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Making An International Currency Payment

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.

At, we understand the importance of getting value for money. That is why, after careful research, we formed a partnership with Global Currency Exchange Network (GCEN) to offer you the very best in foreign exchange services. Global Currency Exchange Network eliminates the risk of fluctuating currency rates by fixing the rate in advance of your purchase. GCEN has a thorough understanding and years of experience dealing with clients requiring foreign currency.

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To set up an account with the Global Currency Exchange Network please follow the link below:

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Featuring Currency Case Illustrations
Nation - Google News
Nation - Google News
Google News

Police Launch Cyril Smith Child Abuse 'Cover-Up' Investigation - Internationa...
24 Jul 2014 at 10:09am

International Business Times UK

Police Launch Cyril Smith Child Abuse 'Cover-Up' Investigation
International Business Times UK
Police are to launch an investigation into whether allegations of child abuse involving Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith were covered up by its own officers as well as politicians. Smith, who died in 2010, is alleged to have committed a series of child sex offences at the ...
Police to investigate whether their own officers and politicians tried to 'cover-up ...Daily Mail
Rochdale MP welcomes police investigation into alleged abuseITV News
Police to investigate alleged Rochdale abuse
City Talk 105.9
all 17 news articles »

Miliband's wife goes it alone to win votes - The Times (subscription)
24 Jul 2014 at 2:56pm

Miliband's wife goes it alone to win votes
The Times (subscription)
Justine Thornton with Ed Miliband. Her Scottish tour is her first big solo engagement Chris Jackson/Getty Images. Lindsay McIntosh Scottish Political Editor. Published 1 minute ago. Ed Miliband's wife hit the campaign trail alone for the first time yesterday as ...
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband to offer voters a 'big choice' in campaign ...The Independent
Why Ed Miliband's lot are so besotted with Uncle SamThe Economist -The Guardian -New Statesman
all 23 news articles »

Freed, hacker who testified against Andy Coulson: Journalist who listened to ...
24 Jul 2014 at 6:39pm

Daily Mail

Freed, hacker who testified against Andy Coulson: Journalist who listened to ...
Daily Mail
A journalist who hacked more than 1,000 voicemails was spared jail yesterday after he gave evidence against former Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson. Dan Evans, 38, admitted hacking phones at the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World and ...
Phone-hacking journalist Evans spared jailIrish Examiner
Phone hacking journalist Dan Evans given suspended
UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hackingOmaha World-Herald
Daily Post North Wales -The Guardian
all 113 news articles »

MPs urge more power for registrars -
24 Jul 2014 at 7:19pm

Yahoo News UK

MPs urge more power for registrars
Registrars should be given the power to refuse to conduct marriages they believe are "bogus", MPs said in a warning that more needed to be done to counter what had become an immigration scam "industry". Registrars should get more power to halt bogus ...
Sham weddings increasing at an 'alarming rate' say MPsBBC News
MPs urge greater powers to stop sham marriagesITV News
Fake marriages more rife than thought, MPs warnYahoo News UK
Daily Mail -Belfast Telegraph -The Times (subscription)
all 20 news articles »

Royal Home Movies Reveal Happy Childhood - Sky News
24 Jul 2014 at 7:12pm

The Guardian

Royal Home Movies Reveal Happy Childhood
Sky News
An intimate picture of the Queen and other members of the royal family growing up is revealed in a new exhibition. 2:31am UK, Friday 25 July 2014. Royal Childhood exhibition. Pic: Royal Collection Trust. Video: Dancing Queen: Royal Home Movies. Tweet ...
Royal childhood treasures go on display at palaceITV News
Toys are we: 250 years of royal childhood at Buckingham PalaceThe Guardian
Royals' childhood treasures go on showYorkshire Post
all 12 news articles »

Message is discovered in soldier's First World War kilt - Herald Scotland
24 Jul 2014 at 8:10pm

Message is discovered in soldier's First World War kilt
Herald Scotland
A note has been discovered hidden in the folds of a kilt destined for a soldier heading to the front in the First World War. A note has been discovered hidden in the folds of a kilt destined for a soldier heading to the front in the First World War. Economic historian ...
Note found in World War One kiltBBC News
Secret message found in WW1

all 12 news articles »

Murdered for his iPhone by a 'natural born killer' on bail: Serial robber 'sh...
24 Jul 2014 at 4:49pm

