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HKD Falls Despite February’s Optimistic Retail Sales Figures

Talking Points:

• Hong Kong Retail Sales Increase.

• HKD Falls Against the USD Following Retail Sales Announcement.

The HKD Fell as Hong Kong retail sales value year-on-year (YoY) increased dramatically in February 2015, coming in at 14.9 percent, ahead of leading economists’ expectations of -4.5 percent, and well above the previous period’s revised reading of -14.5 percent, according to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong. Despite February 2015’s optimistic news, for the first two months of 2015 taken together, total retail sales decreased by 2.0 percent in value compared to the same two month period in 2014. Following netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales in February increased by 18.2 percent, soaring past leading analysts’ predictions of 2.4 percent as well as the previous period’s figure of -13.9 percent. Again when taken together, retail sales in the first two months of 2015 decreased by 0.3 percent in volume when compared to the same two month period in 2014.

When comparing the combined total sales for January 2015 and February 2015 with the same two month period of 2014, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets increased by 3.7 percent with the sales of medicines and cosmetics increasing by 8.3 percent. Food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco increased by 15.3 percent, with electrical goods and photographic equipment rising by 12.7 percent. When interpreting these figures, it should be noted that retail sales tend to show increased volatility before and after the Chinese Lunar New Year, and due to the current positioning of this year’s Lunar New Year’s date in February, it makes more statistical sense to combine both month’s retail sales figures.

HKD Falls Despite February’s Optimistic Retail Sales Figures

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Bitcoin Down $4 Dollars, More Silk Road Controversy

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Bitcoin is continuing the yo-yo price action. After yesterday’s gain of $ 7 dollars today we are down by $ 4. The cryptocurrency just can’t seem to string together a few days of either gains or losses. We have been trading between the $ 235 and $ 250 mark for the past few days. Here’s a chart of today’s trading session.


We are currently trading at $ 241 on BTC-E, $ 244.98 on BitStamp and $ 246.37 on OKCoin. To generate a sustainable downtrend, bitcoin will need to take out $ 234 per coin. Notable support levels below include $ 225 and the support area between $ 210 and the round $ 200 figure.

More controversy on the Silk Road case. As we reported yesterday, two agents that worked on the case got arrested on Monday. Today Mark Karpeles, the ex-CEO of former exchange MtGox, shared a screenshot that appears to show a short convo with one of the accused, DEA special agent Carl Force. In the email exchange (the authenticity of which hasn’t been confirmed), Force tries to get a deal for 250 bitcoins. In a later email he asks Karpeles to partner with him. Karpeles apparently denied his request because in the final email, sent on May 14th 2013 (U.S. time) , Force ominously says:

”told you should have partnered with me”

On that same day the Dwolla (a money transfer service) warrant was issued. It was also one day before news was made public that the authorities seized MtGox funds held in their Dwolla account.

But the saga regarding DEA special agent Carl Force doesn’t end here. Coindesk has an exclusive expose about the agent, claiming that he was involved in giving tax advice to bitcoiners before he got arrested. This drama shouldn’t have a direct impact on the markets but with BTC trading undecided, there is not much else to write about.

Get our free guide to bitcoin trading here.

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Scalp Webinar: USD Defends Support Slope- Bulls at Risk Ahead of NFP

Talking Points

  • Weekly DailyFX Scalp Webinar Archive covering featured setups
  • Updated targets & invalidation levels ahead of NFPs
  • AUDUSD scalp update- Shorts at risk into 7600
  • Event Risk on Tap ThisWeek


Scalp Webinar: USD Defends Support Slope- Bulls at Risk Ahead of NFP

Chart Created Using FXCM Marketscope 2.0

Notes:The USDOLLAR has continued to hold key slope support noted over the past few weeks with the index sharply higher after multiple attempts at a break lower last week. This support slope remains key and we will continue to reserve this mark as our bullish invalidation level with a break below targeting 11,854//80 & the February lows. Look for interim resistance at the descending TL off the monthly high with only a breach through 12,127 (high-day close) opening up a rally into the upper median-line parallel off the October high. That said, the USD correction scenario remains a risk heading into Friday’s highly anticipated Non-Farm Payrolls (NFP)with consensus estimates calling for a print 246K jobs as unemployment holds steady at 5.5%.

