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March 10, 2011

3 Months From Now, US Fed Will Stop Buying

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 5:43 pm
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3 Months from now, US Fed Will Stop Buying.

Thursday, March 10, 2011 — http://marketpin.blogspot.com

== US Fed bond buys to finish, greenback and global stocks on radar ==

Fed’s Fisher warns could vote to stop bond buying

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official warned on Monday that he would vote to scale back or stop the central bank’s $600 billion bond-buying program if it proves to be “demonstrably counterproductive.”

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher, who has repeatedly said he would not support any more bond buying after the program ends in June, said he was doubtful the purchases were doing much good.

“I remain doubtful enough as to its efficacy that if at any time between now and June, it should prove demonstrably counterproductive, I will vote to curtail or perhaps discontinue it,” Fisher said in remarks prepared for delivery to an Institute of International Bankers’ conference in Washington.

“The liquidity tanks are full, if not brimming over. The Fed has done its job,” he said.

The Fed launched its bond buying program in November to help an economic recovery that was struggling with high unemployment after the worst recession since the 1930s.

But since then, the economy has shown signs of strengthening with the jobless rate falling to a nearly two-year low of 8.9 percent in February.

Fed officials are due to meet March 15 to discuss the bond purchase program. In January, Fisher voted with the rest of the central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee to continue it.

In comments to the bankers’ conference, Fisher said he did not feel that further monetary accommodation would help put more Americans back to work.

“It might well retard job creation, should it give rise to inflationary expectations,” he said, adding that perhaps the Fed’s policy has compromised the central bank by implying it is “a pliant accomplice to Congress’ and the executive branch’s fiscal misfeasance.”

== How About U.S dollar ? ==

Stretching out Treasury purchases past the end of June while reducing the monthly amount would help bond dealers adjust to the Fed’s withdrawal from the market, said Lou Crandall, chief US economist at Wrightson ICAP in Jersey City, N.J

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve’s $US600 billion bond purchase program will be completed as planned, top Fed officials signalled, though they saw heightened economic uncertainty from unrest in the Middle East.

US central bank officials from Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas said they were keeping an eye on the risk higher oil prices could feed through into broader inflation, as well as their potential to hurt growth.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said he would not rule out more bond buys if the recovery dwindles. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said he would vote to end the program early if higher oil prices fed into broader inflation.

The program, announced in November to bolster a fragile economic recovery, is due to end in June. Since it began there have been signs the recovery is picking up steam.

Mr Lockhart, a policy centrist, said he was more concerned about the risk to growth from the oil price rise. He said he would be “very cautious” about increasing the size of the purchase program.

“Given the emergence of new risks, however, I prefer a posture of flexibility,” Mr Lockhart said.

He expected overall price pressures to remain subdued and warned it is too early to “declare a jobs recovery as firmly established”.

Mr Fisher, an inflation hawk, said he “fully expected” the $US600 billion program to “run its course.”

Mr Fisher told an international bankers’ conference he would vote to curtail or stop the program, however, if it proves to be “demonstrably counterproductive.”

The Fed meets on March 15 for its policy-setting meeting, at which it is expected to reaffirm its purchase plan. Fisher is a voter on monetary policy this year, Mr Lockhart is not.

In a CNBC interview, Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans said the Fed was closely watching rising oil prices, adding that they were “obviously” a headwind for growth.

Revolutions beginning in Tunisia and Egypt have spread to other countries in the region, including Libya and Bahrain. This has pushed the price of oil above $US100 a barrel, complicating the Fed’s objective of stimulating economic growth while keeping prices under control.

That said, Mr Evans pointed to the improving job market and said he expected economic growth of four per cent this year and next. He called the size of the purchase program “good”.

“I continue to think the hurdle is pretty high for altering our currently announced” program, Mr Evans, seen as a monetary policy dove and one of the most outspoken proponents for quantitative easing, said. Mr Evans does not have a vote on monetary policy this year.

Mr Fisher said the question will be whether the oil price rise is sustained.

