As of writing, the DXY (USD index) is trading at 93.35, down by 0.50% on Thursday trading.
GDP growth in the US may be contributing to this 4-week low in the dollar index. GDP growth missed expectations for Q3 2021, reporting in at 2.0% rather than the expected 2.7%. Q3’s GDP growth represents the lowest value reported for this data point since the US began to recover from the worst of the pandemic.
Supply constraints have been pointed out as one of the major causes for the GDP growth miss, as reported by Fannie Mae earlier in the month. Fannie Mae expects the constraints to continue for another 12 months, although weakening in intensity as time passes.
The USD has lost the most ground against the EUR in the past 24 hours. EURUSD is trading at 1.16831 at the time of writing, up by 0.72% and a one month high for the pair. The cause of the EUR's strength: The public address by the Christine Lagarde, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), playing down any fears of inflation.
While Inflation in the Eurozone is at a 13-year high (3.4%), Lagarde and her ECB associates are not ready to drop the notion that inflation is transitory. The ECB want to see inflation above 2% over the medium term before considering rate hikes or taking a more hawkish tone.
The ECB believes that inflation in the Eurozone has been driven chiefly by supply bottlenecks and energy prices. It could be some time before investors see any change in the dovish stance of the ECB.
Supply constraints are expected to last for a great deal of time, as noted above, while energy prices are yet to show any sign of abatement. The Biden administration has asked energy producers to lift production to help drop the cost of energy. But the request is falling on deaf ears.
At the time of writing, WTI is trading at US $83.04 per barrel, while Brent is trading at US $84.39 per barrel. Both Oil instruments are trading at multi-year highs. The price of Natural Gas does swing widely day-to-day. A 7% swing either way over a day’s trading is not uncommon. Yet, Natural Gas is still trading at US $5.732/MMBtu, more than double the price at the beginning of 2021.
Biases are shortcuts that your brain takes to wiggle around complicated or tough decisions. They can have a huge impact on your day-to-day decisions. While this isn’t usually a huge problem, your biases may be holding you back from success in trading.
The human brain wants to conserve energy, and to do so; it will take shortcuts to avoid sensory overload. These shortcuts are often just fast mental decisions or shortcuts known as “heuristics”. The real problem with this is that we’re typically unaware that we have these biases. We must work hard and constantly challenge ourselves to counter the adverse effects that heuristic biases have on our trading and everything else.
While there are many forms of biases, let’s focus on two that have a disproportionate effect on your trading success. For these purposes, we must focus on cognitive and emotional biases. These biases are studied in the field of psychology. More recently, they’ve also been studied in economics and the new and valuable area of behavioural finance.
After seeing the effects of these biases on my trading and the trading of my colleagues, I noticed that seven key biases have a disproportionate influence on an individual’s trading. As you read on, try to ask yourself how these biases may have impacted your trading. Then, think about the ways you can prevent them from affecting your future trading.
Confirmation bias causes us to seek out information that agrees with what we already believe and disregard information that suggests the opposite. Ask yourself, “How many times have I placed a trade then sat there and watched it go against me?” This happens occasionally, but when it does, where do you go to find information on why it happens? Are you seeking “expert” advice that tells you that you were always correct?
A colleague once told me; "many years ago, when I first started trading, I placed a large trade on oil. In hindsight, I didn’t know what I was doing, and the trade was too big for my account. I made a few mistakes as a beginner, including frantically typing “oil” into Google looking for any reason to support my original opinion that the price of oil would go up. Low and behold, there were investment banks providing information that agreed with my initial assessment. They talked about an undersupply in the market, explaining that oil was sure to go higher. It was 2 am at this point when I watched my whole account go into jeopardy. This valuable advice that I sought helped nurse me to sleep."
Of course, none of this was beneficial. My colleague deviously chose not to click on any article that might tell them that they were wrong. They only sought out the information they wanted to hear or see.
The endowment effect is a psychological state that you enter once you own something for a long time. Effectively, this means we tend to value something more after we hold it for some time.
