19 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Fundamental Analysis 19.02.2018 - Market Outlook

Market Recap

USD rose on Friday 16th February 2018 as investors closed out short USD positions ahead of the long US weekend. News on Friday 16th February 2018 that the US Commerce Department recommended tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports boosted the dollar, according to press reports, but should be a negative for USD. That’s because it’s likely to set off a round of retaliatory measures elsewhere that’s bound to hurt the US economy. The last time something like this happened – when former US President George Bush imposed tariffs on imported steel – USD generally fell.


CAD was weak on Friday 16th February 2018 as Canada is a major supplier of steel and aluminum to the US. However, note that oil prices rose yet again, which could support CAD. Over the medium terms, as the trade issue works against the US, CAD could recover. However, one concern is that nervousness over the issue might delay the Bank of Canada from hiking rates. The market currently sees a 59% chance of a rate hike in April 2018 and an 87% chance – near certainty – or a rate hike by July 2018. If the trade issue worsens, the Bank could delay its move and these near-term probabilities could recede somewhat. That could pressure CAD.



Meanwhile, European Central Bank (ECB) Council member Benoit Coeure said on Friday 16th February 2018 that the ECB was likely to change its policy pronouncements sometime soon. “Our communication on monetary policy will change,” he said. “Certainly the expectation is that this will be discussed in early 2018.” That probably referred to a statement by ECB President Mario Draghi at the last press conference on 25 January 2018, when he said “in March we'll have projections and then we'll assess really how things stand at that point in time.” The ECB meets on 8th March 2018

Today’s market

There are not any key speakers or economic indicators of note today. Moreover, China (and much of the rest of Asia) is out on holiday, as are the US and Canada. Thus the Forex action will largely be confined to Japan and Europe. 

Last week was quite an interesting week for the Forex market. The dollar fell even though US Treasury yields rose more than yields in most other countries. Normally, that would tend to support the dollar, but it didn’t help.  



The move was especially noticeable when we look at USD/JPY. The yen is the most sensitive currency to higher US Treasury yields, because the Bank of Japan is pegging the Japanese 10-year yield. That means when US Treasury yields rise, the spread between US and Japanese yields widens one-for-one. Other countries’ government bonds are often influenced by US Treasury yields and sometimes move in the same direction, which reduces the impact of any move in US Treasuries on the currency. But not the yen.


Even though US yields are rising relative to Japanese yields, what we’ve seen is Japanese investors selling foreign bonds. That shows a lack of confidence in the US markets.



What might be causing that? It could be the return of the “twin deficits.” This phrase refers to the US government budget deficit and the current account deficit. This graph shows the two of them as a percentage of US GDP, and then the sum of the two, which is the twin deficit.


Here we have the twin deficit vs the Federal Reserve’s index of the value of the dollar against the US’ trading partners. You can see two things from this graph. First, the value of the dollar did tend to broadly track the twin deficits over this time period. Secondly, note the forecast period for the twin deficits line, the red line. That’s calculated using the  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s forecasts for the US budget deficit and the market’s forecast for the US current account deficit. As you can see, it’s expected to worsen. And it is possible that the forecast for the budget didn’t include the impact of the latest budget bill in Washington, which will cause the deficit to grow even further.



Budget discipline could be considered a concern by some. The trade deficit is widening despite the efforts of the administration to rectify it – the trade deficit ex-petroleum recently hit a record high. 


That’s making people think that the US dollar’s long upcycle, which began in 2008, did come to an end in 2016. There was some debate whether this was just a countercyclical down move within the longer upwards trend. You can see in this graph how even when the dollar is in a long-term trend one way or the other, there are often long periods  when the currency moves in the opposite direction. I think there had been some debate about whether this was just one of those counter-cyclical periods, but more and more people are thinking it’s the start of a down wave. 



The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.

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19 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Challenges for China's economy in 2018

Chinese people are celebrating these days the beginning of their New Year. 2018 is the Year of the Dog for the Chinese. Festivities have already started in China and they are going to last for two weeks. Traditional celebrations include bell ringing, watching the famous lion dances and lighting firecrackers. New year means new beginnings or a chance to change. When it comes to the Chinese economy, the change is already in progress. 

