31 MAY 2013: NEW RALLY IN CURRENCY MARKET – EURO PREVAILS OVER DOLLAR

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All conditions were created for a rally of EUR/USD: reports from the Eurozone were better than forecast, and at the same time for the USA – worse than predicted. The result didn’t keep itself waiting for long, the pair could go above the strong resistance level at 1.30, although it reached a maximum on 1.3061 and finished the trading session around 1.3040. It is quite interesting actually, that the data from the USA were not as dire as predicted, and the Eurozone in general was not presenting something really satisfying or exceptional. The conclusion comes by itself – the overbought USD gives power to the Euro.

So, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the USA in 1 quarter was reconsidered to fall from 2,5% to 2,4%, and the number of the unemployed who have submitted an application for receiving a grant, grew to 354 thousand. It is absolutely not enough to frighten Bernanke, but it is quite enough to provoke investors to close long positions on USD on tops. This also gave support to the British Pound and GBP/USD from the level of opening at 1.5129 pair reached a maximum of 1.5219, having finished the trading session around 1.52.

After disappointments with the labor market in Germany, today it is worth looking at the data on retails in the country. Usually there is direct correlation: there is no income – there are no expenses, however analysts predict the indicator’s growth, so tension in the market increases. If sales volumes will really increase, it will give additional support for further strengthening of EUR/USD to the next resistance levels on 1.3070 and 1.3110.

In relation to Japan today, it is worth acknowledging the statement of IMF (International Monetary Fund), in which it completely supported the current monetary policy of the country, and stated extensive prospects of its further realization. Furthermore, the problem with growth of profitability of state bonds is considered to be completely controllable. Asian stock markets started the day positively, however, by this time, buyers confidence had already evaporated. Japanese Nikkei slightly restores yesterday’s losses, while the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng again looks worse than its”colleagues”.

Prices for precious metals are stable, with Gold on 1417.08$ and Silver on 22.74$. Prices for oil are slightly down, with Brent on 102.07$ per barrel and WTI on 93.47$. Today the next meeting of representatives of member countries of OPEC becomes a key event of the day in the oil market. Questions on the current quotas of production, and also the increase in production of oil in the USA will be discussed. America now produces record volumes of oil, thereby reducing the dependence from former exporters.
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30 MAY 2013: JAPANESE NIKKEI INDEX IS AGAIN AN OUTSIDER

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After couple of days of moderate growth, the decrease at the Asian stock markets was resumed. Support to sellers is given by the Yen growth, though in the debt market – profitability of 10 year bonds, was a little far away from maximum levels previously reached. The reason for this, could be the speech from the chairman of the Central Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, who declared intention to decrease volatility in the debt market, and also decrease interest rates by means of a monetary easing program in the long-term prospective. As a result, Japanese Nikkei lost -5.14% and USD/JPY decreased to 100.72 this morning.

The Eurozone prepared an unpleasant surprise yesterday- data on the labor market which showed growth of the number of the unemployed by 21 thousand against the expected 4 thousand. However, it couldn’t roll EUR/USD, which, towards the end of the day,returned to the day’s maximum levels, having reached 1,2977 and having rolled away to 1,2940 by the close.

There are some statistics which could influence further development of the EUR/USD pair. We are not expecting any changes of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the USA, but the number of the unemployed who have submitted applications for receiving a grant, is interesting, especially in the light of Rosengren’s statements yesterday from FRS, in which he noted that it is possible to reduce the volume of the buying up of bonds, if the indicators from the labor market and on the economy, will, in general, be stable for few more months. The lower the unemployment figures will be,the higher chances EUR/USD will have to return to testing of support on 1,2850.

Prices of oil following the results of the last trading session showed negative dynamics. Besides a noticeable decrease in the developed stock markets, deterioration of forecasts on the development of the economy of the two largest consumers of raw materials – the USA and the People’s Republic of China, became one of negative factors. Also, according to yesterday’s data from the American institute of oil (API) stocks of oil increased by 4,4 million barrels. As for gasoline, the volume of stocks grew by 1,94 million barrels. Today, price for Brent is 102,36$ and price for WTI is 92.87$.

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29 MAY 2013: USD RALLIES ON STRONG DATA

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US Dollar rallied against the Euro and Japanese Yen on strong consumer confidence, home prices accelerating to the highest levels seen in seven years. EURO/USD fell to 1.2874 while USD/JPY plunged to 102.58. Dow Jones jumped 92 points to 15.395 while the technology index Nasdaq added 0.62 %. The yield on US 10 years treasuries, simultaneously, reached a one year high.

