Tag Archives: forex

Trade Review: AUD/CAD (+311 pips)

Entered AUD/CAD long at 1.0248 on 12 Aug added on Aug 15 at 1.0295. Exited 23 Aug (+147 pips) at 1.0395 and 30 Aug (+164 pips) at 1.0459. Result: +311 pips.


Entered with a stop at 1.01 and a target of 1.05. Greatest open loss: 80 pips Greatest open gain: 340 pips.

Technicals were the primary driver for a long AUD/CAD entered on Aug. 12. The weekly chart caught my attention due to the dragonfly reversal. I also noted how rate hikes were overpriced in Canada.

My full reasoning was here

I noted that my next best idea was short CHF/JPY and that would have also been an excellent trade that was never in a negative position and gained as much as 600 pips in the same time frame.

After the break of 1.03 on Aug 14, we waited for a pullback and doubled our long position at 1.0295.

On Aug. 17 we noted there was no reason to take profits but the pair went on to post its worst one-day performance of the trade, falling 100 pips.

Despite this, we remained confident and felt a bounce to 1.03 (at least) was about to happen.

We went back to the weekly chart on Friday and it continued to look lucrative.

On Aug 22 we were rewarded with a surge to 1.04. We accurately saw this as a great time to take some profits. This allowed us to hang onto the second part of the trade for an additional 60 pips (above where we sold the first unit).

What I’ve learned: I may have rushed into buying the second unit after the break of 1.03. As we saw, there was a deeper pullback than I anticipated and this was the only time I was nervous about the trade. I targeted 1.05 so I may have exited the trade too soon. The weekly chart looks like it will get to at least 1.0550 but I’m nitpicking at a great trade.

 

What I’m happy about: Lots. I saw a lucrative pattern on a weekly chart and hung onto the trade for close to three weeks. The thing I’m most proud of is the way I sold the first part of the trade at the perfect time, nearly nailing the top on the bounce over 1.04 and locking in a nice profit that allowed me to easily wait out the next run toward the ultimate target. Opening a trade with two units or adding a second unit early on is my favourite manner of trading because it gives me this flexibility. I’m also pretty happy about noting that short CHF/JPY was my second favourite idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GBP/USD Breaks Out

Cable broke out on Tuesday. In yesterday’s post, we noted that we thought the bias was to the upside, despite the resistance around 1.6475. When that level broke, the pair rallied more than 100 pips. We talked about buying at 1.6500 and perhaps some of you did, but we did not have a buy order in play.

 

The reason we didn’t have a buy order is because we hoped the pair would come back and re-test 1.6475. It’s an effect called ‘buyer’s remorse’ where the pair will re-test a breakout level. This is generally where we like to pickup breakouts. Sometimes we miss the trade but it diminishes the number of false breakouts.

 

With cable trading at 1.6513 at the moment, we are getting an itchy trigger finger. What’s making us hesitant is that we have had 5 consecutive days of gains in the currency that we believe holds a heavy short interest. The weekly IMM data from the CFTC shows GBP is the only currency held short against the USD. That could mean we have been experiencing a short-covering rally. If that’s the case, it’s probably running out of gas and could reverse.

 

Ideally, we would like to see a day or two of consolidation with the pair generally holding above 1.6450. This would relieve somewhat overbought conditions and give us the confidence to aggressively buy. At the moment, we’re going to wait, watch and stay disciplined.

 

Our AUD/CAD trade was up more than 200 pips on Tuesday but has pulled back to 1.0312, which is still 60 pips above our first unit and 20 pips above the portion we added on Monday. We will stay patient but might trim some of our exposure on a close below 1.0296. We are still very confident in this trade and like how the technicals have progressed.

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Stocks Have Bottomed But AUD Hasn’t

The S&P 500 will continue to rebound after the post-FOMC rally but forex market risk trades like AUD/USD will underperform as the market adjusts to the zero-growth reality in the United States.

The FOMC decision set off a wild round of trading. In less than two hours, the S&P 500 traded in a 117 point range. Eventually stocks closed at the daily highs and pulled risk trades along for the ride.