Daily Mail

Murdered for his iPhone by a 'natural born killer' on bail: Serial robber 'should ...
Daily Mail
A teenager who murdered a graduate while on bail was a 'natural born killer' who should never have been set free, his victim's family said yesterday. Knife-obsessed Kasim Ahmed, then 17, already had a string of convictions for violence and thefts when he ...
23 years for pizza driver's killerBelfast Telegraph
The Star opinion: Pain will go on for family of ThavishaThe Star
Thavisha Peiris murder: Men jailed for life for pizza driver killingBBC News

all 40 news articles »

Family slam police after 'spying' claims - Herald Scotland
24 Jul 2014 at 8:10pm

The Guardian

Family slam police after 'spying' claims
Herald Scotland
SCOTLAND Yard is embroiled in a fresh scandal over undercover police tactics after it was claimed that officers spied on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes. SCOTLAND Yard is embroiled in a fresh scandal over undercover police tactics after it was ...
Special Demonstration Squad: unit which vanished into undercover worldThe Guardian
Police spied on family of De MenezesMorning Star Online
Police chiefs unaware of secret unit that spied on familiesYorkshire Post
Daily Mail
all 85 news articles »

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip now has a 'front bench' ? just don't try to sit on...
24 Jul 2014 at 12:20pm

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip now has a 'front bench' ? just don't try to sit on it
The Independent
Did you know that Ukip has something called a ?front bench?? Well, it has ? and over the past two days, Nigel Farage has been conducting what his people grandly call a ?reshuffle? to overcome the idea he runs the whole show single-handedly, and to give the ...
Even Nigel Farage knows that the Ukip reshuffle is not very (blog)
East of England MEP Patrick O'Flynn appointed UKIP economics spokesmanCambridge News
Neil Hamilton backs Boston to be a 'beacon' for UKIP successBoston Standard

all 20 news articles »

Minister's cleaner fears deportation - Yorkshire Post
24 Jul 2014 at 5:26pm

Minister's cleaner fears deportation
Yorkshire Post
A Colombian woman who worked as a cleaner for former Immigration Minister Mark Harper has spoken of her fear of deportation. Isabella Acevedo ? who was arrested last Friday just minutes before her daughter's wedding ? said that she was ?scared? and ...
Cleaner of UK's ex-immigration minister arrested as illegal
Tory minister's former cleaner 'will not be deported immediately'The Guardian
MP's ex-cleaner held at wedding fears deportationWestern Daily Press

all 13 news articles »

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

Visa posts higher 3Q profit, revenue
24 Jul 2014 at 7:44pm

The payments processor's latest financial results beat or matched Wall Street expectations, but the company reduced its earnings outlook for the year.

Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare
24 Jul 2014 at 3:40pm

As the U.S. economy has improved and employers have regained confidence, companies have been steadily shedding fewer workers.

Fukushima study: Think about unthinkable disasters
24 Jul 2014 at 2:38pm

A National Academy of Sciences report says that means thinking about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storm, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual.

US stocks pause as investors weigh earnings
24 Jul 2014 at 10:18am

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,101 as of 11:05 a.m. Eastern time.

Breitburn buying QR Energy in $1.46 billion deal
24 Jul 2014 at 9:16am

QR unitholders will receive approximately 72 million common units of Breitburn Energy Partners LP, or 0.9856 of a Breitburn unit, for each unit of QR Energy that they own.

European Central Bank hit by data theft
24 Jul 2014 at 5:06am

The security breach involved a database serving part of the website that gathers registrations for ECB conferences and other events, the Frankfurt-based central bank for the 18 nations that share the euro said in a statement.

Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce
24 Jul 2014 at 1:54am

The lack of diversity in Twitter's workforce of roughly 3,000 people was spelled out in data released Wednesday by the San Francisco company behind the popular short messaging service.

Sullivan campaign reserves post-primary air time
23 Jul 2014 at 9:44pm

Records filed with the Federal Communications Commission show Sullivan's campaign reserved time in the fall on at least two TV stations.

Amazon Fire Phone Review: Ambitious and Inventive, But a Version 1.0 Product
23 Jul 2014 at 5:30pm

It's 2014. The dynamics of the smartphone business seem pretty well settled. The iPhone and handsets based on Google's Android have divvied up the market between them, leaving little room for underdog alternatives such as Windows Phone.

