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Foreign Exchange

Cyclical or structural

It’s the time of year when many participants from the FX market put on their Lycra and get their legs over. There are two classic amateur bike rides coming up: the fearsome Marmotte is held this weekend and the L’Etape du Tour the week after.

Once upon a time, when I was younger and thinner, I used to look forward to such events. I fear that they are now a bit beyond me – a belief reinforced last Sunday when I took part in a small ride in France with a couple of muckers from the FX market. It was an ordeal. I reckon I only finished because of muscle memory and a large amount of determination. At this stage, I’m not sure if my loss of performance is cyclical and can be reversed, or is structural and, therefore, permanent.

But even though I suffered, it was a fantastic weekend and I learnt a lot from my friends. Both are very experienced option traders – one is on the buy side and the other is still trying his best not to be picked off by his clients at a bank. And listening to them it seems clear that while there has been some changes in the relationship between banks and their clients, things are remarkably similar to the way they were 20 years ago.

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