AUD/USD 30min

Scalp Webinar: USD Defends Support Slope- Bulls at Risk Ahead of NFP

Notes:An update to the Thursday’s report, the Aussie has now taken out all our noted support targets with the risk of a near-term recovery mounting on a breach back above 7660 (near-term resistance). Bottom-line the short-bias remains in play while within this median-line formation (dashed blue) with interim support seen at 7602/10 (highlighted support) where the broader ML off the FOMC high converges on the 88.6% retracement & the operative lower MLP heading into Asia trade.

* It’s extremely important to give added consideration regarding the timing of intra-day scalps with the opening ranges on a session & hourly basis offering further clarity on intra-day biases.

Relevant Data Releases

Scalp Webinar: USD Defends Support Slope- Bulls at Risk Ahead of NFP

Other Setups in Play:

—Written by Michael Boutros, Currency Strategist with DailyFX

For updates on this scalp and more setups follow him on Twitter @MBForex

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Bitcoin Bounces Off $235, Silk Road Plot Thickens

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Bitcoin ended the short losing streak today by bouncing off the $ 235 mark. After opening at $ 238.22, BTC/USD fell to a low of $ 234.08, briefly piercing the $ 235 support. But bitcoin spent less the 30 minutes below the mark and soon the bulls pushed prices back above the figure. By the end of day, a rally took BTC/USD to a high of $ 247.32. We are currently quoted right below the highs at $ 246 on BTC-E. Here’s a snapshot of today’s trading session.


The brief move below $ 235 doesn’t constitute a break. This support remains to be the important number to watch on the downside, even more so after today’s confirmation of its importance. A break below $ 234 could spark a new downtrend in prices. Notable support levels below include $ 225, $ 210 and the round $ 200 figure. On the upside, the threshold for the rally is much higher at $ 300 per coin. Bitcoin will need to take out this triple top formation to jump-start a new move higher.

The plot thickens in the Silk Road affair. If you thought that the recent conviction of Ross Ulbricht was the end of it, you were wrong. Two agents working on the case got arrested today. Secret Service special agent Shaun Bridges was charged with wire fraud and money laundering. His colleague DEA special agent Carl Force is charged with wire fraud, money laundering, theft of government property and conflict of interest.

Force is accused of taking bitcoin payments from Silk Road and placing them in a personal account. Force is also accused of acting as a paid informant for Silk Road’s administrator Ross Ulbricht. In addition to this, Force is charged with using his position to confiscate customers funds on a bitcoin exchange (likely MtGox). It’s unclear if bitcoin’s public ledger helped the authorities in tracking down the stolen BTC.

Get our free guide to bitcoin trading here.

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US Equity Market Review For the Week of March 23-27; Hey, We’re Still Consolidating, Edition

     Writing about market consolidation is very difficult.  There are no strong rallies, massive volume spikes or huge losses to get the reader excited.  Instead, the entire analysis focuses on prices pin-balling between two trend lines, usually on decreasing volume and weakening technical indicators.  So if you’re looking for an article the grabs your attention by telling a story of an incredibly strong surge in bullish price action, move elsewhere.  Because this week we again have a market that is consolidating. 

     Let’s begin by looking at the daily SPY chart:


The two longer term uptrends remain intact.  Prices are still above the trend lines that connect the lows of mid-April and mid-December (the red dotted line) or the lows of mid-December and late January).  Recent action has occurred between the upper and lower lines that form a triangle consolidation pattern (the dark black lines).  Because periods of low volatility are usually followed by higher volatility, the most important indicator is the lower reading of the constricting Bollinger Bands.  Although this hints the market is near a breakout, it doesn’t provide any indication as to timing or magnitude.  The other indicators are neutral.

