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Thursday April 12, 2007 - 10:31:41 GMT
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Black Swan Currency Currents

Thursday 12 April 2007

Key News
• The National Association of Realtors, which has long proclaimed that U.S. home prices haven't declined on a nationwide basis since the Great Depression, now says they are likely to do just that this year. (WSJ)
• Japan's Producer-Price Inflation Accelerated in March on Higher Oil Costs (Bloomberg)

• Key Reports Due (WSJ):
8:30a.m. Initial Jobless Claims. Expected: -1K. Previous: +11K.
8:30a.m. March Import Prices. Expected: +0.8%. Previous: +0.2%.
10:00a.m. DJ-BTMU Business Barometer For Mar 10. Previous: +0.4%.
N/A Chain Store Sales.

“From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”

- Sir Winston Churchill

FX Trading – A Whole Lotta Nothing Goin’ On

We got a whole slew of statements yesterday from the International Monetary Fund’s semi-annual World Economic Outlook. In a nutshell ...

* The United States is forecast to grow at a slightly slower pace than originally anticipated buy the Fund.

* Growth in the Euro Zone is set to outpace U.S. growth this year (2.3% vs. 2.2%).

* Further interest rate hikes will likely be necessary while a few more by the ECB should do the trick.

* Japan is expected to maintain their current rate of growth but faster growth wouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

* The IMF expects the global economy will ride out a U.S.-slowdown and maintains their forecast for global growth of 4.9%.

Plus ...

We got the minutes from March’s FOMC report. After post-meeting comments removed rhetoric that suggested the Fed’s bias toward tightening interest rates had been removed, the minutes may have tossed that bias right back into the mix.

In fact, yesterday was felt to have more clearly revealed the Fed’s hand -- that they’re concerned by BOTH the potential for slower growth AND the uncertainty that inflation will indeed moderate BUT they are most uneasy that rising prices may fail to stabilize as originally projected.

So ...

In the early going the dollar traded calmly and mostly higher. But once the FOMC minutes were reported the greenback put in sharp gains against most of the majors before settling down and giving back a few points.

We’re starting to get strangely accustomed with all of the Fed’s IFs, ANDs, and BUTs. The markets have been trading as if the Fed comments come as a surprise. Yet there seems to be no influential difference from our vantage point: interest rates in the U.S. are on hold for the foreseeable future.

It is of our view that developments with the U.S. economy will make the biggest difference in monetary policy. Even in the wake of an apparently strong jobs report last week, the jury is still out on the downside remaining in the housing market and its ultimate impact on employment.

For now the currencies are back in the zone. Surging global equity markets have led to larger carry trade bets. High-yielders are getting the bid. Thus, the interest rate differentials are the story right now. We’re keeping our eyes open for the risk-reduction play should a new wave of central bank tightening grab hold of global credit.

Recall that the IMF anticipates further interest rate hikes out of the U.K. and at least another from the ECB. Mr. Trichet and his ECB gang report on interest rates tomorrow. Consensus is calling for a pause but forward-looking comments are expected to signal increases.

John Ross Crooks III
Black Swan Capital


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