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  • Central Banks Diversify...

    In This Issue..

    * Currencies soften VS the dollar...
    * Another look at Canadian job data...
    * China has Super month of exports!
    * Yen gets rocked by Upper House election...

    Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Congratulations to Spain... The fiesta is on in Spain, as their football (soccer to us) team won the World Cup yesterday. Personally, I think Holland, got the bad end of the stick on two calls that would have turned that game their way. But, it was not to be, and Spain hoisted the cup!

    OK... Well, thanks to Chris for taking over the Pfennig on Friday. I was busy with other things for the day. I sent a note to Chris Friday morning about the Canadian Job report, and he replied that he had already written about it! WOW! Quick on the draw! He beat me to the punch... But, the report was so good it's worth talking about some more! Canadian employment skyrocketed again in June rising by 93,200, almost four times the amount expected by forecasters (+20,000). Add this to the 133,000 jobs created in April/May And you've got the ingredients for a strong quarter of job creation! The unemployment rate fell back to 7.9%, lower than forecasts for an 8.1% print.

    ...
  • Brazil To Benefit From New Carry Trade?

    In This Issue..

    * The dollar fights back...
    * Government deficit spending deep sixes us...
    * Brazilian rate hikes on the table...
    * Round Two of the PPT thoughts...

    Good day... And a Thunderin' Thursday to you! Well... It's not really Thunderin' outside, but it is snowing, with about 3-4 inches on the ground already, and the snow coming down so thick that seeing is difficult. I made it here, but then I drive a car that was made to go in stuff like this! Pretty soon, my phone will begin to ring, with colleagues calling to ask me how the roads were...

    Well... We had more probing higher in the non-dollar currencies only to see the gains wipe away at the end of the day yesterday. Still, as I told a radio audience in Oregon yesterday, traders, investors, etc. still believe the euro is worth more than the dollar by quite a bit... Gold also gave back some gains overnight......
  • G-20 Heats Up...

    In This Issue..

    * Dollar's rally is cut short...
    * Major problems for loans still exist...
    * Yen rallies on exporter repatriation...
    * Kiwi gets whacked!

    Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It's still raining here in St. Louis this morning, but I won't that get me down, as it is a Friday! G-20 has gotten a bit ugly, folks... Seems everyone just can't seem to get along! Imagine that! 20 different countries, and now they want to be able to watch another country's finances and comment on them! Oh, I can see that working out real well! NOT!

    So... Yesterday, we had the dollar gaining back the ground that it had lost the previous day, but at the end of the day, we're looking very much like the currencies hadn't moved from morning to morning... And overnight, didn't bring about much movement... So... When you get to the currency round-up below, you'll see the dollar's gains were small, and short-lived....
  • Dollar continues it’s slide...

    In This Issue..

    * Dollar continues to slide...
    * US GDP contracts but not as fast...
    * Nordic currencies outperform...
    * Japanese yen continues to fall...

    Good day... The last day of July is upon us. Time just seems to keep moving faster as it seems summer just got started. The fall of the dollar also accelerated yesterday as investors moved back out of the 'safe haven' of US$ and continued to shop for more yield. The greenback tried to stage a bit of a rally in early European trading, but has fallen back off again as I sit down to write the Pfennig.

    I got a call from a Reuters reporter yesterday mid morning to ask why the dollar was rallying at the same time stocks were moving higher. I quickly paged through my Bloomberg looking for some sign why both were heading higher. The trading pattern which has been established over the last few months has these two asset classes moving in opposite directions; good news for the US economy sends stocks higher and the dollar lower as investors retreat from defensive 'safe haven' positions in the US$. The opposite occurs whenever there is data which shows the global economic recovery is faltering, stocks move lower and the dollar rallies with safe haven buying....
  • Bad news for GM and Chrysler rallies the US$...

    In This Issue..

    * Bad news for car makers rallies the US$...
    * Yen comes back strong...
    * Singapore to devalue?...
    * German Chancellor Merkel gives warning...

    Good day... And good Monday morning to all of you. I can't believe March is nearly over, it seems as though it just started. March will end up being a pretty good month for the currency markets, as investors exited the safety of US treasuries and started moving funds back into higher yielding assets. But the markets continue to be volatile, and news released on Friday and over the weekend has sent these investors rushing back to the safe haven of the US dollar.

    The Japanese Yen and US dollar benefited after a US Government official said Friday that bankruptcy may be the best option for GM and Chrysler. The dollar continued to gain strength this morning after US Treasury Secretary Geithner warned yesterday that some financial institutions will need 'large amounts' of aid. When the Treasury Secretary says large amounts, you know it is going to be billions or trillions! Geithner was making the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows to try and justify the money already spent and prepare the taxpayers for another request of funds....
  • Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine....

