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Reuters blog archive

from Breakingviews:

“Seller beware” when profiting from market calm

By Swaha Pattanaik

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Seller beware. That is an unusual warning, but it applies right now to the options market. Sellers of protection against large price moves have been pocketing gains. But many will suffer losses if markets become less calm.

Market torpor has reached historic proportions. One measure is implied volatility, which encapsulates investors’ expectations of how much a particular market will move over a set period. The VIX index of expected U.S. equity volatility hit seven-year lows near 10 percent on July 3. The MOVE index of implied one-month volatility in Treasuries is at 55, near all-time lows just below 50.

volatility

The obvious reason for the declines in implied volatility is a sharp fall in actual volatility. Options traders basically expect the immediate future to look much like the recent past. But something else may also be responsible. Some investors are using the options market as a source of revenue.

from Breakingviews:

Dollar to give other currencies beating many want

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The dollar should make its way back from oblivion in 2014 as the Federal Reserve stops printing greenbacks like monopoly money. Emerging market currencies look vulnerable to a whipping they don’t want, the yen should continue to slide happily, the euro will ease and the pound will end up competing with the dollar at the front of the currency race.

from Global Investing:

Watanabes shop for Brazilian real, Mexican peso

Are Mr and Mrs Watanabe preparing to return to emerging markets in a big way?

Mom and pop Japanese investors, collectively been dubbed the Watanabes, last month snapped up a large volume of uridashi bonds (bonds in foreign currencies marketed to small-time Japanese investors),  and sales of Brazilian real uridashi rose last month to the highest since July 2010, Barclays analysts say, citing official data.

Just to remind ourselves, the Watanabes have made a name for themselves as canny players of the interest rate arbitrage between the yen and various high-yield currencies. The real was a red-hot favourite and their frantic uridashi purchases in 2007 and 2009-2011 was partly behind Brazil's decision to slap curbs on incoming capital. Their ardour has cooled in the past two years but the trade is far from dead.

from Breakingviews:

Sterling flirts with safe-haven status

By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Is sterling now a safe haven? Not exactly - the pound has too much going against it for that, including dovish rhetoric on monetary policy from Mark Carney, the new head of the central bank. But in the currency contest, the UK looks less handicapped than most of its major rivals.

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s dealmakers deflated by Abe’s arrows

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Shinzo Abe may yet revive Japan’s economy, but so far he has done the opposite for the country’s chief executives. The volume of overseas mergers this year has been positively lethargic. The prime minister’s efforts to cheapen the yen, and volatile markets, partly explain the lull, but the case for going abroad remains strong.

from Breakingviews:

Market jitters could crush Japan’s inflation drive

By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Skittish markets are a threat to Japan’s anti-deflation drive. The rising yen, falling stocks and lower government bond yields suggest investors once again view Japan as a safe haven. The Bank of Japan may need to be bolder to prevent their expectations from becoming self-fulfilling.

from Breakingviews:

Japan e-book: Abe’s Economic Experiment

By Peter Thal Larsen

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Japan’s prime minister has electrified investors with his three-pronged strategy to shock the country out of its economic malaise. Abenomics has profound implications not just for Japan, but for the rest of the world too. Our new book examines the economic phenomenon of the year.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

The radical force of ‘Abenomics’

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the cockpit of T-4 training jet at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force base in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi prefecture, May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

'The 3.5 percent gross domestic product growth announced by Tokyo Wednesday suggests that Japan may be the fastest-growing economy in the G7. Since the Tokyo stock market hit bottom exactly six months ago, the Nikkei share index has soared almost 80 percent. Meanwhile, the yen has experienced its biggest six-month move against the dollar. All these events appear linked to the election of Shinzo Abe and the regime he has installed at the Bank of Japan.

from Breakingviews:

Abenomics pulls Japan from its post-Lehman slump

By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies have beaten back the Japanese economy’s post-Lehman blues. Breakingviews' Abenomics Index was at its highest level in March since September 2008. And that was before the Bank of Japan launched its bold money-printing pledge.

from Breakingviews:

Three-digit yen no longer a one-way bet

By Andy Mukherjee
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The yen is no longer a one-way bet. The Japanese currency has slumped to 100 against the dollar for the first time in four years. That’s a 16 percent slide since Shinzo Abe’s landslide election victory in December. At the time, Breakingviews predicted his victory would herald a three-digit yen. But there are good reasons to be sceptical about a further decline.

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