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Foreign Exchange

Currencies: To buy or to sell? That is the question

Among the many clichés that came to mind when I started writing this column I had: ‘Another week, another dollar’; and the colloquial ‘USD Brics it’. But what I really mean is that short-termism still reigns in FX.

For the most part, currencies remain range bound. Normally, this would result in implied volatilities being sold off sharply, but talking to a friend in the option market it seems that there are other intra-day uncertainties in the news flow to keep implied vols relatively firm. Questions players have had to answer this week include: have rates bottomed in countries such as the US and UK; would there be an imminent unwinding of the great quantitative easing experiment; is inflation a bigger threat than deflation; would the Bric summit come out with a statement that resulted in a sell off in USD; would the SNB talk the CHF lower; and what is the true state of the balance sheets of the euro zone’s banks?

In the meantime, many bank traders have become extremely risk averse – more precisely, they have been told not to lose money.

It’s starting to look like it’s going to be a long summer.



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