     But the SPYs are not the only index consolidating.  The NASDAQ is as well:

In fact, the QQQs have two recent rectangle consolidation patterns.  The first lasted about three months and occurred between ~99 and ~104-105 price levels.  The second, which began last month, is ongoing.  But the uptrend that connects the mid-April and mid-October lows is still intact, indicating the overall trend is still up.

     And then there are the transports, which began the consolidating trend. 

Prices on this average have stabilized between the ~153 and ~165 price level for the last four months.     

     The underlying fundamentals provide ample reason for the sideways moves of all three averages.  P/Es and P/Bs indicate the market is expensive.  The latest GDP report indicated corporate profits decreased in 4Q15:

     Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment (IVA) and capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj)) decreased $ 30.4 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of $ 64.5 billion in the third.

      Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $ 12.5 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of $ 16.1 billion in the third.  Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $ 18.1 billion, compared with an increase of $ 32.0 billion.  The rest-of-the-world component of profits decreased $ 36.1 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of $ 16.5 billion in the third.  This measure is calculated as the difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world.  In the fourth quarter, receipts decreased $ 36.5 billion, and payments decreased $ 0.4 billion.     

The report further indicates that the higher dollar is the main culprit of the revenue slowdown, as seen in the $ 36.1 billion drop in rest-of-the-world (read international) earnings.  And analysts are projecting that 1Q15 won’t be any better:

Analysts predict that profits for the S&P 500 companies will be down 4.6% from the first quarter of 2014, according to data from FactSet Research. This would be the first time profits have fallen since the third quarter of 2012.

Earnings are the mother’s milk of the market.  Decreasing earnings points to weaker prices.    

     Adding to the market pressure caused by weaker earnings are several macro-economic developments.  Durable goods orders have been weak for the last 4-5 months and industrial production has recently printed weaker numbers.  In the last two months, the six-month rolling average of the leading indicators has decreased from a little over 3% to a little over 2%.  Individually, none of these are fatal.  When considered together, they at worst point to weaker GDP.  But they are also tangible indicators of some weakness, which further drags down prices.

     The conclusion to draw from the above charts and indicators is the same as that for the last few months: the market is expensive, making upward moves difficult.  And weaker corporate earnings add downward pressure, as does the slight spate of weakness in several manufacturing numbers.  But we’re nowhere near a recession, as indicated by the positive yield curve and still rising LEIs. 

Hale Stewart is a former bond broker who has been writing about economics and financial markets since 2006 on the Bonddad Blog.  He is also a tax attorney with a domestic and international practice while also forming and managing captive insurance companies for US companies.   You can follow him on twitter at:@captivelawyer  


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Euro Relief Rally May Hit Wall as Market Refocuses on EZ CPI, US NFPs

Euro Relief Rally May Hit Wall as Market Refocuses on EZ CPI, US NFPs

Fundamental Forecast for Euro: Neutral

- The Euro has seen moderately higher prices in recent days, but the longer-term outlook remains bearish.

- EURUSD traded into a key resistance level, and now the US Dollar may be searching for a bottom post-FOMC.

- Have a bullish (or bearish) bias on the Euro, but don’t know which pair to use? Use a Euro currency basket.

Continued general improvement in Euro-Zone data and a further build of commercial long positioning (now an all-time high of 271.9K net-long contracts) helped buoy Euro exchange rates for a second straight week, although the turn of the calendar from March into April may prove to be more difficult than days past. EURUSD rallied by +0.62% to close last week at $ 1.0885 and EURGBP jumped by +1.09% to £0.7321, yet both major EUR-crosses settled considerably lower than their high watermarks for the week ($ 1.1052 and £0.7385 respectively).

