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Tue, 25th April 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “reserve currency” Tag

Forex reserves increase by $889.4 mn to $369.887 bn

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by USD 889.4 million to USD 369.887 billion during the week ended April 14, helped by increase in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank said.

They had declined by USD 956.4 million to USD 368.998 billion in the previous reporting week.

The reserves had touched a life-time high of USD 371.99 billion in the week to September 30, 2016.

Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, surged by USD 881 million to USD 346.248 billion in the reporting week, RBI said.

Expressed in US dollar terms, FCAs include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen, held in the reserves.

Gold reserves remained unchanged at USD 19.869 billion, the apex bank said.

The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund was up by USD 3.1 million to USD 1.446 billion.

India’s reserve position with the Fund, too, rose by USD 5.3 million to USD 2.323 billion, RBI said.

Trump puzzles traders, but sends European bonds to highest point of the year

“I like a low interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” Donald Trump told the Wall St Journal yesterday. His comments have further fired up already strong US government bonds, with the effects spilling over into European debt this morning. Like their US counterparts, German 10-year bond prices are now around their strongest point of the year.

Mr Trump’s new comments are not the only weight on global bond yields. Among other things, geopolitical nerves and the failure of his healthcare plans have also imposed a longer-term weight.

Still, 10-year Bund yields have sunk by 0.02 percentage points so far today to 0.175 per cent. (Yields fall when prices rise.) That’s the strongest level for Bunds since late December.

US yields, which exert a strong gravitational pull on other core markets, now stand at 2.32 per cent, the lowest since mid-November.

Some have doubts this will last.

Trump just set some kind of record for reversing rhetoric

Four election promises/statements reversed within an hour

Trump just reversed his position on NATO.

“NATO is not obsolete,” he said at a press conference today.

  1. He had previously said: “I said a long time ago that NATO had problems,” Trump said during the interview with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild. “Number
    one, it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years
    ago. Number two, the countries weren’t paying what they’re supposed to
    pay.”
  2. Yellen is ‘toast’, he had said.  He railed against Yellen and Federal Reserve in one of the debates but now he’s having second thoughts, saying he likes Yellen and is open to extender her term.
  3. Low rate policy. “They’re not doing their jobs,” by keeping rates low at the Fed, he said in the debate. Today: “I like low rate policy.”
  4. “China isn’t manipulating it’s currency,” he said today. That’s a 180-degree turn from what he was saying in the final weeks of the campaign, when he promised to label China a currency manipulator.

To top it off, he just said “Right now we’re not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low” in the relationship. He also said that going it alone against North Korea means going at it with other nations. “Going it alone means going it with lots of other nations.”

Hedge funds slash short 10-year Treasury future positions

Hedge funds have cut their short position in 10-year Treasury futures by nearly two-thirds from a one-year high set at the start of March, unwinding a popular trade as US sovereign debt has rallied.

Leveraged funds, a proxy for hedge funds, reduced their net short in 10-year Treasury futures by nearly 49,000 contracts in the week to April 4, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. The net short totaled 136,322 contracts, down from 365,650 contracts on March 7.

Traditional asset managers, who have taken the opposite side of the trade, have also reduced their net long to 226,655 contracts, the lowest level since February.

The central bank’s perceived hawkishness, alongside a sell-off in Treasuries after the US election, sent yields on the 10-year Treasury to a high of 2.62 per cent in December. Yields on the note have since slid, as the so-called Trump trade fades.

Soft NFP data has USD in retreat again but buyers lurking still

weaker than expected US non-farm payrolls data left bulls disappointed

  • Fed funds futures imply 61% now see June rate hike from 70% yesterday
  • 2year treasury yields hit 5 week low of 1.198%
  • 30yr yields touch lowest since 18 Jan at 2.939%
  • 5year yields 1.784% lowest since Nov 2016

So who thinks a rate hike is imminent now? Ok, so one swallow doesn’t make an summer but if the Fed is data dependent then this will have them scratching their chins at the very least

USD buyers returning though as I type as befits a market that’s chasing shadows with Syria and Trump/Xi talks also in the mix as I highlighted earlier.

