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Whether you need to pay a deposit on your holiday accommodation, or even if you just need to transfer Euros to pay your overseas household expenses or monthly bills, you still need to think about how you will make the payments. International Currency Exchange rates alter daily, high street banks do not necessarily offer the best deal and this can have an enormous impact on the amount you will eventually pay.

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Nation - Google News
Nation - Google News
Google News

UK 'must do more' to tackle aid corruption - BBC News
30 Oct 2014 at 7:26pm

BBC News

UK 'must do more' to tackle aid corruption
BBC News
The UK government is not doing enough to tackle "petty corruption" in countries to which it gives aid, a report by a scrutiny body says. The Department for International Development "has little understanding of what is and is not working" in its anti-corruption ...
British aid money is funding corruption oversees, damning new report findsTelegraph.co.uk
DfID not doing enough to protect poor from corruption, says aid watchdogThe Guardian
The News Matrix: Friday 31 October 2014The Independent
Daily Mail -The Times (subscription)
all 6 news articles »

Nick Clegg blasts 'facile and totally misplaced' Tory drugs policy in heated ...
30 Oct 2014 at 6:41pm

Telegraph.co.uk

Nick Clegg blasts 'facile and totally misplaced' Tory drugs policy in heated new ...
Telegraph.co.uk
Nick Clegg has attacked the Conservatives' "facile" and "frightened" approach to drugs as a heated new Coalition row dramatically emerged over the implications of a controversial Home Office report. The Deputy Prime Minister said the Tories had a "totally ...
Nick Clegg aide tried to spin drug reportDaily Mail
'Our drug laws are working' Cameron hits out at calls for reformExpress.co.uk
Tories swept drugs report under carpet, say Lib DemsIrish Examiner
BBC News -The Independent -Belfast Telegraph
all 134 news articles »

Ed Miliband could lose 37 MPs in swing to SNP, poll finds - Daily Mail
30 Oct 2014 at 6:29pm

Daily Mail

Ed Miliband could lose 37 MPs in swing to SNP, poll finds
Daily Mail
Ed Miliband hopes of seizing power next year were rocked last night by a poll suggesting Labour faces a wipeout in Scotland. Ipsos Mori found that 52 per cent of Scots would vote for the SNP if there was a Westminster election tomorrow, compared with just ...
Anas Sarwar quits as deputy leader of Scottish LabourThe Guardian
Miliband rallies Scottish troopsBelfast Telegraph
Labour faces 'big challenge' in Scotland, says MilibandBBC News
City Talk 105.9
all 441 news articles »

One missing in firework plant blaze - Belfast Telegraph
30 Oct 2014 at 6:36pm

Belfast Telegraph

One missing in firework plant blaze
Belfast Telegraph
One person is unaccounted for after a large blaze broke out at a fireworks factory, police said tonight. Also in this Section. Woolf role under renewed scrutiny · NHS staff in fresh strike over pay · Aid ship arrives for Ebola mission · Nato notes spike in Russian ...
One person missing in large blaze at fireworks factoryThe Times (subscription)
Stafford fireworks explosion: Four hurt in blast at factoryMirror.co.uk
One missing and at least five people injured after blaze breaks out at fireworks ...Scottish Daily Record
ITV News
all 105 news articles »

Libyan Abdul Hakim Belhaj wins right to sue UK government over rendition - Da...
30 Oct 2014 at 5:25pm

Daily Mail

Libyan Abdul Hakim Belhaj wins right to sue UK government over rendition
Daily Mail
British courts will hear the case of a Libyan politician who says the UK government helped kidnap him and his wife and deliver them into the clutches of Colonel Gaddafi. Abdul Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar want a declaration of illegality and ...
Libyan dissident Abdul Hakim Belhaj can sue over claims of MI6 torture and ...The Independent
Libyan rebel free to sue UK over 'torture'Yahoo News UK
UK government can be sued over rendition claims, judges ruleBBC News
Financial Times -Sky News -shropshirestar.com
all 166 news articles »

Miliband pledges London-style bus service across England - BBC News
30 Oct 2014 at 7:05pm

BBC News

Miliband pledges London-style bus service across England
BBC News
Ed Miliband will promise later that a Labour government would grant cities and regions greater powers to improve bus services across England. The Labour leader will say cities and counties should be able to set bus fares and routes and integrate them with ...
Ed Miliband pledges to end rip-off bus services as part of £30bn devolution dealMirror.co.uk
Miliband's £30bn devolution pitch to give counties 'self-rule'Western Morning News
Miliband in English devolution vowBuxton Advertiser
The Northern Echo -Yorkshire Post
all 11 news articles »

Labour must have courage on immigration - Byrne - BBC News
30 Oct 2014 at 2:12pm

BBC News

Labour must have courage on immigration - Byrne
BBC News
Labour must have the "courage" to make talking about immigration policy a priority, Liam Byrne has said. The former Home Office minister said Labour must not be "afraid" of the argument and had a moral responsibility to talk about immigration reform. He also ...
Ukip Voters Are 'Darkly Pessimistic' About Their Lives, Says Shadow Minister ...Huffington Post UK
Ukip targets, mapped: Are you one of the people whose votes Nigel Farage ...CITY A.M.
Letters: Danger of letting Ukip have a say in governmentThe Independent
Belfast Telegraph -Express.co.uk
all 54 news articles »

Kent Poppy Appeal 2014 launched at Bluewater shopping centre at Greenhithe - ...
30 Oct 2014 at 7:10pm

WalesOnline

Kent Poppy Appeal 2014 launched at Bluewater shopping centre at Greenhithe
Kent Online
In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, Bluewater is supporting the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal campaign with a two-week mall takeover. Commemorations started on Saturday night with a dramatic ...
Chelsea Pensioners taking part in Poppy Day London 'refused sit-down at ...Daily Mail
Cost of peace highlighted at Alberta legislature poppy ceremonyEdmonton Sun
Poppy a powerful remembrance symbolSimcoe Reformer
Lifestyles Publications -Basingstoke Gazette -Williams Lake Tribune
all 74 news articles »

