Waiting with bated breath for Thursday ECB meeting

Image

Asianmacro has many close friends in the ”real world” i.e. people who are engaged in real productive businesses or employment like doctors, engineers, businessmen, lawyers (OK maybe not lawyers) …. where FOMC. ECB, QE & other financial lingo don’t mean much to them! However, what you do not know nor care in your regular life in going for work in the morning at 9 a.m., punching out at 5 p.m. (if there is even regular hours anymore like days of old!) does not mean that you will not be affected by events & developments which only financial market practitioners care about to monitor with a hawk eye.

In fact since the 2008 global financial crisis, everything that has happened especially in the real world & economy affecting many lives can be traced back to financial markets development & actions taken by governments & central banks since.

The most important event coming up with reverberating effects globally with be this upcoming European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday 5 May.  All expectations are on Draghi, the ECB President to cut Eurozone refinance rate and unleash their version of QE as well. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/02/us-markets-forex-idUSKBN0EA11M20140602 . From the chart above, we can see that EUR/USD has plunged from 1.40 to 1.36 currently in the past one over week end May as short positions (*best captured by the IMM CFTC net non-commercial positions) reached the highest level of shorts in 2014. Risk reversals volatility prices (where price of calls over puts) have fallen as well with options market pricing more demand for EUR puts over calls.

In the chart below, in fact, Citigroup Pain Index is at an extreme negative level. This is a FX Positioning Alert Indicator that infer positioning of active currency traders from relationships between exchange rates and currency managers’ returns. A positive reading suggests that currency traders have been net long the currency and a negative reading suggests that currency traders have been net short the currency, and in this case, the market is extremely short EUR.

We can also see that the yield spread between 2-year EUR rates & USD rates have gone to an extreme level since EUR rates fell a lot more & quicker in the recent weeks vis-a-vis USD rates.

Image

When the entire sell-side screams for lower EUR & for further short EUR recommendations into ECB meeting, this is when Asianmacro gets worried over the imbalance of sentiments. Sometimes, the markets have no logic beyond street positioning & will go to the maximum pain to squeeze out the weak hands. As such, I have close out my short EUR/USD position & in fact turned long via 3-day EUR 1.3600 strike call options NY cut expiry (NYC 10 a.m. expiry which is right after ECB meeting decision & when the ECB press conference is underway). From illustration below, it cost my only 33 b.p. (or an equivalent of 40 pips in FX terms) with breakeven at 1.3640. If Draghi underwhelms in delivering an ECB cut & tone in his press conference, EUR/USD might just fly up to 1.3750-1.3800 level and I will be a happy man via my options & allow me to re-sell EUR/USD to take profit & establish new EUR shorts if it make sense again. If ECB overwhelms with aggressive cut & dovish undertones & EUR/USD plunge further, I don’t lose much beyond my small option premium for the call option that will expire worthless.

Image

Advertisements

Long $/IDR … as Indonesia cuts its nose to spite the face besides elections uncertainty

Image

Asianmacro has touched briefly on shorting IDR together with NZD & Gold very recently on 6 May 2014 & they are already working well https://asianmacro.com/2014/05/06/sell-in-may-go-away-the-question-is-what/ .

Besides the Presidential elections uncertainty, concerns are mounting again on the Indonesian iron-ore exports ban unless they are processed in-country.  Seems like the country has cut its nose to spite the face & shot itself in its foot to me! http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a0e7256c-c455-11e3-b2c3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz312j7F7nE .

Asianmacro sees that all the mis-steps with elections uncertainty will make long $/IDR a good risk-reward trade to add on even at current levels 11570 spot & as for the Non-Deliverable-Forwards *NDF (11600 1-month NDF & 11700 3-month NDF).

From above chart, we should see 12,000 & maybe even 12,500 soon in spot $/IDR retracing back to its recent highs earlier in the year before the Jokowi feel good effect started.

