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Tuesday September 4, 2007 - 09:50:59 GMT
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Wanna pick a fight? Just say, “I love the dollar!”

Key News
The yen rose against the 16 most- active currencies on speculation European banks will disclose more losses related to subprime mortgages, prompting traders to sell higher-yielding assets funded by loans in Japan.  (Bloomberg)



Australia's central bank on Tuesday provided banks with more cash than expected to try to combat a sharp rise in bank bill rates as the sector felt the impact of the global credit squeeze. (Reuters)

Key Reports Due (WSJ):
10:00a.m. July Construction Spending. Previous: -0.3%.
10:00a.m. August ISM Manufacturing Business Index. Previous: 53.8.
5:00p.m. ABC/Wash Post Consumer Conf. Previous: -19.


“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

   Aldous Huxley

FX Trading – Wanna pick a fight?  Just say, “I love the dollar!”

Sometimes we like to talk good about the dollar, just because everyone is talking bad about it.  I guess it’s in our nature to react like that i.e. if everyone knows the story, what’s the point in listening; it’s probably already in the price we think.  Why not look for another story instead is our thought.  At least that keeps it interesting! 

We have argued for many months, and yes even before it morphed, that subprime is a global affair.  To attach all collateral damage to US shores we think is a mistake.  Most know that by now.  But though most know that, they continue to believe the US dollar will take all the hits.  Right they may be; but a more interesting story for us is the potential tanking of the euro and pound. 

Why is this more interesting?  Well, besides wanting “to pick a fight,” as likely one our own William Wallace once said, it’s because of expectations. 

Continental Europe’s hit from subprime may be much less than in the US, granted.  But because expectations for rate hikes and continued growth momentum (growth decoupling from Uncle Sam) still seem so high, it may be time for a rethink.   

This is from The Economist magazine [our emphasis]:

“That risk aversion may find surprising victims. In previous financial wobbles, emerging markets often suffered most. This time rich countries, particularly in continental Europe, where some banks have been caught out by the subprime mess, may be more worried. Thanks to fat foreign-exchange reserves and current-account surpluses, many emerging economies are well placed to withstand an exodus of investors.

In Europe's rich economies, in contrast, subprime losses and investor nervousness may force banks to tighten their belts, denting the nascent growth in domestic spending. Germany's Ifo index of business sentiment fell for a third month in August, and consumer confidence has also declined. The European Central Bank, which before the crunch had signalled that it would raise interest rates on September 6th, seems to be waiting to see how the dust settles. This week Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB's head, stressed that the bank was not “pre-committed” to an increase.

“Even if direct financial contagion is contained, America's subprime crisis could spawn psychological contagion, particularly a reassessment of house prices. Although the scale of reckless lending to risky borrowers was bigger in America than anywhere else, house-price inflation has been more extreme elsewhere. Countries such as Britain and Spain are particularly vulnerable to a house-price bust.”

The second major reason for us feeling the dollar is due for a bounce is because the newsletter crowd is still so darn dollar bearish.  As much as we love them, we respect their innate ability to be strident at just the wrong time.

The third major reason is that Japan proved back in the late nineties, when it had a major credit crunch and debt implosion, a country’s currency can rally at the same time.  Back then, the Bank of Japan was on its way to its zero interest rate policy.  Japanese economic growth was on its way to subterranean levels.  Thus, growth and yield, the two primary drivers of currencies over time, were both negative for Japan relative to the competition.  Sound familiar? 

And yet, once again, the currency market defied the expectations of the crowd.  We think it had something to do with repatriation among the major Japanese institutions—needing to reduce exposure, running back into Japanese government bonds.  Does any of that sound familiar?

  USDJPY rocks when the economy enters recession back in 1990…hmmm!


Anyway, it’s just something to think about.  Beats the usual pabulum! 

Jack Crooks


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