The Japanese Yen held near a two-month high against the Dollar and the Euro in early Asian trade Monday, amid market hysteria and confusion over when and how the US Federal Reserve (FED) will begin to scale down its massive stimulus program. USD/JPY opened at the same level as it ended in New York on Friday, where the Dollar bought 94.23 Yen. Since the opening, Yen has weakened to 94.77. EUR/USD trades steady at 1.3322 as French President Holland’s Socialist party asks for a weaker Euro.

The Dollar lost momentum during volatile sessions last week, which saw sharp moves in the Yen and emerging market currencies. Stronger retail sales and lower weekly jobless claims released last Thursday, helped the green back rise from months of lows. Negative consumer confidence figures published on Friday effected, however, USD negatively. The Dollar index, weighed against a basket of currencies, are at a four month low. Both Euro and GBP are at their strongest level against the Dollar since February.

Oil prices rallied to a two month high after Washington’s announcement that it would provide arms to Syrian rebel groups. New York Crude, NYMEX, trades at USD 97.63 a barrel and Brent is above 105. The Syrian crisis going to be at the top of the agenda when the G-8 meets today. The Syrian civil war is threatening the stability in neighboring Countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, and challenges Israel’s security as well. The conflict threatens to develop into a regional Russia/US proxy war also directly involving Iran.

In a price analysis Barclay’s bank is forecasting crude oil prices to retrace to USD 111 a barrel, taking supply shortfalls as well as geopolitical tensions into consideration. The Bank estimates supply shortfalls from OPEC (Organization of Oil Producing Countries) to be 2 million barrels a day or equal to Germany’s oil imports. Libyan oil output has fallen below 1m barrels a day due to protests at oil fields and terminals. Nigeria’s output has fallen due to theft-related damage to pipelines.

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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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18 April 2013: Risks assets broadly slips



Risks assets broadly slipped on Thursday following overnight drop in US and European equities on fears for global growth. Oil prices have dropped substantially. Brent crude fell two dollars trading below USD 98 a barrel. Iran, has asked for an emergency meeting in OPEC, the organization for oil producing states, to discuss the low oil prices as non-OPEC United States is pumping 7,2 million tons a day. This contributes to the imbalance between market demand and supply. Gold dipped further as capital flow out of gold-backed-exchange-traded funds continues.

US-Stocks fell in a broad market sell-off yesterday. The decline in stock prices was led by a sharp drop in Apple which tumbled 5,5% to USD 402,80. Apple has fallen USD 250 since its peak last autumn. A key chip maker, Cirrus, simultaneously presented a disappointing revenue forecast. This together with the slowing demand for Apple products, fueled market worries about a weakening demand for iPhone and iPad. The financial sector was also hard hit by weaker than expected results from Bank of America.

Wednesday’s losses represented the second day of big sell-off during this week. It adds to fears that the market is starting the pullback analysts have been speculating in for months. Expectations have outdistanced economic fundamentals. Monetary easing has additionally injected fresh speculative capital into equities. This development has led to stock rallies without roots in the real economy creating new bubbles.

Investors’ optimism have been based on expectations of a stronger economic growth in China and a recovery in the US. There are positive signs in both markets, but the world economy is still dragged down by an ever deeper recession inside the Euro zone. The plunge in gold and metal prices and a simultaneous sell-off of stocks bear striking similarities with the situation in 2008 where stock markets were running off from realities to end with a hard landing. Bankers’ wild speculations contributed to the misery which led to a financial crisis in the second half of the year where the liberal orientated economic market model was put at serious risk.

Is history in the process of repeating itself?

Nervousness and risk aversion has also plaid into the currency market where the euro come under pressure. Euro/USD fell from Wednesday high on 1.3172 to 1.3043 on talk of more monetary easing by the European Central Bank. USD/JPY trades marginally up at 98,03 indicating a continued slid in the yen and a new test on the symbolic 100 yen a dollar level. The Australian dollar is steady after trimming earlier losses due to the fall in gold and metals and a weaker growth in China.

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