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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.

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Nation - Google News
Nation - Google News
Google News

Labour Promise To Slap Cap On Rising Rents - Sky News
25 Apr 2015 at 7:56pm

The Guardian

Labour Promise To Slap Cap On Rising Rents
Sky News
Ed Miliband says he wants to stop private landlords from charging rip-off rents to help Britain's so-called "Generation Rent". 06:08, UK, Sunday 26 April 2015. Play video "Labour Promises Rent Cap". Video: Labour Promises Rent Cap. Share on Twitter · Share ...
Labour will bring back rent controls and ban landlords from increasing charges ...Daily Mail
Labour's Promise To Slap Cap On Rising RentsSky Songs

all 54 news articles »

Woman's Dismembered Body Found In Flat - Sky News
25 Apr 2015 at 10:48pm

BBC News

Woman's Dismembered Body Found In Flat
Sky News
Tracey Woodford, 47, was last seen leaving the Skinny Dog Pub in Pontypridd with a man on Tuesday evening. 05:47, UK, Sunday 26 April 2015. Play video "Woman's Dismembered Body Found" ...
Pontypridd police search rugby ground after body of Tracey Woodford is found in ...Daily Mail
Pontypridd murder probe latest: Officers granted extra 36 hours to quiz suspect ...WalesOnline
Wales: Man arrested after woman's dismembered body is discovered in flatInternational Business Times UK
The Times (subscription) -BBC News
all 120 news articles »

Election 2015: Does the heart of England want more say on English matters? - ...
25 Apr 2015 at 5:22pm

BBC News

Election 2015: Does the heart of England want more say on English matters?
BBC News
The Conservatives have set out a timetable for "English votes for English laws" if they win the election. Labour wants a constitutional convention on the issue. But do the English want more say on English matters? Meriden may be a small place in the West ...
Are you a supporter of EVEL?The Northern Echo
David Cameron's stoking up of tensions 'a disgrace'Belfast Telegraph
Plan to lock Scottish MPs out of voting on English tax ratesIrish Times
Scottish Daily Record -The Times (subscription) -Scotsman
all 144 news articles »

John Biggs to fight mayoral re-run -
25 Apr 2015 at 11:17am

John Biggs to fight mayoral re-run
Labour has selected its defeated candidate in last year's Tower Hamlets mayoral election to fight the re-run contest ordered by a court earlier this week. John Biggs has been chosen by Labour to fight the Tower Hamlets mayoral election re-run ...
Threats, bullying and
Police 'ignored' 20 alerts about mayorThe Sunday Times
John Biggs selected for second attempt to win Tower Hamlets mayoralty for LabourThe Wharf
all 101 news articles »

General Election 2015: Nick Clegg tipped to beat Nicola Sturgeon to role of ....
25 Apr 2015 at 10:58pm

Scottish Daily Record

General Election 2015: Nick Clegg tipped to beat Nicola Sturgeon to role of ...
Scottish Daily Record
LEADING constitutional expert says Lib Dems will freeze out SNP if it comes to power play. Share; Share; Tweet; +1. Ed Milband refused to speculate about election deals today. NICK Clegg ? not Nicola Sturgeon ? will be the kingmaker if there is a hung ...
David Cameron offers voters a positive
Business names back 'green economy'
Only tactical voting in way of SNP Highlands surgeScotsman
The Independent -The Guardian
all 228 news articles »

PM in London for Gallipoli commemoration - Times of Malta
25 Apr 2015 at 11:54pm

PM in London for Gallipoli commemoration
Times of Malta
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has made a short visit to London to take part in events marking the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in the first world war. He has also had talks on Malta's preparations to host the Commonwealth summit later this year.
Queen leads Common wealth Gallipoli tributeNagaland Post
Queen Leads Cenotaph Tribute To Gallipoli DeadKL.FM 96.7

all 23 news articles »

Ukip's Farage dismisses health rumours ahead of UK election - Irish Times
25 Apr 2015 at 8:16am

Irish Times

Ukip's Farage dismisses health rumours ahead of UK election
Irish Times
Nigel Farage, the leader of Britain's anti-EU Ukip, on Saturday dismissed rumours he was seriously unwell but said he had been dogged by chronic back pain that has hampered his ability to campaign for the May 7th election. Mr Farage, the 51-year-old ...
Nigel Farage reveals suffering chronic back pain and considers quitting smokingDaily Mail
Farage 'on form' after back painBelfast Telegraph
Farage: The truth about my health - I am being treated in hospital twice a
Reuters UK
all 101 news articles »

