8.31.2009

Japanese Yen Surges as Stocks Drop on Election Results, China Bank Earnings (Euro Open)

The Japanese Yen surged sharply higher to start the trading week as stocks fell after an election brought the Democratic Party of Japan into power for the first time ever, boosting uncertainty about economic policy, while China’s shares dropped to a three-month low on disappointing earnings from China Merchants Bank.

Key Overnight Developments

• Japan: Industrial Production, Retail Trade Top Expectations; Manufacturing Expands
• Australia’s Business Loans Grow the Least in 7 Years, Company Profits Tumble
• New Zealand Business Confidence Rises to the Highest in Over a Decade
• Japanese Yen Surges as Stocks Drop Overnight on Earnings, Japan’s Election

Critical Levels



The Euro traded sideways in a narrow 30-pip range above 1.4290 in overnight trading. The British Pound trended lower after a brief test above the 1.63 level early in the session, giving up 0.2%. Technical positioning suggests the US Dollar is carving out a bottom against most major currencies.

Asia Session Highlights



The initial estimate of Japan’s Industrial Production showed that output added 1.9% in July from the previous month, more than economists expected but the least in four months. In annual terms, the pace of decline moderated to -22.9%, the slowest rate of contraction since December 2008. Output has rebounded from the lows noted in February as firms began to replenish inventories that had been depleted after sharp production cuts kicked in as overseas demand for Japanese cars and electronics began to drop off in March last year amid the deepening global economic crisis. Indeed, the Nomura/JMMA PMI gauge printed at 53.6 in August, showing that the manufacturing sector expanded for the second consecutive month. However, a sustainable upturn will have to come with growth in underlying demand, which seems destined to remain sluggish for some time. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its latest world economic outlook that global trade volumes are likely to rebound just 1% having shed a whopping -12.2% in 2009.

Meanwhile, Japanese Retail Trade unexpectedly fell just -2.5% in the year to July, the smallest drop since January. Economists had predicted a -3.5% decline ahead of the release. However, the improvement in the headline figure may not be indicative of a true rebound in consumer sentiment. Indeed, most of the improvement seems to have been driven by a 7.6% jump in motor vehicle sales, which can likely be chalked up to tax breaks on purchases of fuel-efficient cars that were included into the government’s fiscal stimulus package. Looking ahead, continued weakness in the labor market is likely to keep a lid on spending as layoffs weigh on disposable incomes.

Australian Private Sector Credit grew 0.2% as expected in July, driven by a 0.84% jump in loans for new house purchases, the largest increase since April of last year. Separately, the Housing Industry Association reported that New Home Sales grew for the second consecutive month in July, adding 0.1%. The improvement is suspect however, having likely owed to fiscal stimulus rather than improved consumer confidence as the government extended a scheme offering an A$21,000 grant for first-time home buyers in May. Most worryingly, business loans grew just 0.5%, the least in over 7 years, while Operating Profits fell by a nearly twice as much as economists expected in the second quarter. A meaningful economic recovery will not materialize without a rebound in private consumption. This, in turn, requires a rebound in the labor market, which seems highly unlikely if firms are not able to either earn or borrow adequate funding for expansion. On balance, this could translate into a double-dip recession as the inherently temporary boost from fiscal stimulus begins to fade.

In New Zealand, NBNZ Business Confidence rose to 34.2 in August, the highest in over a decade. However, as we noted in our New Zealand Dollar Weekly Forecast, improvements in the headline figure may be misleading. The higher reading implies that optimists are outnumbering pessimists by an increasingly wider margin among polled survey respondents, but this is no tall order considering the New Zealand economy has been shrinking for six consecutive quarters and could prove to be flimsy evidence of a sustainable recovery in economic growth. Put another way, the relative improvement in firms’ optimism is more so a factor of the sharp declines in the recent past rather than a meaningful surge in confidence about the future.