In the days ahead, the market has a chance to refocus its attention on two of the major drivers of Euro weakness in 2015: persistently low inflation in the Euro-Zone; and the sustained improvement in the US labor market that is driving a wedge between ECB and Fed policy expectations. On Tuesday, the March Euro-Zone CPI report will be released, where the CPI Estimate is due at -0.1% y/y from -0.3% y/y, and the CPI Core is expected at +0.7% y/y unch. On Friday, the March US Nonfarm Payrolls report is forecast to see job gains of +250K, the thirteenth consecutive month of at least +200K jobs growth in the world’s largest economy.

In a holiday shortened week, these data reports represent the two most obvious landmines to EURUSD traders. The propensity for these reports to impact the market is high despite the potential for diminished liquidity, as speculators have embraced the most bearish view of the Euro on record, having 221.K net-short contracts on the books for the week ended March 24, eclipsing the previous all-time high of 214.4K net-shorts set during the week ended June 5, 2012. Whereas Euro speculative shorts have grown in tandem with commercial longs digging in, speculative traders in the futures market have relinquished the aggressive bullish US Dollar view: Dollar Index (DXY) net-longs contracted by -10.7% to 71.2K contracts.

If EURUSD is to fall back, then, it will need to be due to a combination of soft Euro-Zone CPI data and strong US labor market data – not either/or, but both. Market measures of inflation expectations have steadied, but not by much: the 5-year, 5-year inflation swaps (FWISEU55) ended the week at 1.649%, just below the four-week/20-day average of 1.709%. The recent dip in inflation expectations (1.760% on March 20) can be attributed to the recent relief rally in the Euro, as data otherwise remains relatively strong.

The Citi Economic Surprise Index for the Euro-Zone hit +52.1 at the end of the past week, up from +40.2 from a week earlier. Euro-Zone data has been outpacing US data at its best clip in nearly four and a half years. Markets haven’t priced in the improved Euro-Zone data as a batch that would materially change the pace of ECB easing, however: Morgan Stanley’s ‘months to first rate hike’ index (MSM1KEEU) resides at 45.5 suggesting a December 2018 rate hike.

Overall, the big picture for the Euro remains unchanged, even as it continues to take shape: rising inflation expectations coupled with falling nominal bond yields means prospective real yields are being reduced, fueling the need for investors to search for yield outside of the region; this should accelerate capital outflows as Euros are exchanged for other currencies to as to invest in foreign assets. The time for this view to come back into focus may be nearing, as investors get a first-hand look at the policy differential between the ECB and the Fed with the data due in the days ahead. –CV

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Bitcoin Slightly Up, Mined BTC Close to $14M Mark

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Bitcoin closed today up just over $ 3 dollars. After opening at $ 245.79, BTC/USD rallied to a high of $ 252.26 around mid-day. The BTC couldn’t stay above the $ 250 mark for long and soon a sell-off took prices to $ 249.01 where the crypto closed off the session. Both BitStamp and OKCoin are trading $ 2 dollars above BTC-E prices at $ 251 a piece.


The daily range today was only $ 8 dollars. Given the small price movement, no important levels have been broken. The major numbers to watch are $ 235 on the low end and $ 300 on the high end. A break below $ 235 should start a downtrend in prices. This may open the way toward the support levels at $ 225 and $ 210. On the high end, a break of the $ 300 round figure will jump-start a new rally in BTC/USD. Notable resistance levels above $ 300 include $ 334 and $ 350.

We are just days away from the 14,000,000 bitcoin being mined. According to, the current number of bitcoins in circulation is 13,995,800. With an average of 3,600 BTC mined per day, we should hit this milestone sometime on Monday. Bitcoin’s money supply fixed at 21 million, hitting the 14 million mark will mean that we are 2/3 of the way there. But unlike the first 2/3 that only took just over 6 years to mine, the last 1/3 will take over 100 years. The last bitcoin will be mined in the year 2140.

