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Friday, August 17, 2007

Risk avoidance leads to stronger dollar

That's the analysis of Kathy Lien at DailyFX.com yesterday:

These days, cash is a valuable commodity since a liquidity crisis means a lack of cash. The sharpness of recent moves and the lack of liquidity have probably pushed more traders to liquidate positions than to add funds. Flight to safety continues to send the dollar higher against every major currency with the exception of the Japanese Yen as more victims of the subprime and liquidity crisis surface.

There's a possibility of an interest rate reduction:

...the biggest question on everyone’s mind is when the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. The market is current pricing 75bp of easing by the end of the year. There has also been speculation of an intermeeting rate cut.

But:

Like many central banks around the world, the Fed has been reluctant to lower rates because they feel that the markets need to be punished for their excessive risk appetite. Furthermore, they have said that they need to see market volatility have a “real impact” on the economy.

This, she thinks, is becoming apparent:

With major losses and bankruptcies reported throughout the financial sector, we expect companies to layoff staff left and right. [...] For the people in the “real economy,” their 401ks have taken a harsh beating while their mortgage interest payments are on the rise. It is only a matter of time when we see economics reflect that. The bad news is already pouring in with housing starts hitting a 10 year low and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region stagnating. Since the beginning of the year, the weak dollar has provided a big boom to the manufacturing sector. Now that the dollar has strengthened significantly, activity in the manufacturing sector should also begin to slow.

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