March 2010 - Daily Pfennig

A free, quick-reading daily e-letter on world currencies, economic trends, and the occasional baseball score.

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  • US consumer confidence on the rise...

    In This Issue..

    * US consumer confidence on the rise...
    * Improved labor markets could bring higher US rates...
    * Norway has a good day...
    * Frank heads to Vancouver and begins his blog...

    Good day, the last day of March is finally here. March was a good month, but I like the sound of April as it brings us warmer weather and the opening day of the baseball season. While there was a lot of talk about the fall of the Euro during the past month, March actually turned out to be a good month for currency investors. The Euro was down slightly (.58% v.s the US$) but it was only one of 4 currencies which dropped vs. the dollar. The biggest loser in March was the Japanese yen, which was down 4.52%; but none of the other 4 currencies were down more than .6%. The top performers were the high yielders of the South African rand and Mexican Peso, both of which were over 3% higher vs. the US$ during past month. March was also a good month for the commodity based currencies of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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  • Confidence sends the dollar lower...

    In This Issue..

    * Confidence sends the dollar lower...
    * Good data for the US boosts Mexico and Canada...
    * The Fed exits stage left...
    * Pound rallies, but don't be fooled...

    Good day, only two more days left in March, and April brings Chuck back to the desk. The dollar bears returned to the markets yesterday as most every currency moved higher versus the dollar.

    Confident investors kept the dollar on the run yesterday as they went shopping for yield. The commodity currencies ruled the day again, with Australia, Norway, and Brazil's currencies all posting gains nearing 1.5% vs. the US$. Greece successfully sold 5 billion euros worth of bonds in the first sale since the EU reached agreement on a stability plan. The sale emboldened investors who moved funds out of their 'safe haven' parking spots in the Japanese yen and US dollar. It seems we are back to the risk on / risk off trading pattern which dominated the currency markets over the past year. Good news for the US or global economy means bad news for the safe havens of the US$ and yen, while the opposite occurs whenever the global recovery is called into question....
  • Confident investors move dollar lower...

    In This Issue..

    * Confident investors move dollar lower...
    * US consumers start spending again (is this really what we need?)...
    * Aussie dollar and kiwi move higher...
    * Gold and Silver move higher on the weaker dollar...

    Good day, and welcome to the last Monday of March. The countdown to Cardinal opening day has begun, which means Chuck will be heading back home shortly. Investors headed back into the currency markets Friday feeling more confident in the global recovery after US GDP for the 4th quarter of 2009 held at 5.6%. The combination of good US growth, a possible solution to the Greek debt crisis, and the passage of Obama's healthcare overhaul had investors almost giddy as they put money back to work in the markets....
  • EU reaches an agreement (again)...

    In This Issue...

    * Jobs data is massaged...
    * EU reaches an agreement (again)...
    * Ben warns Congress we are in a 'dark place'...
    * Report shows strong growth in New Zealand...

    Good day, and happy Friday to everyone. The end of another week minus Chuck who will be back in the saddle in a few more days. Chuck is working down in Florida today, giving a presentation at an investment conference. The dollar went on another amusement ride over the past 24 hours, appreciating during the US trading day and then falling back down overnight. It has settled in right about where it was this time yesterday morning with a few exceptions....
  • Germany's Merkel gets her way...

    In This Issue..

    * Germany's Merkel gets her way...
    * Confidence in the US ebbs lower...
    * China to stick to renminbi policy...
    * Gold stops sliding...

    Good day, we had another strong day for the dollar yesterday, with the greenback gaining against all of the majors. But overnight, the Asians and then the Europeans sold the dollar and moved money back into the currencies. So after another rollercoaster ride, we are basically right back where we were at this time yesterday morning. These volatile markets are likely to continue, as investors try to figure out if the global economy will recover or if we will slide back into recession. With all of this uncertainty, you would think investors would be moving into 'hard assets': Gold and Silver. But the markets for these two precious metals have been surprisingly quiet this year. More on the metals a bit later, first I will try to figure out these currency markets....
  • Euro falls as Greece pushed toward IMF...

    In This Issue..