China’s GDP growth beat expectations in 2017

The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced in January 2018 that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 6.9% during 2017. China’s GDP growth in 2017 beat analysts’ expectations who had been anticipating that the Chinese economy would grow by 6.7%. This was the first time that the GDP’s rate of growth accelerated in the last seven years. During 2017, Chinese policymakers focused on cutting the national debt and have ramped up the effort to cut the air pollution, produced by the Chinese industry, without putting a strain on the growth of the world’s second-largest economy. 

Chinese economic outlook in 2018

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report published on 6th December 2017 said that the IMF is concerned over imbalances in the Chinese economy. According to the report, IMF analysts noted that the four largest Chinese banks have adequate capital but “medium and city-commercial banks appear vulnerable.” Stress tests conducted by the IMF showed that 27 out of 33 banks tested needed to raise more funds, despite the fact that they comply with Basel III regulations regarding capitalisation.

An IMF report, released on 22nd January 2018, said that the US-based lender upgraded its estimates for the Chinese economy’s growth in 2018 and 2019. In the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report, analysts forecast that the largest Asian economy will grow by 6.6% and 6.4% in 2018 and 2019 respectively. In October 2017, when the previous World Economic Outlook report was published, both estimates were 0.1% lower. The reason behind the IMF’s revision is the surge in exports as a result of the global economic recovery and the strengthening demand for products made in China. 

The Chinese economy’s growth is based on fixed-asset investments such as property, plant and equipment (PP&E), which can’t be easily converted into cash. Fixed-assets investments account for more than 50% of the Chinese GDP. However, the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017) was the first time that fixed-asset investments declined by 1.1% in the last decades. During the first three quarters of 2017, fixed-asset investments grew by average at a 2.19% rate, which is a significantly lower figure than those recorded in previous years. If the trend of the decline of fixed-asset investment continues, it is possible that the economy will face new challenges. 

China’s excess production capacity has brought the country at odds with the US and President Donald Trump who has accused the Chinese leadership for manipulating the national currency (Yuan), the trading strategies followed and the resulting US trade balance deficit with the world’s second largest economy. US President Donald Trump has suggested to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports coming from China. The US administration has already decided to impose a tariff on solar panels imported from abroad as a reaction to the damping strategy that China used to promote them in the market as President Donald Trump said in a Reuters interview, in January 2018. 

IMF economists said, in their January 2018 report, that China’s national debt has risen, being almost double of the country’s GDP. The IMF recommended the Chinese authorities “to de-emphasize the GDP’s growth,” and added that implicit guarantees to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) need to be removed carefully and gradually. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) replied in a statement that “the IMF’s recommendations are highly relevant in the context of deepening financial reforms in the country.”

Trading Forex and CFDs, which are leveraged products, are high risk investments and puts your capital at risk. You may sustain a loss of some or all of your invested capital. Only speculate with money you can afford to lose.
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16 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Fundamental Analysis 16.02.2018 - Market Outlook

Market Recap

The spectre of stagflation is haunting the markets. US industrial production was revised down for December 2017 and actually fell in January 2018, contrary to expectations, as did capacity untilization. Meanwhile, following Wednesday 14th February's higher-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, Thursday 15th February's Payment protection insurance (PPI) also beat expectations, while the prices paid indices for the two Federal indices out yesterday – Empire State and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank – both went up. So we have output stagnating or even falling, while inflation accelerates.


This mix can be deadly for the markets – back in the early 1980s, the-then Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker raised the Federal Reserve funds rate up to 20% inan effort to defeat inflation. However, the US stock market seems to have taken it in stride yesterday, closing up 1.2%, while Treasury yields were largely unchanged (2yrs up 2 bps, 10 years down 1 bp).

It may be that the market feels the Federal Reserve won’t be so aggressive this time around – that given the trade-off between inflation and growth, they will lean towards supporting growth and therefore won’t hike rates as much as they would normally during a period of high inflation. Or it could be that the market is focusing more on the deterioration in the “twin deficits” as the government budget deficit expands without end while the non-oil trade deficit hits a record.

USD/JPY continued to fall (i.e., JPY continued to strengthen). That’s what suggests that interest rates are not behind this latest move, because USD/JPY is the pair where interest rate differentials are likely to be expressed most clearly. JPY rates are pegged, meaning that the USD/JPY interest rate differential will expand or contract one-for-one as US Treasury yields move. Japan is the only such market; all other markets are subject to some influence from the Treasury market.

