Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) “unjustified” and “unsustainable”

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Last Wednesday (January 28, 2015), Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) left interest rate or Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 3.5%. In a statement, two key words “unjustified” and “unsustainable” left Kiwi tumbling. In the statement, “While the New Zealand dollar has eased recently, we believe the exchange rate remains unjustified in terms of current economic conditions, particularly export prices, and unsustainable in terms of New Zealand’s long-term economic fundamentals. We expect to see a further significant depreciation.” They said that NZD or Kiwi exchange rate is too high and they expect it to decline further.”We expect to see a further significant depreciation” signals to me that RBNZ is planning to interfere in their currency, Kiwi. (or they just said that to make their currency to decline). Kiwi fell to the lowest March 2011.

30M (30 Minute) Chart
NZD/USD – 30M (30 Minute) Chart

 

In 2014, RBNZ raised Official Cash Rate (OCR) from 2.50% to 3.50%, increase of 1%. They raised OCR by 0.25% in four consecutive months in 2014; March, April, June and July. That was around the time oil plunge began, which is June. From September to today, they did not raise OCR. Since oil declined more than everybody expected, RBNZ stopped raising OCR. RBNZ’s tone on the interest rate shifted to a neutral stance, “In the current circumstances, we expect to keep the OCR on hold for some time. Future interest rate adjustments, either up or down, will depend on the emerging flow of economic data.”

NZD-USD 4
NZD/USD – Daily Chart

I would be short on kiwi. If you want to go short on kiwi, I would suggest waiting until it rebounds little bit. I’m already short on it and have been since the beginning of January. If you want to know, where and when I went short, the chart below will tell you. These small lines you see are fit for 1H (Hourly) chart. What you see below is daily chart.

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Federal Reserve – January, 2015

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Last Wednesday (January 28, 2015), the Federal Reserve released its meeting statement for January 2015. They kept interest rates unchanged, for now. They maintained the key word “patient” on interest rate hike. “Patient” says that FOMC is not in a rush to raise the interest rates. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in the statement said “…economic activity has been expanding at a solid pace.  Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.” They viewed the economy in a good shape overall. Regarding inflation, they said ” Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices.” They are blaming declining oil prices for the decreasing inflation. They also said “Inflation is anticipated to decline further in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate.” They expect inflation to decline as oil continues to decline in the near term. “Near term” can be about 6 months. They’re also saying that they expect oil prices to increase in “medium term”, which also can lift inflation. “Medium term” can be around 2 years.

In the statement, they are giving us some clues of future rate hike. “…readings on financial and international developments.” can account for rates. If the future financial reports are positive and international situations cools down, they might go for rate hike. Therefore, “…the Committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy.” What they said in 3rd paragraph of the last 2 sentences can be very helpful in predicting timing of rate hike, “Based on its current assessment,   However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated.  Conversely, if progress proves slower than expected, then increases in the target range are likely to occur later than currently anticipated. If the future financial reports come out very positive and way better than expectations, we can conclude that rate hike is nearing. If, it’s worse than expectations, then we can conclude that rate hike is too far, but reachable.

All 10 FOMC members agreed with the statement (unanimous) since June 2014. If a certain situation slightly changes. Some, but not all might change their views. If a certain situation changes dramatically, all of FOMC members might be unanimous in the future statements.

Financial markets’ reactions to FOMC statement.

Hourly Chart
Hourly Chart
USD-JPY reaction to FOMC Jan 2015
Hourly Chart

I will be watching future financial reports such as ISM Manufacturing PMI and jobs reports, which are coming out next week. Using these types of reports and more, I will try to time the rate hike. As of right now, I believe it’s coming in the summer.

 

 

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European Central Bank (ECB) Announces Quantitative Easing (QE)

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On Thursday (January 22, 2015), European Central Bank (ECB) announced Quantitative Easing (QE) program. They left interest rates unchanged. During the press conference, ECB governor, Mario Draghi announced quantitative easing to the tune of €60 billion ($67.5 trillion) per month from March 2015 to September 2016 (19 months). The total amount sums to €1.1 trillion ($1.25 trillion). The day before, there was reports that ECB was going to announces €50 billion per month until year end. On Thursday, we found out the truth, €60B a month until 2016. During the press conference, Draghi said “…conducted until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation which is consistent with our aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.” He’s saying that QE program won’t end until they achieve their goal, inflation close to 2% but below.