Bitcoin’s money supply growth is programmed to slow down each year. For example, this year the BTC inflation rate will be 10 percent. Next year, the amount of BTC in circulation will increase by 9 percent. After the protocol halves the mining reward to 12.5 BTC in late 2016 or early 2017, it’s projected that the inflation rate will fall down drastically to 4 percent. In theory, since all of this is known before hand and programmed inside the bitcoin protocol, it should already be priced in. In practice, I’ve seen smaller less efficient altcoin markets rally after a ”Great Halving.”

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Weekly Indicators: introducing the Billion Prices Project edition

Monthly reports for February included new home sales, which set a new post-recession high, and existing home sales, also higher, and a higher CPI,  Durable goods were down for the 4th time in 6 months, and the University of Michigan sentiment indicator improved from its first March reading, but has continued to back off its January post-recession high. 

In contrast to monthly data, I look at the high frequency weekly indicators because while they can be very noisy, they provide an up-to-this-week snapshot of the economy.  The indicators will confirm a trend or indicate a switch in trend well before monthly reports, and are a way to mark one’s opinions to market on a regular basis.  I list the data and try to keep commentary sparse, so you can draw your own conclusion.

I am introducing two new series this week.  First, I am adding mortgage rates to the housing reports, since consumer refinancing of debt at lower interest rates has played such an important role in economic expansions since 1982.  Secondly, the Billion Price Project inflation data has been picked up by the St. Louis FRED, and this gives us a daily update on inflation.  I’ll start with that.

Inflation from the Billion Price Project

  • 0.7% m/m rolling 7 day average (not seasonally adjusted)
  • 0.2% YoY

The increase in gas prices off their bottom is showing up in inflation.

 Railroad transport from the AAR

  • -6,800 carloads down -2.4% YoY 
  • +17,500 intermodal units up +6.7% YoY
  • +10,500 total loads up +1.9% YoY

Shipping transport

  • Harpex up +18 to 522 (4 year high)
  • Baltic Dry Index up +12 to 596

Rail traffic fell off a cliff three weeks ago. It has improved each week since then.  After declining sharply for several months, making a 3 year low in mid-February, the BDI has rebounded in the last five weeks. Meanwhile, Harpex (container shipping) has turned up sharply for the last 11 weeks, making continual new 4 year highs.  In the longer term, shipping rates bottomed about 3 years ago and have been in a slow and variable uptrend since, although the Baltic index did break that to the downside in the recent skid.

Consumer spending

  • Johnson Redbook +2.8% YoY
  • Gallup daily consumer spending 14 day average at $ 87, down -$ 1 YoY

Three weeks ago I indicated that I had concluded that the Gallup report, which has been barely positive to outright negative since the beginning of this year, primarily reflects consumers saving the money they are saving on gasoline, and that, when Gallup turned positive again YoY, that would be the signal that consumers are starting to spend their gas savings. After two weeks of doing so, it turned  slightly negative again this week.

In the second half of 2014, Johnson Redbook was between +3.5% to +5%.  It has fallen out of that range in 8 of the last 10 weeks.  This is in accord with the poor YoY nominal retail sales numbers, but since it has stabilized in the last month, this suggests positive m/m retail sales have returned.

Steel production from the American Iron and Steel Institute 

Steel production over the last several years has generally been in a decelerating uptrend.  Since  spring 2014, it turned mixed, and then cliff-dived in the last month. This may be the shipping and rail downturns, which are now abating, feeding through the system, although I read an article indicating that the culprit is dumping by Chinese mills, which are still producing at full tilt despite and apparent domestic downturn there.

Commodity prices

  • Up +2.40 to 102.06 w/w
  • Down -18.19 YoY

BBG Industrial metals ETF

Commodity prices as measured by ECRI rebounded from last week’s new low.  This is still probably due to international weakness, and mainly about oil.  Industrial metals were a component of ECRI’s original short leading weekly index, and so can confirm or contrast with oil prices. Industrial metals have generally been declining for the last 3 years, made and retested a low in the last two months, and have rebounded slightly.

