In This Issue   Currencies look tired and worn

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Currencies look tired and worn out. *  Singapore inflation increases! *  U.S. data is ugly. *  Chuck retracts his comments on Poland. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. RBNZ Hikes OCR! Good Day! . And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I’ve got a ton of stuff to talk about today, so get your cup of coffee, and something to nibble on (my fave would be a cheese Danish!), and sit yourself down, for this is going to be an interesting ride today. Now, if I can just remember all the stuff I wanted to talk about today! UGH! Funny, I can hear a song for the first time in 30 years, and remember the lyrics, but I can’t remember what happened 10 minutes ago!  Oh, well, I guess I should get worried if I end up forgetting those lyrics, eh? Reminds me a great 70’s song, by the Pousette-Dart Band. Amnesia.  I hope that it’s only amnesia, believe me I’m sick but not insane. Front and Center this morning, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) surprised me and the markets for that matter, by hiking their Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 25 Basis Points (1/4%) last night. I wasn’t surprised that the RBNZ hiked the OCR, I was surprised that they did it rate hikes at back to back meetings.  Back to back, belly to belly, I don’t give a dang ’cause I’m stone dead already, the Zombie Jamboree! I had told you long ago, and before the first rate hike by the RBNZ in March that I expected the RBNZ to hike the OCR 3 times this year, adding a total of 75 Basis Points (3/4%) to the OCR. Well, there’s two down, one to go!  I’m feeling pretty confident that the 3rd rate hike will be coming, maybe not next month, but coming nonetheless, because the RBNZ remained hawkish in their statement last night. In fact, I’m so confident now, I’m going to be like a cheesy infomercial and tell you: That’s Not All! If the RBNZ acts right away, they might be ready to hike rates another 50 Basis Points (1/2%) before summer is over!  The New Zealand dollar / kiwi got a boost from the rate hike news, and the subsequent hawkish statements by the RBNZ, but this morning kiwi is flat, and waiting for the U.S. markets to get a view of the new level for the OCR in New Zealand. I think that with rates starting so low in New Zealand, that these first two rate hikes have almost brought rates back to a better starting point, and IF, (that’s a BIG IF) the RBNZ does hike two more times it will bring the OCR to 3.5%… Still quite low for New Zealand, but over 300 basis points better than the U.S., Japan, and Eurozone. nothing to stick your nose up in the air over. OK. The currencies as a whole look tired this morning, and all either flat or down a shade, and wouldn’t you know it, China allowed an appreciation in the renminbi / yuan overnight. Moving in an opposite direction than the other currencies.. Strange but true..  And Gold is still stuck in the mud below $1,300. Well, one of my fave currencies, because of the way it is used to combat inflation, instead of arbitrary interest rate adjustments, The Singapore dollar / Sing $, should be getting the wink and nod from the people who set the trading bands on the currency, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), soon. Why you ask? Well, Sing inflation moved higher in March by 1.2% VS last year.  Yes, I think that while inflation in Singapore seems to be under control, you can’t ignore a move from .4% in Feb, to 1.2% in March.  History shows us that the MAS is very diligent in maintaining price stability in Singapore, and knowing this, I would expect to hear that the MAS widened the trading band for the Sing $, very soon. Proving once again that the bad weather card is something that will be used when necessary. Canada printed their Feb, yes that’s right, Feb Retail Sales report yesterday.  Retail Sales for Feb rose the expected amount of +.5%, which follows a revised .9% gain in January.  You might recall,  that originally, Retail Sales in January for Canada printed at +1.3%, so the .9% revised number is a downward revision.  So, even Canada plays this game, folks. And they don’t have to!  Canada is a sound financial, hardworking country, they don’t need to play games with data! Any-old-way you roll the dice, the data was not good for the Canadian dollar / loonie. I did see a write up from one of the writers at Agora that touted the Canadian dollar as a buy.  He based it all on a recovery of commodities.  And that’s a great place to start, for the loonie is considered a Commodity Currency, and in the past has responded favorably to rallies in commodities. So, I guess the question would be.. Do you believe in a Commodities Rally? For if you do, you might want to look to the loonie in addition.. Well.. Shiver me timbers! I must make amends! Yesterday, I told you how I was watching the Polish zloty and liked the economic and fiscal performance in Poland. I had a dear reader send me a note and ask me if I were crazy? “Didn’t you see that Poland confiscated private pension funds?”   I was shocked! Because NO, I had NOT seen that story reported anywhere!  