25 JUNE 2013: DOLLAR STRENGTHENS WITH SHARES FALLING

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Global stocks continued to fall steeply on Monday after the trading week started with new lack luster sessions in Asia. Shares declined heavily in Europe and Dow Jones Industrial lost 0.94% adding to the 2% fall last week. Materials, industrials and financial stocks led by Bank of America ended in deep red, negative territory.

The technology heavy Nasdaq declined 1.04%. Equity markets regained some ground in the last half of the session, but the onslaught on stocks seems to be by no way over. Most of the gains after the last half years stock rally have been wiped out after the US Federal Reserve, FED, last Wednesday announced an end to the FED bond buying program of USD 85 billion monthly.

This monetary easing program has given stock markets added liquidity and taken them to new record highs. Capital has been pumped into the more risky emerging markets, which also have seen successful bond issues by in weak economies as Rwanda and Honduras. FED’s announcement has created panic like reactions and led to a flow of capital out of emerging markets and big declines in their currencies.

The last four days developments have grossly strengthened the USD. The DXY-index, a basket of currencies weighed against the Dollar, is at its highest level since June last year. A more optimistic business outlook from Germany has kept EUR/USD steady above 1.31. A decline below 1.3072 will, however, imply a strong bearish signal.

USD/JPY has also kept steady over the last 24 hours trading just below 98 Yen to a Dollar. The Australian Dollar has recovered 0.5% from the 33 month low following the bad financial news from China yesterday morning. The Aussie Dollar is extremely volatile to any changes in China. Precious metals continue to be under strong pressure set for new lows. The same goes for oil in spite of the tense situation in the Middle East.

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14 JUNE 2013: ROBUST US-DATA TURNS MARKETS UP

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Robust US retail sales and a drop in the weekly jobless benefits claims had a positive impact on global stock markets yesterday and this morning. Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.9 % recovering some of the sharp losses the last two weeks. This followed a strong session in New York. Dow Jones passed the 15 000 mark again, adding 1.21 %. The technology heavy Nasdaq index gained 1.32 %. The Asian Pacific MSCI-index rose 1.4 %. Also Chinese shares recovered.

Volatility is still high in the currency markets. Better than expected economic data calmed global markets,after the last few days bruising sell off. Investors remained, however, nervous ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve, FED, policy meeting on June the 18th-19th. The Dollar lost at one point more than 1% from early gains against the Yen, and stands at a four-month low against a basket of major currencies, DXY. USD/JPY is hovering below 95 at 94.92 Yen to a Dollar. Euro/USD is at 1.3349.

The positive data yesterday appeared to have brought some temporary relief to markets rocked by speculation on whether FED is going to taper its monetary easing. The strong rally in global equity markets over the last half year, has been driven by FED’s bond buying scheme. There is an open question as to how the stock markets would be affected by a discontinuation in monetary easing, which other central banks have also copied. Currencies are most likely going to continue to be volatile until stability returns to equities.

Yen short and Dollar long positions have been built up to excessive levels over the last few weeks, and have contributed to the volatility in USD/JPY. Selling of the Yen was overdone and it seems that the latest market turbulence might have filtered out much of that excess. USD/JPY at 95 seems to be reasonable for now. The British Pound Sterling, GBP, is gaining ground against the USD, trading above 1.57. Oil prices are up on US- growth expectations triggered by the latest data. US crude futures stand at 96.70 and Brent trades at USD 104.73 a barrel.

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13 JUNE 2013: ASIAN MARKET PLUNGES WITH STRONGER YEN

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The Dollar plunged to its lowest level in ten weeks against JPY at 94.81, while the Asian stock markets experienced one of its worst one day down falls. All the Asian markets ended in red territory with the Japanese Nikkei 500 index falling as much as 5.3 %. Tumbling Japanese shares accelerated the fall of the Dollar as Nikkei- investors continued to unwind earlier hedges against a weaker Yen. The Dollar has lost 8.6 % since hitting a four year high of 103,74 on May 22.

The latest developments demonstrate the gamble involved in Central Bank’s monetary easing. Investors have snapped up Japanese shares between mid-November and May, as a weaker Yen promised to fatten exporter’s overseas revenues. Now a stronger Yen threatens to do the opposite, leading to further sell-offs in the Nikkei. The tumults in Asia come on top of uncertainty about whether the US Federal Reserve (FED) will pare back its stimulus program buying bonds and treasury bills. Japanese bond selling is adding to the pressure on the currency.

The fall in Asian shares followed a weak session in New York. Dow Jones Industrial was down 0.84 % while the technology heavy Nasdaq lost 1.06. The Dollar lost 0.3 % against a basket of currencies, DXY, ending at 80.741 after falling below 80.651, a level not seen since February. The Dollar has lost 4 % since its three-year high on May 25th. Adjustments in overextended long USD positions rather than a changing perception of US growth and Fed outlook, seems to be behind the weaker Dollar.