Bishop quits his post over child sex abuse report that accused him of coverin...
30 Oct 2014 at 7:29pm

The Guardian

Bishop quits his post over child sex abuse report that accused him of covering up ...
Daily Mail
A leading Church of England prelate quit his post as a bishop yesterday, a week after being accused of covering up for a paedophile priest. Former Archbishop of York Lord Hope surrendered his position as a bishop in the Diocese of Bradford after a judge ...
Ex-archbishop of York quits church position over report into alleged abuseThe Guardian
Welby: survivors of abuse come firstChurch Times
Former Archbishop of York ends ministry over Waddington scandalThe Australian
The Independent -Bradford Telegraph and Argus -Yorkshire Post
all 12 news articles »

Wales on the bus! Prince Harry joins stars in London to raise £1m for Poppy ....
30 Oct 2014 at 6:07pm

Daily Star

Wales on the bus! Prince Harry joins stars in London to raise £1m for Poppy ...
Daily Star
PROUD Prince Harry revved up the Poppy Appeal yesterday by joining stars on a vintage London bus parade. By Paul Robins / Published 31st October 2014. SEA OF RED: The Tower of London's moat has been filled with poppies to support the appeal [TIM ...
Prince Harry Rides Red Double-Decker Bus in London for Poppy Day?See the ...E! Online
Prince Harry hops aboard London bus with stars for Poppy Day appealTHE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY
Queen of EastEnders Barbara Windsor rides Poppy Day bus into Buckingham ...Mirror.co.uk
Daily Mail -Sky News
all 61 news articles »

 
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Business News
Business News continually updated from thousands of sources around the net.


SodaStream To Shut West Bank Plant
30 Oct 2014 at 5:03am

Israeli drinks maker SodaStream has announced it is shutting its controversial factory in the occupied West Bank after activists launched a campaign to boycott the company. The firm said it would relocate the plant to a facility to Lehavim in Israel's southern Negev region by the end of 2015.


Calls for $100-a-Barrel Oil Show Many Betting on Rebound: Energy
30 Oct 2014 at 1:19am

For all the noise about oil's collapse, the market is saying not that much has really changed: Higher prices will be back soon enough because the current slowdown in demand growth will prove fleeting. While Brent crude for next month delivery has fallen 25 percent since June to $86.03 a barrel yesterday, the price for 2020 contracts was down less than one-fourth that to $91.53.



Sennheiser Encourages Users To Petition FCC In Light Of Impending UHF Spectru...
29 Oct 2014 at 9:36pm

Sennheiser , which continues to file comments with the Federal Communications Commission in light of the pending spectrum auction now scheduled to take place in early 2016, recently filed a Petition For Reconsideration with the FCC on its Incentive Auction Ruling. The company encourages microphone owners and customers to write to the FCC in support of the Petition for Reconsideration before the initial reply deadline of November 12, 2014, and is offering to assist with any filing or procedural requirements.


51 countries agree to work together to fight tax cheats
29 Oct 2014 at 9:36pm

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary general Angel Gurria, right, talks to British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, centre, and Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos, left, prior to a ceremony to sign the tax pact. Finance ministers and tax chiefs from 51 countries signed an agreement on Wednesday to automatically swap tax information beginning in 2017.



The FTC is suing AT&T for throttling customers with unlimited data
29 Oct 2014 at 5:44pm

Bald-faced attempts by wireless carriers to move customers off unlimited data plans are nothing new, but apparently the Federal Trade Commission isn't taking them lying down. This afternoon, the department announced that it's suing AT&T for throttling subscribers in an "unfair or deceptive manner."



Arena Skimps on Data Disclosure From Weight-Loss Combo Study
29 Oct 2014 at 1:47pm

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Facebook shares down 6% despite booming ad revenue
29 Oct 2014 at 9:52am

Facebook grew its advertising revenue by 64 per cent in the third quarter, helped by a boost in mobile ads that are becoming an increasingly large chunk of the social networking giant's overall advertising business. The steady increase indicates that Facebook has succeeded in steering advertisers to its mobile platform at a time when most of its users are using Facebook on phones and tablets.



Amazon Puts Fire Behind It With Rooftop Buy, Cloud Dominance
29 Oct 2014 at 5:58am

Indeed, Alibaba stock is on a tear, piercing the $100-a-share barrier Tuesday morning. By contrast, TheStreet has downgraded Amazon shares to a "sell" with a rating of D+.



Showers and a cool down on Wednesday; Bermuda before and after Hurricane Gonzalo
29 Oct 2014 at 2:12am

Latest mid-Atlantic infrared satellite shows movement of clouds over past two hours. Refresh page to update.


Novartis Profit Beats Estimates as New Drugs Offset Diovan
28 Oct 2014 at 10:23pm

Novartis AG, the world's biggest drugmaker by sales, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates as revenue growth in new drugs more than offset sales lost to generic competition. Earnings excluding some items increased 9 percent to $3.35 billion, or $1.37 a share, from $3.06 billion, or $1.24, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said in a statement today.



FCC to Vote on Treating Internet TV Like Cable
28 Oct 2014 at 6:28pm

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission in coming weeks will vote on whether Internet TV should have the same access to television programming as cable and satellite TV providers, which could shake up competition in the video industry. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday said he has asked his fellow commissioners to vote on a proposal that would help Internet TV services, such as ones being developed by Dish Network Corp, Sony Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, to compete with traditional pay-TV for digital rights to major network programming.



FCC: Mobile Carriers Posted Consumer Data
28 Oct 2014 at 2:25pm

Two phone companies -- TerraCom Inc. and YourTel America Inc. -- unwittingly posted the Social Security numbers, driver's licenses and other sensitive of up to 300,000 clients to the Internet, an investigation found, and federal regulators said Friday they plan to fine the companies. As consumer data breaches go, the case -- and its $10 million fine -- is relatively small.