But this dear reader thought to tell me where she saw this (Thanks Lynn!) and sure enough there it was on zerohedge.com for all the world to see! OK. first let me set this up for you. Poland has a hybrid pension system: mandatory contributions are made into both the state pension vehicle, known as ZUS, and the private funds, which are collectively known by the Polish acronym OFE. Bond make up half the private fund’s portfolios, with the rest company stocks.. The Polish Gov’t called this, what I’m about to explain as “an overhaul”.  I’ll let you decide what you would call it, but I wouldn’t use the word “overhaul”! “On Wednesday, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.  The funds would effectively be left with only the equities portions of their assets, even this would be depleted, and there will be uncertainty about the number of new savers joining. But why is Poland engaging in behavior that will ultimately be disastrous to future capital allocation in non-public pension funds (the type that can at least on paper generate some returns as opposed to “public” funds which are guaranteed to lose)? After all, this is a last ditch step which no rational person would engage in unless there were no other option. Simple: there were no other option, and the driver is the same reason the world everywhere else is broke too – too much debt. By shifting some assets from the private funds into ZUS, the government can book those assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving it more scope to borrow and spend.” See what happens when a Gov’t gets pushed against a wall by debt? That couldn’t happen here, right?  Ahem. think again. Oh, and by the way, I would call this confiscation. plain and simple. Well, since I came in this morning, Gold has dropped another $5 to $1,278.00. That’s just not right folks. But it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it, and I learned a few years ago that I can rant and rant about something, but it doesn’t change it, and only gets my blood pressure boiling, which isn’t a good thing! If all things were equal, and there was no such thing as price manipulators, I would say that this current level for Gold looked to be a good opportunity to buy it cheap.  Long ago, and far away, I first began to tell you all how I viewed China’s hoarding of Gold as essential to their plan to either 1. Back their currency with a percentage of Gold when they decide to float it,  or 2. Have enough Gold to make the rules when everything goes to hell in a hand basket, and countries sit down to see who has the Gold. I lean heavily on the 1st of those two options, and have for some time now.  I’ve always thought that China would be the 1st to back their currency with Gold again. Then last year, I started telling you about how Russia was also hoarding Gold.  Well, a recent article on Russia, states that “The Central Bank of Russia has made a subtle, yet serious threat against the lynchpin of the American Economy, the U.S. dollar.  According to Russian media, The Central Bank just released a new logo, which is a Gold ruble.” So, is Russia planning on moving ahead of China in this race to have a Gold backed currency?  Sounds like it, but. I would still think that China is more prepared to do this than Russia. However, having said that, the urgency to back the ruble with Gold seems to be fueled by Russian President, “Putin, who has made it quite clear that any attacks on the Russian economy will be answered in with retaliations of their own.” I think that we should be taking this treat seriously folks. I know that symbolism is huge to Putin.  So, now we have two large countries, heading toward backing their currency with Gold. The tide is changing on the dollar’s hold as reserve currency folks. When will everyone else wake up and smell the coffee? The Aussie dollar (A$) is taking another shot to the mid-section this morning, after being down for the count yesterday. The soft CPI (consumer inflation) report from Australia on Tuesday night, has really caused the A$ to look for a place to hide, but finding no place to hide, it takes its punishment for having weak inflation. Now, how smartless does that sound to you? Doesn’t inflation eat away at a currency’s value? Of course it does! So, what’s the frequency Kenneth?  The markets are convinced that Central Banks can control inflation, so with that thought, the markets want to see inflation in the countries rise, so that interest rates can rise. It’s a strange and dangerous game the markets are requiring the Central Banks to play right now. For it is my opinion that Central Banks are always late to the party, and always playing catch-up with runaway inflation. Well, the U.S. Data Cupboard printed some ugly data yesterday. I’m sure you didn’t hear about any of it, and if you did, I’m sure the “bad weather” card was played.  First, we had Mortgage Applications for last week, drop by -3.3%… Then we had the private firm Markit print their U.S. Manufacturing Index, and saw it weaken a bit for April.  and then the New Home Sales, took the Nestea Plunge in March.  