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Wednesday July 25, 2007 - 11:03:26 GMT
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Dead Dollar Bounce

Key News
Australia's consumer prices surged more than expected in the second quarter, sending the nation's currency to an 18-year high on speculation the central bank will increase interest rates next month. (Bloomberg)
New Zealand's central bank will raise its benchmark interest rate to a record 8.25 percent tomorrow, economists predict, amid signs three increases earlier this year failed to curb inflation. (Bloomberg)
• “The tide appears to be going out for levered equity financiers and in for the passive owl money managers of the debt market,” Bill Gross, chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, wrote yesterday in his monthly commentary on Pimco's Web site. The shift ``promises to have severe ramifications for those caught in its wake.'' (Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will travel to China at the end of this week, where he plans to discuss trade and currency issues, among other economic topics. (WSJ)
China will curb exports of cheap labor-intensive products to force manufacturers into making higher-quality goods, in a move to narrow the world's largest trade surplus and reduce environmental damage. (Bloomberg)

Key Reports
7:00a.m. MBA Mortgage Refinancing Index. Expected: -1.5%. Previous: +4.9%%.
10:00a.m. June Existing Home Sales. Previous: -0.3%.
2:00p.m. Beige Book.


"It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree."

Charles Baudelaire

FX Trading – Dead dollar bounce?

Yesterday in Currency Currents we talked a bit about yin and yang. Today we get wee taste.

The dollar is sharply higher against the Europeans this morning. This comes one day after it looked once again certain the buck was bound for oblivion as the US $ Index pierced the “important” 80-level. We had a sense something was due. For I’m here in beautiful Vancouver Canada this week to speak at an investment conference on Friday—everyone, and I mean everyone, is universally bearish on the buck. Amongst this crowd of attendees and investment “gurus” alike, especially the “gurus”, the dollar can ONLY go one way from here---down!

Dollar Index Chart

And of course, one of the new rationales to justify the dollar trend of late is this canard: A tumbling dollar is “really very good” for the US economy. Yeah, sure it is! Can you imagine how much better off the average US citizen would be if the dollar fell to something like 40 on the US dollar index? Heck, in a world where Mr. US Consumer imports more goods than he ever did in the past, imagine if his global purchasing power was cut in half. That would be just dandy wouldn’t it! Where do they come up with this nonsense?

Stocks got whacked yesterday, as the dollar dove. SPU is now testing its uptrend line going back to mid February. Maybe Mr. Market isn’t as sanguine about the prospects for banana republic-like paper as some economists’ seem to be.

S&P 500 Futures Chart

There comes a point, in a currency crisis, when a country can face a “triple-whammy” threat. That’s defined as a run on all asset classes—currency, stocks, and bonds. That’s not a pretty picture. We’re not implying we are anywhere near there yet—or that we will get there. We are only making the point that the currency is not simply an input item is some econometric model.

A currency is ultimately a reflection of confidence in a country’s prospects and status in the world financial system, especially in a so-called “free-floating” world i.e. where the major currencies trade in competition based on supply and demand. If a falling currency is a magic bullet for improving one’s financial picture, then Zimbabwe should soon leap to its rightful place among the world’s global economic elite.

………..Sneaking up in the background we have the Japanese yen. Interesting how the yen is rising along with the Comdols, or HY*Greed currencies, of late. Until very recently the yen and Aussie were on different paths. We often surmised subrpime submergence is not just a US problem. This morning we noticed this little tidbit from Bloomberg as a rationale for the sell-off in Aussie stocks:

“Australian stocks fell, with the key stock benchmark posting its biggest loss in four weeks. U.S.- linked equities such as James Hardie Industries NV and lenders including National Australia Bank Ltd. dropped after U.S. shares slumped on concern a housing crisis there is spreading.”

If the subprime mess isn’t contain locally, and maybe even if it is, one has to believe there are plenty of young guns among a very herd-like hedge fund field who are stuck in the same trade i.e. carry bunch of what once appeared Triple-A rated stuff that’s now going nuclear. If so, de-leveraging quietly in the background is the order of the day. That’s what the yen may be telling us. A while back, we dubbed the yen as the global risk temperature gauge. And the temperature is definitely rising.


Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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