Taking Stock, Looking to Buy USD

Today marks one month since The New Crisis started. It’s a good time to reflect and flesh out some thoughts on markets and where we’re heading. The lone trading position we’re holding is a long AUD/CAD position. He sold half of it for a 150 pip profit earlier in the week and we’re holding the other half, expecting it to go to 1.05 (spot is at 1.0348, about 50 pips higher than our entry point).

We planned to post far more trading tips here over the past month but it has been such a fast, emotional market that there haven’t been the clear trends and signals that I’m looking for. We blogged about GBP/USD for several days but the elements never aligned for us and we stayed on the sidelines. At the moment, we are thinking about jumping in on the short side.   First, let’s talk about the past month. Thinking about that time, the events that pop into my head the most quickly are:

  1. The debt ceiling debate
  2. The S&P downgrade
  3. Q2 GDP and the revision to +0.4%
  4. The Philly Fed falling to -30.4
  5. Consumer sentiment (Reuters/U Mich) falling
  6. The volatility
  7. The run/retreat in gold

 

So what has changed?

The clear casualty has been confidence. It’s hard to believe all those events took place in only a month because they have profoundly changed the mood in markets and the mood in the United States. Talk of a second recession is ubiquitous and in some ways, that is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

My own feeling is that the US will avoid a technical recession but the outcome will be far worse. It has long been my belief that the US is about to repeat the Japanese ‘lost decade’. Very slow growth and very low inflation for a very long time.

Given the differences in US culture, income disparity, low personal savings rate and fiscal squeeze the likelihood is that the US experience will be worse than what has occurred in Japan. On the upside, the largest multinational corporations will continue to profit from growth in emerging markets and China. Aside from gold and commodities, these are the only places to invest for the coming decade.

But this isn’t an investing blog, it’s a forex trading blog.

What’s going on now is the process of forming a top. This is most obvious in commodity currencies where you have investors still trying to pile into the carry trade only to be wiped out again. This will end badly. Commodity currencies, especially NZD, are going to be hit hardest in the coming weeks as risk unravels.

Why am I so confident that the risk rally is over?

Simply put: bonds. The fixed income market was first in the financial crisis and it’s first now. The bond traders are the smartest and best on Wall Street. If people are piling into 5-year T-notes at yields less than 1%, something very bad is about to happen in other markets. In this environment, you cannot be long stocks, risk FX or in any trade that has worked for the past two years.

Everything is about to reverse. When that happens where do you want to be? The US dollar. When the panic hits everything will need to be unwound. Traders will want to get out of every trade and the one they’re in the most is short USD.

In the month ahead, we will be looking to buy USD at attractive levels against the commodity currencies as we enter The New, Yet Unnamed, Crisis. The best money is going to be made in the early days so be prepared.

 

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