07 JUNE 2013: DOLLAR PLUNGES IN BROAD SELL-OFF

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The Dollar plunged against the Euro, Japanese Yen, and other currencies as investors reduced bets on the greenback on concerns that today’s US jobs report will disappoint. Euro/USD trades at 1.3262. American stocks fell in tandem with a weaker USD, but rebounded to end in positive territory. Dow Jones added 0.53 % to climb back above the 15.000 level. Nasdaq gained 0.66 % to 3 424. The changes seem to be technically driven by psychological factors.

A poll amongst economists expects 170 000 new jobs could’ve been added to the US economy in May with an unemployment rate of 7.5 %. Fear of a weaker than expected job report prompted, however, investors to unwind bets on a stronger Dollar that had been profitable for months. Gold prices, which have been under strong pressure for months, suddenly rose 1 percent to USD 1412 an ounce as investors sold long positions on the Dollar.

The Euro gained after the European Central Bank, ECB, left interest rates unchanged. ECB President, Mario Draghi, stated that further monetary support was unlikely in the near future. ECB has kept interest rates at a record low of 0,5 % waiting for a turnaround in the Euro zone. Bank of England have also chosen to leave their loose monetary policy unchanged. British Sterling, GBP, has jumped against the Dollar at 1,5612 and gained substantially during the last few days from low 1.51 levels.

Concerns that key US job data will disappoint sent the Japanese Nikkei into bear territory in Asia this morning. The Nikkei plunged 1.9 % to a two month low. Nikkei has lost 20 % from a five-and-half-year high, just two weeks ago. Other Asian stocks failed to capitalize on overnight gains in Wall Street. The Asian Pacific MSCI-index fell 0.6 % to its lowest level since November. The fall in equities seem to indicate a stronger appetite among investors for safe haven bonds. The yield on U.S, German and Japanese bonds have risen recently.

Oil prices are higher on the back of a weaker Dollar. Brent crude trades close to USD 104 a barrel, up from the USD 100 mark earlier in the week.

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06 JUNE 2013: YEN JUMPS AS WALL STREET FALLS

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The Yen rose sharply early Thursday. USD/JPY dropped to 99.00, up more than one percent since yesterday. Commodity currencies are under strong pressure with the Australian Dollar at a 19-month low. The currency volatility follows a steep fall in US stocks Wednesday extending the previous days sell-off. Dow Jones dipped under 15.000 due to concerns that the US Federal Reserve, FED, may scale down its bond-buying stimulus when the economy is still sluggish.

The sell-off on Wall Street was broadly based with four decliners to one advancing stock. The selling might suggest that the seven-month stock rally is coming to an end. The S&P 500 has fallen 3.6 percent since its peak on May the 21st, one day before Ben Bernanke indicated that FED might taper its stimulus if economic data shows traction. The jobless numbers and unemployment statistics to be presented tomorrow are therefore crucial.

Both Dow Jones and Nasdaq registered their biggest percentage drops in six weeks. Most Asian markets suffered similar falls and slipped to fresh lows. Economic data has recently been mixed. Investors fear that FED will reduce their monetary easing before the economy is back on track, in spite of clear FED statements that the stimulus will continue until unemployment is reduced to 6.5 %. A report yesterday showed that private employers created far less jobs in May than the 160,000 predicted. The figures are a strong argument against changes.

The long term bullish outlook on the USD/JPY remains. Analysts don’t predict steeper falls from here and still see 120 as likely in 6 – 12 months. EUR/USD is resilient, reaching 1.3118 yesterday before falling back to 1.3095. The stronger Euro comes ahead of ECBs policy meeting. ECB will probably consider whether it is necessary to take fresh action in order to secure the expected recovery of the euro zone in the second half of 2013.

 

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05 JUNE 2013: US AND ASIAN STOCKS DECLINE ON FED UNCERTAINTY

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Asian stocks slipped to their lowest level in 2013 as uncertainty over when the US Federal Reserve (FED) would begin scaling down its massive stimulus program. Since 2008, FED has injected 2,5 trillion dollars into bonds to boost the economy. The increased liquidity has mainly benefited US-stocks which have reached new highs, but also led to an inflow of US-funds into Asian and other markets. There are now increased worries, especially in Asia, about funds flowing out of the region.

Over the past few days, this trend has been reflected in a stronger Japanese Yen (JPY). Foreign funds have, for the last few months, been injected into a rapidly increasing and profitable Japanese stock market. Foreign capital is now taking profit and selling Yen with the effect that the JPY has increased 4 % in the last few days in relation to USD. USD/JPY fell below 100 on Monday, recovered early during Wednesday’s session, but later dipped back to 99.2 Yen to a Dollar.

