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Monday December 15, 2008 - 14:14:13 GMT
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Euro as new safe haven currency?

Key News
• European policymakers must not tear up the rule book when launching emergency economic rescue packages, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said. (Reuters)

EURUSD Daily: Euro continues to be the big winner against the dollar lately.  Next key Fib retracement resistance daily comes in near 13600-level.
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)
• Japan reported its sharpest crash in business sentiment in three decades on Monday and industrial output in China grew at its slowest pace since 1999. (Reuters)



USDCNY (Chinese yuan) Daily: Despite continued bad news on growth flowing from China, the currency has managed to gain against the buck lately, possibly alleviating concerns the Chinese may weaken the currency to help exports.  But would a weak currency matter when no one out there seems to be buying?
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)
• Turkey's economy continued to feel the impact of the global financial crisis as official figures released Monday showed gross domestic product growth slowing and unemployment rising. (AP)

USDTRY (Turkish lira) Weekly: Stabilized after a test of the high?  Or is it the calm before          the storm?
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)
• Crude oil rose after OPEC’s Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said the group needs to make a “sizeable” production cut at this week’s meeting in Algeria. (Bloomberg)

Crude Oil Daily: Crushed!  A bounce would be no surprise.
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

Key Reports (WSJ):
8:30 a.m. Dec NY Fed Manufacturing Index: Expected: -26.5. Previous: -25.4.
9:00 a.m. Oct Treasury International Capital Flows: Previous: $57.2B.
9:00 a.m. Nov Industrial Production: Expected: -0.6%. Previous: +1.3%.
9:15 a.m. Nov Capacity Utilization: Expected: 75.8. Previous: 76.4.
1:00 p.m. Dec NAHB Housing Market Index: Previous: 9.

“"People who look for easy money invariable pay for the privilege of proving conclusively that it cannot be found on this earth."

                                 Jesse Livermore

FX Trading – Euro as new safe haven currency?
We don’t think so—at least over the longer term.  But no matter what we think near- or long-term, the market likes euro compared to the other players.  The euro has bounced strongly against the US dollar.  Also, you can see euro’s relative strength in the Euro – British pound cross (at an all-time high) and the Euro – Swiss franc cross (wasn’t Swiss supposed to be the safe haven)? 



EURGBP Weekly:
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

EURCHF Weekly:
 (Chart unavailable in text format.)

No doubt, of the central banks, the European Central Bank at the moment is acting most “central bank-like.”  What we mean is that Mr. Trichet, President of the ECB, seems most publicly concerned about stuff like fiscal responsibility and running out of bullets by cutting too aggressively.  Adding to that, an ECB talker was trying to put on a good face about 2009, suggesting the Eurozone would be emerging from all this mess by the second half of the year.  So he is doing come cheerleading too. 

But, we are concerned about the euro safe haven argument for a couple of reasons:

First, despite our general agreement with Mr. Trichet about his monetary and fiscal views, we wonder if his reluctance to ease further and faster may not add to the weight of the problems in Europe.  Consider that member countries are busting their budgets in an effort to drive demand, and ECB stinginess on rates, or lack of monetary stimulus, may only exacerbate the fiscal strains Mr. Trichet is concerned about—and widen already widening member country bond spreads.  Plus, we think the emerging markets of Europe could be the Achilles heel for the euro; they’re starving for liquidity even more than the larger euro members. 

Our second concern is Germany.  Europe’s real engine of growth is still seen as being in relatively decent shape.  But, we don’t think that will last too much longer.  Germany after all is an export powerhouse. We believe the exact same dynamic hitting China—no buyers—will hammer German growth. 

However, all that said, we remain open.  Price action is always the final arbiter no matter how we spin our macro story.

Jack Crooks, Black Swan Capital LLC


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