 Interest rates and credit spreads

  • 4.56% BAA corporate bonds up +0.08%
  • 2.01% 10 year treasury bonds up +0.03%
  • 2.55% credit spread between corporates and treasuries up +0.05%

Interest rates for BAA corporate bonds made a 50+ year low 7 weeks ago. This was not confirmed by AAA corporate bonds.  After a possible once-in-a-lifetime low of 1.47% in July 2012, Treasuries rose to over 3% in late 2013, then fell through 2014 and into 2015 to back below 2%, before rising back above 2%.  Spreads have widened in recent months, a warning of near-term weakness.

Housing metrics

Home Sales and Prices from DataQuick:

  •  +3.5% sales YoY, up +0.1% (1 month rolling average)
  •  +5.2% prices YoY, up +0.4% (1 month rolling average) 

Positive YoY sales and price appreciation have continued.

Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association:

  • +5% w/w purchase applications 
  • +3% YoY purchase applications
  • +12% w/w refinance applications

30 year conventional mortgage rate from Mortgage News Daily

  • 3.79% (low was 3.35% in December 2012)

YoY purchase applications established a “less awful” trend in the latter part of 2014.  They have turned positive for five of the last six weeks.  Mortgage rates are close to the bottom of their 12 month range, but have not made a new low in over two years.  As a result, mortgage refinancing remains somnolent, although off its bottom.

Real estate loans, from the FRB H8 report:

  • up +0.4% w/w
  • up +4.1% YoY

Loans turned up at the end of 2011, turned down in late 2013, but have remained positive to sharply positive since April 2014.

Money supply

  • -0.2% w/w
  • -0.2% m/m
  • +8.7% YoY Real M1


  • +0.1% w/w
  • +0.3% m/m
  • +6.3% YoY Real M2

Between actual deflation and possibly a mild European flight to safety, real YoY money supply is firmly positive.  At the time of the last flight to safety (from Europe) in January 2012, YoY Real M1 made a high of about 20%, and YoY Real M2 made a high of about 10.5%.  Growth in both then decelerated.  Real M2 made a new 2 year low at the beginning of 2014.  Both Real M1 and Real M2 improved substantially since.

Employment metrics
 Initial jobless claims

  • 282,000 down -7,000
  • 4 week average 297,000 down -7,750

Initial claims remain well within the range of a normal economic expansion, as does the 4 week average.

The American Staffing Association Index 

  • Unchanged at 96
  • Up +2.83% YoY.

The YoY comparison has generally been positive to strongly positive since last spring.  In the last several weeks, however, the YoY comparisons, while still positive, have declined significantly.

Tax Withholding

  • $ 189.7 B for the first 19 days of March vs. $ 180.4 B one year ago, up +9.3 B or +5.2%
  • $ 200.8 B for the last 20 reporting days ending Thursday vs. $ 191.1 B one year ago, up +$ 9.7 B or +5.1%

Beginning with the last half of 2014, virtually all readings have been positive.

Oil prices and usage

  • Oil up +$ 2.30 to $ 48.87 w/w
  • Gas up +$ 0.01 to $ 2.46 w/w
  • Usage 4 week average YoY +0.4%

The price of gas probably bottomed 7 weeks ago. Oil briefly made a new low one week ago.  The 2010-2013 Oil choke collar has been broken.  Interestingly, usage was much less positive this past week than in the last several months.

Bank lending rates

  • 0.245 TED spread down -0.08 w/w
  • 0.178 LIBOR up +0.05 w/w

LIBOR has risen sharply from its post-recession low set in May and recently made a one-year high. The TED spread moved generally sideways with a slight upward trend in the last 6 months of 2014, rising off its November 2013 low.  It has risen further in the last month and made an 18 month high two weeks ago. The move in the last months (probably mainly due to the latest Euro-crisis), while a negative, still pales in comparison with the moves before the Great Recession.


