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Archives September 2010

Bullish on the Euro?

Wouldn’t life just be a little easier if the EUR/USD, the most important forex pair and bellwether of currency markets, could simply pick a direction and stick to it. It dove during the financial crisis, only to surge during the apparent recovery phase, fell during the sovereign debt crisis, and rose during the paradigm shift, then fell as risk appetite waned, only to rise again in September, en route to a 5-month high.

RMB Appreciation Accelerates, but Dollar Peg Remains in Place

The Chinese Yuan has touched a new high, at 6.69 USD/CNY. Given that the Yuan has still only risen about 2% since the peg was officially loosened in June -  with most of that appreciation taking place in the last couple weeks – there still remains intense pressure on China to do more.

Thai Baht Rises to 13-Year High

As I pack my bags and head to Thailand for a vacation (for forex research purposes…yeah right), I thought it would be appropriate to blog about the Thai Baht’s strength. The momentum behind the Baht has been nothing short of incredible, and as often happens in the forex markets, the currency’s rise is becoming self-fulfilling. It has already appreciated 8.5% over the last year en route to a 13-year high, and some analysts predict that this is just the beginning.

Interview with Marc Chandler: “You Win Through Discipline.”

Today, we bring you an interview with Marc Chandler, the global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman. Previously he was the chief currency strategist for HSBC Bank USA and Mellon Bank. Marc is a prolific writer and speaker whose essays have been published in the Financial Times, Barron’s, Euromoney, Corporate Finance, and Foreign Affairs. He is also the contributing economic editor for Active Trader Magazine and to TheStreet.Com. Below, he shares his thoughts on fundamental analysis versus technical analysis, the false Euro rally, Japanese Yen intervention, and other subjects.

Keep an Eye on Central Banks

From monetary policy to quantitative easing to forex intervention, the world’s Central Banks are quite busy at the moment. Even though the worst of the credit crisis has past and the global economy has moved cautiously into recovery mode, there is still work to be done. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, inflation is too low, and asset prices are teetering on the edge of decline. In short, Central Banks will continue to hog the spotlight.

Hungarian Forint Touches Record Low

Anyone who had bought emerging market currency(s) at the peak of the credit crisis in 2008 would have earned double digit annualized returns in the two years that have passed since then. There are only a handful of exceptions to this rule, and the most prominent one that I can think of is the Hungarian Forint. If you had bought the Hungarian Forint against the Swiss Franc (the base currency that most traders in the Forint look at, for reasons that I will explain below) in the fall of 2008, you would incur a loss of a 63% if you sold today. The Forint is down 11% in the last month alone. These are the kinds of numbers one might associates with mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps, not currencies!

Japan Finally Intervenes in Forex Markets

After months of speculation, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has finally intervened in the currency markets. As the plummeted towards a fresh low against the Dollar, the BOJ swiftly entered the market, driving the Yen up 2% instantly. On the day, it finished 3% higher against the Dollar.

The Trend is Your Friend

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard that expression before? Well, now there’s proof that this well-worn phrase is more than just a pointless platitude: “Royal Bank of Scotland Group indexes that track the performance of four of the most popular currency strategies show that the so-called trend style was the best-performing method, returning 7.3 percent this year through August.”

Swiss Franc Touches Record High, Nears Parity

In the year-to-date, the Swiss Franc has risen 3% against the Dollar, 15% against the Euro, and more than 5% on a trade-weighted basis. It recently touched a record low against the Euro, and is closing in on parity with the USD. Since the beginning of the summer, the Franc has rallied by an unbelievable 15% against the Greenback. I don’t think I’m alone in scratching my head in bewilderment wondering, What could possibly be behind the Franc’s rise?

CFTC Passes New Retail Forex Guidelines

I have been covering the US Commodity Future Trading Commission’s (CFTC) efforts to revamp the regulatory structure that governs forex, since it was unveiled earlier this year. On August 30, the CFTC formally published the “final regulations concerning off-exchange retail foreign currency transactions.