This “endowment effect” has been studied extensively. The studies and experiments concluded that we fear losing what we own so much that we place an abnormally high value on what we own.
Our loss aversion can have a significant impact on our trading success. For example, imagine placing a trade on EUR-USD, targeting a profit or loss of only 50 pips. Then, when the trade starts to go against us, what’s the first thing we often do? Move our stop loss further out because we “just know it’s going to turn around.” We tell ourselves stories like, “The Euro is cheap here; it’ll turn around.”
At this point, our commitment to this trade has caused us to allow it to become a sunk cost. We value it more because we own it and because we have already invested in it.
The “recency bias” or “recency effect” tells us that our recent experience can become the baseline for what will happen in the future. The human mind likes consistency and predictability, after all.
You can become a victim to this form of bias because of recent solid trade performance, such as a recent win or loss impacting you heavily. It can also come from a particular piece of news or information we recently heard, which then forms the basis for our decision making.
For example, imagine I gave you a list of items on a shopping list and then asked you to recall it. Chances are you would tend to only really remember the things at the end of the list. This form of bias can have dangerous consequences for us as traders. It undermines our ability to form an objective decision on a trade. This is because we tend to focus too much on our most recent trade or information we found as a barometer for how the next trade will go.
We also tend toward the fear of missing out (FOMO). With this new information, we feel we must put something into action!
So, how do you overcome this bias? As difficult as it may be, you must stop and count to three and ask yourself a few questions:
The gambler’s fallacy kicks in when we believe that previous events alter future probabilities. This effect is known as the “gambler’s fallacy” due to behaviour often observed in a casino. Imagine a roulette table; every time the game is played, the ball somehow lands on black repeatedly. Onlookers see this happen and think, “it couldn’t possibly land on black again”, and proceed to bet against it.
As traders and human beings, we tend to believe that if something happens multiple times, it couldn’t happen again. We thus ignore simple probability.
As an example, a bit closer to home, let’s say the S&P500 has rallied for five days in a row. So, we place a trade in believing that “it must be due for a correction” only to watch the index rally for the sixth day.
If you want to combat this bias, it’s essential to look at the original factors that got you interested in the trade.
The “bandwagon effect” describes our inclination to do or believe things just because others do or think the same. Also known as “groupthink” or “herd behaviour”, it can lead to a severe trading hangover. During your trading hangover, you ask yourself questions like, “why on earth did I go long on the EUR-CHF last night?”
A recent example of this effect was the Federal Reserve’s first-rate increase since 2008 by December of 2015. Following the event, commentators and fund managers surveyed by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said, “buying US Dollars was the biggest one-way trade of 2016”. Most respondents believed the general market consensus that because the Federal Reserve said they expected four rate rises in 2016, the USD would surely rally.
Following that long USD trade would have led to disaster. In fact, the USD-JPY fell from as high as 121 to 101, an impressive 2000 pip fall from December! Be careful of those bandwagons!
Everything is more apparent in hindsight. You could also call this bias the “I knew it all along” effect. How many times have you heard someone say those words in life, let alone in trading? We tend to believe that the onset of a past event was entirely predictable and obvious, even though we couldn’t predict it during the event.
Due to another bias called “narrative bias,” we tend to assign a narrative or a “story” to an event that allows us to believe that events are predictable. We like to think that we can somehow predict or control the future. It allows us to make sense of the world around us. It is now common to find stories of those who predicted the great recession and the US housing bubble in hindsight. They become legends or “oracles” that people look to in the future for advice, believing they will again be able to foresee any future turmoil.
It is essential to watch out for this bias. The hindsight bias leads us into perhaps one of the most dangerous mindsets: overconfidence.
The overconfidence bias is our final bias and one that is typically less hidden than the others. Overconfidence as a trader allows us to believe that we are superior in our trading. This ultimately leads to hubris and poor decision making. It doesn’t matter whether it’s overconfidence on when to trade, what to trade, or how to trade a particular product.
This can all lead us to trade larger than we should, hold losers for longer than we should, or relax our risk management policy. Of course, this all leads to capital losses.
