Forex traders can make money from both good and bad news, but you gotta admit that world market investors in general would rather have good news than bad ones.
In honor of the Thanksgiving holidays, here are six economic events so far this year that a lot of market players are thankful didn’t happen:
1. Political deadlock in Italy
In a bid to keep his power, Italy’s bad boy Silvio Berlusconi caused a ruckus in the markets by withdrawing his support from Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and asking five minsters from his People of Freedom Party (PDL) to resign.
Letta ended up calling for a confidence vote and, fortunately, he got enough numbers with a decisive margin. If he hadn’t gotten enough support, he would have had to resign and Italy (and the euro zone) would have had to deal with uncertainty and delays in making much-needed policy changes.
2. Contagion from Cyprus’ financial meltdown
Early this year Cyprus, hit by Greece’s debt restructuring, had trouble asking for more bailout money from Troika. Cyprus ended up shutting down its second-largest bank and use large bank deposits to pay for its debts. Cyprus didn’t really have much choice. European leaders just didn’t want to cough up so much money for such a small economy.
At the time depositors from other debt-ridden euro zone economies were starting to withdraw their savings like there was no tomorrow and overall confidence in the region was shot. If Cyprus hadn’t taken the deal, speculations of more bank runs and contagion would have weighed on the euro.
3. Syrian oil crisis
The U.S., the U.K., and France were thinking of taking “limited action” against the Syrian government as they were convinced that chemical weapons were used on Syrian civilians. There was danger of Iran supporting Syria, which would have crippled the world’s oil supply, as both countries account for 20% of OPEC’s oil production.
Risk aversion ensued at the time, and pushed low-yielding currencies like the yen higher. Threats of military action eventually convinced the Syrian government to turn in its chemical weapons, provide documentation of its arsenal, and sign the U.N.’s resolutions. Of course, risk appetite went back on track.
4. Hard landing in China
When the world’s second largest economy starts getting in trouble, you’ll be sure that the world markets are paying close attention! In Q2 2013 investors were talking about China’s credit crunch, weak manufacturing numbers, and a general economic slowdown.
While those issues are still present today, improving reports on China’s manufacturing and trade numbers have convinced market players to take their chill pills. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that China’s 3rd plenum yielded promising results.
5. Traders testing Shinzo Abe’s resolve
It seems that it takes bold statements to get the markets’ attention. Shinzo Abe’s vow to end Japan’s decades-long battle against deflation encountered its fair share of criticism, but it eventually gained ground. Thanks to the BOJ’s aggressive monetary policies and the government’s optimistic growth outlook, Nikkei is on its way to making new highs and Japan’s neighboring countries are also feeling the good vibes.
6. U.S. debt default
Did we really think that the world’s largest economy wouldn’t stage a drama of its own this year? It might have weeks of finger-pointing, last-minute proposals, and a ridiculous government shutdown that cost jobs, but the U.S. policymakers eventually reached a deal and raised the debt ceiling.
While the move is just technically kicking the can further down the road, it had calmed a lot of investors who were ready to jump ship at the first sign of U.S. debt downgrade. Let’s hope that the policymakers are more prepared next year!