Swiss National Bank
"The first lesson is never trust a central banker when he or she makes a commitment or gives guidance..."
UPDATE: Knight Trading 2.0? Jefferies executive are reportedly on-site at FXCM discussing a $200 million bailout
As we first reported last night, FXCM was among the first of many retail FX brokers (and the largest) to see its clients suffer massive losses from yesterday's Swiss Franc surge following the SNB decision to unleash market forces. There are now at least 4 retail FX brokers (FXCM, Excel Markets, OANDA, and Alpari) who have announced "issues" but FXCM, being among the largest and publicly traded is the most transparent example of wjust what can go wrong when average joes are allowed 100:1 leverage. FXCM is now stuck chasing clients for money they do not (and will never) have.. and its stock is down 90%, trading a $2 this morning (down from $17 on Wednesday). As Credit Suisse notes, time is running out as regulators "tend to be impatient once capital requirements are breached."
One day after the SNB stunner roiled markets, overnight global markets have seen - as expected - substanial downward pressure, with the Swiss market slide resuming post open, while European stocks have seen some pressure despite what is now an assured ECB QE announcement next week. However, the one trade that can not be mistaken is the global rush into the safety of government paper, with every single treasury yielding less today than yesterday (the Swiss 10Y was trading below 0% at last check), except for Greek 10Y which are wider on deposit run fears. That said, with capital market liquidity absolutely non-existent even the smallest trade has a disproportionate effect on futures, and expect to see much more rangebound trading until the damage report from the SNB action is fully digested, something which will take place over the weekend.
By ending its three year currency peg to the weakening euro Switzerland has become the first major economy to surrender in the international currency war, and in so doing has given a long-delayed victory to the Swiss people. Contrary to the indignant reaction by the media and financial establishment, the decision is not a disaster for Switzerland, but may be looked at in the future as the first significant counter-attack against our current global system of monetary insanity.
Remember, years ago, when the markets were a mechanism for honest price discovery and a gathering place for buyers and sellers to participate in open, unvarnished capitalism?
"we venture that the SNB will sooner or later be forced to permit the franc to appreciate and thus to enrich the holders of low-priced, three-year call options on the Swiss/euro exchange rate. It's a long shot, to be sure--the options are cheap for a reason--but we judge that the prospective reward is worth the obvious risk." - Jim Grant, Sept 14th, 2014
At this point, the writing is on the wall: nothing can be taken for granted. No assurances or promises or proclamations will hold.
It appears the Swiss National Bank decided to wait til they saw the whites of the eyes of the 'speculators'. The SNB's surprise decision to scrap the EURCHF ceiling has unleashed major pain across the hedge fund community as speculators, according to CFTC data, are the most short Swiss Francs (long the USD) since June 2013. Holding a huge 24,171 contracts short USDCHF futures (which surged 24 handles on the news) will not go unnoticed by the margin clerks...
The Swiss National Bank just threw gasoline on Swiss F.I.RE. Expect to see combustive contagion in the Swiss banking, insurance and real estate giants as knock-on effects spread from so-called hedges
This morning's decision by the Swiss National Bank has polarized the investing community. From the 'smartest men in the room' to the 'most renowned newsletter writers in the world', the reactions could not be more different...
And to think so many otherwise very bright people still don't get it.
Anyone who continues to believes in the all powerful CB after today is a fool.
Market Wrap: "It's Turmoil" - Overnight Gains Wiped Out, Futures Trade Below 2000 On SNB "Shock And Awe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 06:56 -0500
To paraphrase a trader who walked into the biggest FX clusterfuck in years, "it's total, unprecedented market turmoil." So while the world gets a grip on what today's historic move by the SNB means, which judging by the record 13% collapse in the Swiss Stock Market shows clearly that the SNB market put is dead and the SNB may be the first central-banking hedge fund which just folded (we can't wait to see what the SNB P&L losses on its EURCHF holdings will be), here is what has happened so far for anyone unlucky enough to be walking into the carnage some 2 hours late.