OK, so I might have scared you. You may be jumping at shadows and questioning your own trading decisions, believing you have all these secret, hidden disadvantages that you didn’t have until 10 minutes ago, but don’t worry. Biases can not be completely avoided, but we can work hard on challenging our opinions to make us more successful. Sometimes all it takes is just a moment to stop and think.
To help you along the way, we’ve created a possible checklist for making better decisions in your trading.
So, stop, take a breath and ask yourself these seven questions before you place your next trade.
1. Why am I taking this trade?
2. How strong is the evidence behind my decision to trade?
3. Could I be missing something?
4. Is there evidence to consider the opposite side?
5. Has the recency of information I’ve learned influenced my decision? If so, how much?
6. Is this trade following the consensus of the crowd? If so, is that a good thing?
7. If none of the above questions applies, could any of the other biases above be at work?
The Central Bank of Switzerland, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), is running very high on foreign reserve currency.
Beginning in 2020, the SNB has been increasing the rate at which it sells Swiss Francs (CHF) and subsequently buys foreign currency. Further, the SNB has recently passed a critical threshold for the first time: CHF 1 trillion of foreign currency reserves.
Since January 2020, SNB’s foreign currency reserves have increased by approximately 170 billion USD. In the time immediately preceding January 2020, it had taken the SNB four years to add this many foreign currency reserves to its books. Although, during this time, you could argue that the SNB was still pursuing a rather aggressive foreign currency purchase program.
The printers of a similar safe-haven currency, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and its Japanese Yen (JPY) afford a suitable comparison for the SNB and its CHF. Since January 2020, the foreign currency reserves of the BOJ has increased US$50 billion, one-third that of the SNB. Moreover, BOJ foreign currency reserve growth has practically flat-lined/ trended downwards since it peaked in July 2020.
The SNB purchases foreign currency to suppress the value of the CHF and make its exports more competitive on price.
Unfortunately, the demand for CHF is currently in overdrive, as is natural during a global economic upheaval. Seemingly, the CHFs safe-haven status is working against the impulse of SNB to help the country’s exports remain competitive.
Now, what the SNB is doing is not all that uncommon. Effectively, all Central Banks around the world do this to some degree. The SNB is different because analysts are concerned that the NBS’s selling of CHF is unsustainable. At the current rate, something might have to give soon enough.
The SNB cannot keep trading CHF for foreign currency and suppressing the CHF’s fair value indefinitely. Once the SNB hit a threshold, the CHF could come to appreciate significantly beyond its current value. The SNB has simply been manipulating the CHF for too long. The risk for a significant correction for the CHF has been steadily increasing alongside the manipulation. For this reason, brokerages, such as BlackBull Markets have increased the margins required to trade CHF pairs.
Traders of CHF will remember in 2015, when the EUR flash-crashed by 20% against the CHF after the SNB scrapped its unofficial peg to the Euro.
It may seem that the only way for the CHF is up, but this is not so. A genuine risk exists for both long and short traders of the CHF.
Traders risk sentiment may change, and interest in the CHF might shift, and a devaluation might occur. A catalyst for this scenario might be sudden rising asset yields outside of Switzerland. Such a scenario would propel the SNB to offload some of its foreign assets for CHF. The CHF might keep stable if the SNB is fast enough, but a flash crash is always possible.
If you are after a volatile currency pair to sharpen your trading skill, it is hard to look past the GBPCAD. The pair is volatile enough for opportunities to be scoped out, yet with a smaller risk factor than some other more volatile pairs like the NZDJPY or AUDJPY, where dreaded slippages are more frequent.
As shown in the above illustration, the pair hasn’t strayed far outside the 1.6800 to 1.7800 range since October 2019. However, within this range, the pair has exhibited a significant amount of volatility.
For interest: The GBP and the CAD are the third and fifth most popular currencies to trade against the USD, respectively. As a pair themselves, the GBPCAD is approximately seventieth most popular.
Great Britain and Canada are both widely watched and widely reported upon economies. This makes keeping track of their respective economic events a little easier than some other more exotic currency pairs.
