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Archives January 2011

Emerging Market Dilemma: Currency Appreciation or Inflation?

By now, we’re all too familiar with both the so-called currency wars and its underlying cause – the inexorable appreciation of emerging market currencies. As more and more Central Banks enter the war in the form of forex intervention and capital controls, however, they are inadvertently stoking the fires of price inflation. They will all soon face a serious choice: either raise interest rates and cease trying to weaken their currencies or risk hyperinflation and concomitant economic instability.

British Pound Faces Contradictory 2011

The last few years have been volatile for the British Pound. In 2007, it touched a 26-year high against the US Dollar, before falling to a 24-year low a little more than one year later. During the throes of the credit crisis, analysts predicted that it would drop all the way to parity. Alas, it has since managed to claw back a substantial portion of its losses, and finished 2010 close to where it started.

Dow Jones Ramps up Forex Coverage

In a nod to the growing importance of forex ($4 Trillion per day and growing!), Dow Jones recently announced the development of a new forex news service. While many of the features may only be available at some expense to professional subscribers, retail traders should still enjoy some benefit.

Latin America Enters Currency War

A few years ago, I wouldn’t deign to discuss such obscure currencies as the Chilean Peso and the Peru New Sol. But this is a new era! These currencies – and their Central Banks – are being thrust into the spotlight as they join more established Latin American countries in the fight to contain currency appreciation.

Aussie May Have Peaked in 2010

When offering forecasts for 2011, I feel like I can just take the stock phrase “______ is due for a correction” and apply it to one of any number of currencies. But let’s face it: 2009 – 2010 were banner years for commodity currencies and emerging market currencies, as investors shook off the credit crisis and piled back into risky assets. As a result, a widespread correction might be just what the doctor ordered, starting with the Australian Dollar.

Chinese Yuan Continues to Tick Up

At the very end of 2010, the Chinese Yuan managed to cross the important psychological level of 6.60 USD/CNY, reaching the highest level since 1993. Moreover, analysts are unanimous in their expectation that the Chinese Yuan will continue rising in 2011, disagreeing only on the extent. Since the Yuan’s value is controlled tightly  by Chinese policymakers, forecasting the Yuan requires an in-depth look at the surrounding politics.

Fed Paper: Power of Technical Analysis in Forex is Declining

Being a practitioner of fundamental analysis, you could say that I’m always on the lookout for hard evidence that fundamental analysis is superior to technical analysis. Thus, I was delighted to discover a working paper (“Technical Analysis in the Foreign Exchange Market“) by the St. Louis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, released just this month. Alas, the paper barely touched upon fundamental analysis, but its conclusions on technical analysis in the currency markets were startling. In short, the effectiveness of technical analysis in the currency markets has declined steadily since the 1970s, such that only the most sophisticated/complicated strategies are currently profitable.

Japanese Yen Due for a Correction in 2011

Based on every measure, the Japanese Yen was the world’s best performing major currency in 2010. It notched up gains every one of its 16 major counterparts, and was the only G4 currency to appreciate on a trade-weighted basis. Against the US Dollar, it rose 10%, and touched a 15-year high in the process. However, there is reason to believe that the Yen is now overvalued, and that 2011 will see it decline to more sustainable levels.

All Eyes on the US Dollar in 2011

According to Standard Life Investments, the US Dollar will be one of the top currencies in 2011. (The other currency they cited was the British Pound). How can we understand this notion in the context of record high gold prices and commentary pieces with titles such as “Timing the Inevitable Decline of the U.S. Dollar?”

Varied Forecasts for Canadian Dollar in 2011

The Canadian Dollar (“Loonie”) recorded a fairly strong 2010. It appreciated 5.5% against the US Dollar, as an encore to a 16% gain in 2009. Moreover, its rise occurred with remarkably little volatility, fluctuating within a tight range of $0.99 – $1.08 (CAD/USD.