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Thursday August 20, 2009 - 12:59:02 GMT
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Currencies on Vacation in their Happy Place

Key News
• U.K. Budget Deficit Soars to Record $13.2 Billion as Recession Hits Taxes (Bloomberg)
• China Stocks to Rebound as Bear Market Won't Last, Merrill Strategist Says (Bloomberg)
“So while the government wants companies to invest in theory, the funds they need in order to do so are being taken. This is the way China’s stimulus ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”
                            Stephen Green, Analyst, Standard Chartered
FX Trading – Currencies on Vacation in their Happy Place
Have currencies found their happy place? As of this morning when I began writing:
Currently the British pound is trading at 1.6515; on June 2 it closed at 1.6580.  Change: -65 PIPs
Currently the euro is trading around 1.4233; on June 2 it closed at 1.4305.  Change: -72 PIPs
Currently the Australian dollar is trading around 0.8308; on June 2 it closed at 0.8232. Change: +76 PIPs
Currently the Japanese yen (USDJPY) is trading around $0.9430; on June 2 it closed at 0.9576.  Change: -146 PIPs
Currently the Canadian dollar (USDCAD) is trading around 1.0968; on June 2 it closed at 1.0812.  Change: +156
Currently the Swiss franc (USDCHF) is trading around 1.0658; on June 2 it closed at 1.0617.  Change: +41
So in the last two and a half months – the last 75 days – the major currencies are little changed. I mean, these pairs move greater distances over the course of a single day, they’ve just been so noncommittal this summer that it almost frustrating.
So let me ask again, have the currencies found a happy place? Sure. More precisely, they’ve taken a vacation. The summer doldrums combined with the uncertainty of the global economy’s future have created all this directionless churning we’ve seen since June.
Perhaps when the “important” money gets back to the trading screens after summer break then we see some conviction one way or another. But for now, this market remains characterized by kneejerk reaction to the newest data … only to fade and fall victim to newer data.
We may have mentioned this once or twice in Currency Currents prior to today (okay, maybe three times), but China could be the next shoe to drop, or the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or the major economy that goes belly-up after getting drunk on loans, stimulus and lofty investor expectations.
Yes, China’s stock market has had a rough week. And it seems it’s because there’s finally some legitimate concern that the loans and stimulus that have juiced China’s “recovery potential” may not have been the answer everyone thought it was; or maybe they need more answers.
The lending craze from the first half is being put on hold, whether by force or by choice, and the government can only do so much more to keep the economy achieving its potential. And according to a recent contribution on the Financial Times’ Alphaville blog, the government’s growth-stimulating efforts are being scaled back:

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And according to those same sources, the Ministry of Finance in China is becoming concerned with achieving its revenue targets, and strongly encouraging local governments to achieve theirs as well. The problem is that it could really make things tough on Chinese corporations who have to turn around and use their recently borrowed or stimulus-ed money to pay taxes. Makes it tougher for sufficient money to make it into the real economy and promote sustainable growth, doesn’t it?

Now, the worry among holders of Chinese stocks hasn’t exactly translated perfectly to overall risk appetite, as US stocks put in a relatively strong showing yesterday despite Asia’s disappointing session. Who knows, maybe we’re putting too much weight on China. I guess will have to wait till the important money gets back from the beach before we find out if we’re right about China et al.

John Ross Crooks III
Black Swan Capital LLC


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