The most significant factor holding GBPCAD investors’ attention is each nation’s quantitative easing and suppressed interest rates. In particular, if, when, or how the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada change their outlook for each. While statements from the central banking institutions are typically cagey, much can be read into slippages in speech, intonation, and disagreements between key institution members.
GBPCAD. Canada’s dollar is considered a commodity currency, meaning the country’s economy is heavily dependent on raw materials. Thus, its currency’s value is tied to the price of commodities. In this respect, the CAD is the second most tightly align currency with commodities. The first and third most tightly aligned currencies are the AUD and the NZD.
When commodities like oil fall, the CAD weakens, and vice versa. Of course, this is not always true, as several variables contribute to the value of a currency. But in general, the commodity rule holds, as illustrated below, with the price of the GBPCAD compared to WTI.
There is one factor that interrupts the alignment between the price movements of the GBPCAD and WTI. That is, the UK is a minor producer of crude itself. The United Kingdom producers approximately a million barrels per day. Admittedly, one million barrels is not a significant number in the grand scheme of oil production but a significant enough factor to play a part in the exchange of the GBP and CAD.
"If you have more than 120 or 130 I.Q. points, you can afford to give the rest away. You don't need extraordinary intelligence to succeed as an investor"
A simple set of guidelines can empower aspiring traders to overcome the learning curve and become consistent in a relatively short time. These same guidelines have worked for generations. Back in the early 1900s, Jesse Livermore used the same guidelines to make his fortune. However, many would-be successes have failed for easily understandable reasons.
Most traders fail to respect these basic yet essential rules:
In this article, we'll review the basics to convey how these guidelines keep traders out of trouble.
"Follow the trend. The trend is your friend"
Most retail traders have trouble following trends. Often, when a trend is developing, retail traders fight it, attempting to pick tops and bottoms. It's a repetitive habit that a sentiment trader illustrates systematically.
Evidently, many traders have trouble identifying a trend. That's understandable, as depending on how a trader looks at their charts, multiple trends can coexist within the same currency pair simultaneously! It's rare to see currency trending in the same direction on all time frames. It does happen when momentum is strong or driven by news, but the ebb and flow of the market tends to confuse traders that use multiple time frames.
For example, a currency pair may simultaneously seem to be trending upwards on a daily time frame and trending downwards on a 1-hour time frame. The same pair may also appear to be largely range-bound on a 5-minute time frame.
When trading from the retail angle, keeping things simple is generally best. Here are three suggestions for identifying a trend:
"If most traders learned to sit on their hands 50 per cent of the time, they would make a lot more money"
Bill Lipschutz, Market Wizard.
The second essential guideline in trend trading is to "sit on your hands" and refrain from trading until there is a clear trend in place. Of course, there are other ways to trade that don't rely solely on trends for their edge. However, retail traders often have part-time or full-time jobs, restricting the amount of screen time they can get. Furthermore, the time constraint reduces the available time for pre-trade analysis.
The bottom line is that retail traders are better off being light on their feet. Keep the analysis method simple and keep the trigger criteria equally simple. Trend trading fits the bill because it only takes a few minutes each day to filter the quality trends in the market. It's key to avoid trading trendless charts where there's no edge.
Have you ever held onto a losing trade, thinking that the market "had" to turn around sooner or later? Many traders have been there, but this is in direct violation of a rule we simply can't ignore: cut losses quickly.
We should always cut our losses quickly. Likewise, we should always hold onto our winning trades for as long as logically possible.
The process of monitoring your trade after the initial entry is called "trade management". Trade management is an area that is not covered in detail in classic trading books. It's all about entries and exits. But how do we formulate a plan that helps us cut losses as soon as logically possible, but not sooner? And how can we know when to hold?
The basic idea is to let the market dictate when it's OK to hold and when it's time to fold. Simple tools that can help with managing trades are:
Without a consistent structure for managing your trades, it will be a struggle to keep your emotions at bay and "trade what you see".