 

 

India Elections: Modi muddles … NIFTY shudders … INR falters

Asianmacro loves trading & positioning in the Indian markets across FX, rates, equities & credits from time to time when special situations & catalysts comes about in this country.  As it has such a messy democratic process, coupled with unpredictable weather (*rainfalls & weather is such a big thing for such an agrarian society).  India also has a superstitious & chart crazy technical driven domestic market (*the Indians religiously follow candlesticks & all forms of chart studies including financial astrology) …  and it all comes to a boil every now & then!

The massive depreciation of INR from 52 against USD to about 70 in 2013 together with the appointment of the well respected Raghuram Govinda Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor in September 2013 when $/INR was 70 marked the peak & turnaround of the FX pair.  Indian stock market, NIFTY rallied strongly since as well.

Presently, Asianmacro is worried about the impending return of El Nino http://www.livemint.com/Politics/JpJfZbdhAmV1qT3qWkVeoO/El-Nino-alert-issued-by-Australia-as-event-seen-developing.html  & also the Indian elections is really a muddling headache for India whichever way it goes, where Modi while serving well within India is not viewed favourably in the West, http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/05/05/india-elections-four-pitfalls-for-modi-and-the-bjp/

Image

From the chart above, it just make sense to me that unless there is really some good news coming out in weather or politics; having a short INR and short NIFTY position will be my favoured play to wear diamonds soon!

Sell in May & Go Away … the question is what?

It is May now and the famous ”Sell in May & Go Away!” mantra always resonate in financial markets.  The question this time is a challenging, what to really sell?

The top 10 & bottom 10 performers in global equity indices are shown here.  You will notice that the top performers are really those marginal frontier markets mostly that nobody really invest in a big way. While the bottom performers are some of the bigger markets that have sold down substantially already like Nikkei 225 (Japan) and Hang Seng (Hong Kong).

Image

Similarly in currencies below, besides NZD (New Zealand dollar) & Gold that have gained more than 5% against USD, the best spot returns are from relatively illiquid currencies that nobody owns much of; while major currencies like EUR, GBP, CHF are only 1% up for the year which is almost a rounding error.

Image

If there is something that I want really want to sell or short in May, I guess I am now looking at cheap downside bets in NZD, Gold and IDR.  Asianmacro never like the frothy levels of milk anyway and prefers soy latte rather than regular milk latte coupled with an exuberant Kiwi banking sector holding up the economy http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/05/06/new-zealand-banks-arent-playing-ball-with-rbnz/ .  For Gold, I can find more things that glitters like LED lights & the safe haven bid due to the Russian / Ukraine fears are overplayed.  Lastly in the case of IDR, well the Jokowi feel good effect in Indonesia is all but played out.  The follow on Presidential elections will take on a more complex Javanese shadow puppet play that will mean more uncertainty http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/05/05/prabowo-desperately-seeking-partners-jokowi-flexes-muscles.html that the markets will not like soon.

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE RISK OFF TRIGGER … U.S. SENDS MISSILE DEFENSE TO GUAM!

Image

Illustration 1: Continental U.S. land based missile defense system cannot cover Guam

You have all been warned by Asianmacro from all my post in the past 2 weeks to prepare for a down leg in risks.  The final trigger can be the news that U.S. will send a missile defense to Guam as it is currently undefended and out-of-range of continental U.S. land based missile defense systems.  You can also refer to the U.S. Department of Defense on their Ballistic Missile Defense Report in 2010 for more details. http://www.defense.gov/bmdr/docs/BMDR%20as%20of%2026JAN10%200630_for%20web.pdf

Let’s make some good money if you have prepared well!

 

 

*Asianmacro is a beach bum managing his own wealth.  Besides deciding what to have for lunch (or hitting the gym sometimes), he is mostly found listening to loud music while trading and investing for himself.  While every care has been taken in preparing the information in and/or materials, such information and materials are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or  implied. In particular, no warranty regarding accuracy or fitness for a purpose is given in connection with such information and materials. The opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and independent advice should be sought where appropriate. In no event will Asianmacro be liable to you for any direct or indirect or any other damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your reliance on any information in and/or materials attached herewith.  Asianmacro may already have or intend to have a trading or investment position in the financial instruments or products referred to in this communication.  This is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument and Asianmacro may also have interests different from or adverse to your interests.

