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Bernanke: Geopolitics is the Biggest Risk to the Financial System Geopolitics represents the single biggest threat to financial markets, warned Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, at an event in Toronto yesterday. Speaking at the Swell event hosted by Ripple, Bernanke noted that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 was so severe because different elements of the financial system has become so interlinked that stressful conditions in one area soon spread to other parts of the system. However, he argued that the financial markets are systemically safer now and that the biggest threats to these markets come from external sources. 
And Finally... With apologies to those loyal readers who normally part with their hard-earned cash to read this column, today I am going to make it “free to air” – mainly because I feel there is a message that simply has to get out there regarding FX execution and liquidity. If nothing else, the ongoing Mark Johnson trial in New York is highlighting how there are some seriously poor assumptions made in the wider world about how the FX market really operates.
Turkish Lira Slumps on US Visa Row The Turkish lira dropped some 5% at the Asian open today after the US suspended all non-immigrant visa services in its Turkish consulates and Turkey responded as relations deteriorated. Although Thomson Reuters has the official high at 3.7694, multiple sources report trading in USD/TRY above 3.80, with some reporting trades at 3.85 and 3.88. The market had opened at 3.6150. Sources report the market functioned well with good liquidity and reasonable volumes and ticket sizes being executed – spreads were naturally wider.
Brexit and a Different Perspective on Sterling A new research report from Deutsche Bank highlights a change in the perception of sterling across the three major FX market time zones following last year’s vote to leave the European Union. The article, How Brexit changed how sterling is traded across the world is written by Deutsche Bank analysts Oliver Harvey and Rohini Grover, and it uses intra-day seasonality as the basis for its study. Previous work by the authors had found “strong evidence” of investment biases in the different time zones.
Gaining an Edge It is a conundrum of the current foreign exchange market that while the world is awash with events and opportunities to trade, successful traders seem thin on the ground. Tony Sycamore recently left his FX sales role at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney and – leveraging his background in sales there and BNP Paribas, as well as his time on the prop trading team at Goldman Sachs in Sydney – has established TechFX Traders, a new advisory firm that seeks to provide structure and discipline to individual traders, and ideas to professionals.
What Does the Future Hold for FX Prime Services? There has been a substantial shift in FX prime services over the past two years: some FX prime brokers having been pulling back from the space, prime-of-primes have been expanding to fill the gap and now new firms are coming to market offering potential new solutions to the current credit constraints in the market. But how will FX prime services evolve from here? For the Q3 edition of Profit & Loss, we launched a survey to gauge market sentiment regarding this question. It’s not too late to have your say, the survey will close at midnight on July 31st : https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PrimeServices
Survey: FX Prime Services The Q3 edition of Profit & Loss will feature an in-depth special report on FX prime services, looking at the significant changes that have occurred in this segment of the market and how these will impact trading firms in the future. But we want to hear from you about your expectations regarding the future of FX prime services, which is why we're asking you to fill out this 1-2 min multiple choice survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PrimeServices All survey responses will remain anonymous, but should you choose to include your email address at the bottom of the survey you will receive a free PDF of the special report when it is published in September.
BIS Paper Sees Some Evidence EUR/CHF Floor Break was Signalled Given how the EUR/CHF cross collapsed immediately following the removal of the pair’s artificial floor by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in January 2015, it would seem an obvious answer to the question, “was the event expected” would be “no”. The cross fell from its SNB-imposed floor at 1.2000, hitting 0.7000 at one stage before the “official” low was set at 0.85, finally settling around 1.05. A new paper published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), however, studies events in the FX market leading up to the removal of the EUR/CHF floor in January 2015, and while it is not conclusive, it does find evidence that some option markets were predicted the break lower in the cross.
Predicting the Impact of Brexit Speaking at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) meeting today in Washington, a range of market participants weighed in on the expected impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union Eileen Kiely, director at BlackRock, said that markets are currently in a period of low volatility – both implied and realised across asset classes globally – and that she does not expect Brexit to disrupt this trend. This is in part because Kiely believes that markets are currently pricing the risks associated with Brexit appropriately.
Carney Speech Prompts Sterling Slide The value of sterling slid today as Bank of England (BoE) Governor, Mark Carney, indicated that there would be no immediate adjustment of monetary policy by the central bank. In a speech delivered at Mansion House in London, Carney declared that “now is not yet the time to begin” monetary adjustment, ruling out the possibility of an interest rate hike. GBP/USD promptly dropped from 1.2753 at 8am BST to 1.2631 just before 3pm BST in response to Carney’s comments. “Since the prospect of Brexit emerged, financial markets, notably sterling, have marked down the UK’s economic prospects.