    * Euro falls as Greece pushed toward IMF...
    * Decision on Norwegian interest rates...
    * Canadian dollar rises...
    * Kiwi to outpace Australian dollar...

    Good day, the dollar gained ground across the board as the news hit that the IMF will be brought in to help rescue Greece. The dollar was also helped by data which showed existing housing sales fell by less than expected in February. We will get additional news on the status of the US economy today, with the release of durable goods and new home sales numbers for February. We will get a rate decision by the Norwegian central bank today, which could stoke calls for higher rates here in the US. But the big news overnight is concerning the euro (again!).

    The euro sold off by a full percentage point vs. the US$ after both Germany and France are reported to have agreed to have the IMF involved in aid to Greece. This is an about face for European leaders who announced last week that they had agreed on a European solution to the Greek crisis. But Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel threw a spanner in the works a week ago when she said Germany would not participate in giving Greece financial aid. This threw the euro into crisis mode again, as the 'agreement' reached early last week never materialized....
  • All mixed up in the currency markets...

    In This Issue..

    * Mixed up currency markets...
    * Canadian dollar off its highs...
    * Swiss franc continues to rally...
    * China to maintain their peg...

    Good day, it is a beautiful spring day here in St. Louis, and I was able to squeeze in a run first thing this morning before coming in. We had a busy day on the trading desk yesterday, as we had a couple visitors from our legal department in Jacksonville visiting us to give us some training. We also had a number of calls generated by a newsletter which highlighted our basket CDs. We will probably have another busy day, so I had better get right to the markets.

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  • US data fails to move the markets...

    In This Issue..

    * US data fails to move the markets...
    * EU split on Greek bailout...
    * Rogers is a seller of pounds...
    * Goldman says the renminbi is fairly valued...

    Good day... It is Friday and the end of what seems like a long week for yours truly. While I have enjoyed my time in Florida, I look forward to be able to sit down at my desk to write Monday morning instead of dealing with intermittent access to the internet and a slight lack of market information. You can get the data just fine on the road, but you miss out on the 'feel' of the markets when you aren't on the desk.

    But luckily for me, economic data is what ruled the markets yesterday. We had a plethora of data released in the US, but the markets seemed to be focused on the release of CPI and the weekly jobs numbers. CPI led off Thursday morning's data showing prices in the US were unchanged for the month in February from the .2% gains we saw at the start of the year. The core number was up .1% offsetting a .1% dip in January. The YOY (year on year)number showed a drop in the inflation rate to 2.2% from 2.7%. We all know how manipulated this data is, and our friends over at ShadowStats reported the non-seasonally adjusted number was actually just over 5%, which is certainly more realistic. But while this number is higher than the 'official' number, it showed a similar decline; diffusing a rumor which swirled around the markets yesterday afternoon.

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  • Merkel throws Greece under the bus...

    In This Issue..

    * Merkel throws Greece under the bus...
    * Canadian dollar moves higher...
    * China policy causes carry reversal...
    * Jobs data to move the markets...

    Good day... And good morning to all of you. I arrived in the 'sunshine' state only to find rain and cold. It is actually a bit colder here than back home in St. Louis, but the trip down went well, I got to do my run on the beach, and I had a great dinner with a large group of EverBankers last night; so I'm not going to let the weather get me down.

    The German's broke rank with the rest of the EU and suggested Greece should turn to the IMF for support. The euro had rallied over the past couple of days after it seemed the EU finance ministers had agreed on a loan facility to back the Greek government. But Germany's Angela Merkel threw a cat among the pigeons today when she said Greece should not look to the EU but should turn to the IMF if it needs aid. So traders immediately started selling the euro again as the black cloud of a possible Greek default fell hung back over the market....
  • FOMC keeps rates low...

    In This Issue..

    * FOMC keeps rates low...
    * Carry trade is back on...
    * Senators try to legislate a higher renminbi...
    * An Irish toast...

    Top of the mornin to ye... Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of the Irish readers, and all of those who are Irish for the day! Both Chuck and I have pretty deep Irish roots, and St. Patrick's Day is always one of our favorites. Chuck will be spending the day enjoying baseball in the sunshine of Florida; and I will be heading to Florida myself later today. Speaking of which, I have to catch a plane in a couple of hours, so I better get going on today's Pfennig.

