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Sat, 27th May 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Bretton Woods system” Tag

Four Numbers to Watch in Forex

The US dollar’s downside momentum faded today.  While one should not read much into it, it could be an early sign that the market has discounted the recent news stream,  which includes the fear that the political turmoil in the Washington will adversely impact the President’s economic program, and the continued above trend growth in the eurozone.
The Fed funds futures continue to discount a strong change of a June Fed hike.  Bloomberg puts the odds at 95% of a hike, while the CME’s model says it is about 83% discounted.  Our calculation puts it at 81%.  A June hike would put the Fed funds target range at 1.00%-1.25%.  
Although the two-year note is trading a few basis points through the top of the presumed new range, the odds that the Fed funds target range will be 1.25%-1.50% by the end of the year is also rising slowly.  Bloomberg sees a 45% chance, up from about 28% a month ago.  The CME sees the odds at 39% compared with about 30% a month ago.  
European growth remains above trend and the flash May PMIs today suggest another strong quarter. However, price pressures remain elusive.  Prices in the PMI fell for the first time in 15 months.    To suggest the ECB could hike rates if it weren’t for the low inflation , is like asking, “Besides that Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?”

Nigeria naira slides to 405 to dollar on black market

When it comes to Nigeria’s currency, mind the gap, again: the spread between the official and parallel market rates for the naira is widening once more.

During a more than two-week run, the naira strengthened to a six-month high of 390 per dollar on the black market – close to one of the multiple official exchange rates, but still far off the interbank rate of around 305 to the dollar.

However, the naira is weakening once more on the black market, slipping below 400 to the dollar, to 405 to the dollar on Monday, according to traders.

In the absence of adequate supplies of dollars in the official market, businesses and individuals have been forced to buy hard currency on the black market, stoking demand there and eventually weakening the naira to a record low of 520 in February. Analysts said the gap between the official rate of just over 300 to the dollar and the black market one indicated the scale of unmet demand for hard currency in Africa’s most populous nation.

India : GOLD IMPORT SHRINKS 24 % TO $23 BN IN APRIL-FEB FY17

India’s gold import witnessed a fall of about 24 per cent to $23.22 billion in April- February period of the last fiscal, which is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit.

Total import of the precious metal in the corresponding period of 2015-16 stood at $30.71 billion.

According to industry experts, softening prices of gold in the domestic and world markets could be the reason for the same.

The contraction in import helped in narrowing the trade deficit to $95.2 billion during the 11-month period of 2016-17 as against $114.3 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.   

Comments from China meetings coming out from Ross/Tillerson/Mnuchin

No joint statement released from the White House

Comments from Tillerson”
  • Trump/Xi had frank,, candid open talks
  • Trump raised serious concerns about the impact of China’s industrial, cyber, agricultural policies on US jobs
  • Agreed to Increase cooperation to convince North Korea to curb nuclear program
  • Trump/Xi Shared view that North Korea nuclear advancement has reached serious stage
  • noted importance of adherence to international norms in south China in East China Sea’s
  • agreed to new format for US China talks
  • Xi invited Trump for a state visit at a future date
  • Understood the US rresponse  to Syria chemical attacks because of the deaths of children
Mnuchin comments:
  • Held first comprehensive economic dialogue with Chinese counterparts on Friday
  • The Treasury Department will address currency issue in regular report
Commerce Secretary Ross
  • Most significant result of US China talks was hundred day plan
  • given range of issues between US and China the pace may be ambitious, but there is growing rapport between the two countries
  • Objective of  100 day plan is to increase US exports to China and reduce trade deficit
  • China expressed an interest in reducing net trade balance  because of the impact it is having on money supply and inflation

IMF First China Foreign Currency Report Puts Reserves at $10.8Trln

Yuan banknotes and US dollars are seen on a table in Yichang, central China's Hubei province on August 14, 2015Prior to Friday’s report, IMF currency data was limited to the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, UK pound sterling, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc, and an indistinguishable category of “other currencies.”

“With the separate identification of reserves in RMB [Renminbi], eight currencies are now distinguished,” the IMF publication stated.

Chinese holdings of US dollars were $5.1 trillion at the end of 2016, compared with $10.8 trillion in total foreign currency reserves, the report explained.

The remainder was divided among other currencies, with euro holdings the largest at $1.6 trillion, according to the IMF.

SNB leaves rates unchanged at March 2017 meeting

Swiss National Bank leaves rates unchanged at March 2017 monetary policy meeting

  • 3 month LIBOR lower target range -1.25%
  • 3 month LIBOR upper target range -0.25%
  • Sight deposit rate -0.75%

All as expected.