“It is really a question of how that works its way through,” he said. “We have already seen very high gasoline prices. That’s one of the ways that it most affects the consumer.”

http://marketpin.blogspot.com

February 23, 2011

Dollar May Appreciate to 1.0067 Swiss Francs

Dollar May Appreciate to 1.0067 Swiss Francs: Technical Analysis

The dollar may reverse last week’s decline and rally 6 percent to its December high against the Swiss franc, Commerzbank AG said, citing technical indicators.

“Longer-term, we target 1.0067” Swiss francs per dollar, Karen Jones, head of fixed-income, commodity and currency technical analysis at Commerzbank in London, wrote in a report today. The exchange rate reached that level on Dec. 1.

The dollar strengthened 0.3 percent to 94.78 Swiss centimes at 12:30 p.m. today in London. The greenback slumped almost 3 percent against the franc last week and sank to 94.25 earlier today, the weakest level since Feb. 3, Bloomberg data show.

“We would allow the slide to continue to 0.9425, from where we would favor recovery,” Jones wrote. That’s the 78.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of the rally seen in February, Jones wrote.

The dollar may test resistance at around 97.74 centimes, she said. Those levels represent the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the move down from December and the high from Jan. 11, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Fibonacci analysis is based on the theory that prices rise or fall by certain percentages after reaching a high or low. Resistance and support levels are areas on a chart where technical analysts anticipate orders to sell or buy, respectively, a currency and its related instruments

Fed’s Fisher Says More Stimulus Unnecessary

Fed’s Fisher Says More Stimulus Unnecessary

(RTTNews) – A top Federal Reserve official declared on Thursday that we would not back more monetary easing when the Fed’s $600 billion quantitative easing program winds to a close.

Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, was quoted as saying that he could not foresee any circumstances that would warrant more stimulus and suggested that the central bank should turn its attention to unwinding support.

Fisher’s comments contrast with those made by the Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who backed the Fed’s extremely loose monetary policy and assured that it had the tools to tighten quickly if needed should inflation rise faster than expected

February 14, 2011

U.K Inflation fears lead investors to bet on rate rises

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 8:36 am
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U.K Inflation fears lead investors to bet on rate rises

http://marketpin.blogspot.com/

Published: February 13 2011 18:54 | Last updated: February 13 2011 18:54 – The Financial Times

LONDON – Hundreds of billions of dollars have exchanged hands this year in bets on when the next interest rate rises will be in the UK and eurozone, as volumes have surged in these markets because of the growing threat of inflation.

Financial markets are betting that the UK will be the first to raise rates in June, followed by the European Central Bank in September and finally the US Federal Reserve in December.

Rising food and commodity prices have prompted markets to bring forward expectations of rate rises, sparking the jump in volumes as inflation has become one of the biggest concerns for businesses, consumers and investors.

The increasing focus on inflation has also triggered a debate over the accuracy of these predictions, with opinions divided over how much faith investors should place in them.

Don Smith, economist at Icap, said: “The market forecasts are as good a guide as you will get. They are in a sense multibillion-dollar predictions because of the vast amount of money behind the trades that set them.”

Some strategists also argue that rate forecasts can be self-fulfilling, as central banks do not like to surprise markets.

However, John Wraith, fixed-income strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch, said: “Market rate expectations are useful indicators, but they only tell you the consensus market view at any given point in time. Circumstances change and so do they.”

Mr Wraith thinks rates in the UK, for example, may be delayed beyond June, as policymakers are more concerned about weak growth in spite of rising inflation, which at 3.7 per cent is nearly double the Bank of England’s inflation target. There is also a view that rises in fixed-interest mortgage rates and some company loan costs are in effect tightening monetary policy for the Bank of England, which means that rates may not have to be increased as early as the market expects.

However, most strategists say the markets are more accurate today than they were in the past, as the contracts – known as overnight index swaps in the UK and eurozone and Fed funds futures in the US – used to make the predictions are more widely traded with hundreds of banks and investment funds making bets.

Brokers say rough estimates show daily turnover has risen to about $200bn in Fed funds futures and to about $20bn in each of the UK and eurozone overnight index swap markets

January 8, 2011

VAT rise could push UK economy into double dip

VAT rise could push UK economy into double dip, says leading economist

Chancellor George Osborne, in a recent interview, has dashed any hopes of the impending VAT rate rise being revoked as soon as the economy picks back up, saying that it is a ‘structural’ change to the tax system.

