At the last BoE meeting, sterling got some measure of relief as the bank decided not to move forward with rumored measures to cut the deposit rate for banks who held their reserves at the central bank.
Forex Trading: Today, however, the Bank confirmed that it is considering making such a move and GBP took an enormous hit versus the broader market, swooning all the way back below 1.6500 vs. the USD and sending EUR/GBP to a new since June.
The purpose of such a move is to jump start lending by the banks, who are hoarding capital as they try to repair their balance sheets and all manner of ugly assets they still contain. The very weak sterling yesterday came with very little to no news flow and one has to wonder if someone was in the know beforehand - very suspicious.
In any case, the pound has been very consistent in the Forex market in reacting to every move from the BoE during this part of the cycle.
Let's see if EUR/GBP pays any to the 200-day moving average up around 0.8885, just above today's high thus far.. This sell-off in GBP/USD has been rather damaging to the up-trend - see more in today's chart. Meanwhile, the RICS House Price Balance number was far better than expected and suggested that more estate agents are seeing rising rather than falling prices in the housing market.
The RBA statements at its last meeting at the beginning of this month were far less hawkish than expected, suggesting that an October hike the market was trying to price in was somewhat premature. The minutes released overnight confirm that the RBA's trigger finger is less than itchy at the moment, as it sought to avoid 'premature tightening'.
It is a bit surprising to see AUD not biting a bit more to the downside on this story and recent, less than inspiring data from the Australian economy. It looks like Aussie traders are following the moves in risk appetite in equities (scratched to new highs yesterday) and gold, which has recently topped the 1000-dollar an ounce mark.
The Fed's Yellen was out with a rather dour speech about the economy and warned that deflation risk was greater than inflation risk. She recommended that the administration do more to support job growth. Meanwhile, Obama is going a bit out on a limb by declaring that the job losses are 'bottoming out' . Meanwhile, the treasury is considering unloading its share of Citibank for a significant profit (if it can get current market prices). Now if that isn't a signal that the rally in equities has moved too far, we'd like to know what is?
The German ZEW was uninspiring, with the current conditions part of the index still rather gruesome, even if the expectations part of the survey notched a marginal new high for the cycle. This survey is symptomatic of the kind of hope that is out there for a strong recovery and suggest show much optimism is already priced in here. The expectations component has topped out around 70 three times in the last ten years, so we are already most of the way to the 'top' after bottoming out at a remarkable -60 in October of 2008. It's great if reality turns out to be so rosy, but scary to contemplate the disappointment if the future proves more humdrum.
The US data was far stronger than expected in the headlines and saw the paradoxical re3action of the USD heading weaker after the data (USD moving in inverse correlation with risk appetite, bla bla….), though not convincingly. This is getting a bit silly - if the US is really in recovery mode, then this should eventually be a positive for the dollar.
Looking at the internals of the retail sales data, it looks like much of the strength outside of Autos and Gas was due to back to school shopping (strength in clothing, general merchandise, book and sporting goods stores). The US PPI rose more than expected and bonds are selling off heavily, boosting USD/JPY to new highs on the day. The JPY will be very sensitive to any further sell-off in fixed income. 91.75/92.00 looks like a key area of resistance for that pair.
More Forex Trading Analysis: Moody's came back yesterday to haunt the British Treasury. Nearly six months after the rating agency lowered the rating on the sovereign nations debt, they came back yesterday with a warning that the country will be in negative territory for the next year to year and a half. With all the whispering about the true state of the UK economy, publicly seen as stabilizing while privately seen as fledgling, the independent auditors at Moody's has seemingly undermined political efforts to paint a brighter picture.
The result of this effort was a drop across the board in the Sterling, which has not performed as bad as it could have been after the parliamentary corruption scandal of the early summer. In fact, British lawmakers have been scarcely seen on television or the newspapers for that matter, keeping a low profile to avoid any further scrutiny that could bring back the calls for a House of Commons overhaul. To this end, even the Exchequer, Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown have been less than visible since the scandal – only talking when necessary and not really saying much when they do.
It should not come as a surprise that Moody's found the British economy in bad shape and is forecasting a bleak immediate future. With record unemployment, manufacturing and exports down to 50 year lows, cost of basic goods rising considerably and increasing poverty at the middle class level, it is a given that they are in trouble. However, the opinion I hold on the fate of the Sterling in relationship to the current economic climate is bold, by any accounts, and contradictory to the Moody's report. Here is why:
I believe that the Sterling is one of the most fairly valued currencies in the Forex Trading Market out there at this moment because of Gold. The UK spent hundreds of years pillaging and plundering the nations of the world for every natural resource it could find, especially Gold. So the past 60 years has seen the Brits give back the land they occupied, the deals did not include the treasures. The UK has by far one of the largest collections of Gold reserves, next to the Vatican of course, and the price of this precious metal has been on the rise topping $1000 per ounce last week.
Even if the economy spends another two years in depression, the value of the Sterling can be stable based on their reserves. I am not a fan of the British economic policies and I do believe that the ease in which they have gone about spending citizen funds on bailouts has contributed to their situation, but I must respect the almighty Sterling – it has for a long time, and will for a long time to come, be worth every penny (or should I say quid?).
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