Cummins (CMI) Stock Soars After Topping Third Quarter Earnings Expectations
28 Oct 2014 at 2:25pm

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Kissimmee rehab owner pleads guilty to Medicare fraud
28 Oct 2014 at 2:25pm

The former owner of a Kissimmee rehab clinic has pleaded guilty to $2.5 million in conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud and money laundering. Laura Leyva, 45, of Miami Lakes, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court on Monday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.


Having Babies New Sex-Ed Goal as Danish Fertility Rates Drop
28 Oct 2014 at 10:29am

Sex education in Denmark is about to shift focus after fertility rates dropped to the lowest in almost three decades. After years of teaching kids how to use contraceptives, Sex and Society, the Nordic country's biggest provider of sex education materials for schools, has changed its curriculum to encourage having babies under the rubric: "This is how you have children!" Infertility is considered "an epidemic" in Denmark, said Bjarne Christensen, secretary general of the Copenhagen-based organization.


 
BBC News - Business
BBC News - Business
The latest stories from the Business section of the BBC News web site.


Russia and Ukraine agree gas deal
30 Oct 2014 at 7:08pm
Russia will resume gas deliveries to Ukraine this winter in a deal brokered by the European Union, which will also safeguard supplies to EU countries.

Housing market 'losing momentum'
30 Oct 2014 at 2:24am
The UK housing market is showing signs of slowing down, the Nationwide says, with the annual rate of price growth slowing to 9% in October.

US posts better-than-expected growth
30 Oct 2014 at 8:27am
The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter, a better figure than economists were expecting.

Starbucks sales disappoint investors
30 Oct 2014 at 5:33pm
Starbucks' shares fall as investors express disappointment at the company's latest quarterly sales figures.

Wal-Mart to close 30 stores in Japan
30 Oct 2014 at 6:48pm
The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is closing 30 stores in Japan to improve profitability, the company says.

Motorway fuel '£8 a tank dearer'
30 Oct 2014 at 6:05am
Filling up at a motorway service station can cost the average motorist an extra £8 a tank compared with elsewhere, the RAC says.

Royal Mint bid to woo gold investors
30 Oct 2014 at 12:18pm
The Royal Mint announces the sale of a series of new, smaller, gold coins in a bid to encourage more people to invest in bullion.

Apple chief: 'I'm proud to be gay'
30 Oct 2014 at 10:24am
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has publicly acknowledged his sexuality, saying he wants to try to help people struggling with their identity.

Lenovo completes Motorola takeover
30 Oct 2014 at 6:34am
Lenovo completes a $2.9bn takeover of Google's Motorola handset division, which it says makes it the third biggest smartphone maker.

Mining shares weigh on FTSE 100
30 Oct 2014 at 11:14am
The FTSE 100 recovers from early losses, despite falling mining shares.

Big firms 'must condemn GamerGate'
29 Oct 2014 at 5:59pm
Games publishers must "stand-up and condemn" the movement referred to as "GamerGate", says a developer forced to leave her home due to threats.

Australia bank plans UK asset sale
29 Oct 2014 at 8:15pm
National Australia Bank is considering floating its Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking operations on the stock market as part of an exit from the UK.

German unemployment in surprise fall
30 Oct 2014 at 9:16am
The number of people unemployed in Germany fell this month, confounding predictions of a slight rise.

Barclays sets aside £500m in probe
30 Oct 2014 at 4:04am
Barclays reports profits of £3.72bn for the first nine months of the year as it sets aside £500m relating to "investigations" into foreign exchange trading.

Fiat Chrysler to spin off Ferrari
29 Oct 2014 at 12:04pm
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spin off Ferrari and sell a 10% stake in the luxury carmaker on the stock market.
 
Financial services company news - FT.com
Financial services company news - FT.com

City Insider: Andy Haldane, goes boldly on?.?.?.
30 Oct 2014 at 6:09pm
Andy Haldane, Mo Ibrahim, Howard Shore, Lenny Feder and ex-PM of France François Fillon
Shadow banking nears pre-crisis peak
30 Oct 2014 at 1:23pm
FSB data put sector?s assets at more than $75tn
Blow to asset managers in ETF arena
30 Oct 2014 at 1:03pm
SEC denies applications for actively managed exchange-traded funds
Cargill expands into base metals
30 Oct 2014 at 12:26pm
Michael Frawley joins from Jefferies to start a team in New York
Visa/MasterCard: growth is priceless
30 Oct 2014 at 11:47am
The future looks bright for Visa and MasterCard
Law firm sues RP Martin over Libor bill
30 Oct 2014 at 11:35am
Broker allegedly failed to settle investigation fees
StanChart faces US sanctions probe
30 Oct 2014 at 11:01am
US investigates whether transactions were concealed
CME Group reports big switch to futures
30 Oct 2014 at 10:52am
Traders used instead of OTC interest rate swaps when volatility hit
China to let foreign groups clear payments
30 Oct 2014 at 6:40am
Policy shift opens door for Visa, MasterCard
Legal & General cuts tracker fees
30 Oct 2014 at 2:47am
Charge for mainstream index tracking products down to 0.1%
Malaysia fund readies $3bn power asset IPO
29 Oct 2014 at 10:48pm
Plan for listing comes amid scrutiny of the Malaysian government fund
Visa launches $5bn share buyback
29 Oct 2014 at 4:59pm
Payment network beats profit estimates in fourth quarter
American Realty finds ?intentional? errors
29 Oct 2014 at 1:28pm
CFO resigns as group says financial metric was overstated
Pimco manager returns now Gross has left
29 Oct 2014 at 11:31am
Jeremie Banet goes back to fund manager after period selling food from a truck
Abu Dhabi lures Singapore Exchange chief
29 Oct 2014 at 10:05am
ADGM?s launch is part of UAE capital?s plan to diversify economy away from oil and gas
 
Business News - Markets reports and financial news from Sky
Business News - Markets reports and financial news from Sky
Sky business news provides up to the minute reports on markets, share prices and the world economy, alongside expert business commentary.