That key difference is likely to continue for some time, given today’s news that Bank of Japan (BoJ) Govenor Haruhiko Kuroda was reappointed. He’s the architect of Japan’s quantitative easing program and so is likely to keep Japanese yields constrained and  continue to expand the BoJ’s balance sheet. In fact he specifically said that the BoJ will continue with its current easing policy and that it’s too early to start talking about an exit policy. His reappointment was well telegraphed in advance though so may not have impacted the market much today.

One other key point to note about recent USD/JPY action is that the pair declined even though the Tokyo stock market gained. As you can see from the graph below, over time the two do tend to move in tandem – USD/JPY tends to move up as the stock market moves up, or perhaps we should say that the stock market tends to move up as USD/JPY moves up.


However, if we just look at the day-to-day changes, they don’t always move together. Over the last five years, they’ve moved in different directions about 40% of the time, and slightly more often (43%) over the last one year. So it’s by no means too strong for USD/JPY to fall when the Tokyo stock market is increasing. Nonetheless, in today’s world this probably signals that the USD/JPY move isn’t just a “risk on” move, but rather a reaction to something deeper, such as the structural problems in the US.


Today’s market

The day starts with Britain’s retail sales. This figure comes in two sorts, with and without auto fuel, but the fact is that they both move pretty much in line together. In any event, the market pays a bit more attention to the “with” figure, even though that can be distorted by a change in the price of gasoline.

On a month-on-month basis, the figure is expected to bounce back but only slightly from the deep decline in December 2017. This is slightly worrisome, as the December 2017 fall did not follow any unusually big leap in November 2017, either. It looks as if the pace of growth in retail sales is starting to take a hit from the fall in real wages. It’s going to be hard to do better than this in future months as uncertainty about Brexit rises. This could be GBP-negative.




Canadian manufacturing sales are expected to be up only slightly from the previous month. Still, considering that the previous month saw growth in sales, This could be CAD-positive.




US import prices may be watched more closely than usual today because of the focus on inflation. The mom rate of growth is forecast to accelerate, although that would leave the yoy rate unchanged. Import prices excluding petroleum are rising much more slowly, but that doesn’t seem to be as much of a focus for the market.




US housing starts are expected to be up somewhat, while building permits are forecast to be unchanged. For some reason the market focuses more on starts than on permits, even though permits are the more forward-looking indicator. The figure could therefore be modestly USD-positive.





Finally, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is expected to decline slightly from the relatively high level that it’s been at for the last several months. It is gradually declining, but given that it’s still well above average – the 10-year average is 79.2, the 20-year average is 86.5 and the 30-year average is 87.3, vs the expected outturn of 95.4 – a modest decline of this level should not affect the markets much. This might be USD-neutral.











The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.

 

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16 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

How Expert Advisors help in trading

Advanced online trading tools that help traders stay informed for any market movement, access to their accounts 24/7 from anywhere in the world via laptops and mobile devices and lower trading costs are just few of the benefits that clients enjoy by using online trading platforms. Some of the online trading tools that could play an important role in forming a trading strategy are expert advisors (EAs), trading signals, chart indicators and virtual private servers (VPS). 

What is an Expert Advisor (EA)

One of the online trading tools which should be given extra attention is the Expert Advisor or EA, as it is commonly known in the trading world. An EA is a software program which is designed to automate trading transactions on the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform, which is used by STO. An EA can be programmed to notify you whenever a significant market opportunity that matches your trading strategy appears. 

EAs can also be arranged to manage every aspect of trading, such as sending orders, opening and closing positions. The trader who would like to utilize an expert advisor program to help him in executing a trading strategy could configure the software according to his requirements. This way, the EA relieves the trader from the anxiety of having to be in front of a computer screen constantly in order not to miss a trading opportunity. 

Why use an Expert Advisor (EA) 

One of the most important advantages of using an EA is that it can do your trades for you. If a trader wants to trade in global markets, he should take into consideration of the different time zones. This means that when the trader rests, good opportunities might go unnoticed. An EA can operate 24/7 without human supervision, tracking market movements and acting according to the trader’s orders. 