The interest rates were left unchanged and it was not much market mover. But, during the press conference, when QE was announced, global markets were violent or should I say choppy?. European markets spiked, then dropped. By Friday (the day after QE was announced), European stocks hit 7-year highs. US markets rallied on Thursday. U.S markets rallied because more money are being pumped into U.S. However on Friday, U.S markets were mostly down because of worries that strong dollar will hurt U.S corporate earnings. Announcement of QE also knocked down euro to its knees. During the first 30 minutes of press conference (where QE was announced), EUR/USD was choppy. In the next 23 hours, EUR/USD fell all the way to 1.1113 (Friday 8 A.M EST) from around 1.1600 (post ECB conference), which is almost 500 pips in a day, actually 23 hours (from 9 A.M EST to 8. A.M EST).

EUR/USD - Hourly
EUR/USD – Hourly

Tomorrow, we will find out the results of Greek Elections. I believe Greece is going to stay in Euro-zone, which is going to give EUR some relief. Then, it will be a good place to sell EUR/USD because QE (Bearish) weights more than Greek staying in Euro-zone (Bullish). If Greece leaves Euro-zone, it’s another reason to be bearish on Euro currency.

Why did ECB announce QE?

ECB announced QE to fight back low euro-zone inflation. Many Euro-zone countries are close to deflation while some of them are already there. To boost the economy, ECB will print more money and increase the amount of money available to financial institutions.

There’s also a hope that QE will boost equity markets. When Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced expansion of a large monetary-stimulus program in October 31, 2014 Japan time, Japan stocks skyrocketed and Yen tumbled.

What’s great about a weaker euro? It benefits manufacturers and exporting nations. But, it can hurt international companies such as Cisco Systems, IMB,  Pepsi, etc.

Unlike Swiss National Bank (SNB), announcement of QE by ECB was much anticipated. We all knew it was coming. Although I thought it was going to be limited for some time before full-blown QE kicks in. I thought ECB would hold off until February or March because of Greek elections. Anyway, QE is starting in a month or March.

 

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Now, Bank of Canada (BoC) Shocks by rate cut. Who’s next?

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On Wednesday (January 21, 2015), Bank of Canada (BOC) announced that it is cutting the overnight rate to 0.75% from 1.00%. Bank rate and deposit rates stay the same, bank rate at 1.00% and deposit rate at 0.5%. Their reason for cutting overnight rate by a quarter?

Oil is the reason. For the past six months, crude oil (WTI) has been declining about 60%. BOC says that drop in oil prices are “negative for growth and underlying inflation…”. Fall in oil prices hurts Canadian economy because they are 3rd largest oil-exporting country. Oil-importing countries, such as China and the United States are benefiting from low oil prices.

Crude Oil
Crude Oil – Daily

Immediately after the announcement, loonie (CAD) fell over 200 pips, pushing USD/CAD to 1.2273 from 1.2063 (210 pips) in first 15 minutes (From 10:00 AM to 10:15 AM). USD/CAD kept hitting new highs since early 2009 (still is, for now). BOC expects oil prices to be around $60 in medium term (next two years). During the opening statement, BOC governor, Stephen S. Poloz said something that gave little more power for loonie to decline.

USD/CAD
USD/CAD – Hourly

During the opening statement, Governer Poloz said “The Bank has room to maneuver should its forecast prove to be either too pessimistic or too optimistic.” If conditions gets worse than what BOC expects, they might cut the overnight rate further. The statement caused USD/CAD to jump little higher. At the end, one thing that was said surprised me. Governor said “…we discussed the risk that by moving today we would surprise financial markets. We generally prefer that markets not be surprised by what we do…” Two opposite things are being said here. But, there were some rumors to rate cut days before. Since oil price decline increases the downside to Canadian economy. Rate cuts are” intended to provide insurance against these risks.”

If oil continues to decline until March, BOC might cut the overnight rate. I believe that because they warned us of further cuts from both on a press release and press conference. As of right now, I believe crude oil will fall to an area of $40.50. Then, stay there for several weeks. I’m saying this because technical analysis. I’m not an expert on crude oil, yet.

Who’s next to cut the rates? I believe it’s Reserve Bank of Australia  (RBA). Since August 2013, Cash Rate Target has been staying at 2.50%. In the beginning, most of their monetary policy decisions statements included sentences “The exchange rate remains high by historical standards, particularly given the declines in key commodity prices, and hence is offering less assistance than it might in achieving balanced growth in the economy.” Now, they say “The exchange rate has traded at lower levels recently, in large part reflecting the strengthening US dollar. But the Australian dollar remains above most estimates of its fundamental value, particularly given the significant declines in key commodity prices in recent months. A lower exchange rate is likely to be needed to achieve balanced growth in the economy”. They were saying that to weaken Aussie. They know how much their “words” has the power to cause large changes in the exchange rate. In the long-term, AUD/USD was (still is) in a downtrend. They might cut rates in February (February 2, 2015) or March (March 2, 2015), to further weaken Aussie. Further information about RBA monetary policy can be found here. (Note: times/dates are in EST).

 

AUD/USD - Daily
AUD/USD – Daily

 

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