Among long leading indicators, yields on corporate bonds and treasuries, money supply, real estate loans, and house sales were all positive.  Mortgage applications were uniformly positive for the first time in a long time.  In the larger picture, however, refinancing is still very close to its multi-year bottom. 

The short leading indicators were again mixed but more positive than not.  Oil prices rose, but are still near their bottom.   Industrial metal prices, however, declined slightly and also remain near their bottom. Spreads between corporate bonds and treasuries rose into negative territory.  Temporary staffing was positive, although less so than in the past year.  Gas prices and usage remained positive, and initial jobless claims remained within their positive range.

Coincident indicators were also mixed but with a slightly negative bias.  Steel production rose slightly on a weekly basis, but was still over 10% down from a year ago.  Rail was again mixed although slightly more positive.  Consumer spending as measured by Gallup turned negative again after two positive weeks, while Johnson Redbook was again only weakly positive.  The TED spread and LIBOR have leveled off as barely negative. On the other hand, shipping turned more positive, and tax withholding was very positive as well.

We are now at the end of the first quarter.  I am expecting a poor GDP print.  Production and transport have been generally negative or at best mixed for the last 2 months, and consumer spending has been negative since the First of the year.

At the beginning of this year, I forecast positive growth for the year, subject to the corporate profits report for the 4th quarter of 2014.  The decline in corporate profits means I cannot rule out the economy rolling over in the final quarter of this year, although the positivity of the other long leading indicators in the 4th quarter of 2014 make that unlikely. Still, as the housing improvement from late last year and the decline in gas prices feed through into the economy this year, I still am positive on the next 6 months. 

Have a nice weekend!

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Forex Sentiment & Volume Analysis – EURUSD

Talking Points:

  • EURUSD has retraced significantly off its lows
  • Price reversal has been accompanied by an increase in volume
  • EURUSD SSI is at -2, traditionally bullish signal

If you’ve followed currencies at all over the last few months, you know how strong the US Dollar has been; especially when put up against comparably weak currencies like the Euro. Retail traders have even gotten in on the action by becoming disproportionally short the EURUSD. But even though the long term trend is pointing down, seeing retail sentiment selling at a 2:1 ratio gives me pause.

Today we will look at the Euro/Us Dollar using retail sentiment and retail volume and see if there might be a potential buying opportunity.

Retail Sentiment is acquired using DailyFX Plus’ Speculative Sentiment Index. It is free for real FXCM account holders, but is also free for anyone using a two week trial: DailyFX Plus Trial

Retail Volume is available on FXCM’s Trading Station Desktop platform. This free software can be downloaded here and a free demo login can be acquired here. Real Volume is a default indicator that can be added to your charts.

EUR/USD Reversing With Above Average Volume - Bullish

One benefit of using the Real Volume indicator on FXCM Marketscope’s charts is being able to use it to confirm reversals. This is a topic I’ve discussed in previous articles, but it is very easy to summarize the logic behind it.

Whenever we see price move counter to the trend, we want to gauge how strong the move actually is. This means we want to see price retrace significantly AND see a larger than average amount of trading volume throughout the move. The larger the move and the more real volume backing the move, the more likely the reversal is to continue.

The chart below is a EURUSD Daily chart using Real Volume. I have highlighted the area to focus on. We can clearly see the EURUSD has reversed from its low of $ 1.05 up to $ 1.10, but most interestingly doing so with a massive increase in volume. The 4-day period where price moved the greatest number of pips was the most (FXCM retail) volume traded during a 4-day period in the last 3 years, truly a significant event.

Because volume was so great during this countertrend move, this gives me reason to believe that this bullish run could continue in the future.

Learn Forex: EUR/USD Reversal Confirmed by Above Average Volume

Forex Sentiment & Volume Analysis - EURUSD

(Created using Marketscope 2.0 charts)

The fact that volume confirms this EURUSD reversal is not the only reason I am looking to buy the Euro either. Retail sentiment is also making a convincing case.

