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Wednesday January 11, 2006 - 13:19:56 GMT
Black Swan Capital -

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Is the dollar done? Not yet, we think...


“Rumour is not always wrong.”
FX Trading

3-Month Money Market Rates
Source: The Economist 7 Jan 2006

Latest Year Ago Change % Change

Australia 5.64 5.44 0.20 3.7%
Britain 4.58 4.81 -0.23 -4.8%
US 4.22 2.52 1.70 67.5%
Canada 3.39 2.47 0.92 37.2%
Euro 2.49 2.15 0.34 15.8%
Switzerland 1.02 0.73 0.29 39.7%
Japan 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.0%

The question still remains? Will the rising yield differential favoring the dollar, evidenced by the 67.5% increase in US short-term rates compared to a year ago (highlighted in yellow above), fade as fast as many now anticipate? Or maybe a better question is: Given the relative economic performance of the US economy now, AND difference in yield between the $ and euro now, is it enough to continue to entice real money flow into the buck?

Housing is the driver for a lower dollar as it will crater the US economy, so goes the gloom and doom view. Well, the housing crater view makes for great press…but there are other views:

Richard Berner at Morgan Stanley:

“To be sure, the outlook for housing activity and home prices is deteriorating: Measures of housing affordability stand at 14-year lows thanks to the runup in prices, and pent-up demand has ebbed. Favorable demographic trends are starting to fade: The immigration boom has cooled since 9/11, and the growth in households of prime home-buying age has slowed. Home sales are turning down from nosebleed levels and inventories of unsold homes have risen to 9-year highs. These same factors, together with valuations that appear frothy in many markets, augur a significant deceleration in home prices. But we think housing activity will decline gradually and home prices will decelerate without crippling the consumer, and the squeeze on discretionary spending power from resets on adjustable rate mortgages awaits is not expected until late 2007 or 2008. In our view, it would take soaring interest rates or declining employment to produce a bust (see “Housing Wealth and Consumer Spending” and “Home Sweet Home,” Global Economic Forum, October 7, 2005 and December 15, 2005).”

Bank Credit Analyst:

The yield catch-up argument ultimately seems to be resting squarely on Mr. US Consumer, and of course the new-found optimism within the Euro economy. Real or not that’s what’s in the market place. Many of the big boys are targeting 1.25 EURUSD on this move:

But first, EURUSD needs to get through 1.22. And a lot is riding on Euro optimism. We received this “reality check” on Europe from a very astute friend of ours yesterday who resides in France—here is the exchange…

DL:Bloomberg, Jan 9

* LEAD: eurozone retail sales increased "the most in two years."
* Later: this index has been calculated...for only two years.

* LEAD paragraph: "a seasonally adjusted index...rose"
* End of same paragraph: "sales fell from the year earlier for the 20th month.

P.S. the number of unemployed in Germany ROSE last is only
the month-to-month seasonal adjustments that show a decline.

BSC: Wow! Statistics lie and...

DL: Actually, it is the reporter who is lying by not emphasizing that there are two time series -- intra-year seasonally adjusted, and year-over-year -- and that in this case they provide divergent views.

The Bloomberg reporters put it all in the article...they can claim "we did tell you"...but they carefully wrote the headline and the lead paragraphs to give an unambiguous interpretation to the data.

There's a notion I've been working on, and if I ever write it up I'll tell you....that people in business serve their constituency, and sometimes that constituency has interests and opinions that trump their interest in profits.

Is it an accident that virtually all EU-based news sources write completely one-sided articles about the US$/Euro? Over the past few years, I have seen article after article in the FT about fx rates, each article quoting multiple traders, pf managers, economists....and ALL the people quoted are bullish on the euro. Always.


Euro rallies from here? Maybe! But an end to the longer-term move in the dollar that began on Jan.1 2005? With what we know now, we say no!

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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