Here are some highlights of the FOMC decision:

  • The Fed committed to keeping rates low until “at least through mid-2013”
  • Three FOMC members dissented to ‘mid-2013’ saying they preferred to keep the vague commitment to low rates “for an extended period.”
  • The Fed said growth so far this year “has been considerably slower” than expected. They noted a deterioration in the labor market. There is no longer any mention of “the recovery”. They also noted that temporary factors like the tragedy in Japan account for only some of the recent weakness.
  • Previously, the Fed said it expected the recovery “to pick up” in the coming quarters. It now expects “a somewhat slower” place of recovery. They compounded the downgrade by saying that downside risks have increased.
  • The outlook for inflation was downgraded.
  • The Committee discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a stronger economic recovery… and “is prepared to employ these tools”

The final point was key because it helps explain the rebound in risk assets. It sounds like the Fed has several ideas on how to boost the economy, if need be. The thinking is that after Jackson Hall something will be implemented. This was the course of action with QE2.

To us, a larger factor was the relative value of stocks compared to bonds. After the FOMC, ten-year Treasury yields touched a record low of 2.03%. Dividends on 22 of the 30 stocks in the Dow yield more than 10 years and the average yield is 3.26%. The market tried to bully the Fed into QE3. The Fed didn’t bite (yet at least) so the market took a second look at where it could stash its money and decided risk assets were still a good bet.

That’s the takeaway for the immediate term, but what about the next 4-6 months?

We believe the market is in the process of pricing in a long period of near-zero growth in the US — something akin to the Lost Decade in Japan.

The US government is tapped out and spending cuts will continue no matter the economic state. This will be a headwind to growth, cutting about 0.5% per year from GDP.

The Fed is tapped out as well. There is nothing the Fed can do to lending rates that will stimulate growth. Borrowing rates are next-to-nil and we they don’t have a mandate or the power to get the economy moving.

This scenario may sound negative for stocks but it’s not as bad as it sounds. 1) Companies with solid (A+) ratings can borrow at extremely low  rates. 2) The worldwide economy is growing, booming in some places. Multinationals are making a larger and larger portion of their revenues abroad.

In the forex market, this doesn’t translate into the ‘risk trade’. Slower US growth will hurt commodities more than corporate profits so commodity currencies will underperform. CAD is especially vulnerable because a) rate hikes are priced in. b) Canada is highly integrated with the US. c) raw commodity exports are a large part of the Canadian economy. d) Canadian house prices are overvalued.

The first thing to break down will be the carry trade. This has already begun and will continue as AUD/USD falls to 90-cents. The Canadian dollar will be the next to decline. Traders will increasingly look to emerging market currencies.

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July Trade Review: AUD/USD (+92 pips)

Entered AUD/USD at 1.0950 on 26 July. Exited July 26 at 1.1042. Result: +92 pips

AUDUSD trade analysis July 26
AUD/USD 30 minute, July 26

Entered with no stop. Greatest open loss: 15 pips Greatest open gain: 110 pips

Sometimes a trade that is bought minutes or hours ahead of data looks whimsical but when it’s good, it’s often because it was set-up long beforehand.

I entered this trade because I became bullish Australian dollar after the RBA minutes on July 18 (my analysis here).

I became further convinced AUD/USD was going higher due to the breakout of the triple-top at 1.0789 on July 21.

AUDUSD tweet 21 Jul
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I was waiting for a pullback but I knew that I wanted to be long into the decision. At the same time, it was risky to be holding USD positions because of debt ceiling talks and volatility in markets so I minimized those risks by buying hours before the decision on the bottom end of the recent range.

“We’re sure that the record of 1.1012 will fall,” we wrote.

What I should have known better: If I would have thought harder and prepared better, I would have realized what the break above resistance at 1.0789 was forecasting and been ready to buy on the pullback to 1.0800. I also left some pips on the table by covering perhaps too quickly. Eco data is always somewhat unpredictable, so I should have used a stop, even though I was watching the decision.