Barclays Sets Aside £500m Over For-Ex Probe
30 Oct 2014 at 3:35am
Further costs for the bank's mistakes of its past, including the PPI scandal, are confirmed in a results statement.

RBS Leans Towards Naming EY As New Auditor
30 Oct 2014 at 2:47pm
The state-backed bank is close to severing a 14-year audit tie with Fred Goodwin's former employer, Sky News learns.

RAC Demands Motorway Petrol Price Caps
30 Oct 2014 at 9:02am
The motoring group says service station costs are a modern form of highway robbery and actually a danger for drivers.

Apple Boss: I'm Gay And I Want To Inspire People
30 Oct 2014 at 12:52pm
One of the most powerful men in tech says he wants his success to inspire others but admits he has now given up some privacy.

US Growth Figures Pare Stock Market Losses
30 Oct 2014 at 7:37am
Jitters remain as investors get to grips with life after the Fed's QE stimulus and consider the evidence of world recovery.

Two Banks Face Sale As Owner Plots UK Exit
30 Oct 2014 at 3:30am
The ownership of the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks is set to change hands as National Australia Bank wants out of the UK.

Ex-Tesco Boss Leahy Eyes MetaPack Share Sale
30 Oct 2014 at 6:03am
A company backed by ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy is planning a share sale to raise millions of pounds, Sky News understands.

Samsung Admits Mobile Woes As Profits Plunge
30 Oct 2014 at 1:23am
The electronics firm posts its weakest quarterly earnings for three years and admits its smartphone strategy needs work.

Iran Could Get iPhone As US Relations Thaw
30 Oct 2014 at 3:18am
If Western sanctions are eased sufficiently, senior Apple executives plan to distribute iDevices in the country.

Federal Reserve Turns Off Quantitative Easing
29 Oct 2014 at 12:56pm
The US central bank also signalled interest rates would remain low for a "considerable time" following the close of the programme.
 
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Loonie and Aussie Share Downward Bond
by Adam Kritzer
30 Jun 2011 at 9:15am

In yesterday’s post (Tide is Turning for the Aussie), I explained how a prevailing sense of uncertainty in the markets has manifested itself in the form of a declining Australian Dollar. With today’s post, I’d like to carry that argument forward to the Canadian Dollar.


As it turns out, the forex markets are currently treating the Loonie and the Aussie as inseparable. According to Mataf.net, the AUD/USD and CAD/USD are trading with a 92.5% correlation, the second highest in forex (behind only the CHFUSD and AUDUSD). The fact that the two have been numerically correlated (see chart below) for the better part of 2011 can also be discerned with a cursory glance at the charts above.


Why is this the case? As it turns out, there are a handful of reasons. First of all, both have earned the dubious characterization of “commodity currency,” which basically means that a rise in commodity prices is matched by a proportionate appreciation in the Aussie and Loonie, relative to the US dollar. You can see from the chart above that the year-long commodities boom and sudden drop corresponded with similar movement in commodity currencies. Likewise, yesterday’s rally coincided with the biggest one-day rise in the Canadian Dollar in the year-to-date.

Beyond this, both currencies are seen as attractive proxies for risk. Even though the chaos in the eurozone has very little actual connection to the Loonie and Aussie (which are fiscally sound, geographically distinct, and economically insulated from the crisis), the two currencies have recently taken their cues from political developments in Greece, of all things. Given the heightened sensitivity to risk that has arisen both from the sovereign debt crisis and global economic slowdown, it’s no surprise that investors have responded cautiously by unwinding bets on the Canadian dollar.


Finally, the Bank of Canada is in a very similar position to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Both central banks embarked on a cycle of monetary tightening in 2010, only to suspend rate hikes in 2011, due to uncertainty over near-term growth prospects. While GDP growth has indeed moderated in both countries, price inflation has not. In fact, the most recent reading of Canadian CPI was 3.7%, which is well above the BOC’s comfort zone. Further complicating the picture is the fact that the Loonie is near a record high, and the BOC remains wary of further stoking the fires of appreciation by making it more attractive to carry traders.

In the near-term, then, the prospects for further appreciation are not good. The currency’s rise was so solid in 2009-2010 that it now seems the forex markets may have gotten ahead of themselves. A pullback towards parity – and beyond – seems like the only realistic possibility. If/when the global economy stabilizes, central banks resume heightening, and risk appetite increases, you can be sure that the Loonie (and the Aussie) will pick up where they left off.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Tide is Turning for the Aussie due to lower commodity prices, low interest ra...
by Adam Kritzer
29 Jun 2011 at 10:40am

“Australia is about to enter a boom that should last decades…The Australian dollar is unlikely to go back to where it was, and manufacturing will shrink in importance to the economy, perhaps even faster than it has been.” This, according to Martin Parkinson, Treasury Minister of Australia. While 30 years from now, Mr. Parkinson’s prognosis might probe to be accurate, I’m not so sure it applies to the period 3 months from now. Here’s why:

First of all, the putative economic boom that is taking place in Australia is being driven entirely by high commodity prices and surging production and exports. Since peaking at the end of April, commodity prices have fallen mightily. You can see from the chart above that there continues to exist a tight correlation between the AUD/USD and commodities prices. As commodities prices have fallen over the last two months, so has the Australian Dollar.


In addition, while demand will probably remain strong over the long-term, it may very well slacken over the short-term, due to declining economic growth across the industrialized world.  Consider also that Australia’s largest market for commodity exports – China – may have difficulty sustaining a GDP growth rate of 10%, and at the very least, new fixed-asset investment (which necessitates demand for raw materials) will temporarily peak in the immediate future.