EUR/USD SSI is Negative - Bullish

The Speculative Sentiment Index or SSI gives us the ratio between retail FXCM traders that are currently long and short each major currency pair. We use this as a contrarian tool to help guide us on what direction price might be headed. The general principle is we look to buy when SSI is negative and sell when SSI is positive.

The chart below shows the relationship between SSI and price over the last 2 years. In late 2013-early 2014, when Euro SSI was heavily negative, EURUSD was in a massive uptrend. It wasn’t until SSI started flipping positive that price began to tumble. We’ve witnessed spurts of negative SSI as price has fallen, stalling the downtrend until SSI flipped back positive and price dropped further.

Learn Forex: EUR/USD SSI Flips Negative as Price Rises Off Lows

Forex Sentiment & Volume Analysis - EURUSD

(Screen capture from

But if we continue to see SSI at a negative value or move even further negative, EURUSD could take a dramatic turn higher. This would catch many retail traders off-guard and could cause a cascading effect of buy orders to cover short positions.

With the EURUSD SSI currently reading -2.0, I have a long bias.

In Conclusion

Both Real Volume and Retail Sentiment point towards the Euro rallying against the US Dollar, which could be a good trading opportunity. But remember, there are no guarantees in trading. Perform your own due diligence and trade using sound money management. Also, feel free to utilize a demo account to practice trading risk-free before trading with real money if you are just starting out.

If you would like to receive an email reminder each time a future article of mine is published, sign up for my email list here.

Good trading!

—Written by Rob Pasche

To contact Rob, email

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Bitcoin Flat Again, OKCoin Changes Margin Rules

Want to Trade Bitcoin? ForexNews RecommmendsPlus500Click Here To Learn More.

Bitcoin is trading flat again. After opening the day at $ 245.62, prices first fell by over 4 dollars to $ 240.99. From here we rallied higher, reaching $ 248 in the morning session. But the highs didn’t last either and soon BTC/USD fell back down to its daily opening price at $ 245. We are currently quoted at $ 246 flat, just 38 cents above the open. Here’s a chart of today’s uneventful trading session.


The important levels remains the same, $ 235 on the low end and $ 300 on the high end. A break below $ 235 could start a downtrend in prices, potentially leading to further declines toward the support levels at $ 225 and $ 210. On the top, a break of the $ 300 triple top will be needed before prices can stage a sustainable rally. Trading on other exchanges? Check out our guide on price differences.

Chinese exchange OKCoin announced some changes yesterday. The exchange will change the leverage margin call threshold for futures positions opened with 20:1 leverage. The threshold will be changed from 10% to 20% for both cross-margin mode and fixed-margin mode, thereby increasing the odds for a margin call. The change has already become effective as of today and the new calculation method will affect any existing positions post-settlement. According to OKCoin:

”This change has some important implications for any user that has 20x leverage enabled. In fixed margin mode, 20x positions may be margin called earlier than before the changes. In cross-margin mode, the account margin ratio will be subject to the 20% adjustment factor whether the user is using over 10x leverage or not. Therefore it is recommended that the user only selects 20x leverage mode when using over 10x leverage.”

The second change has to do with the exchange rate calculation.  The exchange rate used by OKCoin futures was originally set according to the rate published by the People’s Bank of China. However due to ”recent long-term exchange rate fluctuations, there has been a consistent gap between the actual market exchange rate and the PBOC exchange rate” OKCoin says and proceeds to announce these changes:

  • The exchange rate will now be set each week according to the average market rate over the last two weeks.
  • The exchange rate will be changed every Friday at 16:00 CST (UTC+8), after the delivery of the current week’s contracts
  • The exchange rate adjustment threshold will be set at 0.2%. This means that if the deviation between the two-week average market rate and the current system exchange rates does not exceed ±0.2%, the system exchange rate will not be adjusted.

Get our free guide to bitcoin trading here.

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