The Japanese Yen surged sharply higher, with a trade-weighted index of the unit’s average value adding 1.2% from Friday’s close as stocks tumbled 2% in Asian trading to boost demand for the safety-linked currency. Chinese shares led the selloff, dropping over 5% to a three-month low, as China Merchants Bank (the nation’s fifth largest lender by market value) reported a third consecutive quarter of falling profits and set aside additional funds to cover future loan defaults. Japanese stocks slipped nearly a full percentage point as an election swept the Democratic Party of Japan into power for the first time ever, raising uncertainty about the practical impact that the change of leadership will have on economic policy.

Euro Session: What to Expect



A preliminary estimate of the Euro Zone Consumer Price Index is expected to show that inflation fell at an annual pace of -0.3% in August, a slight improvement over the -0.7% result registered in the previous month. Still, the bottom line is that prices are set to decline for the third consecutive month, contributing to building expectations of lower prices in the future. This threatens to unleash a deflationary spiral that sees consumers and businesses perpetually hold off on spending and investment as they wait for the best possible bargain, bringing economic growth to a virtual standstill. At this point, a survey of economists polled by Bloomberg suggests the market sees CPI shrinking through the third quarter and returning to a path of positive growth by the end of the year. If this proves to be too rosy, traders may punish the Euro as it becomes clear that the currency bloc is heading for a long-term period of low interest rates and sub-par economic growth. A disappointing outcome seems likely considering the European Central Bank’s apparent inability to offer effective monetary easing as well as well-founded reservations about the sustainability of the upswing in economic growth seen in the second quarter.

Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Analyst
Article Source - Japanese Yen Surges as Stocks Drop on Election Results, China Bank Earnings (Euro Open)
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What is Forex?

If you would go out on a dinner with your friends or family and you mentioned that you were trading on the Forex market most of them wouldn’t know what you were talking about. The worst thing is that most of the Forex traders that join the Forex market don’t know what they are doing. Understanding what Forex is, is the first good step to your success at Forex trading.


The foreign exchange market (Currency, Forex, or FX) is where currency trading takes place. It is where banks and other official institutions facilitate the buying and selling of foreign currencies. Forex transactions typically involve one party purchasing a quantity of one currency in exchange for paying a quantity of another. The foreign exchange market that we see today started evolving during the 1970s when world over countries gradually switched to floating exchange rate from their erstwhile exchange rate regime, which remained fixed as per the Bretton Woods system till 1971.

Today, the Forex market is one of the largest and most liquid financial markets in the world, and includes trading between large banks, central banks, currency speculators, corporations, governments, and other institutions. The average daily volume in the global foreign exchange and related markets is continuously growing. Traditional daily turnover was reported to be over US$3.2 trillion in April 2007 by the Bank for International Settlements. Since then, the market has continued to grow. According to Euromoney's annual Forex Poll, volumes grew a further 41% between 2007 and 2008.

Forex Turnover

Forex Turnover
Main foreign exchange market turnover, 1988 - 2007, measured in billions of USD.
The purpose of Forex market is to facilitate trade and investment. The need for a foreign exchange market arises because of the presence of multifarious international currencies such as US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Yen, etc., and the need for trading in such currencies. Since you aren’t buying anything physical this kind of trading can be confusing. When buying a currency think of it as buying a part in that particular country’s economy because the currency rate reflects the economical situation of the country when compared to others.

Currencies

Currencies
List of most popular currencies on the Forex market

Forex used to be a closed market because only the “big boys” because you needed between 10 and 50 million $ to open an account. But today, with the development of internet, online Forex brokers have the possibility to offer their services to “little” traders. All you need to start is a computer, fast internet connection and information which you can find on this page also.

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This market is a platform for banks, transnational corporations and individual traders to change the currencies they possess into other ones. This is the spot Forex market. At this market you can trade with up to 1:400 leverage which means that you'll get $400 on your account for each dollar invested. So, you can trade with the $400,000 sum having invested $1,000 onto your account.

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