Weakness in the Dollar saw the Euro climb to a near four-month high of 1.3370. Euro/USD trades now at 1.3356. It is difficult to explain the stronger Euro, the recession in the Euro zone taken into account. Recent polls show, however, that a majority of analysts believe that ECB will keep the interest rate at the present level. Optimists are also suggesting that the euro zone will return to modest growth later this year.

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12 JUNE 2013: USD/JPY REBOUNDS AFTER STEEP FALL

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The Dollar steadied against the Yen on Wednesday, suffering its biggest drop in three years yesterday. USD/JPY trades at 96.44, sinking as low as 95.60 in the previous session. The 2.7 % fall marked the biggest one-day drop in the USD/JPY currency since May 2010. The Dollar continued to slip against the Euro at 1.3307. The Dollar index DXY steadied after slumping to a four-month low of 81.034. The weakened Australian Dollar gained 0.4% and trades 0.9469 to a USD.

Bank of Japan (BOJ) disappointed investors hoping for an extension in the maximum duration of its fixed-rate loans, similar to the European Central Bank (ECB) long term financing operation. Such extension would have been aimed at quelling the volatility in the bond market. The market expected such a move. When that did not happen, the Yen sellers had to liquidate short positions. Yen buying was strengthened by exporters shrinking purchases of the Dollar.

The volatility and tumult in the Japanese bond market have raised worries that it could undercut the Abe government and BOJ’s efforts of monetary easing. USD/JPY had, until the recent turnaround, fallen continuously from 80 to 103.65 Yen to a Dollar. The weaker Yen gave Japanese export a welcomed boost, but most of this advantage has been eaten by the stronger Yen experienced in June.

The US and European stock markets tumbled yesterday on nervousness over FED’s monetary easing exit strategy. Dow Jones and Nasdaq fell from 0.76 to 1.06 %. At the General Assembly of Facebook, CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, faced a barrage of questions about the stock price. Facebook’s shares have fallen 37% since its introduction. In Japan, the Nikkei index fell below 13.000 as the strong Yen dragged exporters down.

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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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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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02 MAY 2013: ECB INTEREST CUT SEEMS LIKELY TODAY

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Growing doubts over the health of global economies pushed Asian stocks lower on Thursday after disappointing US economic data pushed Wall street down. Dow Jones industrial fell 0,92 % adding to doubts over the strength of the world’s biggest economy. Slow Chinese demand puts new question marks on China’s economic recovery. The European Central Bank (ECB) is meeting later today. ECB is expected to cut interest rates down to a low of 0,5 % in an effort to take the Euro zone out of recession.

 

The Asian Pacific MSCI-index fell 0,5 percent with Australian shares leading the decline. Miners dragged the AXJO index down 0,8 % on fears of lesser Chinese appetite for commodities. The Chinese PMI (Purchasing Managers index)fell in April, but the upward trend continues. It is, however, fragile and has lost momentum due to signs of pausing in the US economy. Market sentiments are split between growth prospect worries and support for sustained monetary stimulus.

 

There are also worries that a weaker US economic growth may prompt profit taking in Asian equities. Asia has strongly outperformed earlier this year, USD/JPY is trading steady at 97,24 unable to break through the psychological important 100 level. Some analysts expect that yen is going to continue to depreciate after a short breathier. A US trading at 110 yen towards a dollar is perceived.

 

The dollar has recovered from lows against a basket of six major currencies, DXY, but stayed at lowest levels since late February. The dollar weakness lifted the euro to a two month high of USD 1,3243 on Wednesday. It trades steady around 1.3178 in the opening sessions in Asia. Weak credit demand in the euro zone shall most likely lead to further contraction in the region. This points along with disappointing German PMI in April towards an interest rate cut when ERCB meets later today.

 

Growing unemployment in the Southern European periphery of Europe and slower growth in Germany, have led to a renewed debate on the austerity measures carried through by The ECB and EU-commission with Germany as the driving national engine. A leading critics of the austerity measures, the economic Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, says in a recent article that the austerities is far from any sound economics and purely dictated by leading bankers and politicians political prejudices. The results are catastrophic for the economy as well as human beings.

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Euro weakens as unemployment climbs

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Euro/USD fell to 1.2803 as unemployment inside the euro zone fell to a record high 12,5 %. The euro fell against 12 of its 16 most traded peers as unemployment continued to soar in Greece and Spain adding to concern of an even deeper recession. Unemployment in Greece reached 26,7 % with 60 % of the youth without jobs. A mix of lower than expected industrial manufacturing data and unemployment paint a grim picture for hopes of a quick recovery inside the euro zone.

