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Thursday January 4, 2007 - 13:46:54 GMT
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Dollar surge warranted?

Key News
• Key Reports (WSJ):
7:30a.m. Dec Challenger Layoffs. Previous: +11%.
8:30a.m. Initial Jobless Claims. For Dec 30 Wk. Expected: -1K. Previous: +1K.
10:00a.m. Nov Pending Home Sales. Previous: -1.7%.
10:00a.m. Nov Factory Orders. Previous: -4.7%.
10:00a.m. Dec ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Index. Expected: 57.5. Previous: 58.9.
10:00a.m. DJ-BTMU Business Barometer.For Dec 23 Wk. Previous: -0.1%.
4:30p.m. Money Supply.


"Show me what you got for a pork chop. She threw it to me like I was a short-stop."

- Anonymous Hip-Hop Artist

FX Trading --

The U.S. dollar rallied hard in the early going yesterday on European economic reports and then again after key U.S. economic reports. But was the dollar surge really warranted?

The Eurozone Purchasing Managers’ Index crept to a 9-month low of 56.5 last month and came up well shy of consensus estimates that forecast an uptick to 56.8. U.K. PMI also touched a 9-month low. The dollar charged ahead on these tasty morsels as though ECB Governor Trichet promised rate cuts and Fed Chairman Bernanke rate hikes at their respective upcoming meetings. Haha. Fat chance!

Europe’s carrying plenty of economic momentum into 2007. Some may expect slower growth in the Eurozone is inevitable in light of the euro’s noteworthy appreciation against the dollar last year. After all, Europe’s exports to the U.S. now cost more! Right?

But hasn’t this been the case ever since the euro began its assault on the greenback in 2001? The European Union has been able to maintain a steady +/-2% GDP over that time. The point is, it may be a little too soon to get down on the euro and expect a shift in ECB monetary policy.

The other side of the coin isn’t any easier to call. We’ve been watching U.S. economic developments from the housing-has-further-to-fall vantage point. Then boom! Just like that the ISM manufacturing index surprises to the upside, dollar bulls come crawling out of the woodwork, and all of a sudden that’s got us rethinking our perspective.

But we found solace in reports that showed further decreases in construction spending and that the U.S. private sector cut 40,000 jobs in December. Each an indication the real estate market sickness has begun to spread. We find it hard to believe the dollar is out of the woods just yet.

Note though how Fedspeak permeated the U.S. markets yesterday afternoon when the December FOMC minutes were released. As was to be expected the Fed reiterated their inflation outlook (should the need arise they won’t hesitate to take action) as they have so precisely in the past. But accompanying the typical semi-hawkish rhetoric was a more gloomy analysis of economic growth -- hinged largely on housing. While a noticeable difference from the October minutes, this tidbit of hindsight didn’t have much bearing in the wake of the “new” news.

Maybe because it’s the economic outlook the Fed should be concerned with. Any more signs of an economic recovery in the face of sustained inflation could mean we see rates hiked before they’re cut. That bodes well for the dollar.

Until then we stick with a U.S. slowdown scenario and watch for ways we might be wrong.

That’s all for now.

John Ross Crooks III
Black Swan Capital

Note: John Ross is now sharing his thoughts in Currency Currents every Thursday for Black Swan Capital. I’m trying to get him to take over at least Monday thru Thursday, so I can get in more nap time, but he mentioned something about getting paid more to do that...oh well…anyway, we are always interested in hearing your feedback on our comments.

Black Swan wishes you a prosperous trading New Year. It’s already starting off with a bang!

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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