What I’m happy about: The fundamentals and technicals aligned and I jumped at the opportunity. What’s better than that?

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July Trade Review: NZD/JPY (-26 pips)

Entered NZDJPY at 66.68 on 30 June. Exited July 29 at 66.92. Result: -26 pips

NZD, JPY, Chart
NZD/JPY May-July Daily

I entered this trade at the same time as my short NZD/JPY trade. I wanted to be short the carry trade at a time I thought stocks were overbought with many risks on the horizon. The stops were wide and this was meant to be a position that could last a month (which it did).

What I should have known better: Similar to NZDCHF, I was away from my computer on July 11 and did not have a T/P order in. While I had a few days to still book a great profit in NZDCHF, this pair rebounded quickly to a loss. Still, it was an amateur mistake.

What I’m happy about: I wasn’t too concerned about the initial loss as I was willing to eat some pips in expectation that I would eventually be in the money. I’m very happy about the way I exited this trade. Sentiment was hurting due to weak GDP data, debt ceiling worries and downgrade worries but the S&P 500 bounced off the 200dma so I covered quickly and shrewdly for a manageable loss.

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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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USD/JPY Set for a Breakdown, Be Long AUD/USD

It’s getting more difficult to avoid insults and hyperbole when describing the debt ceiling imbroglio. Surely you haven’t stumbled here looking for a recap of the day’s news so I’ll spare you the exercise save for a few thoughts. 1) On Tuesday it actually appeared that debt ceiling talks were moving backwards. 2) the real deadline is around Aug. 15. 3) We estimate the likelihood of a downgrade from S&P, Moody’s or Fitch at 70%. 4) the US looks increasingly to be on the precipice of another recession.

We remain short USD/JPY. We booked a 120 pip profit on the first leg of the trade and we’re up 51 pips on the second leg (entered at 78.46). We’re moving our stop down to our entry on the second leg, ensuring that we’re now trading with house money. We really like this position right now and if we were a tad more greedy we would be adding to it. It looks to us like there might be a sharp breakdown below 77.75.

Our latest trade is in AUD/USD which is hovering around 1.0950. It’s going higher. Four days ago on Twitter (July 21) with AUD/USD at 1.0830, we wrote “Beautiful breakout in AUD/USD. That will be testing 1.10.” We’ve climbed 120 pips since then and we’re sure that the record of 1.1012 will fall. The catalyst is going to be a high Q2 CPI reading (above 0.8% q/q on the trimmed mean) today. We are buying AUD/USD asap with the announcement coming on Twitter via @FX_Button. We will hold it until the news turns better on debt ceiling talks.

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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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RBA Minutes Disappoint Doves

Dovish commentary from the Reserve Bank of Australia would have crushed any lingering hopes of upcoming rate hikes but that wasn’t the case at all as the minutes indicated rate hikes could come if the CPI reading next week is high.

What sounded like worries about employment and growth in the statement, read more like a simple adjusting of time frames in the minutes. Officials say some weakness is due to production delays and indicate that growth that was expected to be harvested in Q3 and Q4 is still coming, but not until early 2012.

“The delays in the recovery of coal production and supply-chain disruptions resulting from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami also meant that GDP growth through 2011 was unlikely to be as strong as earlier forecast, with some of the recovery being pushed into the early part of 2012.”

Does this change any underlying theme? We don’t think so. The parts of the minutes that deal with domestic growth are as rosy as ever, certainly more upbeat than expected. In particular, the strength of foreign investment, which officials characterized as “very strong” and of growth tied to Asia.

Virtually nothing in the minutes suggests the next move from the RBA will be anything but a hike. The lone exception would be from some type of external shock. “The downside risks associated with a possible adverse European financial shock looked more significant than had been the case a few months ago,” they said.

THE BOTTOM LINE: the minutes should eliminate any further talk about rate cuts this year, baring an external crisis. Instead, the focus will shift to the July 27 reading on Q2 inflation with the possibility of a hike later in the year on a high reading.

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