    * US$ continues to be propped up... * SEK moves up vs. the US$... * Japanese yen falls.... * Gold prices come down ... ** Housing stats show more rot on the housing vine.... It has been a while since Chuck turned over the reigns of the Pfennig to me, so I'm a bit out of practice. But there was a lot of movement in the currency markets over the last 24 hours, giving me plenty of Pfennig fodder. I'll get right to it. The 'Safe Haven' status of the US$ continued to prop it up yesterday as bad housing data in the US scared investors. Sales of previously owned homes fell 5.3% in January, after rising slightly last month. And even worse for US homeowners, the median price of a home fell to $170,300, down nearly 26% from its peak in July 2006. These numbers reflect a worsening housing market which will weigh on the US economy through most of 2009. The inventory of unsold homes did fall, but still stands at 3.6 million. At the current rate of sales, it would take 9.6 months to exhaust the excess supply of homes. And this is assuming no more homes come into the market. The housing downturn will continue well into 2010, and will likely keep the US economy in the doldrums....
  • Euro Rally Fizzles Out...

    * Yen continues to kick! * Jim Rogers disses sterling... * China's 4th QTR GDP... * Singapore announces stimulus... ** Euro Rally Fizzles Out... Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! A nasty day in the currencies yesterday, except Japan of course. The Dow jumped 290 points yesterday, maybe an Obama bounce? You all know that I subscribe to an Obama bounce for stocks and the dollar in the first part of this year... But given what I know about, and what you now know about, after I drew it all out yesterday, the additions to the deficit that Obama will make, the focus on the fundamentals should return by late spring, early summer... That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Well... As I said in the opening, the currencies led by the Big Dog, euro, suffered through a nasty trading day, with the euro touching below 1.29 for a good part of the day. The risk takers are nowhere to be found. Where have all the risk takers gone... Long time passing... A Reuters reporter asked me yesterday if I was still of the opinion that the yen had more to rally or was it overbought? I said, that as long as the risk takers are nowhere to be found, yen should continue on its path higher VS the dollar, euro and sterling. The RSI (Relative Strength Index) for yen, shows that it is a tad overbought, but that's not enough to change my mind. Nor is it enough to change the mind of a currency trader at the Bank of New York (BONY), who believes yen may rise to 85 VS the dollar by midyear... Another currency trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) believes the Bank of Japan will step in and intervene to stem the yen's rise.......
  • A Jobs Disaster!

    * Retail Jobs are cut in December! * Dollar rallies on renewed Trading Theme... * Looking for the Obama bounce... * High yielders get sold... ** A Jobs Disaster! Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! A grand weekend for yours truly with time spent resting, watching football, Alex play basketball, dinner with friends, and finally a wonderful dinner with my kids as we celebrated my oldest son, Andrew's, birthday. Whew! I'm at work about an hour earlier than usual this morning, as I couldn't sleep, and just decided to get up and come in... UGH! OK... Well, the big news this morning, is that the Jobs Jamboree was just awful, but "not as bad as some forecast" and therefore the dollar rallied. OK, I'm shaking my head in disgust too, but that's what the headlines reported later in the day on Friday, as the reason for the dollar rally. But let's get to the meat of the Jobs report... First of all, jobs lost in December were -525K, which was bang on the forecasts. But here's the two things I found to be very scary in the report... First of all, November's awful print of -533K was revised downward to -584K (recall, I questioned a month ago if it would reach -600K on the revision)... And here's the really scary number... -67K Retail jobs were cut in December... That's right, December! The month when retailers are supposed to be on fire!...
  • A New Year’s Jobs Jamboree Friday...

    * Will the ADP report be a good indicator? * China to slow treasury purchases? * Gold as a store of wealth... * Dealing with the devil... ** A Jobs Jamboree Friday... Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! A Fantastico Friday, as it is forecast to get to 50 degrees today here in St. Louis. Never mind that tomorrow's high will be 29! It doesn't take away from today! What a trading day in the currencies yesterday... Whew! It's a Jobs Jamboree Friday, so let's not beat around the bush... It's time to Jamboree! Today is the day the Gov't prints the December Jobs Jamboree, and if Wednesday's ADP report did what they said it was going to, and that is change their methodology to mirror the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) then this morning's Jobs Jamboree will be a nightmare. Of course not the kind of nightmare that the over 2.5 million people that lost jobs in 2008 had! I was once in those numbers, as our old Bank, Mark Twain Bank, was bought by a bigger bank, Mercantile Bank, and Mercantile decided after a few months to perform ethnic cleansing of Mark Twain employees... I called it "my retirement" but with a 3 year old at home and on my lap most of the day, "retirement" couldn't last too long! My point is that you don't know the emptiness and failure you feel when they show you the door... So my thoughts are always with those that lose their jobs......
  • Its all about the yen...

