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Year of Surprise

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2016 has been full of surprises and can be divided into three distinct phases defined by the EU referendum and US election. Year of Surprise

FX Weekly FX 2016 Review – Year of Surprise

Highlights

  • 2016 has been full of surprises and can be divided into three distinct phases defined by the EU referendum and US election.
  • Currently the market is in a period of re-pricing due to Trump’s proposed fiscal expansion plans.
  • The USD looks likely to hold onto recent gains, while the EUR look vulnerable to political uncertainty in the year to come.

Against all odds

Surprises have been commonplace in 2016 and have ensured that volatility has remained a prominent feature of the world’s currency markets. The year can almost be divided into three distinct phases marked around the shock outcomes in both the EU referendum and the US presidential election. In the period up to, and the month following, the Brexit vote, concerns over the economic impact of the referendum and reduced expectations of monetary tightening in the US saw safe havens like the JPY soar against the GBP and USD (rising 26% and 16% respectively from 1st January to the 6th July). These moves moderated somewhat until the US election, where Trump’s shock victory ushered in a complete shift in market assumptions and a corresponding re-pricing of financial assets. This is the current phase that we find ourselves in, characterised by the strongest trade weighted USD in over 14 years and a sharply weakening JPY. Going into 2017, we see healthy prospects for US growth and inflation buoying the USD, while in Europe the single currency risks being pressured by political uncertainty.

Click to enlarge

US reflation?

Markets appear to have interpreted Trump’s victory as a signal that the US will benefit from a large fiscal stimulus and infrastructure package in the years to come, helping to deliver both growth and inflation. While a lot of the details surrounding Trump’s future plan are currently uncertain, what seems clear is that the recent increase in inflation expectations have prompted the US Federal Reserve to pursue a more aggressive rate hike path. Should they follow through with the proposed three hikes in 2017 we see recent gains in the USD as being broadly sustained, although a near term pullback in the next few months may be due.

Populist sentiment tested

In Europe, scheduled parliamentary and presidential elections in a majority of the bloc’s largest nations have potential to test the Euro. Matteo Renzi’s recent resignation is a signal that anti-establishment sentiment on mainland Europe remains elevated and the growth of populist parties is not as remote a risk as market participants once thought. Combined with a European Central Bank (ECB) committed to at least another 12 months of asset purchases, risks for the EUR appear skewed to the downside.

Transitional Brexit deal to be brokered

Prospects for the GBP are centred on the progress of Brexit negotiations and the UK government’s ability to deliver an effective transitional agreement offering protection for Britain’s more exposed sectors, such as finance. We remain bullish on the currency and believe that it is currently trading near its structural nadir (see: GBP reaches rock bottom). However, it will remain volatile as markets scrutinise any plan Theresa May puts forward before the self-imposed March deadline for Article 50.

Investors wishing to express the investment views outlined above may consider using the following ETF Securities ETPs:

Currency ETPs

GBP Base

ETFS Long EUR Short GBP (GBUR)
ETFS Short EUR Long GBP (URGB)
ETFS Long USD Short GBP (GBUS)
ETFS Short USD Long GBP (USGB)

USD Base

ETFS Long GBP Short USD (LGBP)
ETFS Short GBP Long USD (SGBP)
ETFS Long EUR Short USD (LEUR)
ETFS Short EUR Long USD (SEUR)

EUR Base

ETFS Long USD Short EUR (XBJP)
ETFS Short USD Long EUR (XBJQ)
ETFS Long GBP Short EUR (EUGB)
ETFS Short GBP Long EUR (GBEU)

3x

ETFS 3x Long USD Short EUR (EUS3)
ETFS 3x Short USD Long EUR (USE3)
ETFS 3x Long GBP Short EUR (EGB3)
ETFS 3x Short GBP Long EUR (GBE3)
ETFS 3x Long GBP Short USD (LGB3)
ETFS 3x Short GBP Long USD (SGB3)
ETFS 3x Long EUR Short USD (LEU3)
ETFS 3x Short EUR Long USD (SEU3)

ETFS 3x Long USD Short GBP (USP3)
ETFS 3x Short USD Long GBP (PUS3)
ETFS 3x Long EUR Short GBP (EUP3)
ETFS 3x Short EUR Long GBP (SUP3)

5x

ETFS 5x Long GBP Short EUR (EGB5)
ETFS 5x Short GBP Long EUR (GBE5)
ETFS 5x Long USD Short EUR (5CH5)
ETFS 5x Short USD Long EUR (5CH6)
ETFS 5x Long USD Short GBP (USP5)
ETFS 5x Short USD Long GBP (PUS5)

Basket

ETFS Bullish GBP vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (LGBB)
ETFS Bearish GBP vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (SGBB)
ETFS Bullish USD vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (LUSB)
ETFS Bearish USD vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (SUSB)
ETFS Bullish EUR vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (LEUB)
ETFS Bearish EUR vs G10 Currency Basket Securities (SEUB)

The complete ETF Securities product list can be found here.

Important Information

This communication has been provided by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (“ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”). The products discussed in this document are issued by ETFS Foreign Exchange Limited (“FXL”). FXL is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

This communication is only targeted at professional investors. In Switzerland, this communication is only targeted at Regulated Qualified Investors.

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