US stocks ended even lower on Tuesday, resuming their recent decline, as investors sold growth-oriented sectors on speculation the Federal Reserve may slow down the pace of its economic stimulus. The indexes have fallen 2 percent from their peak on May 22nd as investors take profit. Dow Jones was down 0.50 % at 15 177. A top US-official, critical to the bond buying program, stated yesterday that FED is poised to re-evaluate and possibly make changes to its massive monetary stimulus.

FED Chairman, Ben Bernanke, has been consistent in his comments on monetary easing and stressed that proof of a real turnaround in US economy reflected in an unemployment target of 6,5, which is necessary before making changes. After the disappointing manufacturing data earlier this week, the jobless claims presented on Friday might prove decisive for whether the stimulus program is going to be continued until the end of the year.

The Dollar recovered from an early-week selloff on Wednesday while the Australian Dollar plunged to a 19 month low on the back of disappointing growth data. Euro/USD is at 1.3086 back from a one-month high on 1.3108.There is strong technical resistance at 1.3141. Oil prices are up. NYMEX is at 93,63 and Brent crude trades above USD 103 a barrel.

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04 JUNE 2013: DOLLAR DROPS ON NEW DATA

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The US Dollar suffered a serious setback and dropped to one-month lows against a basket of major currencies on Tuesday after the index on the US- manufacturing fell for the first time in six months. National factory activity sank to the lowest level seen since 2009.

The disappointing data curbed speculation that the Federal Reserve (FED) would scale back its stimulus anytime soon. The dollar index, against a basket of major currencies, DXY, fell one percent as the Japanese Yen strengthened. USD/JPY dipped below 100 for the first time in weeks at 99.70.

Long positions on USD are, therefore, likely to remain under pressure until Friday’s job reports. The unemployment numbers will have to beat the expected forecasts of 165,000 less unemployed significantly, to revive the upside momentum in the USD, analysts say.

The renewed pressure on the dollar saw the Euro/USD above the 1.31 level for the first time since May the 9th. The Euro has fallen back to 1.3063 in the early Asian trading session. USD/JPY fell as low as 98,86 and has lost 4.5 %, 4 % from the high on 103,74 set last month. The dollar’s fall against other currencies, which had lately lost ground against the dollar, was even more dramatic. The Australian dollar rallied more than 2% close to parity with the USD at 99.92.

The US data led to a turnaround in Asian stocks which recovered from their lowest levels in half a year. The Japanese Nikkei has fallen as much as 15% over the last two weeks.The American indexes initially fell on the disappointing manufacturing data, but recovered in a volatile session. Nasdaq turned positive on Intel strength, and Dow Jones gained 0,82 % at 15 239. Oil and gold prices are steady compared to yesterday. Gold is at USD 1411 an ounce and Brent crude trades at USD 101,89 a barrel.

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03 JUNE 2013: ASIA FALLS ON PROFIT-TAKING

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Asian shares fall on profit taking Monday after recent highs. Uncertainty over how much longer the current US stimulus will continue, still dominates the agenda at the start of a new trading week.China’s last PMI figures (Purchasing Manager’s Index) published during the weekend, creates concern in light of softening domestic and external demands. More US-data this week might give a clue as to growth and demand prospects and will hopefully show some direction in regards to how long the monetary easing will last.

The dollar index rose last week on investors bets that improved data on the US economy would encourage the Federal Reserve (FED) to reduce monetary stimulus, which have boosted investments into riskier assets as emerging market currencies. The South African Rand, Mexican Peso and Hungarian Forint were hardest hit against the dollar in a volatile week in the currency market that saw investors reduce their exposure to risk-related assets.

The New Zealand Dollar fell more than any other developed currency after their Reserve Bank Governor stated that the Kiwi dollar still remained overvalued. Further currency interventions were thus needed to weaken the Kiwi.

The Euro/USD gained substantially last Thursday, but fell back due to the unemployment figures published on Friday. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone hit a fresh record high at 12.2 percent in April. Youth unemployment is reaching alarming levels. Euro/USD trades at 1.3013 in the morning. The President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Maro Draghi, said that the Eurozone economy is on track for a recovery driven by ECBs loose monetary policy, and outside demand.

Japanese Yen is up against USD at 00.48 amid a bout of profit-taking by investors last week. GBP is steady at 1.5217. Oil prices are under pressure, but Brent crude is still trading above USD 100 a barrel. Gold prices are slightly up at USD 1395.

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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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