The interview is reproduced in part here on The Spectator blog , Coffee House and it immediately provoked a response from the investment community.

John commenting on The Daily Mail’s site says: “Well you heard it from the horses mouth. Vat, the only tax that affects ALL students, pensioners and families will stay up, but the 50p tax that only affects the wealthiest will come down…as soon as the government coffers are fuller. Translated from Tory speak: “you all have too much money, unless you are loaded and then you don`t have enough”

Double Dip trigger?

The VAT rate rise has been controversial ever since it was announced. Back in October Simon Ward, chief economist at Henderson Global Investors warned that raising the VAT rate in January could push the UK economy into a double dip recession. We reported that here .

Only time will tell whether the government should have heeded his warning to postpone the rate rise.

Why is VAT going up?

The reasons behind the rate hike are simple. The Office of Budget Responsibility has revealed that the VAT rise due to come into force in January is intnded to reduce the UK’s gross domestic product by 0.3% in 2011-12.

As Tom Clougherty, executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, writing in The Yorkshire Post puts it: “In plain English, that means raising VAT from 17.5% to 20% will destroy some £5 billion of economic activity in the next tax year. The reason for this is simple: raising VAT will dent consumer confidence and discourage spending; fewer goods will be sold and lower profits will be recorded.”

What the rise will mean to consumers

A report from data management firm Acxiom has found the increase will cost the average household £225 a year – soaring to £448 for more well-off families, as reported here on Beatthatquote.com.

DennisCooper commenting on the BMW 5 Series owners forum is sanguine about the rate hike: “The VAT increase is a measure which will help the UK slowly recover from it’s massive hangover from the crazy borrow more & spend more days.

“On a national level, that’s what the last government did, and on a banking and businesses level it was done and of course by individual consumers as well.

“Everyone in reality, who spends more than they bring in will eventually be brought back down to earth with a bump. You have to pay back what you borrow!”

Effects on business ?

For businesses, the response has been mixed. According to an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) poll, businesses are split about how they will deal with the increase in VAT. It found that six out of every 10 businesses believe that the VAT hike will affect their organisation’s cash flow to some extent.

Nearly one tenth think cash flow will be affected to a significant degree, as reported to Bytestart.co.uk , a site for small business owners.

The British Retail Consortium has calculated that the VAT rate rise will cost 30,000 jobs next year, and a total of 163,000 jobs by the end of 2014.

David B Smith, a visiting professor at the University of Derby, has also run the VAT rise through his Beacon Economic Forecasting model, and found that the 20% rate will increase the number of people claiming unemployment benefits by 236,000 over the next 10 years.

As the Adam Smith Institute’s Clougherty, says: “That’s bad enough on its own to raise questions about the Government’s plans. Does it really make sense to be willfully damaging the private sector economy, when the recovery is still so fragile?

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December 30, 2010

The Federal Want To Pressure Down U.S Dollar Worldwide

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 9:23 am
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The Federal Want To Pressure Down U.S Dollar Worldwide

There is a saying in the investment business, “don’t fight the Fed.”

Fed Swap Lines Purposely Keeping Dollar Weak

Central banks provided two pieces of market supportive news in the past 48 hours.

China announced its intent to buy Portuguese bonds, and the Federal Reserve extended its “swap lines” deep into 2011:

# China Ready to Buy Up to $6.6B in Portugal Debt (Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BL0Y220101222 )

# Fed Extends USD Swaps With Major Central Banks (Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BK3PS20101221 )

Via Reuters, the swap lines, at first set to expire next month, will now run til August 1st.

The lines were first opened to the ECB and SNB — the European and Swiss central banks respectively — and were later expanded to multiple additional central banks, including those of Sweden, Mexico and Brazil.

The August extension applies to the Fed’s counterparts in Europe, Japan, Canada, England and Switzerland.

So why is the Fed doing this? Straight from the horse’s mouth (official Fed statement):

“[The swap lines] are designed to improve liquidity conditions in global money markets and to minimize the risk that strains abroad could spread to U.S. markets.”