  • Will remain active in FX market as necessary
  • Swiss Franc significantly overvalued
  • Swiss forecasts is marked by considerable uncertainty from international risks
  • Raises 2017 CPI forecast to 0.3% vs 0.1% in Dec
  • 2018 CPI 0.4% vs 0.5% prior
  • 2019 CPI 1.1%
  • Maintains 2017 GDP at “roughly” 1.5%

India : Gold imports said to almost triple in February on wedding demand

Gold imports by India, which competes with China for the role of world’s biggest consumer, are said to have risen almost three-fold in February from a year earlier as jewellers increased stockpiles before the festival and wedding period that starts next month.

Shipments jumped 175% to 96.4 metric tons in February from a year earlier, according to a person familiar with provisional data from the finance ministry, who asked not to be identified as the data aren’t public. Overseas purchases slid 32% to 595.5 tons in the 11 months to February. Ministry spokesman D. S. Malik declined to comment on the data.

After a lull in demand exacerbated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to withdraw high denomination currency notes, jewellers are building up inventories.

They expect to see some recovery in purchases ahead of India’s wedding season and on the auspicious Hindu gold-buying day of Akshaya Tritiya that falls toward the end of April this year.

Bitcoin price tops gold for the first time ever

The price of a bitcoin has climbed above that of a troy ounce of gold for the first time on record after the cryptocurrency enjoyed a dramatic upswing in interest since last year.

Bitcoin has jumped by nearly 33 per cent this year to trade at $1,265 on Thursday amid a surge in interest in China, where the authorities fret the digital currency is being used to facilitate capital flight from the country. Bitcoin has risen nearly 200 per cent over the past 12 months, despite efforts to curb its use in China.

Of course, comparing gold to bitcoin is arbitrary, given that the precious metal is measured in weight – a troy ounce of gold (about 31 grams) cost $1,233 on Thursday – while the virtual currency beloved of technologists is entirely ephemeral and abstract. But the cross is nonetheless symbolic of its unexpected staying power and influence in certain circles.

SEC officials on February 14 met with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss – the bitcoin ETF’s champions – to discuss the proposal and a decision is due by March 11, according to Bloomberg.

The digital currency came close to the headline gold price in late 2013, when it spiked above $1,000 per dollar for the first time, but then quickly halved in value in 2014, traded sideways for much of 2015 before embarking on a sharp rally in the middle of last year.

Greek unemployment sticks at 23% amid escalating bailout row

Still no respite for Greece.

Amid a fresh escalation in a row over its bailout conditions, Greece’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is showing no sign of improvement.

The country’s jobless rate – which is the highest in the eurozone and has been above 20 per cent for six years – stuck at 23 per cent in November despite a general uptick in its economic prospects at the end of 2016.

The IMF has been accused by Athens and Brussels of an “overly pessimistic” view on the Syriza government’s ability to hit a 3.5 per cent budget surplus target over the next decade, which has led it to a wrong-headed forecast on Greece’s “explosive” debt dynamics.

The Fund’s latest report on the Greek economy suggest its debt-to-GDP mountain could reach 275 per cent over the next two decades without major debt restructuring. Unemployment meanwhile will only fall to 21.7 per cent this year, while the country’s long-term growth rate was downgraded to 1 per cent, IMF economists predict.

Japan resurfaces as No. 2 contributor to US trade deficit

Japan accounted for $68.9 billion of the U.S. trade deficit on goods in 2016, re-emerging as the second-largest contributor for the first time in three years for a potential flashpoint when the leaders of the two nations meet Friday.

The overall U.S. trade deficit on goods shrank by 1.5% to $734.3 billion last year on a Census basis, according to Department of Commerce data released Tuesday. Exports fell 3.2% to $1.45 trillion on a strong dollar, but imports decreased 2.6% to $2.18 trillion.

 The country logged a $247.8 billion surplus on services, bringing the overall U.S. trade deficit to $502.3 billion on a balance of payments basis.

The goods deficit with Japan remained roughly flat and accounted for 9% of the U.S. total. The deficit on motor vehicles and parts — an area in which President Donald Trump claims Japan engages in unfair practices — jumped to $52.6 billion from $48.9 billion in 2015, making up nearly 80% of the total American deficit with Japan.

Japanese automakers are increasing production in North America. But cars sold from Japan to the U.S. tend to be higher-end models, and the average price per unit is rising.

China was the top contributor to the U.S. trade deficit on goods, accounting for $347 billion, or 47%. Germany ranked third and Mexico fourth. Trump, seeking to curb the deficit, has accused Japan, China and Germany of manipulating their currencies. The president also demands a renegotiation of NAFTA with Mexico.