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“Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.”

                              Mark Twain

FX Trading – China lifting emerging markets…
Increasingly it appears China is defying the skeptics (and we have been major skeptics).  There is evidence (some may say flimsy but no matter) China’s stimulus is working.  Some countries are indicating their exports to China are falling less.  The emerging stock markets are sure acting as though China is back in the game: 

…as expected, emerging market currencies have rallied with stocks.  Below is a chart of the Brazilian Real – US$ Daily; if stocks are leading the Real is looking good:

But one of the relationships we have been watching is the Euro-US$ vs. MSCI EM Stock Index.  They were moving in lock-step, and now a bit of divergence appears i.e. EM stocks have rallied but the euro has faded:

Is it simply near-term divergence, and the euro soon catches up and rallies sharply against the US dollar?  Or, has there been a shift in expectations regarding growth and how to play it?

One theme that has been in play among analysts is China and US lead the recovery, while Europe lags.  And in that scenario, the dollar outperforms the Euro on growth and tightening yield differentials i.e. Fed raises before the European Central Bank.  If so, then maybe the trade is….Short Euro against the comdolls (a term big time trader types like us use as shorthand for commodity dollars)….

It’s a trade that’s been working and a cross that expresses how tightly the Australian dollar is tied to the fortunes of China.

Many want China’s latest uptick to be real.  We know firsthand about finding a story to fit the facts, and how dangerous that can be for traders.  We know the fact that we’ve been China bears for “good reasons” doesn’t make it so.  Price action is what matters, as it represents real people moving real money in-line with their expectations. 

And just because the loudest voices say stocks must go lower, remember the stock market is notorious for discounting.  We have written here before that during the banking panic of 1907, which had many parallels to the current crisis, stocks bottomed at the end of ’07 even though the economy continued to spiral lower in 1908.  This example has played out many times before.

I know JR is very bearish on stocks, and has given “good” reasons.  But I can’t help thinking that most of us now seem to know the bad news.  And often when we all know it, it’s already in the price.

Some questions to wrestle with here:

  1. Are China and the US in the process of leading out of this morass?
  2. Have stocks bottomed?
  3. IF #1 and #2 above prove true, will the dollar lead the euro on growth and yield, or are we back to the same game of US dollar-based credit running out to risky assets classes?

So many questions and so few answers…and so it goes…