That’s the official justification. A between the lines reading is slightly more self serving: The Fed wants to keep the dollar weak — or otherwise keep it from rising too much.

As you can see, from 2002 onward the $USD had been declining — a trend perceived as good for everyone. As Americans gorged on “stuff,” the vendor finance arrangements put in place by China and Middle East oil exporters allowed the party to continue unabated.

Long term interest rates were kept low via the recycling of $USD back into treasury bonds, in turn keeping mortgage rates low and perpetuating the housing bubble. Meanwhile many emerging markets enjoyed rapid growth — courtesy of a binging U.S. consumer — as the leverage and credit boom radiated outward.

But then, as things fell apart in 2008, the $USD saw a dramatic surge. A wave of panic swept the globe as the supernova debt boom collapsed. Trillions of dollars in credit flows evaporated, and American investors effectively “short” dollars (via overseas investments and ‘carry trade” type arrangements) had to cover with a vengeance.

As the chart shows, the $USD saw another upward surge in early 2010, first on China fears, and then eurozone sovereign debt fears as the Greek situation ignited. (This is when the Economist’s Acropolis Now cover was published — a keepsake to be sure.)

So, as you can guess, one of the many fears keeping Ben Bernanke awake at night is the possibility of a surging $USD.

Not only is the dollar a “risk-off” fulcrum, balanced against “risk on” for all other paper asset classes, a rising buck is also a political headache for the Obama White House and other American interests seeking a U.S. export revival.

So, back to those swap lines. Why and how would they be an attempt to keep the dollar down?

Well, first consider what a swap line actually is. From the Federal Reserve website:

In general, these swaps involve two transactions. When a foreign central bank draws on its swap line with the Federal Reserve, the foreign central bank sells a specified amount of its currency to the Federal Reserve in exchange for dollars at the prevailing market exchange rate. The Federal Reserve holds the foreign currency in an account at the foreign central bank. The dollars that the Federal Reserve provides are deposited in an account that the foreign central bank maintains at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At the same time, the Federal Reserve and the foreign central bank enter into a binding agreement for a second transaction that obligates the foreign central bank to buy back its currency on a specified future date at the same exchange rate. The second transaction unwinds the first. At the conclusion of the second transaction, the foreign central bank pays interest, at a market-based rate, to the Federal Reserve. Dollar liquidity swaps have maturities ranging from overnight to three months.

In layman’s terms, we can think of a swap line as a standing guarantee of U.S. dollar liquidity. If you (as a central banker) ever need greenbacks in a pinch, you know you’ll be able to procure them instantly, no matter how “tight” the open market may be.

This standing guarantee reduces the odds of another violent $USD spike of the type we saw in late 2008. In a way, one can think of it as “short squeeze insurance.”

The many players around the world who are “short” U.S. dollars — by way of lending arrangements denominated in dollars and so on — have spiking dollar risk implicit in their positioning.

What the Fed has essentially said to these players is, “It’s okay for you to keep borrowing in dollars, because in the event of a new liquidity crisis we will create accessible dollars for you (via the channel of your local CB).”

Consider, too, the conditions under which all these central banks would be pushed to draw on their $USD swap lines at the same time.

By definition, these would be crisis conditions in which availability of $USD was scarce relative to near-term surging demand.

In such conditions, the Federal Reserve would have to create more dollars to meet existing outsized demand (as crisis-driven preferences for holding $USD, or covering short $USD obligations, would create a shortage).

So the liquidity promise is also a sort of printing-press promise: In the event of another crisis, the Fed will be on its toes and ready to “print” however much fresh $USD the world needs.

The really neat trick is, simply in making this promise, the Federal Reserve can achieve its aim of keeping the $USD down. This effect is produced even without the Fed doing anything.

How? Simple:

* The Fed has promised $USD liquidity will be there “if needed.”
* This promise can be “taken to the bank” — literally.
* Commercial institutions can thus rest easier with short-dollar liabilities.
* To wit, whether one is a bank, a commercial operator or a speculator, it’s very tempting to borrow in $USD these days — to leverage the greenback via some form of debt arrangement and participate in the “carry trade.”

