Lesson 7: How Interest Rates Move the Forex Market, Part 2
Lesson 7: How Interest Rates Move the Forex Market, Part 2
In our last lesson we continued our free forex trading course with a look at interest rates and how the capital flows associated with movements in the interest rates of a country affect the value of its currency. Now that we have a basic understanding of how interest rates move the forex market, lets help drive this point home with a specific example from today's market environment.
For our example we are going to say that I am a savvy investor located in the United States who is seeking a good place to park some savings where I can earn a decent return on my money. For this particular slice of my portfolio I am looking for an interest paying instrument that will pay me a steady stream of cash on my money.
As many of you already know a government or corporate bond will do just this paying me whatever the interest rate is as set by the country's central bank that I am investing in, plus an additional interest rate depending on the length of the bond that I am investing in (for example a 1 year bond is generally going to pay me a lower rate of interest than a 10 year bond) and for the extra risk that I take on for different type of bonds (for example a government bond is normally going to pay me less than a corporate bond because there is less chance that the government is going to default on the loan).
So, knowing this, I decide that I would like to invest in a bond that pays me a good rate of interest, and I am not looking to get too speculative about this investment, so I prefer a government bond over a corporate bond. For our example we are going to say for simplicity's sake, that the bonds of the countries that we have available to invest in pay an interest rate equal to the interest rate in the country as set by the central bank.
Now with this in mind the next thing that I do is list out all the different interest rates for the major countries of the world and I come up with:
United States: 2.00%
Euro Zone: 4.00%
United Kingdom: 5.00%
New Zealand: 8.25%
After reviewing my options its seems pretty clear that if I am just going on interest rates, then New Zealand is the place to put my money as this will earn me an extra 6.25% in interest each year over investing that same money in the United States. Now I am not going to drag the lesson out by including all the history of the interest rates in New Zealand here, but I will tell you they have been in a high interest rate environment relative to the United States for quite some time. With this in mind if I would have have followed this logic in the past then it would have played out very well for me not only from an interest rate standpoint but also, as this chart shows, from a currency appreciation standpoint. Because I would have been investing in New Zealand bonds I would have been holding New Zealand dollars and also benefiting from the large run up in the New Zealand Dollar:
Now obviously hindsight is 20/20 and I have simplified things here for our understanding, but this is not too far off from how international investors including large market moving hedge funds and other players think. It is also a great example of the forces we have spoken about in our lessons on capital flows and in our last lesson on interest rates at play in today's market.
That's our lesson for today. In our next lesson we are going to continue our discussion on how interest rates move the forex market with a look at something which is known as the carry trade, which is also one of the more popular trading strategies in the forex market, so we hope to see you in that lesson.
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WEEKLY Forex Economic Calendar: 24 Feb Fri
13:30 CA- CPI
15:00 US- New Homes Sales
15:00 US- final Univ of Mich Survey
13 Feb Mon
No Major Data 27 Feb Mon
13:30 US- Durable Goods 28 Feb Tues
07:00 DE- Retail Sales
10:00 EZ- flash HICP
13:30 US- GDP
15:00 US- CB Consumer Confidence
15:30 US- EIA Crude 1 Mar Wed
All Day- final Mfg PMIs
08:55 DE- Jobless
13:30 US- PCE Deflator
15:00 CA- Bank of Canada Decision
15:30 US- EIA Crude
19:00 US- Beige Book 2 Mar Thu
13:30 US- Weekly Jobless
23:30 JP- CPI 3 Mar Fri
All-Day SVC PMIs
In response to the latest Fed policy Minutes yesterday, some are pushing the date for the next rate hike back to May. I don't see this sentiment shift in Fed Funds futures. In respnse to this chatter, the EURUSD is trading well of its Tuesday lows. I still feel the Fed hikes in March barring a significantly weaker than expected February jobs report on March 10. The FOMC Minutes left open the door to the RISK of a Rate hike as early as the March 15 FOMC ("very soon"). However, no clear signal was sent.
The Fed appears to want to embark on a policy "normalization" soon. Traders have trouble believing the Fed has the courage to go through with a rate hike. For Yellen build any market credibility, she should hike rates soon.
Fed Funds futures odds for a March Fed rate hike are only 38% (34%), suggesting they are skeptical. Markets now place the odds for rate hikes by June at 112% (116%). That is 100% for one hike (March?) plus 12% for a second move, or possibly something in-between.
On top of the Fed muddle, investors have begun to worry about the risk from key leadership elections in Europe over the rest of the year. Many worry about the possibility of a swing to right as has been seen in the U.K. (Brexit) and U.S. (Trump). Such could be a challenge to the status quo in the EU.
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