Euro: No Longer a One-Way Bet

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


It’s been barely five months since the Brexit referendum and yet here we are again, another European referendum, another political battle. This time around, it is Italy’s future in the balance and the Euro’s integrity at stake.

This upcoming referendum, due on Sunday, is a vote for constitutional reform that will abolish Italy’s dual parliamentarian system. Currently, Italy’s Parliament has two chambers, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. And, peculiar as it may sound, both have the same powers, but rather than balance they simply paralyze one another.

Why It Matters For The Euro

So, that begs the question, why is a referendum in Italy so important for the Euro? In one word: Banks. In the past few months, the Eurozone economy has started to show some signs of life. Among the data releases, Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.7, retail sales in Germany has their strongest monthly gain in five years, and the Eurozone trade balance surplus rose by 37.8% over last year. Even in Italy, the Manufacturing PMI is holding above the 50 level, signaling expansion. All of which is "courtesy of a low Euro” that benefits European exporters. And yet, core inflation in the Eurozone is incredibly low at 0.8% and credit activity is weak, with the M3 level turning stagnant. Even the ECB’s €80 billion in monthly liquidity operations have thus far been insufficient to revive credit growth which is essential for the Euro recovery. At the heart of the problem is Europe’s banking system and its need to capitalize. Continue reading "Euro: No Longer a One-Way Bet"

Sterling Close To A Turnaround?

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


Ever since the surprise leave vote in the UK, investors have braced for a financial tsunami that could overwhelm the UK economy. Thus far, there has only been one real casualty—the Pound Sterling. All the while, the UK economy has surprised forecasters. The UK Manufacturing PMI already bounced back to an impressive 55.4; retail sales were surprisingly resilient and, most puzzling to economists, UK 3rd quarter GDP grew at a healthy clip of 2.3% Q3 year-over-year. So, what is really going on? Continue reading "Sterling Close To A Turnaround?"

Japanese Yen Set for a Winter Sell?

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


The Japanese Yen is finally ready for another bearish wave, the kind that could drive the Dollar-Yen trade to retest the 2015 highs. At least, that is what the USD/JPY technical analysis suggests. According to the MACD Index, the selling momentum has weakened, and the pair is just resting above the 100 pivot, a key pivot for the pair. But the question is, are fundamentals ripe for another Yen selloff and a USD/JPY rally?

Weekly MarketClub Chart of USD/JPY

Yen is a Bond Play

As I often reiterate, the Japanese Yen is essentially a bond play. Over the past decade, Japan has been stuck in a long deflationary cycle of falling prices and less than 1% average growth in five years. Moreover, Japanese consumers, as well as Japanese corporations, have had an overwhelming desire to hoard mountains of cash which only exacerbates the stagnation of the Japanese economy. The combination of constant cash hoarding and deflation has created a very robust market for Japanese Government Bonds. The Japanese government has tried to balance the phenomenon by accumulating a jaw-dropping debt of 229% of GDP or roughly $9.5 Trillion, and by trying to spur growth. Instead of balance, however, it has made the Japanese Government Bond market so overwhelmingly large (compared to other sectors), that it essentially dominates the dynamics of the Yen. When demand for Japanese Government Bond rises so does demand for the Yen, and vice versa. Continue reading "Japanese Yen Set for a Winter Sell?"

Deutsche Bank Woes To Hit Euro

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


Peril is on the horizon for the Eurozone and its currency, the Euro. The survival of Deutsche Bank, the largest lender in the Eurozone, is at risk. And even more worryingly, the trouble brewing at the bank is not isolated but is rather part of a wider systemic risk across the Eurozone banking system. As the conundrum unfolds and radiates across the region, the Euro will not be spared.

Eurozone Banks On The Balance

The Deutsche Bank crisis was seemingly ignited in mid-September when the US Department of Justice announced its intention to fine Deutsche Bank $14 billion to settle claims of wrongdoing during the mortgage crisis of 2008. Last week, it was reported that Deutsche Bank was on the verge of reaching a settlement with the Justice Department which would reduce the fine to $5.4 billion. Nevertheless, and regardless of the amount, with Deutsche Bank’s total capitalization at $18 billion, it’s clear the bank does not have sufficient capital to pay such a hefty fine. The fact is that troubles within the Eurozone banks, and specifically in Deutsche Bank, have been brewing for a while. Continue reading "Deutsche Bank Woes To Hit Euro"

Brazilian Real May Face Another Spiral

Lior Alkalay - INO.com Contributor - Forex


A little more than a week ago, Brazil marked a historic milestone in its governance. After a lengthy process, and with a landslide vote, the Brazilian Parliament decided to impeach President Dilma Rousseff amid charges of corruption and breach of trust. For the record, Ms. Rousseff is widely held responsible for Brazil’s worst recession in a hundred years.

During the impeachment proceedings, which lasted some eight months, the Brazilian Vice President, Michel Temer, assumed the helm and took Rousseff’s place. Now, with the proceedings finally concluded, Michel Temer is officially Brazil’s president. Mr. Temer’s pro-business approach had been well rewarded with a period of grace from investors. Under Mr. Temer, the Brazilian Real rallied by 7% against the dollar, bond yields on Brazilian bonds fell and Credit Default Swaps, an important gauge for risk, fell as well. That made it easier for Mr. Temer to navigate and encouraged investors’ hopes for more pro-business reforms. But now, as Mr. Temer has turned from merely the acting president to the incumbent, the political climate is on the verge of change. The “grace period” afforded Mr. Temer during the impeachment proceedings has expired, and with the shift in sentiment the Brazilian economy and, consequently, the Brazilian Real, could fall into a tailspin.

The Brazilian economic crisis has three notable dimensions; a collapse in commodity prices, a weak monetary system, and an ugly fiscal picture. Continue reading "Brazilian Real May Face Another Spiral"