After three losing sessions, global equity markets performed strongly. The Japanese Nikkei were up 1.3 % on Tuesday after a two day dramatic 10 percent plunge. All the European stock exchanges rose, UK being the strongest, with a 1.83 % increase. English and US markets were closed on Monday due to Memorial Day.

The equity rally came as central bankers in Germany and Japan confirmed their willingness to continue monetary easing. A German member of the European Central Bank (ECB) stated that the loose monetary policies would last for as long as it takes to get the Western European economy back on track. A representative from Bank of Japan issued a similar statement.

These strong statements will probably encourage more risk taking in higher yield assets financed through so called carry trading; cheap loans in Japanese Yen. While increased consumer confidence and higher home prices strengthen the USD, looser ECB monetary policies will lead to a weaker EURO/USD. A fall below the long traded interval,1.28 – 1.32, seems likely.

Japanese Yen is probably going to fall further as the short lived Yen rally indicates. The weakness in the Yen is there to be continued. Currency analysts are predicting within three months 106 Yen to the Dollar, and expect a further plunge to 109 within six months. Bottom levels are as low as 120 – 125 Yen a Dollar and seem likely in 2014.

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28 MAY 2013: JAPANESE STOCKS FALL AS YEN SOARS

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The Japanese stock market continued to fall another 3,25 %, after Friday’s dramatic 7,32 % fall. The US dollar simultaneously witnessed its worst week against the JPY in one year, dropping from 103.50 to 101.09 Yen a Dollar on Friday.The Yen traded even lower yesterday, dipping below 101 at one point.

 

Western European equity markets have recovered from the downward shock at the end of last week. The French index jumped 0.97 % during yesterday’s trade, and Germany’s Frankfurt index added another 0.85 %. Nordic equities were strong while the British FYTSE lost 0.64 %. Developing markets also recovered with India jumping 2.47 %.

 

The Australian Dollar continues to fall, and trades just above 96 against the USD, on news that China has no intentions to stimulate growth at the expense of environment. The fall in the Chinese PMI last week had a further negative effect. Australia is dependent on coal export and Chinese growth. For Australia, its alarming that China is said to cut down on coal and encourage gas and solar energy to fight pollution.

 

The Euro/USD is strengthened and close to break through both the 21 and 50 days moving averages, helped by lower yields on Italian and Spanish bonds. The recent sharp downturn in USD/JPY is seen by analysts as a correction after huge amount of speculative Dollars gambled on a lower Yen. The strength of the yen is, however, temporary, and the weakness in the Japanese currency is bound to continue.
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27 MAY 2013: INVESTORS LOSE OUT DUE TO BAD TIMING

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Stocks took a breather last week after signs of cooling in China, and what some investors saw as a possible change in FED policies. The Nikkei, which has soared since last November on hopes of economic revival, was the hardest hit with Thursday’s 7,32 % fall. Other Asian and European markets dropped as well, but not so dramatically, raising questions whether the bull market has come to an end.

Some investors blame FED-chairman, Ben Bernanke for the turmoil. Others point to a seeming difference between Bernanke and the board’s published minutes for late April. Investors might, however, blame themselves for unrealistic expectations and their gamble on a change in FED’s policies.

Investors have different motives in their bet for a change. Some are appalled by FED’s money printing and that there is no predicted hyperinflation. Others hoped that Bernanke’s monetary experiments would be abandoned. Such abandonment would have meant that President Obama’s entire economic policy had failed. The third and biggest group of Wall Street investors simply blame themselves for missing out on the stock rally. The general indexes have beaten the hedge funds three times since January.

No wonder many of them are frustrated. Fat bonuses this year might hang on their own wishful thinking for a quick change. Change depends, however, on objective analysis, and a correct reading of Bernanke’s careful wording. In his testimony last week, Bernanke repeated word for word what he stated since last September.

FED will continue to buy 85 billion of bonds monthly till the 6,5 % target for unemployment and a steady growth is established. The US economy is not quite there yet. It might well take another 8 – 12 months. The grunting from dissatisfied FED board members is not something new.Their hopes for a change in policies have been reflected in the last eight FED minutes.