Meat supplier in China scandal has global reach
23 Jul 2014 at 4:30pm

In this July 20, 2014 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, workers gather while they have nothing to do at the workshop of Shanghai Husi Food Co., a meat supplier for McDonald's and KFC owned by OSI Group, a privately-held company that's based in Aurora, Ill.

Arctic Ice Melt Seen Freeing Way for South Korea Oil Hub: Energy
23 Jul 2014 at 2:20pm

Melting Arctic ice is widening a path for ships to deliver European oil to Asia, stoking South Korea's ambition to become a regional storage and trading hub.

Prosecutor: Player killed for iPhone, wallet
23 Jul 2014 at 2:20pm

Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of 21-year-old Ed Thomas of Detroit on open murder and robbery charges in the shooting of the 20-year-old football player from Chicago's South Side.

Dole, vets groups renew push for disability treaty
23 Jul 2014 at 2:20pm

Representatives from veterans groups and organizations for the disabled on Wednesday joined Dole and Republican Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Mark Kirk along with Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin at a Capitol Hill news conference.

New safety rules proposed to curb oil train fires
23 Jul 2014 at 10:11am

This Nov. 6, 2013, file photo shows a BNSF Railway train hauling crude oil near Wolf Point, Mont.

US hedge fund files suit against Puerto Rico gov
23 Jul 2014 at 9:11am

The company holds bonds issued by Puerto Rico's power company, which many believe will be the first to restructure its debt.

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

Amazon reports $126m quarterly loss
24 Jul 2014 at 3:49pm
Amazon reports a loss of $126m in the second quarter and warns of slowing sales.

McDonald's halts nuggets sales in HK
24 Jul 2014 at 7:36pm
Fast-food chain McDonald's suspends sale of chicken nuggets in Hong Kong over the out of date meat scandal at a Chinese supplier.

IMF lowers global growth forecast
24 Jul 2014 at 9:50am
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth this year, from 3.7% to 3.4% but the UK's forecast is raised.

Obama urges action over tax scheme
24 Jul 2014 at 6:03pm
US President Barack Obama urges lawmakers to end a tax loophole that allows US companies to avoid paying US corporate taxes.

GM profits hit by recall problems
24 Jul 2014 at 9:33am
Earnings at the US carmaker General Motors slump because of the cost of vehicle recalls.

Barclays challenges US fraud case
24 Jul 2014 at 9:35am
Barclays challenges legal action brought by US prosecutors alleging fraud in its "dark pool" trading operations.

SA to block land sales to foreigners
24 Jul 2014 at 1:34pm
The South African government is fast-tracking a bill to block land sales to foreigners, which could come into effect in 2019.

Banks face tougher accounting rules
24 Jul 2014 at 11:13am
Newly published banking standards could mean banks have to hold significantly more funds to guard against potential loan losses.

Register 'fails to stop cold calls'
24 Jul 2014 at 9:02am
Only a third of "nuisance" calls are blocked by a service that allows individuals to opt-out of marketing calls, research has found.

Europe lifts Tel Aviv flights ban
24 Jul 2014 at 7:22am
The European Aviation Safety Agency has joined the US in lifting its ban on flights to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.

UK retail sales continue to grow
24 Jul 2014 at 3:20am
The volume of goods sold in the UK's shops, stores and supermarkets continues to grow, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Alstom charged with corruption
24 Jul 2014 at 5:21am
Alston Network, a UK subsidiary of the giant French engineering group Alstom, has been charged with corruption by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Unipart Automotive sheds 1,200 jobs
24 Jul 2014 at 5:19am
More than 1,200 jobs are lost from Solihull-based car parts firm Unipart Automotive as it goes into administration.

Carbon concerns over wood burning
24 Jul 2014 at 6:58am
Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report.

'Risk of debt peril' when rates rise
23 Jul 2014 at 5:00pm
A "relatively benign" rise in interest rates still has the potential to double the number of households facing debt problems, a think tank has said.
Financial services company news -
Financial services company news -

