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Foreign Exchange

BIS report: Who says today’s markets are volatile?

The BIS report’s timing is nice, coming just after the volatility seen in August, much of which has stemmed from the unwinding of carry trades. My attention was drawn to one comment made by Patrick Bartle, global head of foreign exchange trading at ABN Amro in an article that appeared on Dow Jones Newswires.

“I have been in the market close to 20 years, and I have seen this kind of thing maybe five times,” he responded to questions about the market’s choppiness.

Do what? I immediately thought, sending out an e-mail to my muckers. “There’s a strange quote from ABN Amro's Patrick Bartle in the Dow Jones story below. Did Patrick really say that? If so, where did he work 20-years ago, Thomas Cook?” I asked.

“I think I must be losing it. For some reason, I seem to remember that the market moved more in the afternoon, especially after a ‘lunch’ of bangers & mash washed down with some pink poo and especially after a Pimms Royale (aka rocket fuel) frenzy, than it does most months now.


“I can only conclude the following possibilities, because I remember a couple of ERM devaluations, big interventions and the odd accord since 1987.


•    I was rubbish

•    I worked for rubbish institutions

•    My brokers were rubbish

•    My memory is shot.”

I got many responses telling me my conclusions were wrong. And as the chart below of the monthly range of cable over the past 20-years shows, the market unquestionably used to move a lot more than it does now. 

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