Using an EA removes human psychology from the trading equation. Occasionally, even seasoned traders may be carried off by greed or fear. It’s not unusual for traders to abandon their strategies and take decisions based on clouded judgement. A situation such as this could lead to money losses for traders. An EA is trading based only on the programmer’s commands, relying on trading signals without emotion being an obstacle. 

New, but also more experienced, traders can benefit from EAs. Beginners are able to test the EA program they want and see if it can match their performance and risk criteria. Thanks to demo accounts that are offered by online trading platforms such as STO, new traders can run tests doing virtual trading, without the danger of losing money in the process. More experienced traders get the chance to build more sophisticated and complex trading strategies than if they would be doing their trades manually. If the right parameters are programmed into the system, an EA can monitor multiple transactions and market movements, making it a valuable asset for the trader.

STO and EAs

Since being established in 2009, STO offers its clients a multitude of ways to trade on the financial markets. STO’s target has been always to follow the latest technological developments that could optimize the client’s trading experience. Always wanting to support the people that have put their trust in STO, we offer advanced online trading tools such as EAs. STO offers free services of Expert Advisors (EAs), 3 months for STO Premium, 6 months for PRO and 12 months for VIP account clients. This way STO ensures that traders have the most advanced tools to help them build their trading strategies. 

Trading Forex and CFDs, which are leveraged products, are high risk investments and puts your capital at risk. You may sustain a loss of some or all of your invested capital. Only speculate with money you can afford to lose.
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15 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Fundamental Analysis 15.02.2018 - Market Outlook

Market Recap

The US Consumer Price Index was much higher than expected (both headline and core stayed at the same yoy rate of change instead of slowing as expected) and US bond yields jumped, and yet the dollar plunged. Ten-year yields jumped 10 bps to 2.91%, well above the 2.85% level that sent stocks plunging last week, and yet the dollar fell and stocks rose. The stock market move was all the more inexplicable given that retail sales, which came out at the same time as the inflation data, were much weaker than expected.

The figures show that sentiment, not economics, is moving the markets nowadays. It appears that the FX market has simply lost confidence in the dollar. Widening interest rate differentials and expectation of further US tightening aren’t supporting the currency like they used to. On the contrary, if investors are worried about the widening US budget deficit, then higher interest rates might be a negative for the currency.

And with the US merchandise trade deficit widening again, the theme of the “twin deficits” seems to be coming back. That could be considered worrisome with a protectionist administration in place, because it means more barriers to trade and perhaps more attempts to talk the dollar down.

The rise in gold at the same time as bond yields rose and the stock market recovered is an indication that the market is losing faith in the dollar. Usually, higher interest rates and/or higher stock prices would tend to send gold down, but instead it was the weak dollar that dominated.

CAD performed well as oil prices soared. The US Department of Energy reported that US inventories rose 1.8mn barrels in the latest week, below the 3.1mn that the market had expected and the 3.9mn that the American Petroleum Institute (API) had reported for the same week.



Today’s market

There are a few indicators out today.

European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board member Yves Mersch will give the keynote speech at the "Rencontres du Club SEPA" in Paris. 

ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet will also be in Paris to participate in a panel discussion at a conference jointly organised by the French Treasury and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the US, we have the Empire State manufacturing survey and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve business outlook survey. Both are expected to be modestly higher, which could be expected to boost the dollar.





Similarly, the US producer price index (PPI) is expected to show slowing upstream price pressures, both overall and on a core basis. Ordinarily this would tend to be negative for USD.




US industrial production (IP) is also expected to come in below trend. This is quite a volatile series on a month-to-month basis. IP finished 2017 on a strong note, with a 0.9% mom rise in December 2017 and growth of 2.0% for the year overall—the highest annual increase since 2014. For January 2018, aggregate factory hours worked were strong in the employment report, suggesting that manufacturing was still expanding. Nonetheless, the consensus view is for some mean reversion after December 2017’s strong print. This could be USD-negative.




The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) housing market index is expected to be unchanged at 72, which is near the high of 74 reached in December 2017. For context, remember that after the real estate boom in 1999, the highest point reached was again 72 in 2005. So even if this is off a bit from the recent peak, it’s still a very high level that could be good for USD. 
















The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.
 