Finally, the mining sector directly accounts for only 8% of Australia’s economy, which means that only to a limited extent to high commodities prices contribute to the bottom line of Australian GDP. This notion is reinforced by the 1.2% economic contraction in the second quarter – the biggest decline in 20 years – and the fact that GDP is basically flat over the last three quarters. Many non-mining economic indicators are sagging, and the number of corporate bankruptcies is 10% higher than in 2010. In the end, then, the ebb and flow of Australia’s fortune depends less on commodities, and more on other sectors.


Mr. Parkinson’s optimistic forecasts might also be undermined in the short-term by a looser-than-expected monetary policy. The Reserve Bank of Australia last hiked its benchmark interest rate in November 2010, and may not hike again for a few more months due to moderating economic growth and proportionally moderate inflation. Given that an attractive interest rate differential may be driving some of the speculative activity that has girded the Aussie’s rise, a decline in this differential could likewise propel it downward.

That’s because anecdotal reports suggest that the Australian Dollar remains a popular long currency for carry traders, funded by shorting the US Dollar, and to a lesser extent, Japanese Yen. Given that many of these carry trades are heavily leveraged, it wouldn’t take much to trigger a short squeeze and a rapid decline in the AUD/USD. For evidence of this phenomenon, one has to look no further back than May 2010, when the Aussie fell 10-15% in only three weeks.


Ultimately, as one commentator recently pointed out, the Aussie’s 70% rise since 2008 might better be seen as US Dollar weakness (which also catalyzed the rise in commodity prices). The apparent stabilizing of the dollar, then, might let some air out of the currency down under.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Emerging Market Currencies Brace for Correction Due to Market Uncertainty and...
by Adam Kritzer
28 Jun 2011 at 2:42am

“It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,” begins Charles Dickens’ The Tale of Two Cities. In 2011, the winter of despair was followed by the spring of uncertainty. Due to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, the continued tribulations of Greece, rising commodity prices, and growing concern over the global economic recovery, volatility in the forex markets has risen, and investors are unclear as to how to proceed. For now at least, they are responding by dumping emerging market currencies.


As you can see from the chart above (which shows a cross-section of emerging market forex), most currencies peaked in the beginning of May and have since sold-off significantly. If not for the rally that started off the year, all emerging market currencies would probably be down for the year-to-date, and in fact many of them are anyway. Still, the returns for even the top performers are much less spectacular than in 2009 and 2010. Similarly, the MSCI Emerging Markets Stock Index is down 3.5% in the YTD, and the JP Morgan Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI+) has risen 4.5% (which is reflects declining growth forecasts as much as perceptions of increasing creditworthiness).

There are a couple of factors that are driving this ebbing of sentiment. First of all, risk appetite is waning. Over the last couple months, every flareup in the eurozone debt crisis coincided with a sell-off in emerging markets. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Central and eastern European currencies that are seen as being most vulnerable to financial turmoil in the euro zone have underperformed.” Economies further afield, such as Turkey and Russia, have also experienced weakness in their respective currencies. Some analysts believe that because emerging economies are generally more fiscally sound than their fundamental counterparts, that they are inherently less risky. Unfortunately, while this proposition makes theoretical sense, you can be assured that a default by a member of the eurozone will trigger a mass exodus into safe havens – NOT into emerging markets.


While emerging market Asia and South America is somewhat insulated from eurozone fiscal problems. On the other hand, they remain vulnerable to an economic slowdown in China and to rising inflation. Emerging market central banks have avoided making significant interest rate hikes (hence, rising bond prices) – for fear of inviting further capital inflow and stoking currency appreciation – and the result has been rising price inflation. You can see from the chart above that the darkest areas (symbolizing higher inflation) are all located in emerging economic regions. While high inflation is not inherently problematic, it is not difficult to conceive of a downward spiral into hyperinflation. Again, a sudden bout of monetary instability would send investors rushing to the exits.


While most analysts (myself included) remain bullish on emerging markets over the long-term, many are laying off in the short-term. “RBC emerging market strategist Nick Chamie says his team has recommended ‘defensive posturing’ to clients since May 5 and isn’t recommending new bullish emerging currency bets right now….HSBC said Thursday that it isn’t recommending outright short positions on emerging market currencies to clients but suggested a more ‘cautious’ and selective approach in making currency bets.” This phenomenon will be exacerbated by the fact that market activity typically slows down in the summer chart above courtesy of Forex Magnates) as traders go on vacation. With less liquidity and an inability to constantly monitor one’s portfolio, traders will be loathe to take on risky positions.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend NO QE3: What are the Implications for the Dollar?
by Adam Kritzer
25 Jun 2011 at 7:28am

The verdict is nearly in; there will be no QE3. The second round of quantitative easing (?QE2?) will expire at the end of this month, and while it will not be unwound for quite some time, the Fed has indicated that it will not be followed by yet another round. The question on the minds of forex traders, of course, is what does this mean for the Dollar?

In his most recent press conference, Ben Bernanke, himself, indicated that QE3 was unlikely. According to a survey conducted by Bloomberg News, the majority of FX analysts (65%) believe him. Simply, the circumstances don?t support further easing. To be sure, the unemployment rate remains high, and the economy is teetering on the verge of double-dip recession. However, the last two rounds did little to address either of these problems, and companies have hoarded cash rather than investing in new plant and workers.

Interest rates are still hovering around record lows, and there isn?t anything to be gained from trying to lower them further. Besides, given that inflation is now above 3% ? due to an explosion in good and energy prices ? QE3 would simply be too risky. Economist Ken Goldstein summarized the situation as follows: “We will come to the end of QE2 and largely we mark about how little happened when it ended and that?s also an argument about why there may not be persuasive argument to do a QE3.”

On the other hand, there are some analysts who think that QE3 is inevitable (29%). PIMCO?s Bill Gross, manager of the world?s biggest bond fund, recently indicated that, ?Next Jackson Hole in August will likely hint at QE3/interest rate caps.? (Personally, I think that he?s probably just bitter that his forecast of a decline in Treasury Bond prices hasn?t materialized). One columnist wrote that the Fed?s arm will be twisted by the ongoing collapse of the housing market, while others have argued that the recent decline in the S&P 500 will spur the Fed into action. Most of us, however, believe that the Fed will adopt a wait-and-see approach before ultimately conceding that more easing is necessary.

