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Currency Markets Are So Sleepy That HSBC Is Out of New Ideas - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 19, 2019

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Foreign-exchange markets are so quiet that HSBC’s strategists are drawing a blank.

“We are in an unusual position in this month’s FX Tactician, deciding for the first time not to introduce a new trade idea for the month ahead,’’ Daragh Maher, the bank’s U.S. head of currency strategy, wrote in a note to clients. “In part, this reflects the lack of volatility evident in G10 FX markets which means we have neither hit our take-profit levels nor our stop-loss in the trades we entered in January, February and March.’’

The lack of movement in the markets means that implied three-month volatility for G7 currencies is running two standard deviations below its long-run average, according to an index from JPMorgan. The lack of gyrations bedevils traders taking a position on directional swings between pairs, and pushed influential investors to wager on continued tranquility to generate returns in a low-volatility environment.

Comatose Currencies

Adding insult to injury: the lone source of shockwaves in 2019 -- the British pound -- has seen market expectations for near-term swings crater after the European Union and U.K. agreed to a Brexit deadline extension. No wonder currency-only hedge funds are a dying breed.

HSBC still has confidence in its previous recommendations, Maher said in his note, which include selling the Aussie dollar against the greenback, buying the U.S. currency versus the Canadian loonie, and shorting the euro relative to the Japanese yen. David Bloom, head of global foreign-exchange strategy at the bank, adds that borrowing euros to buy dollars is the “greatest carry trade in the world” in light of the interest rate differential.

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