GBPUSD back to 1.2428 after failing at 1.2450 again. USDJPY 110.44 from 110.16. EURUSD 1.0624 from 1.0667.

As we were then before the data came out but I hope you took the opportunity to take some profit or enter into fresh trades.

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.

Gold forecast from BNP, lower due to Fed hikes ($ 1220 for 2017 ,$ 1120 for 2018 )

A piece from BNP says analysts there are bearish on gold due to a stronger USD expected as the Federal Reserve hikes rates

BNPs gold forecast
  • An average price of USD1,245 for Q2 of 2017
  • $1220 for 2017 as a whole on average
  • $1120 for 2018 as a whole on average
  • BNP hedge that demand may increase on European political uncertainty though
  • Longer term trend remains down though
On the Fed:
  • Expect a total of 3 Federal Reserve hikes this year
  • And more over the coming year, says market is too complacent on the potential 2018 hikes also

Axel Merk On What’s Next For The Dollar, Gold, & Stocks?

Two rate hikes since last year have weakened the dollar. Why is that, and what’s ahead for dollar, currencies & gold? And while we are at it, we’ll chime in on what may be in store for the stock market…

Stocks…

The chart above shows the S&P 500, the price of gold and the U.S. dollar index since the beginning of 2016. The year 2016 started with a rout in the equity markets which was soon forgotten, allowing the multi-year bull market to continue. After last November’s election we have had the onset of what some refer to as the Trump rally. Volatility in the stock market has come down to what may be historic lows. Of late, many trading days appear to start on a down note, although late day rallies (possibly due to retail money flowing into index funds) are quite common.

Where do stocks go from here? Of late, we have heard outspoken money manager Jeff Gundlach suggests that bear markets only happen if the economy turns down; and that his indicators suggest that there’s no recession in sight. We agree that bear markets are more commonly associated with recessions, but with due respect to Mr. Gundlach, the October 1987 crash is a notable exception. The 1987 crash was an environment that suffered mostly from valuations that had gotten too high; an environment where nothing could possibly go wrong: the concept of “portfolio insurance” was en vogue at the time. Without going into detail of how portfolio insurance worked, let it be said that it relied on market liquidity. The market took a serious nosedive when the linkage between the S&P futures markets and their underlying stocks broke down.

Fed’s Mester: Built in >3 hikes to her forecasts for 2017

Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve bank branch in Cleveland:

  • It is important for public to understand that variation on inflation is expected and normal
  • Says she built in more than three hikes into her forecasts for 2017
  • Would be concerned if there were less than three rate hikes this year if US economic data holds up
  • Says on rising business sentiment that there isn’t yet convincing evidence that firms are spending more as a result in her district
  • FOMC continues to discuss implementation and timing of change on balance sheet policy, can offer no further details
  • Balance sheet policy should not substitute for federal funds rate changes
  • Says there is not enough precision to use balance sheet as an ‘active’ tool outside of extraordinary circumstances

Post-FOMC Reuters poll of primary dealers: Most see 2 more hikes this year

Reuters poll of banks that do business directly with the Federal Reserve, these are the US ‘Primary Dealers” banks:

  • Most US primary dealers see 2 more Fed rate hikes in 2017 and at least 3 in 2018
  • 16 of 17 primary dealers expect federal funds target rate to rise to 1.25-1.50% by year end (vs. 0.75-1.00% now)
  • 11 of 17 dealers see next Fed rate hike by end of Q2; 6 see next move by end of Q3
  • 12 of 15 dealers see at least 3 hikes in 2018; 7 see 3 increases while 5 forecast 4 hikes
  • -8 of 15 dealers see the Fed announcing its balance sheet reduction plan later this year; 7 see it happening in 2018 or later
  • On near-term risks to the economy, 6 cite trade policy as greatest threat, 5 cite fiscal policy, 2 cite us dollar strength