Tag Archives: debt ceiling

July Trade Review: USD/JPY (+168 pips)

Entered USD/JPY short at 79.21 on July 4. Added July 21 at 78.49. Exited July 25 at 1.0627 (+120 pips) and July 27 (+42 pips). Result: +168 pips.

USDJPY trade analysis July 19
USD/JPY Daily July

Entered with stop at 79.56 (35 pips). Greatest open loss: zero pips Greatest open gain: ~200 pips

I entered this trade on my expectations of problems with debt ceiling talks. On July 18, we were two weeks away from Aug. 2 deadline and expectations were for a deal to get done. The trade was based on my belief that nothing gets done easily or smoothly in Washington – a trade I’ll make every day of the week.

I shared my analysis in a post entitled: Debt Ceiling Hiccups to Come Sell USD/JPY. I wrote “Every story I’ve read late on Tuesday sounds like an agreement is just a matter of hammering out some details and drafting a bill. That is NEVER the case in US politics.”

I posted via stocktwits in this post/chart

What I should have known better: If I would have held the trade until July 28, I would have made 385 pips. The time from the 24 Jul to 28 Jul was frustrating because the news kept getting worse but USD/JPY wasn’t breaking down. There was lots of talk about barriers at 78.00 and 77.75. The news was progressing exactly as I expected but the market wasn’t acting how I expected so I cleared out. I suppose that was a wise move with the first half of the trade but with the second half, I should have just moved the stop lower instead of rushing out of the trade. A bit too cautious.

What I’m happy about: Many things. First, I was never holding a loss on a trade that earned 168 pips. Second, I didn’t jump into the trade on July 18. Instead I waited for a bounce. Even though the bounce was only 15 pips but it was a good start to a very disciplined trade. Third, I added to a winning trade. Fourth, I moved my stops down all the way.

Bonus thought: Look how oversold the RSI is, I almost want to buy USD/JPY expecting a bounce in the next 2-3 days on a debt ceiling deal.

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The Debt Ceiling and QE3

Our base case is for a bounce in stocks and USD after a debt ceiling deal is reached. We see a 90% probability of a deal before markets open on Monday and we will continue to trade in that direction.

Our trades were working for us until late in the session Thursday when sentiment worsened after S&P sovereign-rating chief John Chambers re-emphasized the importance of $4 trillion in savings. Both parties are currently proposing less than $3 trillion in savings so it looks more likely that S&P will have courage to cut.

Republicans postponed a vote on Boehner’s debt ceiling plan minutes before it was scheduled, likely because they did not have the votes in their own caucus to pass it. In any case, the legislation had no chance of getting by the Senate or the White House, so the delay could be helpful for negotiations. A vote is expected later in the evening but it is unlikely to move markets.

VP Biden is said to be in talks with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on a deal. McConnell earlier said THE ONLY REAL STICKING POINT between the two sides is a Republican insistence on a two-stage ceiling increase process. We see this as a good sign for our USD/JPY and USD/CHF longs. There are also reports that a short-term debt limit extension may be possible if no agreement can be reached.

The QE3 debate will re-ignite after the debt ceiling and downgrade drama passes. The Fed’s Lacker (voter in 2012) called the US recovery decidedly mediocre but said the factors that have held growth back are beyond the Fed’s control – a signal that he will not support further QE. He said the US doesn’t face a significant risk of growth below 2.75% in the next two years.

Separately, the Fed’s Williams (voter in 2012) said the Fed may need to increase stimulus but that there is a “high hurdle” before he will consider it.

A broad slate of economic data from Japan will be released at 2330 GMT including CPI, employment and household spending. Industrial production will follow 20 minutes later. All the data is for June. It’s difficult to strategize around these numbers because of potential skews from the disaster but overall we expect a straightforward reaction with JPY strength on upbeat growth numbers.

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Buy USD on Debt Ceiling Resolution, RBNZ Holds

Not long ago, Geithner was pronouncing the US would never lose its top rating but now the market is in the process of pricing in a downgrade. The S&P 500 fell 2% to 1305 on Wednesday and is the process of putting in its worst weekly performance in almost a year. The consensus is that the US dollar will continue to fall but it may not be as straight-forward as advertised. A continued decline in the stock market will provide a safe-haven boost to the USD as will higher bond yields. The resulting slowdown in the US economy may also weigh more heavily on Canada with risks to the other commodity producers and the economies most tied to US consumption.

