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Wednesday May 18, 2005 - 10:59:12 GMT
Black Swan Capital - www.blackswantrading.com

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Buy yuan--what an easy game!

Quotable

“In pretending of course to explain the principles of human nature, we in effect propose a compleat system of sciences, built on a foundation almost entirely new, and the only one upon which they can stand with any security.”

David Hume

FX Trading

The US Treasury expects China to revalue its currency within six months. This so-called “deadline” will probably be good for another “umpteen” billion of hot money speculation flowing into China.

Easy money it is. Simply place some cash on deposit in a Hong Kong or Chinese bank (or retail account in the US, simulating a yuan deposit, paying zilch interest but promising big capital gains). Or better yet, buy some Chinese real estate so you can get the double whammy of soaring real estate prices and the revaluation at the same! Wow! Doesn’t get much better than that! Man, this stuff is easy!

Problem is it is rarely that easy in financial markets. If it were, there might be more of us basking on the beach instead of peering into screens for the better part of the day.

Is this a classic setup of buy the rumor and sell the news? We say yes! Though we know not when.

Sooner or later, we think, the Chinese either “finally” tell the US: a) they will not revalue, b) revalue when they damn well please, c) simply allow the band to widen slightly for the yuan and call it a revaluation, or d) decide to use an index basket for “revaluation” purposes.

The US dollar is trending higher (Do you think the politicos know that?). And because the yuan is fixed to the dollar, the Chinese currency is revaluing against the other major currencies (of course not against the buck). Maybe the dollar is trending higher for good reasons. If so, what if the yuan abandons the dollar peg and, I know this next part of the sentence will come as a shock to you dollar haters out, but what if, the dollar continues to rally even after the much vaunted yuan heads off to an index basket?

Now wouldn’t that just be perfect! China chooses multiple choice answer “d” from above, and its currency falls in value relative to Uncle Sam’s greenback. The law of unintended consequences has a special way of kicking in when politicians decide its time to “really help.”

So this little tale has two potential morals:

1) Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

2) The market is very good at proving time and again that this stuff may look easy—but it rarely is.


Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital

 

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