2021’s last (major) roll of the data and policy dice

Markets’ focus has in the past three weeks understandably been on the Omicron variant and the reaction function, present and future, of governments and central banks. The multiplication of social distancing restrictions and acceleration in booster jab programs in many major economies since late-November suggest that policy makers’ conviction that the Omicron variant will prove benign is still quite low.

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Crunch time for Singapore Dollar and Renminbi

We estimate that the USD-value of central bank FX reserves – adjusted for currency-valuation effects – in China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand rose by about $342bn (1.5% of GDP) between end-March 2020 and end-February 2021 (see Non-Japan Asia: NEERs and FX intervention, 26th March 2021). The increase, which ranged from 0.3% of GDP in China

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US and UK: The Comeback Kids

The US Dollar NEER has since 12th February appreciated about 2.3% to a 4-month high and its inverse correlation with the S&P 500 (-4.2%) has re-established itself. This is in line with our forecast that the Dollar’s sell-off in early February was “a small, short-term correction” rather than “another prolonged downtrend”. If anything we were not bullish enough. We are

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Emerging Market currencies: Hopes and Realities

Media coverage of Emerging Market currencies tends to oscillate between the very bearish and very bullish, with little differentiation between low and high-yielding currencies or between regional blocks let alone between the dozens of currencies still referred to, rightly or wrongly, as “emerging”. Price action in 2019 only partially vindicates this approach. News articles about the November EM currency rally

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Event risk and market volatility: Partners in crime

Market volatility has been reasonably subdued in recent weeks, despite acute event (and macro data) risk in the next four weeks, including of course US presidential elections on 3rd November, and a number of significant macro, policy and geopolitical developments. In the past month volatility in major developed and emerging market currencies versus the US Dollar has only risen materially

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