At the moment, the situation is looking dire but what’s has been lost is that DEBT CEILING NEGOTIATIONS ARE MAKING PROGRESS. Boehner is reworking his proposal and appears to have his own party on board. Reid is also looking for additional cuts in order to satisfy the dollar-for-dollar demands from Republicans. The sides now don’t appear all that far apart and we estimate a 75% probability that will we have the framework for an agreement before markets close on Friday.

This will present the opportunity for a significant relief rally in the time between the passage of the legislation and decisions about the credit rating. There’s also the distinct possibility that the ratings agencies don’t have the courage to downgrade the US. Based on this, there is room for a bounce in USD/CHF and USD/JPY — both may have stabilized and at oversold levels.

We will enter longs in both these trades ASAP. Follow @FX_Button  on Twitter for live updates

THE RBNZ HELD RATES AT 2.50% as expected and Bollard said the economy grew more strongly than expected. The central bank leader telegraphed an upcoming rate hike by saying there is little need for the 50 bps March “insurance” rate cut to remain “much longer”. The market has priced in 100 bps in hikes in the next 12 months but nothing beyond 50 bps is guaranteed. Bollard may have done a good job talking down NZD by nothing that if the currency’s strength persists, it will reduce the need for rate hikes.

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US Dollar Declines, Swiss Franc Rallies on Debt Ceiling

The US dollar didn’t get the walloping some expected (or would like) on Monday despite slow progress in debt ceiling talks. The one exception was the Swiss franc which shot higher across the board on risk aversion.

Two debt ceiling plans were unveiled on Monday: 1) Senate Democrats proposed $2.7 trillion in savings over 10 years with nearly half coming from defense spending cuts. 2) House Republicans called for a two-part plan that would raise the ceiling $1 trillion this year and $1.6 trillion next with even larger spending cuts. The second tranche would require $1.8 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements.

From this it looks like tax hikes (and tax reform) are less likely. It’s seems it’s just a matter of how much to cut and where but Bill Gross’ prediction that most cuts will be fiction and swamped by lower revenues is already ringing true.

What is also becoming increasingly clear is that this will not be a long-term solution. At best the ceiling will be raised until slightly beyond the 2012 election with very little meaningful reform to entitlements or a credible plan toward a sustainable debt load. This sounds to us like precisely the type of outcome that WILL RESULT IN A DOWNGRADE. If such a deal is announced, we don’t expect a downgrade immediately but it will not be advisable to hold USD because a downgrade could be announced at any time. We will have more about the impacts of a downgrade and potential trades in the days ahead.

The dollar would like have fallen farther but the idea that AUG. 2 ISN’T THE REAL DEADLINE as taken hold. S&P said the Treasury can stretch out the process beyond Aug. 11. Others say as long as Aug. 15.

Obama is scheduled to speak at 9 p.m. ET (1 a.m. GMT). The chief risk we see here is that Obama abandons his demand that the higher ceiling runs through the 2012 elections. This would probably pave the way for the outline of a deal sometime in the subsequent 48 hours.

Outside of the huge moves in CHF on Monday the forex market was tame. JPY and CAD were mild outperformers with GBP lagging. Gold gapped $14 higher at the open, ran as high as $1621 and closed at $1614. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% to 1337.

More on the Swiss Franc Rally

USD/CHF fell as low as 0.8020 on Monday while EUR/CHF remains about 180 pips above the record low of 1.1404.

The reasons for the CHF move: 1) Over the past several weeks some large operations shifted into USD/CHF longs. They were likely stopped out. 2) Technical selling on the break below the record low of 0.8081. 3) The market is pricing in a US downgrade and when the headline hits, the place you want to be is short USD/CHF.

The collision of these three factors today caused an outsized gain in CHF. To us, this move looks like it has gone too far, too fast. Momentum indicators are stretched and consolidation looks more likely in the next few days than declines below 80.00 – especially with the risk of a debt deal.

