WILL THE FOMC DITHER
WILL YELLEN DELIVER THE PUNCH?
THE VIEW FROM MY TRADE DESK:
LOOKING BACKWARDS, FORWARDS & SIDEWAYS (FOR GOOD MEASURE) AT THE FX MARKET:
1.1: LOOKING BACKWARDS:
It’s great to be back behind my desk and in front of my screens again. It was a short holiday this summer that involved a house move so it was not stress free.
The summer doldrums feeling of watching paint dry, was replaced this year by the China slowdown finally gaining traction with the PBOC intervening in the currency markets. Finally the complacency seen in the markets that I had been talking about for months may have resonated. Unfortunately, the markets have the attention span of a four-year-old child and quickly revert to character, that is reactionary. All the talk about future pricing indicators etc. frankly I believe to be 80% bulls**t.
With regards to the PBOC intervention, the pundits on TV were quick to complain about manipulation, Holy Mother of God talk about “Pot – Kettle – Black”, the cries of currency manipulation were shouted high from the rooftops. Big fecking deal the PBOC was not the first nor will it be the last Central Bank to intervene and try to play God to protect its economy. Since the financial crash in 2008-9, we have been in a currency war with central banks basically in a race to devalue and protect economies. Many have called it a race to the bottom…that is what it is. It was highlighted amusingly by the cartoon of Ben Bernanke receiving clearance for take off in his helicopter to drop bucket loads of freshly printed $100 bills into Wall Street….
Taking a different view, I would be more concerned about the fact that not one central bank governor or president on the planet has the cure for DEFLATION. It would appear that because they have no effective control of DEFLATION they focus on printing money instead. The DEFLATION headline has disappeared recently, it’s obviously not trendy anymore, but the issue is still there unresolved across most of the G7 countries.
The more recent news involving the RBNZ and BOC interests me right now. Prior to last weeks Central Bank rate decisions and statements, both Poloz (BOC) and Wheeler (RBNZ), in my opinion have spent most of the past six to nine months in denial.
Just looking backwards with the BOC and RBNZ for a moment…
Stephen Poloz completely misread the oil situation. All his prayers to help the Alberta oil rich province fell on deaf ears and his hopes for a nice quick sustained bounce in the price of crude, disappeared as quickly as a Jack and Diet would do in front of me on a hot summers day. He surprised us with an unexpected cut in July and subsequently he has gone into jawbone mode. Canada is now in recession.
Graeme Wheeler aka “wheeler the dealer”; has on the other hand, completely confused me from day one. In one press release I read that the RBNZ considered the Kiwi to be over-valued so what did he do? He raised the damn rate… Jesus Mary and Joseph he just raised rates…. good Lord. In the name of sanity how is raising rates going to help weaken his currency? (Answers on a postcard please). He has confused many times with what his policy is actually aimed at achieving. I think that in the past I have used the phrase left hand and right hand in relation to Graeme Wheeler’s thought process. In summation, I would not like to play cards against him that’s for sure.
This past week…
The BOC kept interest rates on hold. In the statement BOC governor Stephen Poloz stated that the stimulus from the previous rate cut was working its way through the economy… yeah right!! I think if he were to come out from behind his desk, step off the lush thick pile carpet of his office, leave the indoor exotic plants to one side for a short while and gauge opinion from small businesses and the man/woman on the street he would hear something different. Personally, I can see a further rate cut happening as the lower oil price feeds in further, placing strain on the economy and confidence. In addition, food prices seem incredibly expensive at the moment, that will do wonders for inflation, however, higher prices and inflation with lower wage increases causes unrest amongst the voters.
Poloz has it wrong in my opinion; most people are fearful of the economy at the moment, Canada is in recession. They are not spending savings on gas (petrol) on luxury items. To be frank, to make that statement, is in my opinion, either camelst, cowst or bulls**t. To believe people are going out buying expensive items in a recession on $0.20 a litre saving on gas is frankly the belief of someone detached from reality.
I believe that an interest rate cut is on its way for the Canadian economy sooner rather than later. The only reason it did not happen last week was because of the upcoming general election… party political government pressure… the party in power would say that no pressure would be placed on the central bank policy… that it would just not happen…yeah right!!
The RBNZ cut interest rates by 0.25%. We saw a huge sell off in the Kiwi but it was halted (in the middle of the night for me) as the PBOC announced more easing in relation to “Yuan pooling”… thanks to the PBOC the NZD/USD spiked and stopped me out of a nice short trade…argh!!
The RBNZ in announcing its cut did not rule out more cuts in the future as it’s supportive / dovish monetary policy takes hold. This is obviously bearish for the NZD currency and with a FED rate increase on the cards this divergent central bank monetary stance makes the Kiwi a nice short opportunity against the USD.
With reference to the FED rate increase, I have my own take on that later in this blog.
Additionally during the week, the BOJ had handbags at ten paces over negative interest rates. I think that there may be a last ditch attempt by the BOJ at this weeks interest rate / policy statement to talk about more QE (Quantitative Easing), not that I think it will do much for the economy but it will float stock prices and maybe send the USD/JPY to 130.00. This may be one BOJ announcement I try to stay up for.