Police probe Anas Sarwar death threat - The Courier
25 Apr 2015 at 5:42am

The Courier

Police probe Anas Sarwar death threat
The Courier
Police are investigating after Labour General Election candidate Anas Sarwar received a death threat on his answering machine. The message threatening to shoot the former Scottish Labour deputy leader was left on the machine of his Glasgow office ...

and more »

Thousands take part in fourth Pedal on Parliament event in Edinburgh -
25 Apr 2015 at 9:27am

Thousands take part in fourth Pedal on Parliament event in Edinburgh
Thousands of cyclists have pedaled to the Scottish Parliament in a call for improved cycling safety. The fourth annual Pedal on Parliament event saw the procession of cyclists and pedestrians make their way through Edinburgh on Saturday. Started in 2012, it ...

and more »

Man sentenced after landlady lay dead in home for days - ITV News
25 Apr 2015 at 4:29am

ITV News

Man sentenced after landlady lay dead in home for days
ITV News
A 34-year-old man has been indefinitely committed to a secure mental facility after causing the death of his landlady. Felix Gutierrez-Cortez was found guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibly at an earlier hearing. The court heard that ...
Mentally ill man detained indefinitely after strangling grandmother to death in her ...Your Local Guardian

all 10 news articles »

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

Greece under fire from creditors as bailout talks drag
25 Apr 2015 at 12:57pm

European creditors turned up the heat on Greece Friday to deliver an economic reform program that it needs to avoid a possible default and even an exit from the euro. At a meeting in the Latvian capital of Riga, Greece's finance minister faced a series of rebukes from his peers in the 19-country eurozone for failing to come up with a comprehensive list of economic reforms after weeks of slow progress.

Gold to $5,000 in Five Years? Charts Say It Could Happen
25 Apr 2015 at 8:47am

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Hong Kong Braces For Charm Campaign As Pro-Beijing Election Plan Rolls Out
25 Apr 2015 at 4:38am

The months-long stalemate between Hong Kong's pro-democracy advocates and local authorities loyal to Beijing's wishes officially turned a corner Wednesday as a controversial election plan was unveiled before the special administrative region's legislature. Highly anticipated but hardly surprising, the plan closely adhered to the position staked by the Hong Kong administration and endorsed by Mainland China's de facto legislature on August 31, which led last fall to the Umbrella Movement in which tens of thousands of the city's residents protested in the streets.

American Defers Five Dreamliners on Global Seat-Glut Concern
25 Apr 2015 at 12:31am

Four of the wide-body jets will now arrive in 2017 and the other will be handed over the following year, American said Friday. American also is speeding the retirements of some older aircraft, including single-aisle Boeing MD-80s, and 757s, President Scott Kirby said.

Abercrombie & Fitch tones down sexy image
24 Apr 2015 at 8:21pm

Abercrombie & Fitch says store associates will not be hired "based on body type or physical attractiveness" and it will no longer call them "models" but "brand representatives." In this Aug. 12, 2008 photo, a model prepares to greet shoppers at Abercrombie & Fitch in New York.

Chipotle Just Made It a Lot Easier to Order Your Favorite Burrito
24 Apr 2015 at 4:07pm

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Consumer groups dance on the grave of Comcast-TW deal
24 Apr 2015 at 11:58am

Consumer groups are cheering the news that Comcast abandoned its proposed US$45 billion acquisition of fellow cable and broadband provider Time Warner Cable, saying it's good for customers and demonstrates the power of Internet activism. Comcast's decision, announced Friday , would have taken away a major cable and broadband provider in the U.S., critics of the deal argued.

M&A in Energy Sector May Not Meet Investor Expectations
24 Apr 2015 at 9:52am

NEW YORK - The massive drop in oil prices have led many investors to speculate about the M&A that will take place in the sector. However, it's remained relatively calm, as many management teams are waiting for additional clarity on oil prices before plunking down any large sums of money.

For $50,000, shoot guns with the Navy SEAL who killed bin Laden
24 Apr 2015 at 5:38am

Key contributors to a conservative group have received a special invitation: For $50,000, they can shoot guns and hang out this June with Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL credited with killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The offer was recently made by the ForAmerica organization.