There will, of course, be a change. But the timing will be decided by economic data and FED’s consideration. Investors lost billions of dollars last week on a wrong bet on the timing for a change. By now, they have hopefully swallowed their anger and are ready to meet markets which are hopefully back on track, ready for rallies and continued new highs.
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24 MAY 2013: SERIOUS MELTDOWN IN GLOBAL EQUITIES

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Dubious signals from the US Federal Reserve, FED, on continued monetary easing, and disappointing Chinese PMI numbers (a barometer on business leaders optimism), led to a serious meltdown in global equity markets yesterday. The Japanese Nikkei plunged 7,32 % with more modest losses in Europe, where London and Frankfurt indexes lost 2 %.

While FED’s Ben Bernanke testimony to Congress, warned against a premature end to the bond buying program, FED’s April minutes pointed to a split between those who want a quick termination of the program and those siding with Bernanke. Monetary easing has been the driving force behind the last months steep increases in equities.

It is natural to see the steep plunge in Japan as a result of a doubling in stock prices over the last half year and the latest aggressive stimulus policies. Globally, there have been increased worries among investors as to whether equity markets, running ahead of fundamentals, are creating a dangerous bubble. With news of an end to monetary easing and problems in China this created risk aversion and a sell off.

The fall in the US-indexes were modest following the onslaught in other markets. The last published jobless claims at 340,000, are 5000 fewer than expected. There is still a long shot to the 6,5 % unemployment target set by FED, but fewer jobless claims would give the proponents of an early end to the bond buying programs new arguments.

Oil prices which have kept surprisingly steady over the last month, decreased more than two dollars a barrel.

EUR/USD got support from higher than expected PMI indexes. As a result, EUR/USD from level of opening – 1,2855 was rolled away to a maximum of 1,2956 and this morning we can see pair traded on a level of 1.2932. GBP/USD behaved more frostily against volatility of both currency pairs and share indexes. Having reached quite strong support on 1,50 the previous trading day, pair showed moderate correction. The most important question of today is- whether the Yen finished it’s decline? Taking into consideration all the factors, pair can quite roll down to the area of 100.00.
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23 MAY 2013: BERNANKE TAKES USD TO NEW HIGHS

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The head of the federal Reserve, FED, Ben Bernanke’s statement to Congress caused markets to fluctuate wildly yesterday. Bernanke’s comments initially had a positive impact on the stock markets when he stated that it would have unpredictable consequences for the US economy if FED’s bond buying program was terminated within the near future.

The bond buying program has boosted the US and global stock markets, but has so far failed to create new employment. FED has earlier stated that the bond buying of USD 800 billion collar will end when the unemployment has reached 6,5 %. It now stands at 7,6 %. This statement was initially seen by markets as a continuation of the bond buying that has boosted global equity markets.

At the same time Bernanke indicated that the termination of the bond buying might be on the immediate cards.. These comments were supported by the minutes from the April/May FED board meeting opening for a termination of the bond buying within the near future. This resulted in a steep fall in US stock indexes. Dow Jones fell from 16 464 down to 15 307 with equal immediate drops in S&P and Nasdaq.

The USD jumped to 103,73 Yen a Dollar. The DXY, a basket of currencies against USD, raised to a record high of 84,27, Euro/USD jumped to 1.2854 as Swiss Franc weakened both towards Dollar and Euro. The Australian dollar trades at its lowest level in a year. Precious metals have fluctuated wildly through the New York session with gold trading between USD 1369 and 1416. Silver reached USD 23,20 to fall back to 22,27. Oil prices remain steady.

Bernanke’s statement boosted global stock markets. Dow Jones immediately increased to a record high of 15 464 with equal jumps in European equities.

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22 MAY 2013: BERNANKE HOLDS THE KEY TO THE STRENGTH OF THE USD

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Global markets traded steadily yesterday building up to the publishing of the Federal Reserve’s minutes from the last BOD meeting in April/May, and Ben Bernanke’s statement to Congress later today. After a small correction on Tuesday, the USD continues to strengthen and is up close to record high against a basket of currencies, DXY.

As proven over the last few weeks, the overall trend in the USD is pointing up towards all currency pairs in spite of a day or two of declines. This trend is supported by three main factors; the forecast for the US is better than for any other economy, Europe is ridden with recession and Japan is concentrating its efforts on increasing the inflation to the 2 % target.

The upswing in the US economy is mainly due to its monetary easing and FED’s loose monetary policies. FED representatives have, over the last few days, indicated that the bond buying program will soon come to an end. If Bernanke “sneezes” today and states the same as his local FED representatives have done, it would mean a further strengthening of the USD.

A weaker Euro and Yen over the last few hours seem to indicate that this is what markets expect. After the Japanese Economy minister talked the Yen up earlier in the week, he seems to have been reprimanded by superiors, and the Yen continues its free fall. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, in a report today, urged Swiss authorities to weaken the Franc by unwinding its currency reserve funds. The Franc has already depreciated 3,7 % towards the Euro in 2013.