Sales of new single-family homes in the U.S. fell -14.5% VS Feb. to an annualized 384,000 units, in March. The lowest level of sales since July 2013. This one hurt, for the markets were expecting an increase to 450,000 annualized units. That’s a HUGE difference folks, and I think reflects the fears out there that interest rates are going higher in the near future. And then finally today, the first piece of market moving data for this week will print. Durable Goods Orders for March will find its way to the Data Cupboard’s docket this morning. And in the background, we’ll see something just as important, but pushed to the background by the markets, Capital Goods Orders & Shipments. For What it’s Worth.  Man, I feel like today’s letter is a collection of For What It’s Worth ideas! But, fear not, dear reader, for I will still bring you a FWIW section/ story for today.  And it’s a real treat this morning, for I have a snippet of an interview with my fave analyst / writer right now, Grant Williams.  I’ll set this up first.  Grant Williams is talking about how in the West the people don’t understand Gold, but in the East they do. But that’s not the Achilles’ heel that he sees for the West.  let’s listen in..  Oh, and I found this on Kingworld.com. “I think the Achilles’ heel of the West is the politicians.  I think they are inept and they are focused on all the wrong things.  And the danger of a miscalculation on a political level by a very inept group in the West against the very smart operators that you have in the East, is potentially a big Achilles’ heel. Gold is certainly something that, despite protests by Western central bankers to the contrary, they do think a lot about and it is something they watch.  But if they did the right thing, the gold price would go higher.  When I say the right thing, I mean that if they converted more reserves in the West to gold, yes, the price would go higher. And when you look at the incredible problems facing the West, with the sheer amount of the debt, watching the price of gold soar is not something they can allow if they are trying to print massive quantities of money.  If they allow the price of gold to head significantly higher, then the underlying inflation in the West is going to become far more evident, and that’s something that doesn’t play well politically. So I think the political class is by far the most dangerous thing that the West has to face at the moment.  And we are in a year where there are going to be elections all over Europe, midterms in the United States, so the political landscape is where we are going to see some real fireworks this year.” – Grant Williams Chuck again. I’ve told you all before that Grant Williams writes a newsletter called “Things that make you go hmmm”. It’s the one newsletter I get, and I get a boatload of them, that I open up and read the minute it hits my email box!   Comfortably Numb was just playing on the IPod, and that’s what we’ve all become, regarding debt in this country. To recap. The currencies look tired and worn out, and for the most part are either flat or down a bit this morning, except the renminbi / yuan which saw an appreciation overnight by the Chinese Central Bank. The RBNZ hike rates last night, which surprised Chuck for the timing not the actual rate hike. Chuck now believes his original forecast of 75 Basis Points of rate hikes from the RBNZ was too conservative, and has now boosted it to 100 Basis Points before summer is over. 50 down, 50 to go!  Chuck puts his tail between his legs on a statement he made about Poland, Singapore inflation jumps higher in March! Currencies today 4/24/14. American Style: A$ .9270, kiwi .8575, C$ .9075, euro 1.3825, sterling 1.6785, Swiss $1.1325, . European Style: rand 10.5650, krone 5.9860, SEK 6.5590, forint 222.90, zloty 3.0315, koruna 19.8560, RUB 35.68, yen 102.40, sing 1.2570, HKD 7.7530, INR 61.08, China 6.1589, pesos 13.03, BRL 2.2215, Dollar Index 79.80, Oil $101.87, 10-year 2.71%, Silver $19.09, Platinum $1,398.25, Palladium $785.56, and Gold. $1,278.15 That’s it for today. Long winded today, eh? Well, I think I recalled everything I wanted to talk about and then some! Little Feat are playing Dixie Chicken right now on the IPod.  I love to sing along with that song! I’ve seen the bright lights of Memphis. And the Commodore Hotel. And underneath a street lamp, I met a southern belle. see what I mean? Well, our Blues lost their mojo these last two games, and head back to St. Louis for Game 5, tied 2-2 in games won. I hope they find the magic here on home ice! And Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha struck out 9 Mets batters for his first 9 outs last night, but still lost the game. UGH!  So, another bad night for St. Louis sports!  Alex picked up his tux last night, his senior prom is this Saturday night. I told him he could drive my car if he wanted to, and he was all over that in a heartbeat! Kathy’s baby boy is getting ready to graduate High School and move on to college, I have a feeling she’s going to be emotional about this. but maybe not. OK. once again, I’ve carried on too long. so for that I apologize. Now let’s go make this a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img

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