Family releases statement on death of Warren Weinstein in U.S. operation
24 Apr 2015 at 2:33am

This video showing Warren Weinstein, a U.S. contractor held by al-Qaeda militants, was released in 2013. The full 13-minute video was sent anonymously by e-mail to several journalists who have reported from Afghanistan.

Sen. Franken: Reports On Comcast-Time Warner Deal Collapse "Huge Victory" If ...
23 Apr 2015 at 10:18pm

Reacting to reports on Thursday that a massive proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable has collapsed , Sen. Al Franken , a vocal critic of the deal, said that the news was a "huge victory" if substantiated. "This transaction would create a telecom behemoth that would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and even worse service," he said in a statement.

3Why the PR industry is sucking up Pulitzer winners
23 Apr 2015 at 6:09pm

The number of news reporters in the Washington, D.C., area nearly doubled over the last decade, from 1,450 to 2,760. In Los Angeles it grew by 20 percent.

Wall Street odds don't favor Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal
23 Apr 2015 at 2:06pm

Combining the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof.

The queasy side of Amy Schumera s viral rape sketch
23 Apr 2015 at 11:01am

"Watch amy schumer's powerful inspiring speech about john oliver destroying sexism in one west wing parody," BuzzFeed's Matt Zeitlin tweeted yesterday . "77 million shares."

FCC Move Could Kill Comcast-TWC Mega Merger
23 Apr 2015 at 6:57am

In this July 30, 2008 file photo illustration, a silhouetted coaxial cable is photographed with the Comcast Corp. logo in the background in Philadelphia.Comcast Corp. announced in February 2014 that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. American companies are buying up the competition at levels not seen since the dotcom bubble.

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

VW chairman resigns in power struggle
25 Apr 2015 at 11:22am
Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of VW, Europe's biggest carmaker, resigns after a power struggle with his chief executive.

Music boss tops Britain's rich list
25 Apr 2015 at 12:20pm
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik is Britain's richest man with a £13.17bn fortune, taking top spot from the Hinduja brothers, according to the Sunday Times.

'Inconsistency' in air duty refunds
24 Apr 2015 at 7:18pm
Parents due partial refunds on their children's air tickets face a variety of ways to claim the money.

Nasdaq and S&P 500 at record highs
24 Apr 2015 at 2:49pm
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 close at new record highs after US tech firms report strong first quarter profits.

'Up to 40% facing mortgage trap'
24 Apr 2015 at 11:21am
Around 40% of homeowners with mortgages could struggle to move because they would not qualify for a new loan under tough new rules

HSBC considers moving HQ out of UK
24 Apr 2015 at 10:15am
HSBC says it is considering whether to move its headquarters out of the UK, following "regulatory and structural reforms" in the banking industry.

Comcast ends Time Warner Cable deal
24 Apr 2015 at 10:08am
US cable giant Comcast abandons its planned $45bn purchase of Time Warner Cable after failing to convince regulators the deal would not harm competition.

'Big, big problems' for Greek deal
24 Apr 2015 at 8:02am
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselboem warns that "big, big problems" need to be solved before any Greece debt deal can be agreed.

Government reduces Lloyds stake
24 Apr 2015 at 12:43am
The government sells more shares in Lloyds, raising about £586m and taking its stake in the bank to below 21%.

Amazon web services 'growing fast'
24 Apr 2015 at 12:56am
Amazon says its web services business generated sales of $1.57bn in the first quarter of the year and is profitable.

Tenants see 2.1% annual rise in rent
24 Apr 2015 at 3:57am
The cost of renting a home in Britain rose by 2.1% in the year to the end of March, official figures show.

Sales warning hits French Connection
24 Apr 2015 at 10:14am
HSBC lifts the FTSE 100 as it mulls shifting its HQ abroad, but shares in French Connection dive almost 30% after it warns of weak sales.

Harley-Davidson recalls 46,000 bikes
24 Apr 2015 at 12:32pm
Harley-Davidson is recalling nearly 46,000 motorcycles in the US because the bikes could stay in gear due to clutches that won't fully disengage.

US airline boss gives up cash salary
22 Apr 2015 at 7:56pm
American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker joins a select group of company bosses opting to be paid entirely in stock.