Precious metals continue to fluctuate, wildly searching for direction. The large increases in gold and silver throughout Asia and early European trade was quickly eaten by new steep falls. Oil prices keep steady. Smaller than expected English inflation strengthened GBP and gave the markets hopes for loser monetary policies, meaning more money printed by the Bank of England.
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Gold Rebounds As USD Weakens

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Gold and Silver rebounded strongly yesterday after the onslaught at the end of last week, and in Asia on Monday morning. Both the precious metals fell nearly 5 %. Gold trades at USD 1387 an ounce in Asia, 35 dollars up from the lows 24 hours ago. Silver trades at USD 22,70 rebounding from a low of 21.00 and reached USD 23, at the start of the Asian trading session. The cautious comments from representatives from the US Federal Reserve (FED) regarding the bond-buying stimulus, have weakened the USD.

In a statement on Monday, the President of the Federal Reserve in Chicago followed up last week’s comments from another regional FED president, that the bond-buying program might end abruptly in the autumn if, by then, the FED was sure that the labour market was on solid footing. Earlier, the FED put a 6,5 % unemployment statistic as the critical mark. The last published data showed a 7,6 % unemployment statistic. The aggressive monetary easing policies now also followed by Japan, has given global stock markets a strong boost.
US-stocks ended flat on Monday with indexes hovering near record levels. Concerns about a stop in bond-buying and a correction are influencing markets. Energy stocks and primarily solar companies soared. Dow Jones saw an intraday high at 15 391. S&P reached 1 672. Both indexes are up 17 % since January 1st. Investors are split between nervousness for a strong correction due to the sharpness and length of the rally, and those who are afraid to miss a continued rally.
European shares set a new five-year high for the fourth straight session on Monday, after positive indicators from The United States and Japan pointed to an improving global economic outlook. European blue chip stocks (Financial Times Eurofirst 300 index) was up one percent, which is the highest level seen since mid 2008. The positive US consumer sentiment data from Friday, the highest level seen in almost six years, is seen as especially encouraging. EasyJet and Ryan Air were among the biggest gainers.
The Japanese Yen tumbled yesterday after comments from its Minister of Economy, warning that the currency might have weakened enough. USD/JPY fell to 102 after Friday’s high on 103,22, but has rebounded to 102,22. Oil prices are keeping steady. Brent crude trades at USD 104,83 a barrel. FED Chairman Ben Bernanke’s statement to Congress on Wednesday will be crucial for the further development in currencies and global equity markets.

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10 MAY 2013: YEN BREAKS THROUGH 100

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After flirting with the 100 yen to a dollar mark for weeks USD finally smashed through this psychological important hurdle indicating further weakness in the Japanese yen. USD/JPY traded as low as 101.20 early Friday, down two percent from Thursday’s 98,75, the lowest level seen in four and a half years. The record low represents a victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” and his deliberate efforts to weaken the yen and strengthen economic growth through monetary easing.

In an effort to counter the weaker yen and boost its own competitiveness both Australia and South Korea have during this week cut their interest rates, sparking what seems as a currency war among Asian trading partners. Both countries cited their strong currencies as one of the reasons for their 0,5% cuts. A South Korean finance ministry official said Friday that Seoul was worried about the pace of the yen’s decline. The yen has depreciated 25% since the decline started in October/November.

Japan economy minister Akira Amari reiterated as Japan did during the recent G-20 meeting, that Tokyo has no intention to manipulate currency levels. Analysts expect a further fall in yen as dollar/yen finally have gotten over the psychological hurdle of 100. A continued downward pressure on the currency was underscored by data published on Friday showing that Japanese investors finally have reversed their relentless selling of foreign bonds. Japanese investors have over the last 12 weeks been net sellers of foreign bonds.

The Nikkei index soared to a four and half year high, up 6,5% only this week. The US dollar was buoyed by new strong jobless claims. The last weekly report published yesterday confirm the stronger than expected monthly nonfarm payrolls for April when jobless claims fell to its lowest level in five years. Signs of a steady US recovery has already could fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve (FED) might scale back its aggressive quantitative easing.

After reaching 99,95 in early April the USD has stalled one month against the yen. EURO/JPY simultaneously rose to 131,91, its highest since January 2010. There is no major changes in oil prices, copper and other commodities. Gold fell back from its high on USD 1474 and has recovered to 1462 in early Asian trading.

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