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15 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

What are trading signals

One part of everyday life that has changed radically, because of the technological evolution in recent years, is trading. Internet has played a significant role in that. The number of traders that use online platforms in order to execute their trading strategies is increasing when compared with the number of traders that still use traditional methods. Both trading types have advantages and disadvantages. A careful consideration of the features and benefits that each has to offer is needed before deciding which one to choose. 

Online trading platforms such as STO are transforming the world of trading. After planning carefully his trading strategy and taking into consideration the risks that he might face, a trader who chooses an online trading platform can enjoy certain benefits. Some of these are lower trading costs, speed and control of trading strategy from everywhere in the world and a variety of online tools to assist the trader in taking the best possible decisions. Trading signals are among these tools.

What are trading signals and how they help traders

Trading signals enable a trader to be immediately informed about market events or significant market movements as a result of an event. A trading signal could be described as an indication for action, generated by analysis, for either buying or selling an asset or a Contract For Difference (CFD). This kind of analysis can be generated by specialized analysts who use for this reason technical indicators. Technical indicators used by analysts are based on past price patterns in order to predict the possibility of price direction in the future. 

Traders can also have access to trading signals that are based on mathematical analysis. The generated mathematical algorithms are taking into consideration of market action. In some cases, algorithms are combined with macroeconomic data such as Consumer Price Index (CPI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), commodity prices etc. This way, the accuracy of the trading signals is increasing. However, it should be noted that the trader should be careful when using them to form his strategy as trading signals are not guarantee for delivering the best possible outcome, in any case.

A trader should learn how trading signals can be used so he will be able to build the best possible trading strategy. Traders can receive and use signals by independent trading signals’ providers who specialize in and charge for this service. Depending on the provider and the volume of signals received, the service cost may vary. However, the trustworthiness of some of the providers is questionable which means that the trader should make a thorough research before he decides to use their services.

STO and trading signals

STO provides to its clients trading signals that get updated 24/7 on a wide range of financial instruments such as forex (FX), indices, commodities and shares. STO real time trading signals are prepared by experienced analysts and are available to our clients any time of the day, anywhere in the world. STO trading signals are available on multiple timeframes including M1, M5, M30, H1, H4 and D1 and come for free with every type of STO trading account.

Trading Forex and CFDs, which are leveraged products, are high risk investments and puts your capital at risk. You may sustain a loss of some or all of your invested capital. Only speculate with money you can afford to lose.
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14 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Fundamental Analysis 14.02.2018 - Market Outlook

Market Recap

USD/JPY closely tracked the movement of the Tokyo stock market. It looks as though the stock market was leading the FX market. That could mean the movement was due to the lower-than-expected Q4 GDP figure, which came in at +0.1% SA qoq rather than +0.2%. There was also talk of another reason:  an option barrier being triggered, which pushed USD/JPY down through an important technical level, namely the previous 2017 low at 107.32.

Note though that while USD/JPY tracked stocks fairly well on the downside, the currency didn’t track so well late in the day when the stock market recovered slightly. As you can see, the stocks/currency correlation was present the previous day, too. USD/JPY dropped 40 pips between the time the Tokyo stock market closed on Tuesday 13th February 2018 and the time it opened on Wednesday 14th February 2018.

USD meanwhile fell along with Treasury yields as the US stock market stabilized. The Treasury market continued the good performance seen on Monday 12th February 2018, which was somewhat surprising considering the better-than-expected results from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the small-business association.


This was the first release of the NFIB survey since the new tax legislation was enacted and so was closely watched to see how it might affect sentiment. The percent of respondents reporting that "now was a good time to expand" rose to the strongest level ever, while the percent "planning to raise worker compensation" in the next 3 months rose to its strongest level since December 1989.

Numbers like this are consistent with average hourly earnings growing over 3% yoy. Remember that it was the 2.9% yoy jump in average hourly earnings that set off the recent bout of higher yields/lower stocks/massive risk aversion. The NFIB survey suggests that this could occur again. That’s why it’s surprising that Treasury yields declined, as did the probability of a hike at the March 2018 Federal Open Market Committee meeting (slightly). Presumably the market is discounting a weak Consumer Price Index (CPI) print later today.

Today’s market

The European day starts early with the release of the first estimate of German 4Q Gross Domestic Product. The qoq growth rate is expected to slow slightly, while the yoy rate is forecast to return to the Q1 & Q2 rate. In short, the figure probably will not show as strong growth as in Q3 but nonetheless will demonstrate that growth in Germany remains at a healthy level, supported by both domestic and overseas demand. This should give the European Central Bank (ECB) more confidence about raising interest rates – particularly with a new Finance Minister taking office in Germany who may not be so worried about fiscal rectitude. This could be EUR-positive.


