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Thursday November 20, 2008 - 13:04:06 GMT
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$ vs. Crude…Hmmm! (9 July 2008 Issue)

Key News
• Oil prices fell below $53 to almost a two-year low . (AP)
• The yield on two-year US Treasury bonds hit a record low of 1.06 per cent, responding both to the fresh flight to safety and the prospect of lower interest rates. Eurozone government bond futures hit their highest level since March 2006. (FT)

(Chart unavailable in text format.)

• World stock markets tumbled Thursday, with benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul losing almost 7 percent each. (AP)
• Five years after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke helped stamp out the risk of deflation, the threat is returning as the financial crisis and a worsening economic slump pull inflation lower. (Bloomberg)
• The RBA said in a monthly bulletin today that it bought A$3.15 billion ($2 billion) of its own currency last month, the biggest net purchase on record, as the local dollar posted a record monthly decline.

(Chart unavailable in text format.)

• U.S. options trading slowed this month from a record pace after hedge funds collapsed and the biggest market swings since 1929 made equity derivatives too expensive to be used as insurance against stock losses. (Bloomberg)
Key Reports (WSJ):
8:30a.m. Initial Jobless Claims For Nov 18 Week: Expected: -11K. Previous: +32K.
10:00a.m. Oct Conference Board Leading Indicators: Expected: -0.6%. Previous: -0.3%
10:00a.m. Nov Philadelphia Fed Business Index: Expected: -38. Previous: -37.5.
10:00a.m. DJ-BTMU Business Barometer For Nov 8: Previous: -0.7%.

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.”

      George Orwell

Best of CC: Below is a reprint of our 9 July 2008 Currency Currents where we examined the break down in the correlation between oil and the dollar—it was telling us something as we suspected.  It’s another example of why we pay close attention to intermarket correlations; it can be a very powerful tool for currency traders. 

FX Trading – $ vs. Crude…Hmmm! (9 July 2008 Issue)
Can we continue to hang our hat on the view that much of the bad news is already in the price of the dollar?  Well, based on the dismal views about the US economy, which we don’t dispute, which we seem to find everywhere we look, the short answer is yes.  But it’s not just that belief.  Something seems to have changed—though even this is a thin reed of reasoning we grant you.

Back in mid-April the US dollar index made its closing low (and its all-time low in mid-March, the day the Fed saved Bear Stearns).  At the time, crude oil was trading at $116 per barrel (heck, downright cheap in retrospect…LOL).  By now of course, everyone had caught on to the crude-$ connection that says the dollar goes lower when oil goes higher.  But, the problem with this new theory is that crude oil has rallied about $29 since mid-April, or a cool 25%!  However, the US $ index has rallied too—up 2%! 

 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

Based on the crude-$ connection, that wasn’t supposed to happen. 

Chronology of key players’ recent trips to the Middle East (read Saudi Arabia):

• Vice President Dick Cheney – Mid-March
• President George Bush – Mid-May
• Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson – Late-May and Early-June

And on June 1, 2008 this from Reuters:

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Sunday leaders of Gulf oil producing states had told him that abandoning their currency pegs to the dollar will not solve their inflation problems.
Paulson, two-thirds of the way through a four-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said leaders in the region have "quite an awareness that the peg does not influence inflation to a significant degree.
"They recognize that inflation is the overriding issue ... Ending the peg is not the solution to the inflation problem."


Is it possible the Gulf States were treated to a litany of promises that the dollar was nearing a bottom and now is not the time to abandon said dollar pegs?  Again, we have no clue. But, it would be a nice fit with the ongoing lack of correlation between all-time highs in crude and the $ index cautiously trending higher.

Stranger things have happened.  Stay tuned. 

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital LLC


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