KKR steps up in-house investments
24 Jul 2014 at 4:19pm
Buyout group?s quarterly earnings per share of $0.62 per was slightly below consensus analyst estimates of $0.65
5.11 Tactical owner gunning for IPO
24 Jul 2014 at 12:36pm
Private equity group TA Associates in talks with banks over possible sale or market listing for maker of US police, fire and military uniforms
Lazard earnings hit record on M&A rebound
24 Jul 2014 at 12:12pm
Bank gains from surge in deal activity back to pre-crisis levels during a period when some Wall Street rivals have retreated from advisory work
Itochu and CP Group agree $1bn tie-up
24 Jul 2014 at 12:01pm
Complex tie-up between Japanese trading house and Thailand?s second-richest man is latest sign of Asian interest in agribusiness deals
Barclays defends ?dark pool? venue
24 Jul 2014 at 11:02am
UK bank asks court to dismiss lawsuit brought by New York attorney-general alleging it misled clients about level of high-frequency trading
London brokers face research shake-up
24 Jul 2014 at 8:43am
European proposals backed by FCA would stop banks from charging investors for research out of share dealing commissions
Broker research faces greater scrutiny
24 Jul 2014 at 7:30am
Nick Gebbie, co-founder of research group The Lazarus Partnership, envisages a scenario where the industry evolves to offer two research streams
Mortgage woes set to hit 2.3m households
23 Jul 2014 at 5:08pm
The number struggling to cover payments is expected to double by 2018 ? even with small gradual interest rate rises, a study has found
S&P could face charges over debt ratings
23 Jul 2014 at 4:40pm
Rating agency receives Wells notice from SEC, indicating its enforcement division staff intend to recommend a civil lawsuit
Gowex affair raises ghost of German defeat
23 Jul 2014 at 12:22pm
Troubles at Spain?s junior stock market MAB following the collapse of WiFi provider Gowex mirror those of Frankfurt?s Neuer Markt
Goldman rebuked over £1m legal fees claim
23 Jul 2014 at 11:18am
UK judge takes unusual step of expressing dismay at the legal bill that the bank?s lawyers were requesting
?Uncertainty? for UK wealth managers
23 Jul 2014 at 10:21am
Lower trading volumes hit Brewin Dolphin and Charles Stanley, which analysts say creates uncertainty for wealth management sector
Green light for US money market funds reform
23 Jul 2014 at 10:13am
The rules, finalised by the Securities and Exchange Commission, require certain funds, which had been treated like bank accounts but with better returns, to switch to a floating share price instead of the current fixed $1-a-share cost
New CVC fund targets technology companies
23 Jul 2014 at 6:48am
European buyout group approaches investors to raise $750m in a move that highlights the scramble to grab a share of the digital revolution
William O?Brien departs BATS
22 Jul 2014 at 4:17pm
Stock exchange provides no reason for executive?s sudden exit which comes after heated exchange on CNBC with IEX chief
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.

UK Economic Depression To Be Declared 'Over'
24 Jul 2014 at 4:11pm
The Office for National Statistics is expected to confirm the economy has surpassed its size at the start of the 2008 recession.

IMF Upgrade For UK As Russian Growth Shrinks
24 Jul 2014 at 9:59am
There is further cheer for the Chancellor but little for Vladimir Putin to celebrate in the latest World Economic Outlook.

Balfour And Carillion In £3bn Merger Talks
24 Jul 2014 at 12:06pm
Balfour Beatty and Carillion are in talks about a £3bn merger that would create a construction services giant, Sky News learns.

Chiquita Colombia Deaths Lawsuits Thrown Out
24 Jul 2014 at 2:21pm
Some 4,000 Colombian plaintiffs held the fruit giant partly responsible for the killings by paramilitary death squads.

Unipart Automotive Closes With 1,200 Jobs Lost
24 Jul 2014 at 6:23am
The weight of the financial problems at Unipart Automotive forces administrators to close the Solihull-based business.

Cable To Launch Probe Into Comet Liquidators
24 Jul 2014 at 3:12pm
The Business Secretary is to back a probe into the accountants who oversaw the high street chain's liquidation, Sky News learns.

RBS Stands Ground Over Cable Branch Criticism
24 Jul 2014 at 6:47am
RBS warns Vince Cable that early rebranding of branches would be risky ahead of new systems being in place, Sky News learns.

Storm Failings Cost Power Firms Millions More
24 Jul 2014 at 2:18am
The wild weather last Christmas left a million homes without power and the firms responsible for reconnecting them red-faced.

Deep Debt Warning Issued As Rate Rise Looms
24 Jul 2014 at 3:31am
A study argues the UK needs "shaking from its complacency" and urges households to take action before borrowing costs rise.

US Lifts Ban On Airlines Flying To Tel Aviv
24 Jul 2014 at 1:53pm
The ban, hailed as a "great victory" by Hamas, is lifted two days after a rocket landed a mile from Israel's main airport.
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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, 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. 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. 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 (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. 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. 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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