During the European day, the Bundesbank will be holding a seminar on cash. The event will once again feature speeches by senior representatives from academia, public authorities and the private sector, including Bundesbank President and ECB Council Member Jens Weidmann, ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch, and Swiss National Bank Vice Chairman Fritz Zurbruegg. 

Later in the day comes the main indicator of the week: the US CPI.  That’s going to be a big indicator for all financial markets, seeing as that’s what started the market volatility last week:  the fear of higher inflation leading to faster tightening. The headline rate of inflation is expected to slow by two tics, while the core rate is expected to slow by one. On a mom basis, the headline figure is expected to rise 0.3%. As long as it doesn’t rise more than 0.4% mom, base effects will push the yoy rate back below the Federal Reserve’s target 2.0% yoy rate for the first time since the August CPI figure last year.

That should be good news for the stock market, which is worried about higher inflation causing the Federal Reserve to tighten faster than expected. It would also be good for risk-sensitive currencies, such as AUD. It would probably be bad news for the dollar though. JPY could also be expected to weaken.

A lower-than-expected out-turn would have similar implications for the FX market, only more so. There might be more carry trades and high-yielding currencies such as AUD and NZD might be expected to gain.

A higher-than-expected out-turn on the other hand would probably send US interest rates higher and the stock market lower. Both would benefit the dollar. Risk-sensitive currencies such as AUD would probably fall, while the yen might rise despite the widening interest rate differential with the US.

Generally speaking, there could be more volatility in case of a positive surprise than in the case of a negative surprise. That’s because a positive surprise would tend to confirm concerns that inflation is taking off, while a negative surprise would mean only that inflation hasn’t taken off yet.


The yen’s sensitivity to risk sentiment and interest rate differentials makes it a sensible vehicle for speculating on changes in the inflation environment. 

Just as JPY tends to rise during risk-off periods, AUD tends to rise during risk-on periods. On a 30-minute horizon, EUR/USD has shown the closest correlation to the surprise in the headline CPI figure, followed closely by USD/JPY. AUD/JPY however has shown virtually no correlation at all. The results were similar for the core CPI, although in that case USD/JPY showed a slightly higher correlation (0.4274) than EUR/USD (0.3678). Again, AUD/JPY was near zero. This may be caused by lower liquidity in AUD during the US trading day.




US retail sales come out at the same time as the CPI figures.  They’re expected to be relatively weak, which would tend to reinforce the expected picture of diminishing inflationary pressures and therefore be negative for the dollar.




Overnight, Australia announces its employment data. The figure is expected to show no improvement in the unemployment rate and a below-trend increase in the number of new jobs. This could be negative for AUD. 











The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.

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14 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

How Negative Balance Protection Works

Financial regulations are forms of regulations which subject financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines. Financial regulations are not something new in Europe’s history of finance as the Dutch were the first to implement a ban in short-selling in 1610.

The aims of financial regulations are to maintain confidence in the financial system, ensure its stability and contribute to its protection, while securing that consumers are protected from any deceptive or fraudulent practice. The European Union (EU) reformed its financial governance framework, after the sovereign debt crisis that hit it at the end of 2009. European financial regulators are trying, through the implementation of new rules, to protect consumers in their dealings with financial firms.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has already sought evidence from stakeholders on the impact of a series of proposed measures. One of the measures under consideration, regarding the trade of Contract For Differences (CFDs), is negative balance protection on a per account basis.

What is Negative Balance Protection

Negative balance protection is a precautionary measure that brokerage firms take in order to safeguard their clients. Negative balance protection policy ensures that traders will not lose more money than deposited, if their account goes into negative as a result of their trading activity. This means that if a trader chooses a brokerage firm that offers negative balance protection, he won’t owe money to the firm because of a bad trading decision.
Most times brokers have safeguards available such as margin calls, but, in the past, these safeguards didn’t work well when quick and unexpected market movements took place. The speed of the movement may move the price beyond your margin call close out level resulting to larger than expected capital loss.