Asian stocks fell before later publication of new US job numbers. The dollar index (DXY) which has fallen for the last days rose 82,920 as gold prices plunged 35 dollars to USD 1567 an ounce. Copper and silver continue to fall while oil prices are steady. New York crude (NYMEX) has been trading above 96 for the whole week and Brent crude above USD 110 a barrel. The European Central Bank (ECB) which along with the EU and International Monetary Fund, IMF, has been strongly criticized for its handling of the Cyprus crisis, meets on April 4th.

As indicated in our Daily Report yesterday Cyprus has started a blame hunt for a crisis running out of hand. Finance Minister Michael Sarris who conducted the bailout negotiations in Brussels and afterwards came empty handed back from Moscow, resigned on Tuesday and was replaced by Labour Minister Haris Georiades. Sarris has for the last year served as President of the Board in the bankrupt Popular Bank of Cyprus, Laiki. Over the last months Laiki received billions of Euros from ECB in emergency funding.

 The use of these funds will be part of a special investigation conducted by three special judges appointed by President Nikos Anastasiades. The judges shall within three months present a report on whom bear responsibility for the crisis. Bank of Cyprus (BOC) and Laiki Bank were till recently regarded as solid profitable national flagships. The two banks have over the last 2 – 3 years lost billions of euro on speculation in Greek treasury bills and unsecured loans to Greek individuals and companies.

President Anastasiades himself came under fire yesterday when it was known that a company headed by his son in law and other relatives presumably transferred 21 million euro out of Cyprus just before the controversial EU decision to raid bank deposits took place. Anastasiades flatly rejected tip-off to close family members or any other wrong doing; “I never knew, and it was never possible for me to wage war until Saturday morning March 16th to avoid what they imposed on us and at the same time supposedly tip-off people”.

Other politicians have received similar accusations which would be subject for the investigations. Even if lose accusations, the tip-off suspicions illustrate what the Cypriot public regards as, too, “cosy” relations between bankers and politicians.

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15 March 2013: Stock market growth smile on US dollar

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 The Dow Jones Industrial rose for a 10th straight day in a stock rally not seen since 1996, and ended up 0,6 % at 14 539. This followed a strong session in Europe.  In Asia stocks rose again this morning after two loss making sessions. The rally was spurred by new US- labour market data showing a fall in the weekly numbers of people applying for unemployment benefits. The data reflects  that the American economy is steadily improving.  A raft of recent data from retail sales and manufacturing to employment and housing have shown that the US  economy is gathering steam.

In contradiction to former historical stock rallies where the green buck was used as some kind of a life jacket, the USD has this time benefited greatly on the stock market’s surge to new highs and improved economic data.  Against a basket of currency, DXY, the dollar has reached a seven month high. Since January USD/JPY has jumped from 86,67 to over 96. Pound Sterling, GBP, has fallen from 1.62 to a bottom of  1.4832 earlier this week. The moves suggest that the dollar has entered a multi-year bull cycle where the dollar has outperformed nine of the major G-10 currencies.

Political uncertainty in Italy has re-ignited  fear about the  euro zone’s debt crisis and put new pressure on the Euro.  Weak economic growth and  prospects of aggressive monetary easing in Japan and Britain have driven the yen and GBP to multi-year lows.  Spending cuts in Washington could for sure damper US economic growth and the FED has further pledged to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future.   But capital flows continue to rotate in the favour of US-assets and  strengthen both the US economy and the dollar.

The dollar strength against JPY and Euro  took a little breather  on Friday. USD/JPY trades at 96,03 down from the peak of 96,71 on Tuesday. If the Bank of Japan (BOJ) follows up on its  declared strong monetary easing policies, USD/JPY is likely to trade in a future range between 95 – 105. If BOJ disappoints the trading range is expected to be 86 – 96. Euro/USD was in the short term  strengthened by a positive Spanish bond auction on Thursday. It  trades at 1.3010. Pound sterling and Australian dollar were yesterday’s winners. The Aussie added another 0,8 % after another  one percentage jump on good employment numbers on Wednesday.

British pound surged yesterday as investors scrambled to cover short positions made on expectations of more quantitative easing by the Bank of England. The Bank’s Governor stated that GBP according to his opinion is properly valued and not seeking further depreciation.  GBP was helped by rumours that Qatar is planning to invest billions of GBP into British infrastructure projects. The GBP yesterday’s one % gain is the biggest seen in seven months.

These short term gains are nevertheless not expected to  have any major medium or long term  impact.  The long medium and long term outlook point towards  a stronger USD both in relation to Euro, JPY, GBP and most other currencies. These forecasts for Euro/USD point to  a new test on former bottom levels 1.19 – 1.20. It is also predicted that GBP/USD can drop as low as 1.35.  The corridor range 95 – 105 is the most likely medium term scenario for USD/JPY.

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