"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail"
Some traders rely solely on indicators such as support and resistance lines. But some traders prefer to overlay technical indicators on their chart to assist with decision-making. That's fine, but many traders fall into the trap of "covering" their charts with technical indicators without knowing:
Unfortunately, without knowing this, it's impossible to use any indicator properly. It's also hard to know when the indicator might be giving false signals. Technical indicators are just tools. Without a good understanding of what your "tool" does, you won't know when or how to use it.
Many traders attribute more importance to indicators than they deserve.
To make this point even clear, observe a "Donchian channel". A Donchian channel simply tracks the highest high and the lowest low of a lookback period. It wouldn't be any surprise that overbought/oversold readings on the stochastic would be accompanied by "touches" of the Donchian channel. Simply stated, both indicators are telling us when we're moving outside the range designated by the lookback period!
If you choose to use indicators, make sure you know them inside out. What are they helping you "see"? What is their strength, and what is their weakness?
By learning your indicators inside out, you'll gain much more insight than by simply overlaying them on the chart and "trusting them blindly".
In this article, we revisited five common trading mistakes and offered some easy solutions to fix them. Trading from the retail angle requires clarity of mind. It pays to keep the analysis process simple.
You can keep your trading logical and gain peace of mind when making decisions in the markets by:
Consider this: In the 66 weeks since the AUD reached a low of 0.5741 in March of 2020, the AUD has strengthened over 43 of these weeks. If you want to consider the weeks in isolation from one another, this translates to an approximate 2:1 win rate for the AUD.
The AUDUSD is trading at 0.7524 at the time of writing.
The majority of the weeks that AUD has weakened against the USD have occurred since February 2021. The frequency of bearish AUD weeks really began to pick up at this time.
This poses the question: has the AUD peaked in 2021? And can we expect a considerable turn to the downside during the rest of the 2021? What things might we consider when evaluating where the AUD will move in July and beyond?
Volatility has definitely subdued in the pair, as the worst of the pandemic is likely behind us. For the best part of 2021, the pair has consolidated between 0.7550 and 0.7900.
From the view of the weekly, the pair is currently edging past the lower bound of this range. From the perspective of the daily chart, the pair is flirting with the 50.0 retracement level.
The smaller time frames might reveal if the AUD bears aim to force the pair to retrace back to the 61.8 Fib level.
Butting up against this predication is the Delta variant that has spread Downunder. Several of Australia’s territories have reimplemented lockdown measures, while quarantine-free travel between the country and its close partner, New Zealand, has been temporarily halted. In saying this, the effects of the current lockdown measures are not expected to be incredibly disruptive and are not are strict as those implemented throughout 2020.
The story is a little different in the US. Very little concern appears to be directed toward Covid Classic or its Delta Variant. The success of the US vaccination program seems to quell fears of Covid. The Australian vaccination program has been much slower than the US. The Aussies had the advantage of taking their time in dispensing vaccinations, as the virus was not rampant in the country.
The consequence of this slow rollout means that the tables have turned in the global race to recover from Covid. Like Australia, the countries that eradicated the virus early are now behind the ball with vaccination and thus more suspectable to further waves of the virus.
Setting the tone for the AUDUSD for July will be the high impact reports due this week.
On Thursday, we are expecting the Australian Trade Balance (May). Strong Commodity prices, especially Iron Ore, is expected to lift the country’s Trade Balance to a surplus of AU$10B. Industrial metal prices moving forward will be a factor in deciding the fate of the AUD.
The following day, the US will release the hotly anticipated Nonfarm Payrolls for June. Analysts are expecting approximately 690K jobs to be added to the economy. However, predictions have been off the mark by uncomfortable margins in the past few months. For example, in April, the actual number of jobs created was lower than 650K than predicted.
Since April, the US economy has had time to settle down slightly, but a Payroll figure less than expected wouldn’t be shocking. However, if this was to occur, the impact on the USD could be minimal. In April, the USD reacted mildly to the terrible Payroll figures. This might be because slower job growth can help keep talk of the Fed tapering its stimulus at bay for a little bit longer.
