Currencies Stop the Dollar Rally
When I left you yesterday, the dollar was on a rampage, from the comments by the Russian Finance Minister, Kudrin… Was it an overreaction, I asked? A resounding YES was my answer… I think the proof is in the pudding on that this morning, as the dollar buying has hit a roadblock, and reversed overnight, with the euro (EUR) gaining back about 1%…
The euro also got a needed boost this morning, as German Investor Confidence jumped to a three-year high. Seems most investors believe the economic slump in Germany, the Eurozone’s largest economy, is easing… Of course, we know that while Investors believe the economic slump may be easing, it may, in reality, not be easing… It’s all about perception, right? Any old way, the currencies have rebounded from yesterday’s bloodbath… And now the currencies have a bid tone, and not the dollar!
And now a news flash just came across that these countries are “considering buying each other’s bonds, and swap currencies” to eliminate the dollar from those transactions… OK… Skip back to yesterday… Here’s what I said: “I would have to think that the Finance Ministers of these countries would be interested in knowing how they can avoid another downward spiral caused by dollar buying… And this would be the key, folks… I don’t know what it would be, but if they did something like a currency swap/foreign exchange line between each other for trade, that would be colossal! Which is bigger than HUGE!”
The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) meeting I told you about yesterday, actually happens today. Sorry for the mix-up, as I thought it would happen later this week. There were already comments hitting the news wires that Russian President Medvedev, wants to talk about issue of the dollar as the reserve currency… Now, if he does, and I’m not saying that he will, but if he does talk about that, doesn’t that wipe out the Finance Minister, Kudrin’s, comments about Russia’s belief in the dollar? And… If he does, and again, I’m not saying that he will, but if he does, my thoughts yesterday, that this would happen at the BRIC meeting, would come to fruition.
There’s always been a clamoring for a basket of currencies consisting of the BRIC countries… The problem is that the Russian ruble just isn’t liquid enough to get this done, like EverBank World Markets does their other CDs… So… How about dropping the “R” and doing a BIC? Well… Again, even though EverBank does offer these currencies of Brazil, India and China individually, it’s not easy… In fact it’s quite the ordeal to get them done… But, eventually, we’ll think of something!
OK… Now back to the goings on in the markets… This BRIC meeting today seems to have quite a hold on the markets’ attention today… And it is a BIG thing, IF they do discuss the alternative reserve currency talk… Talk the talk, and walk the walk… These countries can’t keep complaining about the need for a new reserve currency, and not do anything about it.
Looks like all the stimulus and money supply in the U.K. is beginning to show up in the inflation data… U.K. May CPI jumped 0.6%, thus pushing the year-on-year (YOY) figure to 2.2%! Now, this is important for a couple of reasons, folks… 1. It could signal an end of the easy money in the U.K. IF they are prudent in removing the stimulus, as they and their friends over at the Fed claim they will be… And 2. (And more importantly)… The U.S. has actually been behind the events surrounding the financial meltdown in the U.K…. So… If the U.K. is beginning to see inflation rise, it stands to reason that it won’t be long before we see it happening here too.
Down Under… The currencies of Australia (AUD) and New Zealand (NZD) both fell flat on their respective faces with the dollar on the rampage yesterday, but were able to rebound a bit overnight. They were moved higher, when the minutes of the last Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) hinted that the RBA was going to maintain their easing bias, but move to the sidelines for the foreseeable future… Folks… That’s central bank parlance for… This is it! Unless the sky falls! This is the bottom as far as rate cuts go! But… It will be a while until they move up.
Well, that’s how I read their statement! And I’ve been reading central bank statements for 17 years now… I think the traders that cover Aussie dollars think the same thing… And kiwi just grabbed on to the coat tails of the Aussie dollar.
Did you see the color of the TICs data yesterday? WOW! Or should I say, UGH? The net security purchases by foreigners for April showed a HUGE drop! The total net purchases were $11.2 billion… Versus $55 billion in March! And… The ongoing holdings of Treasuries feel a net of $2.6 billion… Now… Here’s where I get all ticked off, folks. We’ve had Japan, China and Russia all say publicly that they have full faith in U.S. dollar denominated assets (read Treasuries)… But when it came to backing up the talk with the walk… They failed to show that they have full faith in these assets, didn’t they!
These countries and their Finance Ministers caused investors HUGE losses with their statements, but when it comes down to the cheese that binds, these Finance Ministers didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to back up the statements… Well, at least in April they didn’t!
And $11.2 billion a month is not going to be enough to finance the current account deficit… Which will print tomorrow, how convenient! But that’s for April, and we won’t get all that data for months! However…
Right now, the “experts” believe the current account deficit, which consists of the trade deficit, and the Federal Direct Investment, will be a deficit of $85 billion (recall that the trade deficit had come down in the first quarter) for the first quarter… And going back, which is exactly what the Gov. doesn’t want anyone to do, I see that the total purchases in the first quarter were a mere $40.63 billion… There’s a $46 billion gap there, folks.
I’ve gone over this financing thing so many times in the past that it make my head spin just thinking about explaining it again… But, for those new to class… When a country has a financing problem (like it looks we had in the first quarter) the gap gets pushed to the next quarter and so on, until… The chickens come home to roost. And then, a country has only two choices… They can raise interest rates aggressively to make the assets more attractive to the foreigners, or… They can allow a general debasement/weakening of their currency, to make purchases of the assets cheaper by discounting the clearing mechanism… The dollar, in this case… So… Which one do you think a Gov., especially one like ours, will choose to use? Yeah, right, like they would choose number one!
OK… Some more depressing news about the housing sector came through yesterday, as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Home Price Index printed worse than expected. The “experts” forecast the NAHB would be a 17… And it printed at 15. Soon afterward, economist Robert Shiller, said that the housing downturn “was not over yet”… Economist Nouriel Roubini, said that “house prices will fall another 15-20%” and… Banking analyst Meredith Whitney said that “she is even more bearish than either Shiller or Roubini on housing.”
That’s not good news, folks… Nouriel Roubini as been dubbed as a gloom and doomer by the media… I don’t think so… He just tells it like it is, he can’t help it that it’s not all seashells and balloons for the economy, like the media would have you believe! Even still, when another analyst as prominent as Meredith Whitney says she’s even more bearish than Roubini, you’ve got to sit up and take notice!
I just can’t end the day’s letter with those two depressing stories back-to-back… Oh! Here’s an interesting story… The Japanese Finance Minister believes the recession in Japan is nearing an end… Yeah, right… If I had a 1 oz. Gold American Eagle Coin for each time a Japanese Finance Minister has said those words since 1990, I would be quite the “rich man”! But, the markets swallowed his statement hook, line and sinker, which is good for the yen (JPY)! Japanese yen outperformed all the currencies overnight, and is trading with a 96 handle once again!
Speaking of gold… It has rebounded by $8 this morning, as the sentiment to buy dollars has faded.