For now at least, then, the prevailing assumption is that there will not be a QE3. As for how forex markets have digested this news, they have taken it in stride. The Dollar is now holding its value, and as I wrote in a previous post, it may even have bottomed out. Of course, it doesn?t hurt that the Euro is being punished by another flare-up in the sovereign debt crisis and investors are getting nervous about bubbles in emerging market currencies, all of which provide support for the dollar.

The fact that QE2 will soon end without having triggered financial apocalypse or hyperinflation ? as some cassandras initially predicted ? is something that is worth nothing. Of course, the proceeds of QE1 and QE2 will be recycled indefinitely into the markets, and forex investors can?t completely put quantitative easing behind them. Still, that there won’t be any more additional cash injected into commodities markets and emerging economy asset markets means that one of the main sources of downward pressure on the dollar has been eliminated.

Ironically, it is possible that the unveiling of QE3 could actually cause the dollar to rally. The reason is that there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the markets, which provides the dollar with some safe haven demand. If the Fed were to concede that all is not well on the economic front and respond by more money printing, it could drive some safe haven flows into the US, even to the extent that it would overwhelm outflows driven by concerns over inflation.

Personally, I think the dollar will continue to hold its value, and perhaps even appreciate slightly in the near-term, as forex markets dither over the way forward.

http://www.forexblog.org/2011/06/has-the-us-dollar-hit-bottom.html SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Swiss Franc is the Only Safe Haven Currency. The Franc is Starting to Distanc...
by Adam Kritzer
23 Jun 2011 at 10:11am

According to conventional market wisdom, there are three safe haven currencies: the Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen, and US Dollar. It is to these currencies that investors flock whenever there is a crisis, or merely an outbreak of uncertainty, and for much of the period following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the three were closely correlated. As you can see from the chart below, however, one of these currencies has begun to distinguish itself from the other two, leading some to argue that there is now only one true safe haven currency: the Swiss Franc.


What’s not to like about the Franc? It boasts a strong economy, low inflation, and low unemployment. Unlike the US and Japan, Switzerland is not plagued by a high national debt and perennial budget deficits. Its monetary policy has been extremely conservative: no quantitative easing, asset-purchases, or any other money printing programs with euphemistic names.

Ironically, the only thing that makes investors nervous about the franc is that it has already risen so much. Remember when it reached the milestone of parity against the dollar in 2010? Since then, it has appreciated by an additional 20%, and seems to breach a new record on an almost weekly basis. The same goes for the CHF/EUR and CHF/JPY. The President of Switzerland’s export association is expecting further gains: “Parity is a realistic scenario. Given the indebtedness of the eurozone and the strong attraction of the franc, the euro is likely to continue to lose value.”


Given that Swiss exports have surged in spite of (or even because of) the rising Franc, however, he has very little to worry about at the moment. As you can see fromt he graphic below (courtesy of the Financial Times), the balance of trade continues to expand, and has exploded in a handful of key sectors. To be sure, economists expect that this situation will eventually correct itself and are already moving to revise downward 2011 and 2012 GDP growth estimates. Then again, they made the same erroneous predictions in 2010.

The main variable in the Swiss Franc is the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Having booked a loss of CHF 20 Billion from failed intervention in 2010, the SNB is not in a position to make the same mistake again. In fact, SNB President Philipp Hildebrand has not even stooped to verbal intervention this time around, undoubtedly cognizant of the fact that he has very little credibility in forex markets.

At the same time, the SNB is not in any hurry to raise interest rates, lest it stoke further speculative interest in the Franc. Its June meeting came and went without any indication of when it might tighten. Interest rate futures currently reflect an expectation that the first rate hike won’t come until March 2012. Thus, the downside of holding the Franc is that it will continue to pay a negative real interest rate. The only upside, then, is the possibility of further appreciation. Fortunately, the SNB is unlikely to stop the Franc from rising, since it serves the same monetary end as higher interest rates. In other words, a more valuable Franc serves as a direct check on inflation because it lowers the cost of commodity imports and should (eventually) soften demand for Swiss exports.

It is possible that the Swiss Franc will suffer a correction at some point, if only because it rose by such a large margin in such a short period of time. On the other hand, given that its economy has proved its ability to withstand the Franc’s appreciation, it’s no wonder that investors continue to bet on its rise.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Is it Possible to Trade Forex Part-time?
by Adam Kritzer
22 Jun 2011 at 10:17am

This week, I came across an article in the San Francisco Gate (which, incidentally, has really ramped up its forex coverage over the last year) that addressed this very topic. Given that part-time forex traders probably outnumber those that practice the craft full-time, such an article was long overdue.

In sum, the author advises part-time traders to concentrate their trading during the busiest times of the day, or failing that, to simply trade the most active currency pairs during the period of the day that one happens to have time to trade. For example, if you wish to trade the USD/EUR but only have a limited amount of time to do so, you are advised to trade the opening of the New York and/or London sessions, at 8AM EST and 3AM EST, respectively. Alternatively, if you only have time to trade from midnight to 2am, for example, you are advised to trade currency pairs in which the quote currency is the Yen, because during that time the Tokyo session is “in full swing.”


Alas, this kind of strategy is based on a very dubious assumption, which is that you should aim to trade the currency pairs which are both the most liquid and most volatile (ignore the contradiction here), because this will yield the most profits. In other words, it’s easy to capture profits when trading pairs that tend to bounce around a lot and which are cheap and easy to buy and sell. Right?

