market developments as well. These are the main talking points and considerations that ought to be on your radar screen as investors or pundits.
Following the recent fall of the Swiss franc against the euro, there were paradoxical comments on the opportunity on both moving the Swiss National Bank’s floor lower (say to 1.25 for example) or on abandoning it altogether (or moving it higher). We believe both options are very unlikely, at least in the coming months. Moving the floor lower would be a bad idea in our view. As we have seen, the extent of the franc’s overvaluation is quite debatable and the lower the floor, the quicker a monetary policy dilemma may emerge. Moreover, in the event renewed upward pressures on the franc occur once again, a lower floor may prove more costly in terms of FX interventions.
The US dollar is trading firmly. The official verbal commentary this week by Europe's Juncker and Japan's Amari were more disruptive noise a true signal. These mis-directional cues whipsawed short-term participants and served to obscure what was really happening. One of the most important take aways, it seems, from this week's action is the narrowing of the breadth of the dollar's decline. It is really limited to only the euro...
The newly elected Japanese Prime Minister, Shinz? Abe, has caused quite a stir. The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, which scored a landslide victory in 2012’s election, he’s promised to restart the Japanese economy, whatever it takes. How will he do this? By “bold monetary policy”, what he means—and what he has said—is to end the independence of the Bank of Japan, and have the government dictate monetary policy directly. The perception is, the Bank of Japan will not only print yens and buy government bonds à la Quantitative Easing of old - it is also generally thought that Mr. Abe and the incoming Japanese government fully intend to target the yen against foreign currencies, like Switzerland has been doing with the euro. This perception is what has been driving the Nikkei 225 index higher, and driven the yen lower. But why was this decision triggered?
Same overnight pattern, different day. After a late day ramp in the US market, followed by a selloff in the futures after hours, taking the ES to trading session lows, we get the European trading crew which day after day sends the EURUSD soaring as Europe opens, pushing futures to unchanged or even green and easily negating the key news event of the day, in this case the full grounding of the entire global Boeing fleet which will once again weigh on the stock and DJIA. In the meantime, the big rotation behind the scenes in FX land continues, with the ongoing and very sudden pounding of the Swiss Franc taking the EURCHF to 1.2450, or the highest, since 2011. Same with the USDJPY which after another attempt to fall, rallies on more of the same regurgitated rumors. Not to mention the EURUSD of course, which as mentioned above has surged some 100 pips since the European open. In other words the overnight beating of the USD is enough to push the US stock market high enough in nominal terms, avoiding that there is no incremental cash flow. Then again, who needs cash flow when you have "multiple expansion."
There have been some large moves in the foreign exchange market in recent days. The euro posted its largest rally in four months last week. The yen has fallen to its lowest level against the dollar since June 2010 and extended the declining streak to nine consecutive weeks, something not seen since 1989. The Canadian and Australian dollar rose to multi-moth highs, as did the Mexican peso.
In last week's technical note, we suggested the key question whether the sharp drop in the major foreign currencies following the avoidance of the full fiscal cliff in the US was trend reversal or overdue correction. We favored the latter and looked for the underlying trends to continue. They did.
Now market participants face a different question. Given the out-sized moves, have the trends become stretched? The answer, we propose, is more nuanced than last week. There is not one answer for all the major currencies we review here.
After out sized moves in the foreign exchange market yesterday, a consolidative tone has emerged with a few exceptions. The big winner yesterday was the euro and with a narrow range of about a third of a cent today, the market seems as if it is catching its breath before assaulting important resistance near $1.33, which capped it in mid-December and at the very start of the new year. Sterling recovered from a test on $1.60 at mid-week, but lagged behind the euro. The pullback today is also more pronounced after the disappointing industrial output figures. Industrial production rose 0.3%, half the recovery the consensus expected after the 0.9% decline in October. The key disappointment was in manufacturing, which contracted 0.3% compared with consensus expectations for a 0.5% gain, following the 1.4% slide in October. The increases concerns that the UK economy slipped back into contraction following expansion in Q3. Support is now seen near $1.6080.
Think the Fed (with its balance sheet amounting to over 20% of US GDP), or the ECB (at 30% of GDP) is bad? Then take a look at the balance sheet of the Swiss National Bank, whose assets now amount to some 75% of Swiss GDP and which has now "literally bet the bank" in the words of the WSJ not once, not twice, but three times in a bid to keep the Swiss Franc - that default flight to safety haven - low, and engaging in what is semi-stealth currency warfare by buying other sovereigns' currencies for over two years now, although he hardly expect the US Treasury to even consider it for inclusion on its list of currency manipulators - after all, "everyone is doing it".
There are seven items that will be on the radar screen of global investors in the week ahead. 1. There is confusion over Fed policy. Despite the leadership (Bernanke, Yellen and Dudley) demonstrating their unwavering commitment to use heterodox monetary policy in an attempt to promote a stronger economy in the face of household de-leveraging and fiscal consolidation, many have read the FOMC minutes to imply an early end to the $85 bln a month in long-term asset (MBS and Treasuries). That December meeting was historic not because it marked the beginning of the end of QE, but the exact opposite, the nearly doubling monthly purchases and the adoption of macro-economic guidance (6.5% unemployment and 2.5% inflation) before rates are lifted.