VIDEO: Kent orchard spurs pear industry revival
25 Apr 2015 at 3:02am
The UK's biggest conference pear orchard has been planted at a farm in Kent, using techniques already used abroad in a bid to help British producers compete with their foreign rivals.
Financial services company news -
Financial services company news -

Deutsche Bank to cut investment arm
24 Apr 2015 at 4:32pm
German lender to invest in transaction banking, asset and wealth management
BlackRock enters UK drawdown market
24 Apr 2015 at 11:47am
US group responds to new freedoms for retirement savers
Bond liquidity fears hit asset managers
24 Apr 2015 at 11:24am
State Street?s Hooley says cash is being hoarded because of stress tests
Deutsche banker in regulator?s sights
23 Apr 2015 at 5:35pm
Ray Entwistle bank?s on a unionist push; Mark Carney races for charity
US sues Quicken Loans over mortgages
23 Apr 2015 at 4:39pm
DoJ says lender submitted claims for improperly underwritten government-insured loans
Google's Schmidt buys NY hedge fund stake
23 Apr 2015 at 2:24pm
Investment vehicle acquires 20% stake in DE Shaw
Hedge funds bet on rise in sterling
23 Apr 2015 at 11:53am
Trades contradict Goldman Sachs view that hung parliament would hit UK assets
Deutsche Bank pays record fine over Libor
23 Apr 2015 at 11:43am
Germany?s biggest bank pays $2.5bn in US and UK Libor settlement
Management fees: going down
23 Apr 2015 at 10:53am
The cost of owning shares keeps falling. That?s good ? for most.
CME faces questions over missed red flags
23 Apr 2015 at 10:23am
?Spoofing? charges against a UK trader turn spotlight on self-regulatory organisations once again
America?s wobbly economic leadership
23 Apr 2015 at 9:19am
Closing the US Export-Import Bank would be a self-inflicted wound
Lazard revenues ride dealmaking wave
23 Apr 2015 at 6:58am
Advisory fees for some transactions will land later in the year
Deutsche investment bank faces deep cuts
23 Apr 2015 at 5:45am
Lender to spin off Postbank as management looks set to decide against total exit from retail operations
BofA appeals $1.3bn ?Hustle? loan penalty
22 Apr 2015 at 6:37pm
Bank claims it was not allowed to present key evidence
Funding Circle raises $150m in new round
22 Apr 2015 at 6:18pm
Peer-to-peer lender is latest UK start-up to get backing from leading global investors
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.

Richest Person In UK Revealed In Annual List
25 Apr 2015 at 6:46pm
Find out who is the richest of the super-rich, as the country's wealthiest reportedly double their money in just 10 years.

Labour Promise To Slap Cap On Rising Rents
25 Apr 2015 at 11:08pm
Ed Miliband says he wants to stop private landlords from charging rip-off rents to help Britain's so-called "Generation Rent".

HSBC Launches Immediate Review Of UK Base
24 Apr 2015 at 1:59pm
The bank confirms a Sky News report that it is looking into whether to move its main base out of the country.

HSBC Exit From UK HQ Adds Up For Investors
24 Apr 2015 at 8:30am
The bank's shareholders have plenty of reasons to support the idea of a return to HSBC's roots in Asia, writes Sky's Ian king.

Activist Fund Squares Up To RSA In Pay Row
25 Apr 2015 at 11:22am
RSA's biggest investor is considering opposing its pay report at next month?s annual meeting, Sky News understands.

Greece Loan: 'Wide Differences' Remain On Deal
24 Apr 2015 at 6:42am
Creditors report little progress on reform programme negotiations aimed at securing the rescue funds Greece urgently needs.

Worldpay Owners Pick Goldman For £6bn Float
24 Apr 2015 at 2:07pm
London and New York will fight to stage the flotation of payments processing group Worldpay, Sky News learns.

French Connection Shares Dive On Sales Warning
24 Apr 2015 at 4:20am
The company loses more than a fifth of its value after telling investors sales progress had failed to meet expectations.

Nasdaq Hits Record As Strong Earnings Impress
24 Apr 2015 at 12:32am
Investors are on course to build on a record close for the tech-heavy market after solid after-hours gains for Amazon and Google.

Comcast Spikes $45bn Bid For Time Warner Cable
24 Apr 2015 at 8:43am
A proposed merger of America's two largest cable companies is abandoned following heavy pushback from US regulators.
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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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