If you read the Forex Blog with any regularity and are ware that my bend is towards fundamental analysis, it’s probably already obvious to you that I don’t think this is necessarily the case. Consider that forex is a zero-sum game. In other words, on average, 50% of traders win and 50% lose. [When you account for trading costs (i.e. spreads), its probably closer to 30% win and 70% lose, but let's ignore this for the sake of argument]. Thus, the way I see it, a trader that enters the market during the busiest times has the same chance of winning (~50%) as a different trader that enters the market during the least busy time of day. Either way you cut it, someone has to win and someone has to lose, and no amount of liquidity or volatility can rectify this situation.

Thus, my advice for part-time traders is to forget trading altogether. If you don’t have the time to constantly monitor the market, pore over charts, and develop technical strategy, the odds of winning are pretty low. On the other hand, why not shift your focus from trading to investing? Trading is difficult under the best of circumstances and even more difficult when you don’t have enough time to make a real commitment.


The only way around this is to shift your time horizon from minutes to days – or even weeks. This way, it won’t matter when you have time to trade. Spreads might be marginally higher (as evidenced in the spikes in he chart above, which shows how spreads fluctuate over time) for the USD/EUR at midnight than at 8am, but if you’re planning on holding the pair for more than 10 seconds (and your target profit is greater than 15 pips), this is basically irrelevant.

This way, you also don’t have to worry about carefully planning your entry and exit into positions. Entering a swing trade with a targeted profit of 500pips is probably just as good at 4am as it is at 7am, all else being equal. While this doesn’t necessarily increase the odds of success (above 50%), at least it gives you a great deal more flexibility in being a part-time trader.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Japanese Yen In "No Man's Land." When will the BOJ Intervene to stop its rise?
by Adam Kritzer
20 Jun 2011 at 8:52am

This, according to a hedge fund manager that has decided to cancel all of his fund’s bearish bets on the Japanese Yen. The reason: the yen is rising, and it’s unclear when – or even if – the government will intervene to push it back down. Even though the yen’s strength is fundamentally illogical, it seems that investors are growing increasingly wary of betting against it.


As I pointed out in my previous post on the Yen (“Japanese Yen Strength is Illogical, but Does it Matter?“), the yen has actually fallen over the last twelve months, on a correlation weighted basis (though to be fair, it has staged a pretty impressive comeback since the beginning of April). Unfortunately, investors mainly care about how it is performing against a handful of key currencies, namely the US Dollar. Simply, the yen continues to rise against the dollar, and it is unclear when it will stop.

Japanese government analysis has indeed confirmed that “speculators” are behind the strong yen, as the alleged wide-scale repatriation of yen by Japanese insurance companies has yet to materialize. Of course, there isn’t really much doubt: Japan’s economy is contracting, due to decrease in output spurred by the tsunami. In May, it recorded its second largest monthly trade deficit ever.

Meanwhile, interest rates and bond yields are pathetically low, and the Bank of Japan is being urged to expand its asset buying program, which would theoretically result in a devaluation of the yen. As  a result, retail Japanese forex traders (nicknamed “Mrs. Watanabes“) have resumed shorting the Yen as part of a carry trade strategy.

Alas, speculators either don’t share their pessimism or are running out of patience. While everyone continues to assume that the BOJ will intervene if the Yen rises to 80 against the dollar, no one can be sure whether the line in the sand might not be 78 or even 75. At this point, intervention seems to hinge more on politics than on economics, which means predicting it is beyond the scope of this post. In other words, “There is too much uncertainty and volatility in markets right now to make that yen trade appealing.” And sure enough, the most recent Commitments of Traders data shows that speculators have been re-building their yen long positions over the last month.


In the end, the speculators are probably right. The Bank of Japan has intervened twice over the last twelve months, and the impact has always been short-lived. Besides, given that many speculators still remain committed to shorting the yen, it remains extraordinarily vulnerable to the kind of short squeeze that sent it soaring 5% in a single session en route to the record high it touched in March.

I’m personally still bearish on the yen, but I also think it’s too risky to short it against the dollar, which seems to be declining for its own reasons. As you can see from the chart below, the yen has fallen against virtually every other major currency. Yen shorters, then, might be wise to avoid the dollar altogether and focus instead on any number of other currencies.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-17/japan-recovery-means-boj-can-avoid-adding-stimulus-muto-says.html SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Forex Volatility Continues Rising. What are the Implications for the Euro?
by Adam Kritzer
17 Jun 2011 at 9:38am

This week witnessed another flareup in the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. As a result, volatility in the EUR/USD pair surged, by some measures to a record high. Even though the Euro rallied yesterday and today, this suggests that investors remain nervous, and that going forward, the euro could embark on a steep decline.


There are a couple of forex volatility indexes. The JP Morgan G7 Volatility Index is based on the implied volatility in 3-month currency options and is one of the broadest measures of forex volatility. As you can see from the chart above, the index is closing in on year-to-date high (excluding the spike in March caused by the Japanese tsunami), and is generally entrenched in an upward trend. Barring day-to-day spikes, however, it will take months to confirm the direction of this trend.

For specific volatility measurements, there is no better source of data than Mataf.net (whose founder, Arnaud Jeulin, I interviewed only last month). Here, you can find data on more than 30 currency pairs, charted across multiple time periods. You can see for the EUR/USD pair in particular that volatility is now at the highest point in 2011 and is closing in on a two-year high.


Meanwhile, the so-called risk-reversal rate for Euro currency options touched 3.1, which is greater than the peak of the credit crisis. This indicator represents a proxy for investor concerns that the Euro will collapse suddenly, and its high level suggests that this is indeed a growing concern. In addition, implied volatility in options contracts has jumped dramatically over the last week, which confirms that investors expect the euro to move dramatically over the next month.

What does all of this mean? In a nutshell, it shows that panic is rising in the forex markets. Last month, I used this notion as a basis for arguing that the dollar safe-haven trade will make a come-back. This would still seem to be the case, and should also benefit the Swiss Franc, which is nearing an all-time high against the euro. Naturally, it also implies that forex investors remain extremely concerned about a continued decline in the euro, and are rushing to hedge their exposure and/or close out long positions altogether.