But this move could also be considered risky due to the possibility of carry trade reversal and crisis-driven supply/demand crunch … and so, with the extension of the Fed swap lines, Uncle Ben has stepped up and said “Hey, no problem, carry trade away — we’ll be there in a tight spot (via printing press) to provide liquidity for you.”

And so the dollar stays suppressed, and everyone stays happy (apart from those pesky “non-core” inflation watchers, and anyone else feeling a cost of living crunch).

October 19, 2010

China Unexpectedly Hike Rates‎, ready to reduce the value of US Dollar next time

Filed under: Uncategorized — bigcapital @ 11:17 pm
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China Unexpectedly Hike Rates‎, ready to reduce the value of US Dollar next time

 

The People’s Bank of China unexpectedly raised the one-year lending and deposit rates by 25 basis points each, effective Wednesday. October 20, 2010

Higher interest rates in China might attract more inflows of speculative “hot money” that regulators worry might be fueling a dangerous bubble in stock and real estate prices. Beijing has tried to block such flows, and analysts suggested earlier that might have been a reason for delaying a rate increase.

U.S. POINTS TO CHINA

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors at the meetings in Gyeongju, South Korea are expected to tackle head-on the disparities in currency policies that are distorting capital flows in the hopes of achieving a more coordinated approach.

But U.S. officials have put most of the blame on China’s highly restrictive exchange rate regime, which until recently had kept the yuan largely pegged to the dollar. The United States is pressuring China to allow the value of its yuan to rise to take some pressure off capital flows and to rebalance its economy away from exports.

On Friday, however, Geithner delayed a report about whether the yuan’s value is being manipulated, saying instead that he wants to work through the G20 process to hash out a multilateral solution.

Geithner said in Palo Alto that he believes China will continue to lift the value of its yuan currency to aid the rebalancing of its economy away from exports and toward domestic growth.

Asked how much higher China should allow the yuan to rise, Geithner said: “Higher.”

“You can’t know how far it should go. What you know now is that it’s significantly undervalued which I think they acknowledge and it’s better for them, and of course very important for us, that it move. And I think it’s going to continue to move,” Geithner said.

 

Many banks expect that AUD/USD will rise to parity by the year-end

BNP Paribas is one of the largest global banking groups in the world, bet on Aussie’s strength.

Strategists at BNP Paribas are loyal to the forecast that Australian dollar will rise above the parity with the greenback to $1.0200 by end of the fourth quarter.

Technical analysts at RBS Morgans are quite bullish on Australian dollar expecting that the pair AUD/USD will advance to US$0.978 in coming months. Some traders even bet that Aussie’s going to strengthen to parity with its US counterpart.

Analysts at BNP Paribas SA in London expect that Australian currency will for the first time rise to parity with the greenback by the end of 2010 and trade at the level of $1.02. According to the specialists, this may happen as Australia’s economic growth is gaining pace, while the Federal Reserve intends for further monetary policy.

Everyone is worried about exchange rates except Australia. The Australian dollar has appreciated 50 per cent since March 2009 and 20 per cent since June this year and is this morning sitting comfortably above 97 US cents, but there has not been a peep from either politicians or central bankers.

Australia is an island of laissez-faire calm in a frothing sea of competitive devaluation. Why? Because we have neither a demand deficit nor high unemployment.

As 12-year Reserve Bank staffer and now HSBC’s Australian economist, Paul Bloxham, said in my interview with him on Inside Business yesterday, the RBA likes the appreciation of the Australian dollar because it helps reduce inflation.

 

SOUTH KOREAN Central Bank Looks To Gold

South Korea, holder of the world’s fifth-biggest foreign exchange reserves, is considering buying gold to diversify its dollar-heavy portfolio, the country’s central bank said, adding it would be cautious in making any final decision.

Even a small realignment of South Korea’s reserves would have a powerfully bullish effect on the gold market. With just 14 tonnes of gold – or 0.2 per cent of its $290bn reserves – Seoul is one of the smallest holders of gold among large economies. The world average is 10 per cent, according to the World Gold Council, while countries such as the US, Germany and France hold well over 50 per cent of their reserves in gold.

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