The markets are (possibly) set to be as choppy this week as much as they were last week. The choppiness could materialise in the Forex market as two major Central Banks of the world take the spotlight. On Tuesday, the US Central Bank will be evaluating their response to the pandemic before members of the Senate panel on Covid aid. On Wednesday, the BoE will update the market as to its evaluation of the British economy and its monetary policy.
In his first outing since lasts week's FOMC, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will (virtually) head to Capitol Hill to address Washington politicians on Tuesday. The topic of discussion will centre on "lessons learned" regarding the Feds response to the global pandemic and its economic consequences.
Investors are currently trying to parse fact from fiction regarding what they hear from the Fed and what the market reports. Of particular concern are contradictions between the Fed's outlook for inflation, the Fed's massive money printing regime, and the rise and subsequent fall in commodity prices.
Last week's FOMC only served to increase interest in Powell's public appearances. Last week's FOMC was notable for the Fed's change in 2021 inflation projections, as well as expected long-term inflationary pressure. For example, the Fed's 2021 inflation projections rose from 2.4% to 3.4%, while it now expects two interest rate hikes by the end of 2023.
A brief reprieve is granted the USD until Thursday when we can expect to see May Orders for Durable Goods, GDP annualised (Q1), as well as the Bank Stress Test report from the Federal Reserve System.
It will be interesting to see if the USD's bullish turn last week will continue when the markets open this Monday. Further, I wonder if Powell will be drawn on any topic outside the stated reason for his Senate testimony. If he can be drawn to speak on topics outside the scope of the meeting, the USD bullishness could easily be boosted or damped by Powell's next outing.
Great Britain's FOMC equivalent is due this Wednesday. We will learn about any impending changes to The Bank of England's (BoE) monetary policy and discover any change in its stance regarding the factors affecting the GB economy.
It is unlikely that significant changes will be announced to BoE monetary policy on Wednesday. Nor is it likely that the BoE will take a hard stance on the country's economic outlook. The BoE could easily use the uncertainty created by the Government prolonging the country's lockdown, as well as and the evolution of the Delta Covid variant in the country to avoid making any changes to its projections. But, anything that indicates that the BoE will deviate from its existing monetary policy, or outlook in any economic sector will be carefully watched by the market.
A theory: Elon Musk will hand Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) over to a successor when Tesla can no longer generate much fanfare. At least, not as much as they currently do. This point in time will come once legacy car manufactures are firmly entrenched in the EV space. It is likely General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Stellantis NV (BIT: STLA), and the dominant Asian brands will outcompete Tesla on price, range, and looks. Consequently, Tesla will be relegated to a periphery player. If legacy car brands convert their production to EV as fast as they say they will, I expect Musk will move on to his next project before 2030.
To stay in the game, Tesla will have to double down on its status as a luxury vehicle. I think this would be the right move for Tesla in the long run. Imagine this; Tesla becomes an electric equivalent of Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren.
Last week, Ferrari NV (BIT: RACE) announced Benedetto Vigna as its new CEO. The appointment of Vigna surprised the market as his background is in computer engineering rather than the automotive or luxury goods sector.
The appointment strongly indicates a new priority for vehicle manufacturers. Moving forward, the success of their respective businesses will be heavily dependent on their electronic and computing technology.
Tesla's CFO (Master of Coin), Zachary Kirkhorn, easily fulfils the criteria to lead the Company. After all, Kirkhorn holds degrees in both economics and engineering. Tesla's Senior VP, Andrew Baglino, an electrical engineer, is an equally appropriate choice to head the Company.
However, Elon probably won't play by the industry rules. Instead, Elon may hand the reins over to his little brother, Kimbal Musk, a Tesla board member and a self-described chef, restauranteur, and philanthropist. I am not hinting that Kimbal's Directorship is undeserved. Rather, I am noting the unconventional choice in the same manner that his ascension to CEO would be unconventional.
While Kimbal Musk does not profess a penchant for electrical or computer engineering, he is very successful in his own right within the technology space. In addition to his culinary pursuits, Kimbal has co-founded and directed many of Elon's technology companies, including Zip2, SpaceX and X.com.