    * Japan dominates news wires... * US retail sales to drop... * Russia devalues the ruble again... * Happy Birthday Kathy Butler... ** Its all about the yen... Good day...Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I had a great Christmas and Christmas eve. I ate entirely too much, but that is one of the joys of the holidays! Most of the markets were closed yesterday, and trading was very light on Christmas eve. The Asian markets were open, and the dollar did sell off a bit vs. most of the major currencies with the one exception being the Japanese yen. Unless we see a big bounce today, the yen will end the day with the first weekly loss vs. the US$ in two months. With a majority of markets closed, most news stories centered around the Japanese yen. Japanese industrial production fell the most in 55 years as reported on Wednesday. Factory output plunged 8.1% from October, more than 6.8% estimated by economists. Other data released in Japan showed the jobless rate climbed to 3.9% from 3.7%, and household spending slid .5%, a ninth drop....
  • Fed brings rates down to near zero...

    * The Fed fires its last bullet... * Euro breaks back above $1.40... * AUD and NZD rally... * Happy Birthday Jen... ** Fed brings rates down to near zero... Good day... The 'noise' from the street which I wrote about yesterday turned out to be correct, as the FOMC cut 75 basis points to put the Fed Funds target at .25%. The US now has the lowest interest rates in the industrialized world, even below those in Japan. The dollar lost ground quickly after the announcement and continued to fall overnight to a 13 year low vs the yen and the weakest vs. the Euro in 4 months. With both Chuck and Frank out of the office, I fielded the calls from reporters after the FOMC cut, and the most popular question asked was what the near zero interest rates would mean for the man on the street. Well it was great news for those on Wall Street, but I told the reporters that the rate cut really wouldn't have much of an impact on US consumers. After all, interest rates at 1% weren't stimulating the banks to start lending so why would .25% rates cause any change?...
  • Nothing comes out of the G20 meeting...

    * G20 largely a non-event... * Pound moves up... * Brazil falls on sell off of emerging markets... * Japan enters recession... ** Nothing comes out of the G20 meeting... Good day...and welcome back to another work week. I driving into work this morning and started thinking about the growing number of people who no longer have jobs to report to. And the problems are no longer just concentrated on the manufacturing sector. I was shocked at the long list of retail stores which are planning to shut down after the holiday season. The situation in the US economy continues to deteriorate, and unfortunately things are going to get much worse here in the US before they turn around. On that cheery note, I'll get started....
  • FOMC Meeting Begins Today...

    * Mini-currency rally is cut short * Is it Japan or U.S.? * Gold stages a rally... * Swiss francs remain well bid... ** FOMC Meeting Begins Today... Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! Well... We saw some profit taking in the currencies yesterday, which meant a mini-rally in non-dollar currencies for the first time in what seems to be a month of Sundays! At one point in the day, the euro had added more than 1-cent to its figure dragging sterling, Swiss, Canada and a host of others along. But, that didn't last in the overnight markets, and we're right smack dab back on square one where we left off yesterday. This morning we'll listen in on former Fed Chairman Volcker's speech, which ought to be a good one, don't you think? I mean, this is the guy that said a couple of years ago that the U.S. could see a currency crisis... And didn't it? OK, it's not now, but turn your clocks back to June, and you'll see what I'm talking about here. Volcker is a "hero" of mine in how he took on the inflation of the late 70's early 80's and didn't dance around the dance floor with it... He whipped it into shape, and then left it all in good shape for Big Al Greenspan... We all know what happened after that!...
  • Don't be fooled by the US GDP...

    * Don't be fooled by the US GDP... * Canada, Mexico, and Brazil rally... * Aussie dollar falls... * Japanese to keep rates unchanged... ** Don't be fooled by the US GDP... Good day...And welcome to the last day of July. The dollar held its ground through most of the trading day but started to sell off as the day wound down. The currency markets seem to be stuck in a summer doldrums, with few dramatic moves. With many of the head traders enjoying a summer break (ours included), currency desks are reluctant to take on large positions. And who can blame them as the recent global economic data has left investors wondering where to turn. As I have explained to several recent callers, the global economy is experiencing a slowdown as the high commodity prices and a slumping US economy has hurt growth. The economic releases have shown an overall slowdown in growth, and rising global inflation. But the overall slowdown will have differing effects on the currencies. Asia is slowing, but a slowdown from double digit growth in China and India is much different than a slowdown in the US where growth is around 2%. Also, the Asian countries have kept interest rates low to try and keep their currencies from appreciating too quickly. These countries are therefore in a much better position to combat inflation, and can allow currency appreciation to help combat rising prices....