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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Summer breeze: FX market activity is picking up...

Activity seems to have picked up a bit this week and the fact that EUR/USD has managed to move off 1.55 will no doubt have cheered up many FX players. But for the moment it still looks as if it’s going to be a quiet summer, unless of course that hoary old chestnut called the sub-prime crisis raises its head again or if some other debacle spills over from another market.

And the chances of something like that happening remain high – calling around this week to try to find out if there was anything to report, one mucker told me I should write about what’s happened in the swaps market. Apparently, according to Euromoney’s resident guru, a couple of French houses have done their cods as a result of some two-year versus 10-year structure. I told my mucker that I wouldn’t cover it, as it’s not really FX-related, although of course the true reason is I haven’t got a clue about swaps. I’m sure I’ll be far more enlightened when I read next month’s Euromoney.

This week I have been lining up some guest columnists to write the FiX for me when I have a holiday in August. Plans are being finalized, and the tentative agreements I’ve got should result in some interesting thought pieces coming from players who reside at completely different points on the market’s spectrum. I was particularly pleased that all of the people and institutions I asked, with one notable exception, immediately replied that they would love the opportunity to expound their views about what is going on in FX. Funnily enough, the one notable exception has long been bleating about how much I misunderstand it, so I thought it would jump at the chance to present its own view without me spoiling its vista.

I’ve also been going through quite a few invites to summer parties and cocktail events. I had to turn down one from Barclays Wealth, because I bought some of the bank’s shares at what I thought was the bottom and my wealth has fallen substantially as a result. Quite frankly, I’m so long and wrong that I can’t afford the taxi fare up to the West End of London where the party is being held; unless the stocks move up by around 50% or 60% in short order, I probably won’t be able to get the bus for much longer either. Still, at least the shares are providing a nice yield – I reckon that I should be back in court in about three years’ time, provided of course they don’t shank off again.

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