On 14th January 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) suddenly announced that it would stop holding the Swiss Franc (CHF) at a fixed exchange rate with the Euro (EUR), as it had been doing since September 2011. The Swiss Franc soared against the single market currency, the Swiss market recorded losses, and many traders ended up with negative balances and the fear that their brokers would demand to get paid to cover their losses.

FCA and CySEC on Negative Balance Protection

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the UK’s financial regulator, has informed FCA-regulated firms of the necessary provisions to meet larger capital requirements under the ESMA’s no-negative balance rules. Ongoing discussions about the new regulatory framework for Forex and CFDs brokerage firms have showed that the FCA will ask from firms that are not willing to commit to a negative balance protection policy and guaranteed Stop Losses, to cover potential risks using their own capital.

On 18th September 2017, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), which is the Cypriot financial regulatory authority, clarified that negative balance protection will only be instituted on a per-account basis for CySEC regulated firms. This means that if a trader has two different leveraged positions with a broker, a position or funds that he/she has with the broker can be used to cover a negative balance on another. However, on the whole, a trader’s account can’t enter negative territory.

STO and Negative Balance Protection

STO offers negative balance protection on all of its trading accounts. STO is a trading name of AFX Markets Ltd . AFX Markets Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and AFX Capital Markets Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Security and Exchanges Commission (CySEC). STO ensures that its clients’ account balances won’t drop below zero, holding a positive balance in their trading accounts.

Trading Forex and CFDs, which are leveraged products, are high risk investments and puts your capital at risk. You may sustain a loss of some or all of your invested capital. Only speculate with money you can afford to lose.
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13 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

Fundamental Analysis 13.02.2018 - Market Outlook

Market Recap

After several days of losses, stock markets recovered somewhat on Monday 12th February 2018 and the fear level subsided. The S&P 500 opened higher and stayed in positive territory all day long, ending up 1.7%. This morning, most stock markets in Asia are higher as well. The S&P 500 has now regained 42% of the ground that it lost during the recent plunge. With the recovery, the VIX index has receded from its recent peak of 50.30 back to 25.61 – which is still a high level well above the 14-15 average for the last five years.

With a lower level of fear came a lower level of “flight to safety” into the dollar and USD retreated somewhat. There was also some disappointment with US President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan, which seems unlikely to ignite the kind of spending that had previously been expected. That weighed on Treasury yields and thereby pressured the dollar.

Today, AUD and JPY have performed well. Ordinarily, a risk-on environment could be expected to push AUD higher but JPY lower. The rise in iron ore prices also helps to explain the continued recovery in AUD. The question then is why JPY also firmed despite media reports that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was likely to reappoint Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to another term – Governor Kuroda being the architect of the Bank of Japan’s massive stimulus program, which has been weakening the yen. The move may have reflected the fall in Tokyo stocks, although comments on the stock market suggested that stocks were following the currency market, not the other way around. Finally, both moves may be due just to the weaker dollar, although it’s notable that CHF, which is also a risk barometer, fell.

GBP didn't perform well despite the view of both the Bank of England speakers yesterday that interest rates are likely to rise more than they had previously expected. It is possible that Brexit fears are affecting economic expectations.

Today’s market

We get the first of this week’s inflation data this morning as the UK releases its various inflation measures. Headline inflation and producer price inflation are both expected to slow, but core inflation is forecast to accelerate slightly. The subsequent market movement is often most closely correlated to the core CPI measure, the green line in the graph below, which makes sense as that’s the one that the Bank of England targets. In this case, it suggests that even though the headline figure might show slower inflation, the data is likely to be positive for the pound.



The UK house price index, issued by the UK Land Registry, gives the change in the average price for all houses. It’s not the most closely watched of the UK’s many house price indices, but it is one of the more official. It’s expected to show a continued deceleration in the rate of growth of house prices. A slower appreciation in house prices means a reduced wealth effect for those who own their houses already, and so is likely to be negative for the pound.



The US National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) small business survey is expected to show a slight improvement in sentiment. Moreover the hiring component of the survey, which is released before the overall survey results, already showed hiring intentions stabilizing at just slightly off the record high recorded in November 2017. That’s a positive statistic, seeing as a) most people in the US work at small companies, and b) we’ve had 88 consecutive months of increases in the nonfarm payrolls already. Improved sentiment among smaller businesses would usually be positive for the dollar, but if it suggests faster inflation and therefore faster rate hikes, the implications could be difficult to forecast. I would say that even now, if the number pushed stock prices down, that would cause risk aversion which as we saw last week can also be positive for the dollar.


Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester will discuss monetary policy and the economic outlook at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. Mester is on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and is also a voting member, so her views are significant. When she last spoke she said she preferred “three to four” rate hikes both this year and next – at the top end of the FOMC’s range.

Overnight, the first estimate of Japan’s Q4 GDP will be released. It’s expected to show a notable slowdown in growth. Nonetheless, it would be the eight consecutive quarter of positive growth. So even if everyone is working more productively, overall output can shrink if the number of people working shrinks. Moreover, the figures are expected to show an increase in the contribution to growth from domestic demand, which is a more significant indicator of the health of the economy than external demand, which they can’t do much about. The figure could be positive for the yen even if it does show a slowdown in growth.



Then early on Wednesday 14th February 2018 as the European day gets started, Germany announces its first estimate of 4Q GDP. The qoq growth rate is expected to slow slightly, while the yoy rate is forecast to return to the Q1 & Q2 rate. In short, the figure probably will not show as strong growth as in Q3 but nonetheless will demonstrate that growth in Germany remains at a healthy level, supported by both domestic and overseas demand. This could give the ECB more confidence about raising interest rates – particularly with a new Finance Minister taking office in Germany who may not be so worried about fiscal rectitude. This could be EUR-positive.












The Fundamental Analysis is provided by Marshall Gittler an external service provider of an independent analytical company. Any views and opinions expressed are explicitly those of the writer. Any information contained in the article, is believed to be reliable, and has not been verified by STO and is not guaranteed to be accurate. References to specific products, are for illustrative purposes only and are not a form of solicitation, recommendation or investment advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.

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13 / 02 / 2018 | Market News

January US CPI and Eurozone GDP Q4 2017 in the spotlight

Wednesday 14th February 2018 will be a day full of macroeconomic data releases coming from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The busy day starts with the Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland publishing Germany’s January 2018 Consumer Price Index (CPI) data and preliminary Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2017. Economists forecast that January’s 2018 Harmonised Consumer Price Index in Germany stood at 1.4%, on a year-to-year basis. Regarding the German GDP growth in the last quarter of 2017, analysts anticipate a 0.6% surge, on a quarterly basis. In Italy, the National Institute of Statistics is going to publish the country’s GDP preliminary data for the fourth quarter of 2017. The consensus among economists is that the Italian GDP grew by 1.7% during the last quarter of 2017, on an annualised basis.

Eurozone preliminary Q4 GDP data

The most important release for Europe is the preliminary Q4 GDP data for the whole Eurozone. Economists expect that the Euro-bloc’s GDP increased by 0.6%, on a quarter-on-quarter basis. On an annualised basis, market analysts forecast that the Eurozone’s GDP grew by 2.7%, 0.1% higher than the 2.6% figure recorded in the third quarter of 2017. The expansionary monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB), the improving labour market and growing export markets seem to strengthen domestic demand. According to Eurostat’s GDP preliminary flash estimate report, published on 30th January 2018, the bloc’s economy has grown by 2.5% over the whole year 2017, which is one of the highest readings recorded since 2007. 

January 2018 US Inflation

In the US, the Department of Labour Statistics has scheduled to publish January’s 2018 inflation data. Economists forecast that US inflation stood at 1.9% in January 2018, on an annualised basis. If their forecasts prove accurate, the figure will be 0.2% lower than December’s 2017 rate as it was published on 12th January 2018. Inflation in January 2018, excluding food and energy prices, is expected to come in at 1.7%, which would be 0.1% lower than in December 2017. In general, a high inflation figure is seen as positive for the US Dollar because it could spark discussion about a probable interest rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the US Federal Reserve. On the contrary, a low inflation reading is likely to be negative for the US Dollar. 

The Federal Reserve set a 2% inflation target back in January 2012. Since then, US inflation has come in below that level for 66 out of 72 months. According to a Bloomberg report published on 2nd February 2018, some of the Federal Reserve’s board members have the opinion that the inflation target should be re-evaluated as the current monetary policy gives little space for countermoves, in case a new financial crisis hits the US economy. 

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