Be warned ! …. the Ting Hai (丁蟹) effect may kick in

Image

*Saving General Yang — comes out on 4 April 2013

 

If you think that the weaker than expected China Manufacturing PMI (official figures or those of HSBC) released in Asian morning were the catalysts for the risk off move lower in Asian stocks and AUD FX …. wait till the ”Ting Hai (丁蟹) effect” kicks in if this time is no different from the past!

 

The person and event to watch is Adam Cheng Siu-chow.  Whenever Cheng’s films hit movie and TV screens, the Hang Seng index tends to collapse.  Cheng’s next movie — Saving General Yang — comes out on 4 April 2013.

 

Cheng had shows airing during the Asian financial crisis of 1998 and the tech bubble burst of 2000.  The market fell during 11 of 17 of his television shows since 1992.  It seems that the markets do worse when the series / shows are more tragic.  (*Do note that Saving General Yang is pretty gory and tragic!).

This phenomenon is called the ”Ting Hai (丁蟹) effect” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ting_Hai_effect named after one of Cheng’s characters who makes money by shorting derivatives and stocks.

 

Check out the unbelievable statistics of the market risk off downturn from Adam Cheng:

1990s

  • October 1992: The drama series Greed of Man made its debut on TVB. During the time it was broadcast, the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 598 to 600 points
  • November 1994: Instinct (笑看風雲) made its debut on TVB. The Heng Sang Index fell more than 2,000 points.
  • September 1996: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai (新上海灘) premiered on TVB. The Hang Seng Index fell 300 points.
  • June 1997: Cold Blood Warm Heart (天地男兒) made its debut on TVB. The Hang Seng Index accumulated 735 points in losses.
  • December 1997: Legend of Yung Ching (江湖奇俠傳) was followed by a fall of 1.4% in the Hang Seng Index.
  • June 1999, Lord of Imprisonment (神劍萬里追) was followed by a fall of 6.5% in the Hang Seng Index.

2000s

  • September 2000: A loose sequel of The Greed of ManDivine Retribution aired on ATV. Due to the Tech stock bubble at the time, the Hang Seng Index fell an accumulated 1,715 points, with other stock markets around the world falling as a result also.
  • March 2004: Blade Heart (血薦軒轅) premiered in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 550 points over 3 days due to high oil prices and instabilities in the Middle East.
  • October 2004: The Conqueror’s Story (楚漢驕雄) premiered in Hong Kong, followed by a 198-point drop in the Heng Seng Index on the day of the premiere.
  • March 2005: The Prince’s Shadow (御用閒人) broadcast of the first episode, the Hang Seng dropped 100 points by noon, then rose back 90 points by the end of the day.
  • July 2007: Return Home (香港傳奇-榮歸) broadcast and the market to fell 1,165 points.
  • March 30, 2009: The King of Snooker (桌球天王) premiered in Hong Kong. The Heng Seng Index fell 663.17 points.

 

Asianmacro is not superstitious by nature and correlations does not infer causality. However if a sufficient number of people choose to believe in this mumbo jumbo ”Ting Hai (丁蟹) effect”, it might just become a self fulfilling prophecy and the markets de-risk and takes on a life of its own …..

 

 

*Asianmacro is a beach bum managing his own wealth.  Besides deciding what to have for lunch (or hitting the gym sometimes), he is mostly found listening to loud music while trading and investing for himself.  While every care has been taken in preparing the information in and/or materials, such information and materials are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or  implied. In particular, no warranty regarding accuracy or fitness for a purpose is given in connection with such information and materials. The opinions expressed do not constitute investment advice and independent advice should be sought where appropriate. In no event will Asianmacro be liable to you for any direct or indirect or any other damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your reliance on any information in and/or materials attached herewith.  Asianmacro may already have or intend to have a trading or investment position in the financial instruments or products referred to in this communication.  This is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument and Asianmacro may also have interests different from or adverse to your interests.