Finally, GREECE…. the forgotten news item; it just goes to show how fickle these markets are. A few short weeks ago the sky was falling, the EUR was going to hell and back. Now the EUR is considered a safe haven currency…what!! The EUR a safe-haven give me a break. That is a whole new story but not for now. What interests me is that we could see Greece implode, not that there is much left to implode at this stage, however whatever fallout there is will affect the EUROZONE. Talk about complacency, it beggars belief at times. This will be a story that gathers more and more attention.
All of the above were market movers of one sort or another last week, probably with the exception of GREECE. The great fact about trading Forex is that there is a market everyday. You can always come back the next day to do battle (if that’s how it feels sometimes). Finding the high probability trades can be painful sometimes and a huge amount of patience is required to successfully trade Forex, but at least there are opportunities.
1.2: LOOKING FORWARDS:
MAJOR FOREX NEWS THIS WEEK THAT INTERESTS ME:
(There are many more news items related to the Forex Market other than the ones listed below. These are the ones that interest me. You can go to www.forexfactory.com and www.tradingeconomics.com for a more comprehensive lists of all news events that are Forex related).
MONDAY: AUD – Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes.
TUESDAY: USD – Retail and Core Retail Sales.
TUESDAY: NZD – Dairy Auction Prices.
WEDNESDAY: USD – CPi and Core CPi data.
WEDNESDAY: NZD – GDP.
THURSDAY: CHF – SNB Monetary Policy Statement.
THURSDAY: USD – FOMC Statement /FED Funds Rate & Press Conference.
FRIDAY: CAD – Core CPi.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEWS ITEMS THIS COMING WEEK:
Whilst there are some interesting news events this week, currency moves will be dominated by the FOMC on Thursday. We could see a lot of stunted moves this week as no one, quite understandably, would want to establish core trading positions ahead of the FOMC.
From my own perspective I would not be surprised to see a rate hike, and, ahead of the announcement I will be establishing some very small long USD positions from which, I can add to or just chop. Having just written this, in addition, at the back of mind I am wondering if after the initial knee-jerk reaction to the news will we see the usual “Buy the rumour / Sell the news” event. I know that the potential rate hike gives us divergent central bank policies but so much of this must have been baked in by now and the true effect of the divergence may take a day or two to sink in and work its way through.
This move by the FED is not just EUR/USD there are commodity prices and emerging markets to consider plus I reckon the PBOC may play its “joker” within 24 hours of the FOMC.
Fundamentally, I know where I am and where I want to be but the unknowns have to be considered and factored in. Let me put it this way… I will not be leaping for joy with a full size long USD position immediately if the FOMC raises rates. I will not be celebrating with balloons in my office and my feet in buckets of sand under the desk drinking Pina Coladas with umbrellas until I have seen confirmation of the USD move. So I would suggest caution.
The U.S. CPi and Retail Sales data ahead of the FOMC will be key data, whether or not they provide the nail in the coffin to a move higher or are so weak as to cause a delay, you should expect greater immediate volatility around the data releases. Whether this volatility will be sustained, I don’t know, it depends on the data.
Remember longevity in Forex is paramount to one’s trading success. This will only be achieved if you trade appropriate position sizes to the balance of your broker account and if you adopt a true RISK MANAGEMENT approach to the trading activity. I always have a plan and I trade my plan with my trading disciplines intact.
MY KEY SUPPORT & RESISTANCE LEVELS THIS WEEK FOR USD MAJORS:
(All of my thoughts / ideas / support / resistance levels are noted on the charts below. As always I have cleaned these charts as much as possible to try to enable the viewer to see what I am talking about, without tens of indicators clouding the screen. If you want charts with indicators galore just ask me, they are available on request).
EUR/USD – Weekly Closing Price: 1.1338
GBP/USD – Weekly Closing Price: 1.5429
AUD/USD – Weekly Closing Price: 0.7093
NZD/USD – Weekly Closing Price: 0.6312
USD/CAD – Weekly Closing Price: 1.3262
USD/CHF – Weekly Closing Price: 0.9694
USD/JPY – Weekly Closing Price: 120.57
1.3: LOOKING SIDEWAYS (FOR GOOD MEASURE):
Although I have only been back in my office for about 10 days, basically re-familiarizing with the markets, reading and setting up initial trades, the currency market still looks like a scalpers paradise and at best a day trader’s marketplace. Longer term moves because of the choppiness that surrounds uncertainty is playing its part really well at keeping the swing traders pegged back to a large extent.
I have highlighted potential opportunities within the USD majors for this coming week. I am however very cautious this week given that the FOMC will dominate proceedings. My feelings are that we will just mainly be range bound up until the FOMC release. My gut feeling is that as usual when there is a major news announcement all that happens is that most well traded pairs gravitate to the middle of their range in anticipation of the data release.