Mataf.net suggests that this could make the EUR/USD an interesting pair to trade, since large swings in either direction will necessarily create opportunities for traders. While I have no opinion on such indiscriminate trading [I prefer to make directional bets based on fundamentals], I must nonetheless acknowledge the logic of such a strategy.

http://www.forexblog.org/2011/05/interview-with-arnaud-jeulin-of-mataf-net-try-a-lot-of-strategies.html SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend Euro Nears Breaking Point
by Adam Kritzer
16 Jun 2011 at 8:33am

It’s deja vu all over again in the forex markets as another twist in the sovereign debt crisis has sent the euro tumbling by the greatest margin in nearly a year. It was only last month that I posted “The Euro (Still) has a Greek Problem,” and yet, forex markets are once again reacting to the possibility of a Greek default as thought it were a new development. At the very least, investors finally seem to be acknowledging the inevitable.

There have been several factors at work in this latest episode. On Monday, S&P downgraded its credit rating for Greece to CCC, following on a similar move by Moody’s. That means that Greece’s sovereign credit rating is now the lowest in the world, behind such eminent economies as Grenada and Ecuador. While the move was hardly noteworthy in itself, it represents one more straw on the camel’s back.

Greece’s government is increasingly unstable, and Prime Minister George Papandreou has become so desperate that he has suggested forming an alliance with Greece’s most powerful opposition party. Meanwhile, violent riots outside Greek Parliament have reportedly become a daily occurrence, as the Greek populace has proven unwilling to accept wage cuts and tax increases.

As if that weren’t enough, there is tremendous uncertainty surrounding the next stage of the Greek bailout. No one can agree on what amount to give and what should be stipulated in return. Some parties think that private investors should be involved in the bailout by taking a “haircut” on the bonds that they own. Some members of the eurozone are balking about contributing any funds at all, wary of justifying it to their own citizens and that it is merely forestalling the inevitable.

I think the NYTimes offered the best summary: “Funding fatigue is growing in the north European creditor countries, especially Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria, just as austerity fatigue is mounting in Greece.” When you consider that Greek interest rates and credit default swap spreads have surged to record highs, it seems that default is really inevitable. If the IMF and European Union are so determined, they can push off default until 2013. Still, default now or default then is still default.

At this point, then, the only real question is what happens when Greece defaults. Will it be forced to leave the Eurozone? Will that push the rest of the Eurozone fringe closer towards default? Will the Euro collapse and cease to exist as a currency? What will happen then?

Unfortunately, I think the answer to all of these questions is yes. At the very least, Greece will be forced out of the eurozone. Bondholders will push interest rates in Ireland, Spain, and Portugal up to double-digit levels, trapping them in the same cycle in which Greece is currently ensnared. Given the exposure of French and German banks to the sovereign debt of financially troubled eurozone members, they will also require state bailouts, and so on.

In a recent op-ed published in The Financial Times, celebrity economies Nouriel Roubini argued that the only way to avoid a complete eurozone meltdown is if the euro depreciates rapidly “to restore competitiveness to the periphery” or if the European Union is able to rapidly achieve complete fiscal and economic union. Roubini argues that the former is difficult because of the ECB’s hawkishness, while the latter is precluded by political hurdles that remain too formidable to overcome.

As Greece inches ever closer to default, the markets will increasingly become gripped by utter uncertainty over the questions that I posed above. Central Banks will stop accumulating euro-denominated assets, and investment funds will similarly shun Europe. (In fact, there is already evidence that this is happening). While European interest rates are attractive relative to the rest of the G4, they are hardly enough to compensate investors for this uncertainty. And when the markets come to terms with this, the euro might finally reach its breaking point.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend S&P 500 Decouples from Euro?
by Adam Kritzer
14 Jun 2011 at 9:58am

While I have written quite about forex correlations in recent posts, the focus has primarily been on correlations that exist between currencies. In this post, I would like to address a correlation that exists between currencies and other forex markets- specifically the relationship between the Euro and US stocks.


If you look at the chart above, you can see that an unmistakable correlation exists between the S&P500 and the EUR/USD that stretches back at least six months. Generally speaking, when the EURUSD has risen, so has the S&P 500, and vice versa. In fact, this correlation is so airtight that one analyst recently discovered that the two financial vehicles often reach intra-day highs and lows within minutes of one another!

Why is this the case? In a nutshell, it is because the Euro – especially relative to the dollar – is a proxy for risk appetite. The same is necessarily true for US stocks. When investors are confident in the strength of the global economic recovery and the possibility of crisis is distant, the euro will rise. This has nothing to do with fundamentals in Europe, which are probably at least as bad as they are in the US. Of course, it may be connected with dollar weakness, since it is arguably the case that quantitative easing has both depressed the dollar and buoyed US stocks.

As I intimated in the title of this post, however, the S&P recently decoupled from the euro. Since the beginning of June, US equities have declined sharply, to the extent that they have given back most of their gains in the year-to-date. The EUR/USD, meanwhile, continued rising all the way until last week. While this has happened on a couple previous occasions, this was perhaps the sharpest break between the two.

I’m personally at a loss to explain why this happened. It has been conjectured that the driving force behind the correlation is algorithmic trading, and that hence, it must also represent the source of the break. In other words, high-frequency traders – which account for an ever-increasing proportion of forex volume – tweaked their trading algorithms so as not to buy the S&P 500 when the EURUSD rises, and vice versa.

It’s probably also the case that S&P 500 was falling for endogenous reasons- specifically a decline in GDP growth and earnings expectations which need not necessarily reflect itself in a stronger euro. In fact, in a normal functioning market, you would expect an inverse correlation; strong US economic fundamentals should translate into both a strong dollar and rising stocks. Could it be that worsening fundamentals are manifesting themselves in the form of a weak dollar and weak stocks?

Alas, the correlation has re-established itself over the last week, which means this is largely a moot issue. At the very least, it’s still worth being aware of, both insofar as it remains intact and in the event that it breaks down again.

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