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The Dysfunction in Washington

Many commentators and strategists are fascinated by politics. They over-evaluate decisions that will never make a pip of difference in the forex market. I steer clear of this sort of self-indulgent political pontificating because so often it morphs into a platform for whatever the strategists believes rather than what’s important to the market. At other times, the impacts will be so far off into the distance that any forex benefit will be so gradual that it’s negligible.

 

Other times, like now, even the most anti-political strategists have to give up on every other part of the market and focus on nothing but politics. The debt ceiling debate in Washington is a game-changer. Hopes for a long-term, comprehensive solution were dashed on Friday as it became abundantly clear that the Obama and the Republican-controlled House cannot work together.

 

Instead, the best hope now is to raise the debt ceiling high enough to get through the 2012 election. S&P warned that a short-term fix while piling on more debt and pushing problems down the road may lead to a downgrade.

 

When markets open on Monday, the dollar will fall as that threat inches toward reality. The US may avoid a downgrade for a year or two but it’s now inevitable. The enormous debt load combined with looming entitlements and zero appetite for tax hikes has cornered the United States. The economy is trapped in zero growth cycle that will last 10 years and Washington has neither the will nor the means to stop it.

 

The implications are obvious. The US dollar will fall and hard assets will soar. Gold going to $2000 in the near future is so obvious that it’s barely worth mentioning. The currencies that rise most against the USD will be those most tied to hard assets and least tied to US growth. The Asian, Antipodean, South American and Nordic currencies are set for a half-century of appreciation. This too was once set to be a slow, gradual climb but dysfunction like we’re seeing in Washington right now will speed up the process.

 

Our trade anticipating the fallout in Washington was initiated on Tuesday. We anticipated the problems that arose on Friday would arise earlier in the week. We entered a short USD/JPY trade at 79.21 (+69 pips) now and added to it at 78.45 (-6 pips). We will take profit on the first unit at 78.00. Our stops are at 79.00. Our trades are live if you follow on Twitter @FX_Button.

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Looking to Buy EUR on ‘Marshall Plan’

The euro surged on news that the European bailout fund will be given the power to buy periphery debt in the secondary market. We think this is a wise move by European leaders. It will chase out shorts in the bond market and spook CDS buyers. We anticipate buying to be unannounced (unlike the Fed’s QE).

 

The riskier part of the plan, which is a draft “Marshall Plan”, calls for EU investments and growth stimulation in Greece. Banks will be recapitalized with an estimated €25 billion via loans to the Greek government. The EFSF will issue loans at around 3.5% and the duration will be extended from 7.5 years to at least 15.

 

As the news leaked out, EUR/USD jumped to 1.4315 from 1.4190. Technically, it sparked an outside bullish reversal candle. The move above 1.4309 surpasses the 100-day and the 55-day moving averages.

 

At the same time, S&P said there is a 50% chance it will downgrade the US to AA in the next three months. They warned that a short-term agreement to boost the debt ceiling without a long-term deficit-cutting plan could cause the downgrade as soon as early August. Under this scenario, they see US long-term yields rising 25-50 bps with GDP growth also cut by 25-50 bps.

 

They said a failure to reach an agreement would likely shove the US economy back into recession. They think it’s possible the Treasury could delay other payments and push default beyond Aug. 11. The latest possible date they see is Aug. 15, when $62 billion in interest is payable.

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Debt Ceiling Hiccups to Come, Sell USD/JPY

My initial impressions on news that Obama and the Senate have agreed to a framework on the debt ceiling are here: http://ashraflaidi.com/forex-news/

 

As a trader, I want to use the positive sentiment that has built up here to sell USD/JPY. The pair is trading at 79.21 and that will be my entry point. The initial target is 78.50 and unless the newsflow starts to change, I will be selling there. My stop is at 79.56, which is a bit tighter than I like but on an event-driven trade, it’s probably prudent.

 

Here’s my reasoning. Every story I’ve read late on Tuesday sounds like an agreement is just a matter of hammering out some details and drafting a bill. That is NEVER the case in US politics. The moment some kind of consensus builds, every power-hungry politician will look to insert his/her input. I think it will only take a minor hiccup to send USD/JPY to the initial target. What’s especially instructive is that despite the incredible volume of good news and risk appetite today, USD/JPY was only able to climb 15 pips. Sellers in control of this pair and I’m selling with them.

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