From a traders perspective this week, in my opinion, whilst I can fully understand wanting to be long the USD ahead of the FOMC on Thursday, I would certainly be in the camp of, if you have trading positions open, they should be smaller. In my opinion, this is the week to pull back a little on being over exposed ahead of the FOMC.
Effective RISK and MONEY MANAGEMENT is the order of the day.
Whether you decide to be in trades or be in $$$$ just be careful.
WHAT’S ON MY MIND:
WILL THE FOMC DITHER
WILL YELLEN DELIVER THE PUNCH?
I went away on my summer break this year sick to the back teeth of hearing the ongoing FOMC relentless banter of; will they, won’t they, should they or shouldn’t they raise rates. Back from my break and it’s the same debate…September, October, December, Holy Mother of God, please stop.
Here are my thoughts; for seven or eight years the U.S. has basically had zero interest rates. All I hear is how good the U.S. economy is and how resilient the U.S. economy is, for all this good and resilience it can’t handle a 0.25% rate hike after eight years? Will you give me a bloody break? Either the U.S. data is as questionable as the Chinese data, or Wall Street has Janet Yellen’s arm twisted so far up her back that she cant sign the piece of paper sanctioning the rate increase.
One thing I do know is that Main Street USA needs confidence, if rates do not move they will believe that they are being fed bulls**t once again and confidence in the economy will nose dive. Main Street functions on “Ra-Ra’s”, the U.S. economy needs confidence as it is consumer driven. This consumer confidence feeds so many internal markets, housing, home improvements, retail spending, wholesale inventories etc.
If the FOMC just carries on supporting the pen pushing, desk sucking, jotter blotters from Wall Street, Yellen is in danger of being viewed as Bernanke in a skirt sucking up to and holding the hands of the few Wall Street individuals who are unable to function without the FED as a backstop.
With regards to the U.S. economy, the bravado from political commentators and analysts versus the actual economic data, which is mixed, makes for great TV but the continual mixed messages regarding the U.S. economic recovery and its strength is frankly confusing to many people. All this does is create uncertainty and affect confidence. It is quite bizarre and this continued uncertainty is bad for the markets.
Should the FOMC raise rates, I think that after the dust has settled my long and well-known fundamental views on divergent monetary policy by central banks will come into play. The USD should strengthen across the board. I do however have this buy the rumour sell the news feeling. This 0.25% hike has had so much press coverage for months, but, it could be the biggest non-event ever after the dust settles.
Should the FOMC delay “All bets are off” as far as I am concerned for a good few days, although unless the FED changes monetary policy, very unlikely, it just means the rate increase is more inevitable and closer moving ahead? However, a delay, in my opinion is weakness, and frankly it will create uncertainty and we will have volatility based around uncertainty, which is the worst type of volatility to have.
Should a delay happen, the analysts on CNBC would be running around like headless chickens trying to be the one who makes the most outrageous timing prediction moving ahead? You can just imagine the exaggerated headlines to keep viewers hooked… “Christmas at the FED is off”… “Janet Yellen has no time to buy a turkey this year as she agonizes over rate hike” and so on. Any proposed rate increases around December will of course create additional headlines and could affect sales around Thanksgiving (November 26th), “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. This is why I think the FED will raise this week.
Which is worse for the markets… being decisive or being a ditherer?
If you trade in equities, which I do not, it may be a time to invest in toilet paper / bathroom tissue etc. as the FED backstop to Wall Street is coming to an end. There will be some very confused people on Wall Street not being able to “Buy the dip” anymore. My God, chart analysis, company profiling, accurate valuations, product lines, supply and demand, management abilities, corporate strategic planning documents might all have to be taken into consideration for investment advice. It has the makings of a trading range sideways market for a while, unless the FED moves rates on a regular basis
Even if the FOMC raises rates and its viewed as an error in the future, the FOMC has at least had a weapon other than QE5 or whatever number we are at, in its armory, which, is more than what it has now!
There is so much to consider for the FOMC, therefore it may be sensible to trade small if not at all until the news is out
MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
OVERVIEW OF TRADING TIPS & THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD:
I am repeating myself a great deal this week.
It will be a quiet week of trading up to the FOMC on Thursday, no one will want to be establishing core trade set ups and people / institutions may well be exiting trades which will cause volatility spikes when they happen. Do not get suckered into these as you can end up on the wrong side of the trade very easily.
I will be taking some positions into the FOMC in addition to those held at the moment that I hope to retain through the FOMC into profit.
I am currently short EUR/USD and long GBP/NZD and AUD/NZD.
I am looking to add and I have limit orders in position for the USD/CHF, EUR/CHF and USD/CAD long plus the NZD/USD short. I am hoping to add one more trade ahead of the FOMC, with the others following the press conference.
It is a big week that will in my opinion set the market up for the next few months. I am really hoping that we have directional trading as a result and no more of this chop-chop daily affair that is with us at the moment.
Trade smart. POSITION SIZE to your broker size and use RISK MANAGEMENT to the penny. These are two of the keys to longevity in trading.
The Pip Accumulator