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  • Another roller coaster day in the US...

    In This Issue..

    * Another roller coaster day in the US...
    * TIC data shows China and Japan losing their appetite...
    * Eurozone members support Greece...
    * Precious metals rise...

    Good day... We had a pretty busy day in the currency markets yesterday, with the dollar rising sharply in the morning only to sell off again after lunch. The selling continued in Asian trading, and the dollar index is back down to levels it was at this time yesterday morning. These roller coaster rides will probably continue as the markets just don't seem to know where to take the currencies. Short term moves will continue to be exaggerated, but the long term dollar continues to be in place.

    As I pointed out yesterday, this is a very busy week for data here in the US, and yesterday started us off with a bang. The volatile Empire manufacturing number showed a slight tick up but pretty much came in where it was expected. The more important Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization numbers followed, and both confirmed the US economy is continuing to recover; albeit at a slow pace. Industrial production increased .1% in February, and Capacity Utilization also increased to 72.7%. This data got the day started off right for dollar bulls, and the greenback shot up.

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  • Greek debt is the euro's Sword of Damocles....

    In This Issue..

    * Greek debt crisis continues to hang over the euro...
    * Moody's says the UK and US debt ratings are secure, for now...
    * Swiss National Bank lets the franc appreciate...
    * Lots of data on tap in the US this week...

    Good day, and welcome to another week. The alarm clock seemed to go off an hour early this morning, as my body hasn't yet adjusted to daylight savings. I have heard several reasons for the semi annual adjustment of our clocks, but still don't buy into it. I think everyone should just agree to leave the clocks alone and I for one vote to leave them where they are right now, giving us an extra bit of sunlight in the evenings. We didn't see much sun here in St. Louis this weekend, as a soft spring rain has been coming down for the past 3 days....
  • Traders fear Chinese 'bubbles'....

    In This Issue..

    * Traders fear Chinese 'bubbles'...
    * Bollard leaves rates unchanged... ...
    * Aussie dollar rallies...
    * Pound sterling rallies, but it can't last...

    Good morning, Chuck headed out the door with a huge smile on his face yesterday as he heads down to spring training. With Chuck down in Florida, he handed the keyboard over to me for the rest of March. I am excited to be able to bring you the Pfennig over the next few weeks, and appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts on the currency markets with all the loyal readers. For those of you who are new to the Pfennig, I have been told my style is a bit more 'dry' than Chuck's (I can't even come close to his encyclopedic knowledge of lyrics); and I typically get the Pfennig sent out a bit later than Chuck. But I will try my best to keep everyone informed and get this out in a timely manner. Lets get started....
  • Loose Lips, Sink Ships...

    In This Issue..

    * Greek PM stops currency rally...
    * Will Fed stop mortgage buying program?
    * Aussie jobs report is strong!
    * The history of a Pfennig For Your Thoughts...

    Good day... And a Terrific Tuesday to you! The monsoons are coming to the Midwest... I believe I saw the weather report for this area showing rain today and the rest of the week... I should leave my car outside, to get a 'wash'! HA!

    Well... During World War II, there was a saying, that, 'loose lips, sink ships'... I think Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, should have taken those words to heart yesterday... You see, the currencies, led by the beleaguered euro, were rallying, and the single unit was nearing 1.37, when Papandreou made a statement that sunk the rally's ship... He said that 'Greece's debt problems could soon spread to the rest of Europe and mean a weaker euro'...
  • The BLS Attempts A Fast One...

    In This Issue..

    * Chuck in the Wall Street Journal!
    * Feb Job losses -133,000
    * Oil pushes Petrol currencies higher...
    * Volcker believes euro to stay...

    Good day... And a Marvelous Monday to you! Was your weekend grand? The temps were below normal, but the sun filled a blue umbrella sky for most of the weekend, and for that I get a smile on my face... For those of you who don't like me going into personal stuff, and would much rather me stick to the facts, you'll want to skip ahead a few paragraphs, for I've got some very important personal stuff to talk about... If that's you... I'll see you in a bit... Otherwise, for the rest of us... Here goes!

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